Steve Harris – @steveharris84
Match details: Torquay United V Woking FC – National League
Date: Saturday 28th December 2019
Recent form National League (last 6):
Torquay United: L – L – L – L – L – L
Woking FC: D – W – W – L – W – L
Last time the two teams met: National League, Woking FC 1 Torquay United 1 – Tuesday 3rd September 19
Ben Whitfield marked his debut for Torquay United with an equalising goal which gave United a deserved point and knocked Woking off the top of the National League.
The Gulls almost took a surprise lead in the 27th minute from a fast counter-attack, but Connor Lemonheigh-Evans’ shot from just outside the box struck the post. That seemed to wake Woking up as they then their best chance of the opening 45 minutes on the half-hour mark through Nathan Collier’s back-post header which sailed just over.
The Cards, who were chasing a seventh successive victory, took the lead early in the second half when Dave Tarpey struck into the top-right corner after 53 minutes. Tyreke Johnson almost sealed the points for Woking but they were made to pay when Whitfield converted at the back post in the 79th minute.
Manager: Alan Dowson
Gateshead-born Alan Dowson appeared in the Football League for Millwall, Fulham, Bradford City and Darlington, before first dropping into non-league football with Slough Town in the 1993-94 season. He took up his first managerial post in 2004 when he was appointed as player-manager at Walton and Hersham and in his first season in charge they finished as runners-up in the Isthmian League Division One.
In 2007, he moved on to Kingstonian who he guided to promotion from Isthmian League Division South in the 2008-09 campaign. He remained in charge of the K’s until 2014 and during this time they twice missed out on promotion to National League South through the Isthmian League play-offs – in the 2009-10 and 2013-14 seasons – before he resigned to spend more time with his family.
His next managerial port of call was with Hampton and Richmond in September 2014, who he would later lead to the Isthmian League title in the 2015-16 season. He was then appointed as manager of Woking in the summer of 2018 and led them to promotion from the National League South via the play-offs.
Dowson has also worked alongside Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler, who is currently the Cards first team coach, in all his previous roles as a manager.
One to watch: Jake Hyde
Former England C international Jake Hyde is amongst the leading strikers in non-league football and is currently the Cards top scorer with 12?? league goals so far this season.
He has come up against the Gulls earlier in his career in his previous spells with Barnet and Maidenhead United. He was also on target for the Cards against United last season when they drew 2-2 in Gary Johnson’s first home game in charge.
Classic encounter: National League South, Woking FC 3 Torquay United 3 – Saturday 6th April 19
After playing out a thrilling draw with second placed Woking, Torquay United left themselves needing one more win to clinch the National League South title.
The Cards took the lead through a diagonal effort from Greg Luer, before United pegged the hosts back as leading scorer Jamie Reid latched onto a through ball from Ruairi Keating before slotting home.
Woking then restored their lead as Luer found himself in a one-on-one situation with Shaun MacDonald before driving the ball home to complete his brace.
Gary Johnson was then forced into making two substitutions before half-time – both due to injuries, in the 28th and 29th minutes respectively – as skipper Asa Hall was replaced by Jake Andrews and Keating also left the field and Ryan Dickson entered the fray in his place.
Midway through the second half Kieron Cadogan (cousin of Liam Davis) gave them a two-goal cushion which put them 3-1 up and Woking appeared to be in complete control.
However, United rallied and with ten minutes to go Saikou Janneh pulled a goal back after Dickson headed a Andrews corner back across goal. Shortly afterwards the Cards were reduced to ten men when Ben Gerring received a second yellow card for a challenge on Reid.
The Gulls continued to push for an equaliser and in the dying minutes of the game they got their rewards. After the Woking defence had failed to clear a long throw from Dickson, the ball fell invitingly to Ben Wynter on the edge of the penalty area and the United right-back fired home with a stunning strike to secure a valuable point, sending the yellow hoards in toraptures.
Ben Wynter – Jean Niate – Kyle Cameron – Joe Lewis
Connor Lemonheigh-Evans – Asa Hall – Lloyd James – Ben Whitfield
Jared Lewington – Jamie Reid
Nathan Collier – Jack Cook – Ben Gerring – Josh Casey
Shaun Donnellan – Godfrey Poku – Kane Ferdinand
Jake Hyde – Dave Tarpey – Max Kretzschmar
COYY – Steve