Sport

WOKING moved back to the top of Vanarama League South on Tuesday – but they didn’t have it all their own way against mid-table Oxford City at Court Place Farm.

Armani Little celebrates after scoring

The Cards’ last-gasp 2-1 victory was enough to lift them three points clear of Torquay United at the summit, although the Devonians now have a game in hand and still boast a much superior goal difference.

The home team secured just a single corner in the first half, and failed to win another until 10 minutes from full-time, but certainly frustrated Alan Dowson’s outfit and were deserving of a draw.

Oxford went into the match on the back of a 5-3 home defeat to Hampton & Richmond Borough, and with a dismal record of only one win from their previous 10 league matches in 2019. But after seeing Woking’s Max Kretzschmar fire a free-kick narrowly over the bar, City went ahead in the 15th minute. 

What followed was a tense back and forth that saw the hosts come a hairsbreadth from equalising more than once as they harried the Woking visitors at every turn.

However, with the clock showing five minutes of injury-time played, City were unable to clear and Harvey Bradbury – on loan from Oxford United – volleyed past King, via the underside of the bar, to break the hearts of home players and supporters.

For the full match report get the 14 March edition of the News & Mail

WOKING Ladies could be on course to complete the ‘treble’ if they beat North Leigh Ladies in their League Cup semi-final this Sunday.

In what is only their second season in the Thames Valley League, Woking Ladies rise to the fore could see them trump their male counterparts to silverware.

Chelsea Goulter on the ball

Under the managerial guidance of former Reading Town and Chertsey Town Ladies’ coach Craig Gareppo – and assistant Leigh Hunter – Woking Ladies are fast proving a force to be reckoned with.

With just two defeats in 22 matches, The Cards could win the Division Two East championship and reach two cup finals by the end of the month – a feat many other clubs would find hard to rival.

Speaking exclusively to the News & Mail, Gareppo praised his players’ renewed drive and professionalism after they finished third in their inaugural season.

“We’ve attracted players who have played at a higher level, which has helped bring about a more professional approach,” explained The Cards’ boss. “Their attitude on match days has really rubbed off on the whole team.

The Cards are currently three points behind Abbey Rangers Ladies Reserves, but with three games in hand. 

The Ladies’ section also has the full support of Woking’s men’s manager too, Alan Dowson, who has not only watched a few games, but also took charge of a few training sessions in the summer.

For the full story, pick up the 7 March edition of the News & Mail

In 2011, Cardinals Netball was nothing more than an idea shared between two former Sheerwater school friends. Nine years later, it’s one of the most successful and fastest growing clubs in Woking and Surrey at large.

Young cardinals with Surrey Storm and South Africa International player Shadine Van Der Merwe

Co-founders and level 2 head coaches Kate Carthy and Hilary ‘Hils’ Hooper have been instrumental in the meteoric rise in popularity of netball, with Cardinals now becoming a beacon for other clubs to aspire to.

“It was actually my husband who suggested that we should start a netball team. My daughter wanted to play netball in year three at school, but there wasn’t really anything that she could get involved with until she was in year five, so there was a gap to fill,” Carthy said.

In the early days, the club comprised a small group of friends, which included Carthy and Hooper’s sons, to help make up the numbers.

Since then, the club has grown year-on-year through word of mouth. It now has in-excess of 250 girls playing netball each week.

Kate Carthy and Hillary “Hils” Hooper

Speaking of Cardinals increasing popularity, Hopper added: “Netball is one of the biggest growing sports in the UK.

“Girls’ sport in particular has experienced high levels of growth over the past decade or so, not just through the likes of football and cricket, but netball too.

“The fact that they’re now showing netball on television has really helped to raise awareness of the sport; so much so, it’s actually becoming increasing more difficult to get tickets to watch Surrey Storm compete in the Netball Superleague.

“We now manage the best part of 20 teams, who train at Sythwood Primary School and SJB (St John the Baptist School).

“We promote the fact that we are inclusive, not exclusive and that we will always do our utmost to accommodate every player we can between the ages of six and 18,” added Hopper.

