Saturday, 20 July 2013

Woking FC 2: 1 AFCB - Cards play a good game

Match report
Woking FC 2 : 1 AFCB
Kingfield Stadium
Pre-season Friendly 20 July 2013 

I did wonder if I was in the right place at 2pm. Where is everyone?
At least the players are here.
I may have been one of the very few to make the trip to the Kingsfield Stadium to see a very competent Woking side take on an AFCB team, made up of several first squad and development players. It is fair to say that the players on the pitch here are playing second fiddle to those that will have the opportunity to play in the glamour tie of the weekend. Still, I expected to see the Cherries have a good go at their opposition today and I wasn't to be disappointed in a very tight game, which did not have many goal scoring opportunities.

The Cherries back line was particularly strong with Addisson, Hughes and Harte but the midfield was more experimental with Fogden, McDermott, Purches, Matthews and Cargill. Wes Thomas and Jayden Stockley led the line up front. As the game developed we would see Eddie Howe revert to a back four with Hughes playing in front of the back line, but that change was pretty much forced upon the Cherries as the Cards were more than matching AFCB.

In the first 10 minutes though it was Matthews who was bossing the game. He seemed to have a lot of time and space and was enjoying his role in the centre of the park next to Purches. He was to be a hero one minute and the villain the next, as he was the main reason for both the opening goals. At first he sought our Fogden from his cross on the left, switching play right across the box to the right where Foggy found Thomas in space, but he unloaded his shot against a defender, only for the ball to fall kindly to Jayden Stockley who did not miss from six yards. The Cherries were 0:1 up then on six minutes!

Matthews confidence though go the better of him on 10 minutes when he came short for a goal kick from Jalal only to use a wood rather than a sand wedge of a return pass back to the keeper. Jalal could only block it out and see it rebound to Ricketts and McCullum and it was Gavin McCullum who had an easy task to draw the sides level - 1:1.

It was in the next period when Woking began to get a hold of the game and on 20 minutes McCullum had a fierce drive just flash past the top right hand corner of AFCB's goal with Jalal at full stretch. Woking had one or two corners and a couple of free-kicks from the right wing as they built up pressure. This is when Eddie Howe decided to change AFCB's shape to a flat back four. McDermott was getting a lot of the ball but was always closely marked and his shots always seemed to hit a defender. Purches was doing okay but had a pass go astray, which was most unlike him. For most of the time he kept things simple as did Hughes.

Wes Thomas managed to link up okay with Jayden but there was little intensity about his game and I  feel that the arrival of Coulibaly at the club, who did not play today, is a sign that Thomas has a long way to go to win back favour. At the break it was honours even at 1:1.

There were no immediate subs after half time, but Jayden was playing more left midfield and Cargill was trying out at centre back, with Thomas on his own up front. Woking were still finding McCullum well and he had the first opportunity of the half, but just could not get his shot away. 

Purches was first to be substituted on 56 minutes with Mark Molesley coming on. Mark is in between clubs at the moment and is trying to keep match fit by playing in some of Bournemouth's pre-season games. He looked bright when he came on and injected a bit more urgency into proceedings.

In Eddie we trust.

Richard Hughes then decided to go on a solo run which was only just stopped but a thunderous tackle outside Working's box. Wes Thomas almost got himself in the right position when playing a one-two with Molesley, but the ball didn't break for him.

After 62 minutes Taylor came on as a striker for Woking to replace Williams and a minute later Dave Beassant's son replaced Howe (not our Eddie Howe) in goal. Taylor looked like a young Dave Kitson with his ginger hair and he was a powerful forward who held the ball up well, shrugging Cargill clean off the ball at one stage. Shortly after, Wes Fogden was on the wrong end of a challenge that left him flat out on the right wing but he got up eventually, if still a little groggily.

AFCB were pleased to see McCullum leave the field along with Ricketts on 68 minutes and Frith and Sole came on. The game was a bit more end-to-end now but the keepers were not the busiest players on the field with some wild Woking shooting much in evidence.

Eddie Howe made five substitutions on 70 minutes. Off came Thomas, Stockley, Hughes, McDermott and Harte. The commentator did not manage to get the names out of those coming on but Chiedozie and Bassele came on in attacking roles with  Lossaso, Bayley and Wakefield also coming on.

By this time it looked like things were headed for a draw as both teams were cancelling each other out. Taylor pulled a full stretch save out of Jalal and Sole missed the follow up. Nutter and Sawyer were then subbed by Wright and Street on 75 minutes. What caught the Cherries out was a ball over the top on the right with 85 minutes gone. Taylor latched on to the ball to sweep it past an advancing Jalal to make it 2:1 to the home side, much to the delight of their supporters. While Molesley has a chance in the last couple of minute to draw the game from six yards after a cross from the right be put the chance wide in the game's last opportunity.

For Cherry Chimes the day was made better by Ian Harte, Donal McDermott and king Eddie Howe signing my Purches testimonial match day programme from last weekend. At least I got a result!

Jalal, Addison, Hughes (70 Lossaso), Harte (70 Bayley) , Fogden, Purches (56 Molsley), Matthews, Cargill, McDermott (70 Wakefield), Thomas (70 Bassele), Stockley (70 Chiedozie).

Player ratings
Jalal 6, Addison 6, Hughes 6, Harte 6, Fogden 6, Purches 6, Matthews 7 (despite mistake), Cargill 6, McDermott 6, Thomas 5 (I'm being kind), Stockley 6.  

Woking FC
Howe (Beassant), Newton, Nutter (75 Wright), Ricketts (68 Sole), Parkinson, Johnson, Sawyer (75 Street), Paine, Williams (62 Taylor), McNamee, McCallum (68 Frith).

There are more pictures on the Match Day Gallery.

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