Sport

WOKING manager Alan Dowson has no qualms about drawing Swindon Town away in the Second Round Proper of this year’s Emirates FA Cup.

Max Kretzschmar blasts the vital penalty against Torquay. Picture by David Holmes

A hard-earned 1-0 win against league rivals Torquay United on Saturday booked Dowson’s side in the next round, winger Max Kretzschmar smashing home his sixth penalty of the season three minutes into the second half to the delight of the 323 travelling supporters.

Speaking live on BBC2 from the Hampton & Richmond Borough’s Jezzards Beveree Stadium on Monday night, Dowson was notably pleased with the draw, citing it off camera as a “winnable tie” following the sacking of The Robins’ manager Phil Brown at the weekend.

Max Kretzschmar celebrates firing Woking into the Second Round of the FA Cup. Picture by David Holmes

Swindon reached the second round following their 2-1 win at home to National League North side York City, but Dowson senses an opportunity for the Cards.

“You always want to try and get a home draw, but if you happen to be drawn away from home, you want a league club, and we have.

“Swindon are in a bit of disarray at the moment; they’re struggling at the wrong end of League 2 and they’ve just sacked their manager, so we’ve got the best chance we’ll have of going there and potentially causing an upset,” he added.

For full match report and pictures, see the 15 November edition of the News & Mail

WOKING boss Alan Dowson praised his side’s character from coming back to draw 2-2 with Chippenham Town last Saturday.

A late stoppage time goal from Jamaica international footballer Jamar Loza was enough to give the cards a share of the points at Hardenhuish Park and maintain the charge on Billericay Town at the top of the National League South table.

 

Jamar Loza (left) celebrates with Max Kretzschmar. Picture by David Holmes

After a relatively uneventful first half, it was the hosts who got their noses in front just eight minutes before the break. And one goal soon became two nine minutes after the interval, when indecision at the heart of the Woking defence from a long throw enabled Karnell Chambers to capitalise again to double the hosts’ tally.

Woking were thrown a lifeline when Nuno Felix fouled Toby Edser in the box. It paved the way for Loza to pull a goal back for the visitors from the penalty spot with 20 minutes remaining.

With The Cards increasingly on top, an equaliser looked inevitable; so when Loza’s cross was deflected into the net to make it 2-2 two minutes into stoppage time, The Bluebirds were in meltdown.

Loza hits the ball across that leads to Woking’s equaliser. Picture by David Holmes

“I was disappointed with the two soft goals we conceded; however, I thought we played well and probably could have won the game had we taken a couple of other chances,” Dowson told the News & Mail.

“All in all, I was pleased with the players’ attitude and the character they showed to come back to draw 2-2,” added Dowson.

For the full report and pictures, get the 8 November edition of the News & Mail

SHEERWATER kept up the pressure at the top of the league as they eventually came good to beat basement club Cove 2-0.

The Taylor brothers took the game by storm as their goals helped The Sheers take all three points at The Laithwaite Community Stadium on Saturday.

After easing past Eversley & California 3-1 the previous weekend, Sheers’ boss Pete Ruggles made two changes to the starting XI, with defenders Luca Scanella and Andrew Charles both given the nod.

Luca Scannella battles hard for Sheers. Picture by Andy Fitzsimons

 

As many expected, the hosts dictated play from pretty much the first whistle in a match that had all the hallmarks of a home win.

The win now puts pressure on Bedfont & Feltham to win their two games in hand as the title chase starts to heat up ahead of the big freeze.

Speaking to the News & Mail after the match, Ruggles said: “I’m very happy with the result; I thought we played well and kept a clean sheet, which is all I can ask of the players.

“It took a while for us to score, but with all the chances we were getting, I knew we would score eventually. It was a dominant performance,” he added.

For the full match report, get the 8 November edition of the News & Mail

CHOBHAM’s season took another setback when they lost to Darfordians 37-17 in London One South last Saturday.

It was Chob’s sixth defeat in nine matches, which leaves them perilously close to the drop-zone, with only points difference separating them and Chichester.

Jayde Cruickshank forges on for Chobham. Picture by John O’Brien

Buoyed by their narrow home win against Havant the previous Saturday, Ryan Gregory’s injury-stricken squad travelled to Bexley, south-east London, in fighting spirit.

The first half ebbed and flowed, albeit with Dartfordians seizing the key moments to take a comfortable 21-3 lead into the break.

The visitors mirrored their bright start to the first half in the second, but again the home side stuck to their tasks to make life difficult for Chob in the final 22.

Chobham’s Dom Sammut on the charge. Picture by John O’Brien

They were, however, still able to register their first try through a fantastic driven maul from a lineout all of 20 yards out, superbly finished by Ed Wynne and converted by Robjohn.

