TT MATCH VERDICT
Joe Uglow – @Joe_Ugs
Buoyed by Tuesday night’s win away at Solihull, Torquay went into their FA Trophy Quarter Final confident, albeit with more squad issues to contend with.
All the talk pre-match surrounded who Gary Johnson would bring in to play in goal, and at 1:45pm, in true GJ style, it was announced, Marcin Brzozowski in on a month’s loan from QPR. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only change that was enforced from Tuesday, Joe Lewis also missing out, presumably with the head injury he picked up in midweek. This meant our unavailable list was up to an incredible 16 due to a mixture of injuries, suspensions and cup-tied players!
Max Sheaf came into midfield, shifting Randell to right back and Ben Wynter moved inside to centre half, other than that it was as we were on Tuesday.
The game kicked off with Woking smashing the ball long and out for a goal kick, that set the tone for how they would look to try and make their aerial dominance count with a series of corners and free kicks in the first half.
Two minutes into the game a free kick from deep was booted long into Torquay’s penalty box, Brzozowski came and missed it as Diarra challenged him and the referee awarded a corner.
From the resulting corner Woking so nearly made it 1-0, the ball was swung into the far post, once again Diarra the target, and his header was acrobatically cleared off the line by Lemonheigh-Evans. The ball bounced around the penalty box before Gerring volleyed it straight into Brzozowski’s hands.
That was the wake-up call Torquay needed and the next 10 minutes passed without major incident with lots of niggly free kicks being given by a whistle happy ref.
Then on the 12th minute, Torquay were presented with their opportunity to make it 1-0. Good work by Randell on the right fed Lemonheigh-Evans on the edge of the area, he turned the ball past the clumsy Diarra, who hauled him down. The ref signalled for a foul and the linesman indicated that it was inside the box and indeed a penalty.
Asa stepped up and hit it hard and low to the keepers left, but unfortunately Woking keeper Craig Ross guessed the right way and parried the ball to safety.
To compound a frustrating 5 minutes for the Yellows skipper Hall would pick up a yellow card not long after, for his first foul of the game, which left him walking a tightrope for the rest of the game.
At the other end Napa and Loza on the Woking wings were starting to pose a threat. Loza picked up the ball from a Woking throw on the left and cut inside, arrowing a low shot into the far corner, but Brzozowski got down well and parried it out for a corner.
It was end to end stuff and 2 minutes later it was Torquay’s turn. The busy Billy Waters played in Max Sheaf who showed great feet to beat Gerring but he couldn’t quite lift it over the Woking keeper Ross, who once again saved well and sent Woking up the pitch on another counter attack.
Torquay were starting to get a foothold in the game and looked the most likely to break the deadlock, however it was Woking who would take the lead. In the 38th minute Jamar Loza picked up the ball, turned past Wynter with ease and drove towards the box, finishing low into the far corner past the outstretched Brzozowski. 1-0 Woking.
A few minutes later it was nearly a second for Woking, the impressive Napa hung a deep cross to the back post for Loza. Luckily Buse was able to get back and block the shot for a corner.
The whistle blew for half time and although Torquay had battled well, one piece of quality from Loza separated the two sides.
Torquay started brightly in the second half and three minutes in, clever play from Sheaf resulted in a free kick 20 yards out from goal. Andrews stepped up and crashed the ball against the post with the keeper beaten all ends up.
Sheaf was starting to get on the ball and making things happen, a few minutes later he switched the ball over to Whitfield on the left who blasted his volley at goal, unfortunately the Woking keeper was once again equal to it, tipping the ball over for a corner kick.
Woking were still threatening, especially from set pieces, and in the 55th minute it was their turn to test out the woodwork. A corner was headed towards goal by Diarra and Torquay-born, pantomime villain, Gerring steered it onto the post. All of Yellows Twitter breathed a sigh of relief.
A quick counter attack by Torquay then very nearly restored parity, Whitfield broke with the ball and fed in Waters, whose shot was poor and easy for Ross to divert away, with a Woking defender getting in the way of Whitfield’s rebound. Seven minutes later, Whitfield again played in Waters, his shot was better this time, but again the Woking keeper was equal to it and the ball was cleared by the Woking defence.
