Woking suffer further injuries in Torquay United defeat
12:00am, Tue 20th Apr 2021
Woking 0 Torquay United 2
Vanarama National League
Tuesday 20th April 2021
Two early goals and two injuries saw Woking fall to defeat against Vanarama National League title contenders Torquay United.
Two strikes in the space of two minutes, first from Scott Boden profiting from a defensive mix-up before Connor Lemonheigh-Evans found similar fortune through a Woking mistake, saw the Gulls race into an early lead in the opening 20 minutes.
The Cards were then dealt a double injury blow midway through the first half, with both Moussa Diarra and Tommy Block going off to add to Wokingâ€™s worrying injury list, but fought back well to ensure the game remained competitive throughout.
Woking remain 19th in the league, one point below Wealdstone, with nine games left to play this season.
Dowson made two changes to his starting line-up from the game against Wrexham, both injury-enforced, as Jonte Smith came in for Max Kretzschmar in attack and John Freeman made his debut on loan from Milton Keynes in the place of Zach Robinson.
The high-flying Gulls enjoyed the brighter start on a pleasant spring evening at Kingfield, with Scott Boden seeing a header and a rebounded effort excellently saved by Craig Ross.
After keeping Torquay United at bay for the opening phases, Woking only had themselves to blame for the opener as a defensive mix-up between Kyran Lofthouse and Ross saw the ball fall kindly to Boden who chipped it into the net over a scrambling Ben Gerring.
Wokingâ€™s evening became even tougher two minutes later when another defensive error led to Torquay Unitedâ€™s second goal. Gerringâ€™s misplaced back pass directed to Ross fell to Lemonheigh-Evans who took it around an exposed the goalkeeper and slotted it home.
A shell-shocked home team showed good fight after the second goal, with Jack Cookâ€™s deep cross headed wide by Sam Dalby.
Woking came back into the game and produced some positive patterns of play until their momentum was stalled by yet more injuries.
Having come into the game with 10 players out of action, Diarra came off a little over half an hour into the game, replaced by Jack Skinner (picture above), and five minutes later Tommy Block pulled up and needed substituting with Leo Hamblin coming on.
Despite being two goals down and having seen two players go off injured, Woking finished the half the stronger with smart passing play and probing crosses â€“ with Cook producing the best effort with a header that went just over the bar.
Half-time: Woking 0 Torquay United 2
With a chance for Dowson to provide instructions to a heavily reshaped line-up, Woking initially defended resolutely against early attacks from Torquay United, before asking questions themselves with Skinner having a decent long-range shot go wide.
The positive start to the second half gave Woking confidence with Skinner impressing with direct dribbling and linking up well with his fellow attackers. The attacking effort resulted in the first shot on goal of the half with Lofthouse cutting inside â€“ now playing right-back with Cook in central defence â€“ and unleashing a long range effort that goalkeeper Lucas Covolan did well to hold on to.
Woking also added some fight to their play in the second half showing far stronger resolution with Cook and Gerring disrupting the visitorâ€™s build-up play against a team fighting for the league title. Looking to find a new spark up front, Dowson also called on Paul Hodges for Smith as the final substitution for the Cards with 15 minutes to go.
The quick interplay continued between Wokingâ€™s forwards, with one smart exchange at a corner seeing Hodges unleash a powerful low effort that was pushed out by Covolan.
The game became stretched in the closing stages, with Kane Ferdinand providing an timely clearance from a dangerous Torquay United free kick, to end a respectable second half display by Woking to provide encouragement for the games to come.
Wokingâ€™s unrelenting schedule continues on Saturday in the Vanarama National League with a trip to Maidenhead United.
Woking: 13 Craig Ross Â©; 16 Kyran Lofthouse, 5 Ben Gerring , 6 Moussa Diarra (15 Jack Skinner 32â€™), 2 Jack Cook; 4 Charlie Cooper, 21 Tommy Block (24 Leo Hamblin 39â€™), 8 Kane Ferdinand, 14 John Freeman; 9 Jonte Smith (32 Paul Hodges 73â€™), 30 Sam Dalby
Unused subs: 17 Sam Evans, 27 Joe Leslie
Bookings: Cooper 75â€™, Cook 88â€™
Torquay United 32 Lucas Covolan; 2 Ben Wynter, 7 Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, 8 Asa Hall Â©, 11 Jake Andrews (25 Billy Waters 59â€™), 12 Adam Randall, 15 Matt Buse, 16 Sam Sherring, 19 Scott Boden (35 Josh Umerah 73â€™), 21 Dean Moxey (6 Gary Warren 69â€™), 31 Joe Lewis
Unused subs: 1 Shaun MacDonald, 18 Olaf Koszela
Bookings: Buse 89â€™
Goals: Boden 14â€™, Lemonheigh-Evans 16â€™
Referee: Lloyd Wood
Man of the Match: Kyran Lofthouse - Battling performance throughout and showed his quality and versatility playing two different positions during the game