Carthy and Hooper are now looking into the possibilities of running a summer league this year to demonstrate the club’s ongoing commitment to provide a pathway for progression and soon to be unrivalled sporting achievements.

For the full interview get the 28 February edition of the News & Mail

WOKING returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory away to Truro City on Tuesday.

Going straight into The Cards’ starting line-up was midfielder Olu Durojaiye, who signed from Bostik League Premier Division outfit Haringey Borough on Monday.

Hodges, right, on the ball

Despite having made their longest journey of the season – a daunting 240 miles – Woking got off to a superb start at Treyew Road, David Tarpey and Jake Hyde peppering the goal with shots. The pressure finally paid off when Armani Little unleashed a rocket from 25 yards and beat City keeper Harvey Rivers.

Truro, with two wins and a draw from their five previous games this month, showed more steel in the second half and it was clear they weren’t going to roll over. But Woking were able to soak up the home side’s pressure and were good value for their win, which sees them back on track after the disappointment of Saturday’s match, a 2-0 defeat away to Dartford.

“It’s no secret that Dartford are a big, strong side that look to hit you on the counter attack,” said Woking manager Alan Dowson.

“The lad who elbowed Hodgy (Paul Hodges) should have been booked; how he didn’t receive a booking, God only knows.”

“I feel a bit hard done by from our two matches against Dartford. I thought we should have got something out of both,” he added.

For the full match reports and pictures, see the 28 February edition of the News & Mail

SHEERWATER had to play 70 minutes with 10 men as they missed a host of chances in a disappointing 1-1 draw last Saturday.

After the jubilation of going top on Tuesday night The Sheers were brought back down to earth and into third as they were frustrated by Dorking Wanderers at Kingfield.

Gavin Brainch cracks in a shot, but his effort was blocked

After an early goal from Chris Machay was disallowed by the referee who had already suspended play for a foul, The Sheers’ luck only got worse.

Timmy Taylor was shown a red card after 20 minutes, leaving his team a man light for the remaining 70 minutes.

Shane Cheeseman managed to put his team ahead, only for a series of close misses to frustrate The Sheers’ efforts as Chris Machay and Gavin Brainch both missed opportunities to score.

The Sheers’ bad luck continued, as Scott O’Connor was taken off with a knee injury, and the Wanderers’ Pascal Sedgwick equalised.

A defiant Sheerwater came back hard, but ultimately fell short as Machay and Brainch both missed golden chances to score, leaving the final score tied.

Sheers’ manager Pete Ruggles said: “This is tough to take, we controlled everything but didn’t capitalise.”

For the full match report get the 28 February edition of the News & Mail

WESTFIELD stretched their unbeaten run to nine games as they dug out a 1-0 win away to FC Romania.

Westfield striker Aaron Watson

The Yellows were looking to bounce back after their midweek stalemate to Ware, and made two changes, including the addition of new acquisition Anis Nuur from Hanwell Town.

Shortly before half-time, Aaron Watson was on hand to finish off a loose ball and give Westfield the lead. Fortunately for the visitors, FC Romania’s early efforts in the second half faded, and Westfield recorded their sixth clean sheet in nine games since the turn of the year.

Manager Tony Reid said: “All that matters is the three points. The boys are all buzzing, the mood in the camp is great and we look to aim higher.”

For the full match report get the 28 February edition of the News & Mail

IT’S often said that being a football manager is one of the most stressful jobs you can do, but for Woking boss Alan Dowson, he’s taking it all in his stride.

When the Geordie first arrived at The Laithwaite Community Stadium back in May 2018, he had no players, no budget – or not one that had been confirmed anyway, and the horizon was, at best, uncertain.

Woking manager Alan Dowson, right, with Woking defender Nathan Collier

Fast forward nine months, The Cards’ boss, alongside his management team, has worked wonders to put Woking back on the map.  So much so, he has become one of the most instantly recognisable characters in non-league football – not just because of his native accent.

Speaking to the News & Mail on Tuesday, Dowson, now in his 13th year in football management, says that while The Cards are sitting pretty at the top of the National League South, the pressure is all on Torquay United and their boss, Gary Johnson.