Torquay continued to probe and pressure the Woking defence without reward, however as the clock ticked into stoppage time, Max Kretchzmar nearly made it two for Woking with their only shot on target of the second half. Picking the ball up 30 yards out he drove towards the Torquay box and unleashed a strike towards the top left-hand corner, Debutant Brzozowski was more than equal to it though, tipping the ball acrobatically around the post.
Time was running out for Torquay to grab a deserved equaliser and they were presented with one last chance when Ben Wynter was brought down on the right-hand side of the Woking half.
Andrews stepped up and whipped in a perfect in-swinging cross-come-shot, which looked to be flicked on by a Woking defender/the Lemon and possibly Billy Waters at the back post.
A last-minute equaliser at Woking? Surely not again? It wasn’t to be though, as the linesman raised his flag for offside, much to the bemusement of the Torquay players, it was impossible to see from the stream whether this was the correct decision but our players were incensed.
Not long after, the ref signalled the end of the game, and that was the end of the Yellows Trophy run for another season.
Marcin Brzozowski – 7 – Looked a bit suspect at crosses however made two really good saves from Loza and Kretchzmar.
Adam Randell – 6 – Played the first half at right back before moving back into the middle in the second half, showed some neat touches and passing as always.
Ben Wynter – 6 – Turned too easily for Loza’s goal, other than that didn’t have a huge amount to do.
Sam Sherring – 7 – Sam was solid and marshalled the Woking striker well.
Jake Andrews – 7 – Coped well with Woking’s right winger and delivered a couple of brilliant set pieces.
Asa Hall – 6 – Unlucky to miss his penalty, was saved well by the keeper. put himself about in the middle well and didn’t look out of place when he dropped back into centre half towards the end.
Max Sheaf – 7 – Looked to get on the ball and make things happen, performed much better than previous appearances (Man of the Match).
Matt Buse – 6 – Worked hard but didn’t really contribute a great deal.
Ben Whitfield – 6 – First 20 minutes was our most dangerous outlet but was well marshalled by the Woking full backs, not his best 90 mins but it is difficult to expect him to perform every week.
Connor Lemonheigh-Evans – 5 – Struggled today, gave away lots of needless fouls and didn’t seem on the same wavelength as some of his team mates. Once again produced some shocking corners as well. Will have better afternoons that’s for sure.
Billy Waters – 5 – Was busy, and tried to get involved, but offside far too much and should have buried his chance that he had in the second half, which was almost a carbon copy of the one he scored against Solihull on Tuesday, until he shot/passed it to the keeper.
Rob Street – 5 – Didn’t do a huge amount when he came on.
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MOTM – Max Sheaf
A tough one today because no-one really stood out but I thought given the lack of game time and opportunities he’s had, Max Sheaf equipped himself really well. He looked comfortable on the ball, showed confident touches and tried to make things happen in the middle of the park.
Started with the 4-4-1-1 we have become accustomed to, which then changed to a 4-4-2 just after the hour mark when Street came on for Buse. This meant Hall dropping back into the centre of defence, with Wynter moving across to right back.
Woking played pretty much like what we have come to expect from Woking in recent seasons. A tough battling side, with two good tricky wingers who always look like they can hurt you and they make the most of their set pieces with the two centre halves going up at every opportunity.
I have very little doubt that with a couple of our missing players back when we next play them in the league, we will take all three points against them.
Far too whistle-happy throughout I thought and gave a harsh booking to Hall in the first half, when similar fouls by Woking players went unpunished. Looked like the penalty decision was the right one though. Not too sure on the disallowed goal as hard to tell from the stream, but our players and GJ looked furious at the end.
The league is obviously the priority this season but when you get in the quarter final of any tournament you can’t help but feel a little disappointed to be going out at this stage.
There was enough in today’s performance to give some hope though, that with the return of some of our unavailable players, we should be able to kick back on and start another unbeaten run in the league. An absolutely massive game at Plainmoor next week against Hartlepool.