With the score now 21-10, the visitors sensed they had more tries in them. Unfortunately though, the pendulum of good fortune fell the way of Darfordians, who capitalised on Chob’s high press to add two further tries and a penalty to run out 37-10 winners.

Speaking after the match, Gregory said: “It was another game that could have been, and indeed should have been for the taking, but yet again we come away empty-handed.”

For the full report, see the 8 November edition of the News & Mail

WOKING’s indifferent league form continued last Saturday after they lost 3-1 at home to fellow promotion-chasers Bath City.

The Romans leap-frogged The Cards into third in the National League South table after an accomplished performance at The Laithwaite Community Stadium.

The visitors raced into a two-goal lead inside the first 23 minutes, after Adam Mann and Robbie Cundy both found the back of the net, albeit with the aid of the crossbar.

Bath hit their third goal from the penalty spot. Picture by David Holmes

Max Kretzschmar pulled one back from the penalty spot in the 31st minute, before City’s Anthony Straker made it 3-1 with another spot-kick in the 38th minute.

Following their heroics in the FA Cup against Welling United to reach the First Round Proper, Cards’ boss Alan Dowson needed his players to show up in the league with memories of the club’s fall from grace last season.

Dowson shuffled the pack in the second half as The Cards searched for a way back into the game with on-loan Nottingham Forest midfielder Toby Edser curling a long-range shot wide.

Duane Ofori-Acheampong puts the Bath keeper under pressure. Picture by David Holmes

Kretzschmar then went inches away to doubling his and Woking’s tally midway through the second period; but after cutting inside into the area, his shot smashed against the post, which deflected out for a goal kick.

It was a much-improved second half performance from Woking, but they lacked the end product, with Hodges firing over after strong build-up play from Duane Ofori-Acheampong.

For the full report and pictures, see the News & Mail’s 1 November edition 

SHEERWATER went joint top of Division One on points after a comfortable 3-1 away to Eversley & California on Saturday.

Following a hard-fought victory against Dorking Wanderers Reserves in midweek, The Sheers moved up a gear at Fox Lane as they pulled apart their Hampshire opponents, racking up 30 points after 14 games and only sitting behind Farnham Town on goal difference.

With boss Pete Ruggles unavailable for the fixture, assistant manager Sean Wallace took charge of team affairs and made four changes to the starting XI, including a welcome return for Chris Machay.

Chris Machay was back on the score sheet for The Sheers

An early goal from Tom Hegarty and another from Shane Rideout on the half-hour put The Sheers on the front foot. It wasn’t all one-way traffic though and Andy Rider was forced to produce a superb finger-tip save to deny the hosts on the verge of half-time and maintain Sheerwater’s two goal cushion.

Wallace’s side continued their momentum in the second period, when wing-back Timmy Taylor released Machay, who curled a left-footed effort in off the post just three minutes after the restart.

There was a consolation goal for the home side, when Brad Brown’s clever back-heel beat Rider to reduce the arrears.

Speaking to the News & Mail after the match, Wallace said: “I had a great group of staff today who all helped, the togetherness at the club is a fantastic.”

See the full report in the 1 November edition of the News & Mail 

CHOBHAM managed to put an end to five straight defeats after edging past fellow-strugglers Havant 26-25 at Fowlers Wells last Saturday.

It’s been a number of years since Chob last got the better of their Hampshire opponents, so the four points were very much welcome after the previous week’s debacle against Camberley.

Ben Whale scoring Chobham’s first try. Picture by John O’Brien

Keen to get their season back on track, Ryan Gregory’s injury-stricken side produced some slick and controlled attacking play to open their try-scoring account through Ben Whale.

However, the visitors came back strongly with two converted tries of their own either side of a penalty to force Chob onto the back foot.

Ed Riley makes a run. Picture by John O’Brien

The trusted boot of Finlay Robjohn kept the home side in the game with a series of successful penalties, but they still trailed the visitors who grabbed an unconverted try to take the score to 25-19, with just 10 minutes remaining.

This spurred on the home side; and when Whale scored his second try of the match in the left corner, with Robjohn slotting the extra two points, Chob finally moved into the driving seat, hanging on to win by the skin of their teeth.

For the full report, see the 1 November edition of the News & Mail

A SOLITARY goal from Ben Gerring was enough to book Woking’s place in the First Round Proper of the FA Cup after a tense victory over league rivals Welling United on Saturday.

With only goal difference separating the two sides in the National League South, it was United who created the first opportunity of the game, with Brendan Kiernan blazing over from the edge of the box.

Nassim L’Ghoul then went even closer for The Wings, forcing Craig Ross into a smart save as the visitors dictated more of the early play at The Laithwaite Community Stadium.

