Boz's Fruit & Veg

Cards give Gulls a Bank Holiday pasting

William Bewsey
8:40pm, Tue 31st Aug 2021
Torquay United 0 Woking 4
Vanarama National League
30th August 2021

Games between Woking and Torquay have been hard fought and thrilling encounters in the past few years, from Ben Wynter’s equaliser to effectively give Torquay the National League South title, to Woking’s FA Trophy quarter final triumph earlier this year. But none of the 204 Cards fans would have been expecting what was to happen this time around.

Woking boss Alan Dowson made no personnel changes from a narrow loss to FC Halifax Town two days before, but Woking lined up in what appeared to be a 5-3-2 formation, Tom Champion as the third centre back and Tahvon Campbell supporting George Oakley up front. Torquay’s line-up included two former Woking loanees in Dan Holman and Armani Little, as well as familiar faces in Asa Hall and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans.

Just two minutes after the game had kicked off, Woking took the lead. Jordan Maguire-Drew whipped the ball into the box, Tahvon Campbell headed the ball past Mark Halstead and into the net, his first goal in a Woking shirt.

Two minutes later, the Cards were in absolute dreamland. Campbell turned provider, crossing from the right onto the head of Rohan Ince. Despite the best efforts of Halstead in the Torquay net to keep the ball out, the referee and linesman were in unison and ruled that the ball had crossed the line.

The Cards continued their utter domination, beginning to frustrate Torquay; Chiori Johnson booked for the Gulls, whilst Maguire Drew was continuing to create more chances. A dangerous ball into Campbell caused panic in the Torquay penalty area, but he couldn’t get the ball into the net and a foul against him was given.

Cards pile on pressure in Gulls’ box
Cards pile on pressure in Gulls’ box
Phil Fiddes

Kyran Lofthouse saw an audacious left footed shot saved by Halstead, before Rohan Ince almost got his second after being found by Campbell, but Halstead managed to gather the ball. More half chances followed before disaster struck for Johnson. He went into a tackle with Casey, didn’t appear to win the ball, and Casey came off worse. The referee showed him his second yellow, followed by a red, and all of a sudden, Torquay were down to 10 men.

Torquay managed to get into Woking’s half a couple of times without doing much, but the last 20 minutes of the first half passed mainly without note on the pitch. Ben Wynter received lengthy treatment which led to seven minutes of added time, which Torquay could not use effectively. The half time whistle went with Torquay in disarray and Woking in dreamland.

Half-time: Torquay United 0 Woking 2

Torquay made a half time substitution as Lemonheigh-Evans made way for Torquay’s summer signing, Keelan O’Connell. Almost immediately, he added some purpose to Torquay’s play, driving down the wing to win a dangerous free kick for his side. The Cards were able to clear, and a couple of minutes later, it was game over.

Maguire-Drew sent an inch perfect pass over to Campbell who took the ball down beautifully before slotting home into the bottom corner to make it 3-0 to Woking and two goals for himself.

Two Torquay changes followed as Dan Martin and Dan Holman made way for Gabby Rogers and Kladi Lolos, but the Woking domination continued, with Solomon Nwabuokei in particular winning absolutely everything in the midfield, allowing space for Campbell, Oakley and Maguire-Drew in the forward areas, who were all constantly getting in behind the tiring and frustrated Torquay defence. Rohan Ince made way for Kane Thompson-Sommers with just over 20 minutes to go, and he continued the hard work that Ince and Solomon had been doing.

Torquay had a couple of rare chances, a rare mistake from Champion allowing Armani Little in behind, but Craig Ross cleared the danger. Moments later, a ridiculously sweet strike from substitute Rogers kissed the top of Ross’ crossbar before going over, denying what would’ve been a superb consolation goal.

Maguire-Drew’s top performance ended when he was replaced by Tarryn Allarakhia with eight minutes to go, and he almost ended up on the end of a wonderful move. Great play between Solomon Nwabuokei and Lofthouse resulted in the latter backheeling the ball into the path of Allarakhia, but his deft chip just went over the bar.

Tahvon Campbell was applauded by the Woking faithful as he made way for Tyreke Johnson, with Woking still hunting for a fourth goal. Allarakhia found himself in acres of space on the right, he picked out Kane Thompson-Sommers who curled the ball past Halstead and into the bottom corner with full time on the horizon.

A quality goal to end a quality performance, and one which will no doubt send shockwaves around the National League. New signings such as Maguire-Drew, Oakley, Campbell, Nwabuokei, Ince and Champion all showed what they are about, a faultless display from start to finish, and the type of performance which makes you wonder if this team can produce something quite special this season. Alan Dowson will no doubt be delighted by the way that his new recruits expressed themselves and made a tricky fixture on paper look a routine task.

Woking: 13. Craig Ross, 2. Kyran Lofthouse, 3. Josh Casey, 4. Tom Champion, 5. Joe McNerney, 6. Moussa Diarra, 8. Solomon Nwabuokei, 14. George Oakley, 18. Jordan Maguire-Drew (17. Tarryn Allarakhia 82′), 19. Tahvon Campbell (11. Tyreke Johnson 86′), 24. Rohan Ince (22. Kane Thompson-Sommers).

Unused subs: 1. Mark Smith, 7. Jamar Loza.

Goals: Campbell 2’, Ince 4’, Campbell 55’, Thompson-Sommers 90+4’

Torquay United 1. Mark Halstead, 2. Ben Wynter, 3. Dan Martin (17. Gabby Rogers, 58′), 7. Connor Lemonheigh-Evans (16. Keelan O’Connell, HT), 8. Asa Hall, 9. Danny Wright, 10. Armani Little, 14. Chiori Johnson, 21. Dean Moxey, 30. Dan Holman (19. Klaidi Lolos 58′), 31. Joe Lewis.

Unused subs: 4. Tom Lapslie, 23. Marcin Brzozowski

Referee: Adrian Quelch

Attendance: 2486 (204 Woking)

Man of the Match: It could have been any of the Woking starters, special mentions to Maguire-Drew, Ince and of course Tahvon Campbell who picked up two goals and one assist, but Solomon Nwabuokei dominated the midfield, winning every tackle, every second ball.

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