He said: “I don’t really feel stressed about anything, that’s the truth of the matter.  Even though we’re top of the league, I don’t feel any pressure whatsoever. 

“Some things you can influence and some things you can’t, and what I can’t influence, there’s no point worrying about.

“Yes, we are in a good position in the league, but if I’m honest, I just look ahead at the next game of football, whereas Torquay have invested heavily to get promotion, so there’s more expectation on the manager and the players to deliver.  That’s pressure.

“As I see it, though, what will be will be; I’ve never been one to dwell on anything.  It’s about being the best that you can be and seizing the opportunities that come your way, which is what I tell the players,” he added.

Despite the financial gulf between Torquay, Billericay and several other clubs in the National League South, Dowson has proved that money doesn’t necessarily buy you success.  It’s having a group of players who are hungry to win silverware, not just about how much they can earn.

For the full interview get the today’s (21 Feb) edition of the News & Mail

LOAN signing David Tarpey scored for the third time in four matches as Woking moved to the top of the Vanarama National League South table on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old, who joined The Cards this month on loan from Barnet, bagged a penalty to help Alan Dowson’s side leapfrog Torquay United in the race for the championship.

Tarpey, right, celebrates scoring the first goal of the match, and scoring three times in four matches

Woking now hold a two-point lead over the Devonians, with both sides having played 29 matches. The teams lock horns at Kingfield on Saturday 6 April in what is shaping up to be a winner-takes-all encounter.

As in Saturday’s home clash with Weston-super-Mare, The Cards took an early lead against Hemel Hempstead Town at The Laithwaite Community Stadium on Tuesday, and went in at half time 2-0 up.

But things were different in the second half. Only three minutes in, Woking keeper Craig Ross was beaten by a low shot from Town substitute Arel Amu to slash The Cards’ lead.

Woking’s nerves were calmed though, when Harvey Bradbury, arriving from the bench, made it 3-1 with time running out.

Home fans showed their delight by chanting “We are top of the league”.  The pressure is now very much on Torquay.

For the full match report, get the 21 February edition of the New & Mail

TEN-man Westfield conjured a late equaliser at Wodson Park as they earned a point away to promotion rivals Ware.

“We weren’t at the races”: Westfield Manager Tony Reid

The Yellows manager Tony Reid had recently confirmed his sights of promotion, and while looking to surpass Marlow into third made just the one change, drafting in Louie Downey for Harry Carter.

With two strong penalty claims for Westfield rejected, as well as their woodwork being tested twice by thumping drives from Ware, it was a surprise there was only one goal separating the two sides as the match headed for full time.

Yet in the final five minutes The Yellows were awarded a penalty, captain Matt Steer striking from the spot to level the scores, before Graham Purdy was dismissed for two challenges on the home side’s keeper.

“We weren’t at the races and it’s two points dropped unfortunately,” said Reid.

For the full story get the 21 February edition of the News & Mail

KEEPER Kevin Wheller saved a late penalty to hand Knaphill a fine 2-1 victory away to Colliers Wood United on Saturday.

Wheller’s last-gasp heroics meant The Knappers survived a wobble at the Wibbandune Sports Ground in Wimbledon to deservedly scrape past The Wood. 

After Knaphill’s triumph over Sandhurst Town in the Aldershot Senior Cup, manager Richard Keown looked to transfer his side’s jubilation into the league.

Knaphill manager Richard Keown gets his point across

Keown made three changes to his side, including finding a place for new signing Sam De St Croix, the ex-Godalming Town player who found fame with Hawke’s Bay United and North Shore United in New Zealand.

Felix Ahorlu and Martin Smith hit the goals for the visitors, but it needed the penalty save to ensure The Knappers came away with the win.

Reflecting on the game, Keown said: “We should’ve been four up in the first half so we deserved to come away with three points.

“We need the end product. I’m still looking to bring players in as the team can always improve.”

Next up is Knaphill v Southall (3pm) in a league match on Saturday 16 February, before the Combined Counties League Premier Challenge Cup Quarter-Final away to CB Hounslow United (7.45pm) on Tuesday 19 February. 

See the full match report in the 14 February edition of the News & Mail