Toby Edser performed well in an impressive debut. Picture by David Holmes

Woking began the second half much brighter, with Jamar Loza hitting the side netting in the 51st minute, before being replaced by Paul Hodges four minutes later.

The substitute made an instant impact as he lured Julien Anua into a late foul, which saw the United defender receive his marching orders for a second bookable offence.

Woking increased the pressure as they sought to make the extra man count, as United lowered themselves to time-wasting tactics, which somehow failed to draw the attention of the match officials.

The Cards then went close in the 74th minute, but Max Kretzschmar’s shot was comfortably gathered by Dan Wilks in the visitors’ goal.

Wilks could do nothing though about Gerring’s header three minutes later, as the hosts finally found a deserved opener, with the defender netting his first goal for the club.

Great save to thwart Welling in the 92nd minute. Picture by Andy Fitzsimons

However, The Cards were indebted to Ross, who pulled off a stunning one-handed save from Bradley Goldberg in stoppage time, which ensured Woking were in the bag for the First Round Proper on Monday, drawing Torquay United away.

It’s the second time in three seasons that The Cards have played the seasiders in the FA Cup; the last time being in the Fourth Qualifying Round in 2016, which Woking eventually won in a replay.

Woking boss Alan Dowson said he had “mixed thoughts” about a trip away to the English Riviera: “I would have loved Woking to draw one of Sunderland or Portsmouth away in the First Round (Proper), but we would lose; whereas we have a realistic chance of beating Torquay.

“You’re essentially then just 90 minutes away from drawing the likes Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal or Chelsea (to name a few),” he added.

While Dowse has no intention of turning his nose up at the chance for Woking to win £36,000 if they beat The Gulls, he is keen for his players not to get swept up in cup fever and to focus on the league.

With several key players still due to return from injury, the next two-and-a-half weeks will serve as welcome distraction and the chance for Dowson to deploy his strongest side against Torquay.

“Last Saturday was great; a number of us went down to the Kingfield Arms (pub around the corner from the ground) in the evening to celebrate reaching the First Round, but it’s about keeping things in perspective.

“I felt a bit worse for wear on Sunday morning, but people want to see you out and about in the local community; it’s what brings people together.

“The FA Cup is a massive competition, and you can see just what it means to Woking fans to have a good cup run.”

For the full report, interview and pictures, see the 25 October edition of the News & Mail

SHEERWATER’S unbeaten league run ended in controversial circumstances against Chessington & Hook United at Chalky Lane on Saturday.

Pete Ruggles described the refereeing performance as “the worst ever” as The Chessy avenged 10-men’s Sheerwater 5-0 defeat earlier in the season.

Sheerwater boss Pete Ruggles was unimpressed by the referee’s performance at Chessington

After last week’s FA Vase defeat away to Southall, Ruggles made three changes to his starting line-up as he looked to bounce back to winning ways.

Luke Taylor arguably had the visitors best and only real half-cut opportunity during a competitive first-half, but the winger was unable to impact the scoreline with neither side giving anything away to chance.

In the second half, the home side enjoyed a huge let-off as Taylor was chopped down by an already booked Chessington centre-back. But the referee booked the wrong man to set pulses racing. Kieran Campbell’s opener for the hosts on the hour-mark served to rub salt into the wound.

Shane Rideout managed to level the proceedings when the ball found its way through a host of bodies, before rebounding off his shin and into the net to make it 1-1.

But the visitors’ momentum was halted when Rikki Letch was sent off for a flailing elbow after a 50/50 header.

Bewildered, but undeterred, 10 men Sheers continued to press, but it was Chessington who grabbed a late and undeserved winner after Andy Rider lost the ball in the sun, prompting Adam Marie to scramble home.

See the full report in the 25 October edition of the News & Mail

WOKING suffered their first league defeat in 18 months when they lost 65-7 away to Old Caterhamians last Saturday.

It was the first time the progressive Byfleet-based side had dropped points since 1 April 2017 when they lost 34-5 at home to Egham Hollowegians in Surrey 4.

Dave Garvey on the charge against Old Cats

Despite making a positive start to life in Surrey 3, Woking’s trip to Surrey 3 was always going to be test of character due to the absence of a number of first team regulars through injury.

The first half remained a relatively tight affair, with Woking ending the first half trailing 8-0, but having come close to drawing level on several occasions.

The game ebbed and flowed in the second half until injuries to Gareth Nearn and Woking fly half Aitchison allowed the floodgates to open, which Old Cats duly took full advantage, crossing over the line at will.

While the points-tally continued to rack up against them, Woking still demonstrated good spirit. They never allowed their heads to drop and were well worthy of their first and only converted try of the afternoon from Dickie.

For the full report, see the 25 October edition of the News & Mail