Cards held by Surrey rivals Dorking Wanderers in hard-fought pre-season game
12:00am, Thu 17th Sep 2020
Woking 0 Dorking Wanderers 0
Thursday, 17th September 2020
The Cards returned to the Kingfield for the first since March, as they stretched their unbeaten run in pre-season to five games with a fiercely-contested 0-0 draw with Surrey rivals Dorking Wanderers in a behind closed doors friendly.
Dowse set up Woking in his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation and he included three trialists in the starting side, who were keen to make an impact, but he was without the likes of Ben Gerring, Kane Ferdinand, and Matt Jarvis.
The visitors finished a credible 7th last season in their first campaign in the National League South and featured ex-Woking players Gez Sole, Sam Howes and Nicky Wheeler in their squad.
The Cards started the stronger and nearly took the lead in the 2nd minute when John Goddard curled in a right-footed effort from the edge of the box, which was saved by Dorking keeper Slav Huk after a mazy run by the lively trialist on the right wing had created the opening.
Tommy Block then had a long-range effort from distance saved in the centre of the goal in the 13th minute as the game began to liven up and the midfield was tightly contested.
A minute later, Dorking players had strong shouts for a penalty when their striker Jason Prior went down six yards out after a last-gasp challenge from Jack Cook (pictured above), but the referee judged he won the ball fairly with the goal gaping.
Goddard continued to probe and was Wokingâ€™s main threat going forward and his surging run down the left nearly helped create a goal in the 16th minute.
He played the ball across the goal to the trialist on the right-wing, who left his marker for dead in the box, but failed to get a clean strike on his left-foot effort from 12 yards and it was comfortably saved.
There was plenty of strong tackling in the centre of the park and in the 19th minute Charlie Cooper was shown a yellow card for a crunching challenge.
At the other end in the 21st minute, Dorking nearly took the lead after a seemingly nothing cross from the right by Matt Briggs was mishandled by Ross, but a trialist playing at centre back was on hand to nod the ball over the bar under pressure.
Dave Tarpey had struggled to get into the game, but in the 33rd minute he linked up well with Goddard down the left and got a decent strike on goal with his left foot that was saved well low down at the near post by Huk.
Both sides failed to create clear openings, but Goddard once again looked the most likely for the Cards, when he hit a powerful right-foot strike from the edge of the box in the 42nd minute that was well saved in the top left-hand corner by Huk.
Then on the stroke of half-time, Dorking nearly took an undeserved lead when Prior headed over the top from a left-wing cross and the sides went in all-square at half-time.
Half-time: Woking 0 Dorking Wanderers 0
Dowse started the same side for the second half and the Cards started with more tempo and urgency, putting more pressure on the visitors.
However, Dorking nearly took the lead in the 52nd minute when Wes Fogden found some space in the penalty box, but his shot was well charged down and deflected into the hands of Ross.
In the 62nd minute, Woking were unlucky not to win a penalty after Cook nudged the ball past a Dorking defender just inside the box, and seemed to be scythed down, but the referee rejected the shouts and waved play on.
Dowse made his first change in the 65th minute as he took Connor Hall off for Jayden Wareham up front, before he made a second substitution a few minutes later, taking off the trialist left-back for young Leo Hamblin, who has signed his first senior contract.
The second half was hard-fought across the pitch and both teams were not short on effort, but were failing to carve out many clear-cut chances or efforts on goal.
This was summed up in the 77th minute when Dorking lost possession in their half and the Cards had a three versus two break opportunity, but Tarpey failed to find Wareham who was running through on goal.
Woking created the best moment of the second half in the 80th minute and it was no surprise that it was created by Goddard, the best player on the pitch all evening.
Threading through a delightful ball with the outside of his left foot, he found Wareham in the left channel on the edge of the box, who cut inside his marker and hit a powerful right foot shot that was saved well by Howes, a half-time replacement for Huk in the Dorking goal.
Both teams failed to create any more good chances in the final 10 minutes, and the only efforts on goal were a free-kick by Sole, that was deflected wide by the Woking wall on the edge of the box, before Tarpey had a 25-yard free-kick saved in the centre of goal by Howes.
Woking lacked the cutting-edge in the final third and will look to sharpen up ahead of the first National League fixture at home to Solihull Moors on 3rd October, but it was a competitive game and a good workout for the Cards.
The game was also a great chance for Dowse to take a look at three trialists, as he looks to strengthen his squad, in what is set to be a congested season fixture-wise.
Woking: Craig Ross, Nathan Collier, Trialist, Jack Cook, Trialist (Leo Hamblin 69â€™), Charlie Cooper, Tommy Block, Trialist (Max Kretzschmar 83â€™), Dave Tarpey, John Goddard, Connor Hall (Jayden Wareham 65â€™)
Unused subs: Josh Casey, Trialist
Booked: Charlie Cooper 19â€™
Dorking Wanderers: 1st Half: Slav Huk, Barry Fuller, Isaac Philpot, Callum Kennedy, Kane Wills, Matt Briggs, Wes Fogden, James McShane, Nicky Wheeler, Alfie Rutherford, Jason Prior
Dorking 2nd Half: Sam Howes, Ben Dyett, Ed Harris, Sam Beard, Dan Gallagher, Jimmy Muitt, Wes Fogden (James Dickson 70â€™), Jake Gallagher, Nicky Wheeler (Sami El-Abd 81â€™), Jason Prior (George Membrillera 75â€™), Gez Sole
Attendance: Behind Closed Doors
Man of the Match: John Goddard â€“ had more efforts on goal than anyone else and caused problems with his direct running and looked the most likely to get on the scoresheet