Boz's Fruit & Veg

Gulls swoop late to deny Woking at the death

Ian Toft
12:00am, Sat 6th Apr 2019
Woking 3 Torquay United 3
Vanarama League South
6th April 2019

Woking surrendered a two goal lead late on against Torquay for the second time this season as an entertaining game finished all square.

Ben Wynter scored in the dying moments for the visitors to ensure that the league leaders retained their seven point lead over the Cards with four games remaining. It was a disappointing end to what had been an enjoyable game packed with incident. Woking now have four games remaining in which to secure a likely second place and home advantage through the end of season playoffs.

On an overcast Spring afternoon manager Alan Dowson made one change to the draw at Bath City in the previous outing. Greg Luer returned to the side in place of the injured Jake Hyde.

Woking attacked the Leslie Gosden stand in the first half in front of a packed crowd in attendance including 1,400 supporters who had made the trip from Devon. Early on, Little collected the ball deep in his own half. After a searching run which resulted in a free kick out on the left, the resulting cross was found by Ferry who in turn hit a rasping goal bound shot which was charged down.

Torquay’s first opportunity to attack came when Wynter crossed in for Reid leaving him clean through. With just Ross to beat the Gulls’ striker coolly placed the ball past him only to see it rebound off of the post. The loose ball was scrambled clear to safety.

Moments later the significance of that let off was underlined as the Cards took the lead. Casey led the ball out from the back and fed through to Kretzschmar. Sensing the timing of Luer’s run he calmly slipped the ball through and with MacDonald rushing out Luer expertly placed his ball past to nestle inside the far post.

Greg Luer places his shot perfectly for the Cards’ first; pic: David Holmes

Woking were still celebrating having taken the lead when they were immediately pegged back. Janneh broke free of his marker and played a well-weighted ball forwards to Reid, beating the offside trap to send him clean through. Having taken a touch to steady the Gulls’ striker picked his spot to level the scores with an immediate reply.

Torquay pushed on and looked to have again beaten the offside trap when Kalala fed Reid, seemingly again with just Ross to beat. Fortunately for the Cards, Cook sensed the danger and tracked back well to get a well timed tackle in and clear to safety.

A good phase of passing in midfield led to Gerring being caught out by the visitors’ fluency, his late tackle earning the first booking of match from referee Durkin.

Woking retook the lead midway through the first half. Some great work by Cadogan in midfield led to a short pass being played in to Luer this time out on the right. As MacDonald advanced out to narrow the angles, Luer again made no mistake with a second expertly placed finish.

A clash of heads led to a short delay when Diarra was marginally late on Keating. After playing some minutes with ten men whilst attempts were made to ensure the recuperation of the Gulls’ midfielder Torquay manager Gary Johnson made two quick substitutions with Andrews and then Dixon introduced for Hall as well as Keating.

Andrews made an immediate impact for the visitors as he surged forward and sent Janneh clear to the left, who appeared to foul Gerring in the move. The Gulls’ striker switched onto his right foot before unleashing a low powerful shot. Ross read the move well and got down extremely well to palm the shot wide of his far post.

A Kretzschmar corner late in the half was hit deep from the right to the back post. This was met by Diarra who sent the ball goal bound. Only an unorthodox block on the goal line from Davis prevented the Cards extending their lead.

Half-time: Woking 2 Torquay United 1

Woking continued after the half-time break on the front foot. Luer got the better of Wynter and found himself clean through. Sensing the oncoming support a square pass was played to Little who composed himself to shoot for the bottom corner. MacDonald got down well to save and despite the ball running loose Little was unable to bundle the ball over the line before the Torquay defence were able to get back and clear.

Later in the half, a Kretzschmar corner seemed to deceive the Torquay defence when it was played short. The ball was sent back towards the goal line by Luer and Little appeared to get there first before being felled by a Torquay defender in the penalty area. Despite the protestations from the Cards players and supporters referee Durkin waved play on.

The Cards’ quest for a third goal was not to be denied as they extended their lead with one of the goals of the season. Cadogan brought the ball out from his own defensive line. Despite several attempts to tackle by the visitors he continued to advance forward. As he reached Little he passed the ball through to him but continued to run forward. Sensing this, Little turned and played short straight back into Cadogan’s path. Now with just the goalkeeper to beat and having run approximately 75 yards, mostly with the ball, the Cards winger calmly slotted the ball into the net to send the home fans into celebration.

As the minutes wound down the frenetic pace of the game appeared to be slowing. When Ross noticed that a yellow flare had been thrown onto the field of play he held back from taking his goal kick. Believing that it was an attempt to delay the game referee Durkin felt that Ross’s actions were worthy of a yellow card, much to the surprise and outrage of the Woking bench.

With around twelve minutes remaining Torquay halved the deficit. Andrews’ corner was hit long and headed back in to the mix by Cameron. Janneh sensed the return header fastest and muscled in to head the ball into the net.

The pendulum turned further minutes later when Torquay escaped with the ball down the left wing. In an attempt to prevent a turn towards goal Gerring mistimed his tackle and brought the Gulls’ winger to the ground. Referee Durkin instantly produced a second yellow card to the Cards’ defender and his afternoon was brought to a premature end.

Despite an effort from Alan Dowson to shore up his defence by bringing on Nathan Collier unfortunately it proved to be not enough to hold out the barrage of attack from the visitors. A long throw from Andrews was not fully cleared and as the ball ricocheted into Wynter’s path he hit a shot through a crowd of bodies which Ross was unable to keep out. The goal had not only secured a late point for Torquay but had also meant that their seven point lead would be maintained.

Woking had been moments from defeating the team at the top but it proved to not quite be enough. Alan Dowson must now pick up his team up for a busy run of fixtures to finish the season beginning with a visit to playoff hopefuls Chelmsford City next Saturday.

Woking:1 Craig Ross, 2 Jack Cook, 3 Josh Casey (Capt), 4 Scott Durojaye, 5 Ben Gerring, 6 Moussa Diarra, 7 James Ferry, 8 Armani Little (14 Nathan Collier 87’), 9 Greg Luer, 10 Max Kretzschmar, 11 Kieron Cadogan

Unused subs: 12 Harvey Bradbury, 15 Paul Hodges, 16 Reisse Allassani, 18 Sam Mason

Goals: Luer 7’ 24’, Cadogan 64’

Bookings: Gerring 20’, Durojaiye 28′, Kretzschmar 45′, Little 45′, Ross 78’

Sent Off: Gerring 86’

Torquay United 1 Shaun McDonald, 2 Ben Wynter, 3 Liam Davis, 7 Ruairi Keating (16 Ryan Dickson ’30), 8 Asa Hall (capt) (18 Jake Andrews 28’), 10 Saikou Janneh, 11 Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, 15 Jean-Yves Koue Niate, 17 Kyle Cameron, 19 Jamie Reid, 20 Kalvin Kalala (14 Frank Vincent 76’)

Unused subs: 6 Jamie Sendles-White, 13 George Burton

Goals: Reid 9’, Janneh 80’, Wynter 90’

Bookings: Dickson 52’, Andrews 62’, MacDonald 90′

Referee: James Durkin

Attendance: 4,589 (1,403 Away Supporters)

Man of the Match: Man of the Match - Greg Luer: Put in one of his strongest performances in a Woking shirt. Not only worked extremely hard as a lone striker but made sure that he linked up play with the midfield. Finished his two goals with fantastic accuracy.

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