Boz's Fruit & Veg

Cards secure the points as the Yak strikes late

Ray Avards
11:43am, Wed 19th Aug 2015
Torquay United 0 Woking 1

The Vanarama National League

18th August 2015

The tables were turned at Plainmoor last night, almost a year to the day when a long range stoppage time free kick from the then Gulls ‘skipper Luke Young put paid to the Cards' early season nine game unbeaten run. This time it was the resilient Cards who celebrated a late winner, their greater skill and endeavour on the night deserving of the three points.

The Cards lined up just as they did last time out at home to Altrincham, with captain Mark Ricketts holding in midfield in front of a solid fort of four at the back and Keiran Murtagh, Joey Jones and John Goddard interchanging in front of him.

There were early scares at either end as Briscoe blazed over after a long throw in fell to him in the Cards’ penalty area before Dan Holman got up to unsettle keeper Speiss from a long straight ball, before it rolled away past the post at the other end.

A Giuseppe Sole free kick, wide left, struck the defensive wall but then Alex Fisher, for the Gulls, got in behind Ismail Yakubu, after Chris Arthur’s pass was intercepted coming out of defence, leaving Jake Cole to spread his frame and block from close range, a let–off for the visitors. Fisher appeared to be tugged back by Yakubu shortly after, to howls of protest from the home fans as play was waved on. As Torquay mounted pressure, Courtney Richards hammered a shot from distance that flew narrowly over Woking’s crossbar.

The Cards then began to assert themselves with tidy play on the ground and won a free kick nearly on the byline on the right. Goddard’s free kick appeared to be touched on by Murtagh for Joey Jones to fire over over from 6 yards.

Now Joey Jones broke a tackle on the right but his head-high cross was cleared on the six yard line. A sweet turn by Sole followed, but again no one was on the end of a low cross. Neat interplay between him and Goddard sent Jake Caprice away, bending his cross for Murtagh to volley left footed just over. Caprice increasingly teased Butler going forward as he began to stretch the Gulls' left flank.

A momentary lapse saw the Cards overloaded on their left, allowing a United break on the other side, forcing Yakubu to lunge and deflect the low cross away from his goal area for a corner.

Half-time: Torquay United 0 Woking 0

The Cards were in offensive action again immediately after the interval with Jones’ dangerous early ball across the face of goal in the first minute of the half. Goddard’s side foot placement from the edge of the area was saved down at his left hand post by Speiss.

Woking’s wide men were now their full backs as first Chris Arthur fired in a cross cut out at the near post while Caprice continued to taunt the Gulls’ left side until they sensibly doubled up on him. When Sole occupied the same flank shortly afterwards, he went down near the corner flag without challenge and left the action with what looked like a pulled right hamstring. Kadell Daniel Joined the action wide on the right leaving Dan Holman as the lone spearhead.

The Cards were increasingly dominant in possession and Murtagh’s shot was taken in his midriff by keeper Speiss. Jones' shot from outside the area was also saved, sandwiching Alex Fisher’s pirouette at the other end, on a long ball he flicked up for himself, to fire well over.

On 68 minutes, a simple substitution by Torquay proved anything but. The fourth official's board indicated that the home side wished to replace no. 17 Alex Fisher although it appeared that the home bench wished to replace no. 7 Louis Briscoe with fellow midfielder Simon Heslop. Confusion ensued as the situation was eventually sorted out with Garry Hill less than impressed. This all culminated in home manager Paul Cox being sent from his touchline bench. Such a charged atmosphere, as almost all of Plainmoor put the blame on the referee, could easily have rebounded upon the Cards. Instead Yakubu and Brian Saah, showing their great experience, held firm at the centre of defence. As a series of long balls were swallowed up, the frustration of the home side spilled over with Nathan Smith being spoken to for a spot of petulance.

The Cards now scented their opportunity and an Andrade set-up freed Arthur again but his cross was blocked as the visitors took the game to their opponents.

Briscoe finally left the scene to ironic cheers, to be replaced by Marsh and Woking swapped Goddard for Bruno Andrade. The latter's free kick reached Yakubu at the back post but he couldn’t force it home.

Ben Pattie replaced Holman for the Cards and the home side countered with another long throw from Geohaghon which Carmichael got to but headed over. As time ticked down, Jones' shot from the edge of the area in a Cards counter seemed certain to find the top corner but Speiss threw himself sideways and tipped over his cross bar, for the save of the match.

Two corners in a row followed for the visitors and from the second of these, a minute into stoppage time, the only goal of the game finally arrived. Daniel took the kick and just as the ball seemed to be drifting out of play, Yakubu arrived at the far post to head home the winner.

Seven minutes of stoppage time meant Woking had to stand up to another series of long throws from Geohaghon, but did so courageously. However, it was still Woking who looked most likely to capitalise again as first Daniel was just wide with his effort from Andrade’s pass and then the latter set up Pattie around the penalty spot but he dragged his effort tantalisingly wide of Speiss’s left hand post.

After Woking’s tricky opener away at relegated Tranmere the team has settled impressively to collect maximum points with no goals against in the last three games. Garry Hill will be satisfied with his side’s control of this match in the second half, strangling the life out of Torquay, to snatch the points. He will maybe look for a more direct threat from his own forwards on Saturday at home to Chester as the Cards look to make it four wins in a row.

Torquay United: Fabien Speiss, James Hurst, Dan Butler, Angus MacDonald, Exodus Geohaghon, Josh Carmichael, Courtney Richards, Louis Briscoe (Tyrone Marsh 79), Nathan Smith, Alex Fisher (Simon Heslop 68), Joe Quigley (Malachi Lavelle-Moore 93)

Unused subs: Jamie Richards, Shepherd Murombedzi

Woking: Jake Cole, Jake Caprice, Chris Arthur, Brian Saah, Ismail Yakubu, Joey Jones, Mark Ricketts (c), Keiran Murtagh, John Goddard (Bruno Andrade 77), Giuseppe Sole (Kadell Daniel 56), Dan Holman (Ben Pattie 84)

Unused subs: Nick Hamman, Godfrey Poku

Goal: Yakubu (90)

My MotM: In a real team effort exemplified by skipper Mark Ricketts, Keiran Murtagh, whose deft touches and alert support for his team mates threatened to unlock Torquay much earlier on in the game, edged it for me.

Attendance: 1,936

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