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Cards draw blank

Alan Worth
6:18pm, Sat 19th Jul 2014
Woking 0 Fulham XI 0
Pre-Season Friendly
19th July 2014

After the very encouraging first outing against Scottish Championship opposition last weekend, Woking welcomed rather more local visitors to Kingfield for their second run out of this pre-season. The English Championship side fielded their U21 squad and arrived at another sun drenched Kingfield. The forecast thunder and lightning never materialised and unfortunately the game also failed to provide any real fireworks!

With Garry Hill still away on holiday, Steve Thompson fielded a strong side for the first period with Mark Ricketts partnering Joe McNerney in the centre of defence and Mike Cestor and Adam Newton making up the back four. Joey Jones and Josh Payne looked after the central midfield with Kevin Betsy and John Goddard out wide. Kieran Murtagh played off the front with Scott Rendell the lone striker.

Woking dominated possession in the first half and were never really troubled by the Championship side. However, despite their neat passing and good control of the ball, the Cards were unable to turn this dominance into good goal scoring opportunities.

Early on Betsy looked to embarrass his employers. After cutting in from the right his fierce shot was parried by Rodak – the young keeper managing to gather the ball at the feet of the onrushing Rendell.

After a long-range effort from Payne had been deflected wide of goal, Goddard managed to flick on the resulting corner at the near post but his effort was wide of the target.

Jones volleyed Rendell’s headed knock-back but his shot was also deflected wide. McNerney, marauding forward, exchanged passes with Jones, but his final shot was well over the bar as was Goddard’s next effort a couple of minutes later.

Payne’s delightful chip, late on, seemed to have put Rendell through on goal but he was ruled offside.

Half-time: Woking 0 Fulham XI 0

The second half began with the expected changes from both sides. Jake Cole came on to replace Aaron Howe and make his first appearance for the Cards. Theo Lewis and Gez Sole both got a full forty-five minutes and a chance to catch the eye.

In fact it was the Fulham substitutions that made the most impact and four minutes into the half they had their best and only chance to break the deadlock.

From a free-kick wide on the left, the tall Fulham defender Arthurworrey rose unchecked to power his header goal-wards. Jake Cole, Garry Hill’s latest recruit and billed as an excellent shot stopper, showed the Kingfield crowd why he’s been recruited. His point blank save was magnificent, parrying the ball away to safety – the one real moment of drama in the game.

From then on and despite Fulham looking more dangerous going forward, the Cards were never really troubled at the back. Going forward they broke on occasion with real pace but the final ball was always the problem.

Hicham Abdellah flicked on Goddard’s low corner at the near post but his effort was saved. A good run by Sole to the bye-line ended with his cross evading Xabi up from his left back position. A Beccles low cross was cut out by Rodak and Sole picked out Beccles, who turned and volleyed just over the bar.

Nelson-Addy’s fierce lunge to stop Buatu would have suffered a more serious consequence in a competitive game rather than a sharp word from Mr Sheldrake. But, fortunately, the young Fulham defender was able to continue uninjured.

The game finally petered out in the summer sun – another good work out for the Cards if rather less enjoyable as a spectacle than last week’s encounter.

On this coming Tuesday a Woking XI play away at Frome. Kick off is at 7.45pm. The Cards pre-season preparations continue next Saturday at home to AFC Wimbledon.

Woking: Aaron Howe (Jake Cole 46), Adam Newton (Xabi* 72), Mike Cestor (Dylan Bonella* 72), Mark Ricketts, Joe McNerney (Adam Brice 72), Joey Jones (Theo Lewis 46), Josh Payne (Ebby Nelson-Addy* 64), Keiran Murtagh, John Goddard (Reece Beccles 72), Kevin Betsy (Hicham Abdellah* 64), Scott Rendell (Giuseppe Sole)

*Indicates trialist

Fulham: Marek Rodak, Josh Passley (Noe Baba 46), Tom Richards (Matthew Saunders 56), Solomon Sambou, Stephen Arthurworrey, Buomesca Tu Na Bangna (Freddie Plumain 46), Alex Brister (Josh Smile 46), Dean O’Halloran, Lyle Della Verde, Jordan Evans

Attendance: 557

MOTM: Mark Ricketts – as ever, totally dependable in the middle of defence.

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