Dom Roman – @DomRoman
Here we go again! It’s the third part of the Woking V Torquay 2021 trilogy, all played in the space of seven weeks. Another Johnson V Dowson battle, with the scores tied at one game a piece and the goals level at 1-1. A game between one team finding form at the top of the table and another stumbling aimlessly towards the end of the season. What can go wrong?!
The FA Trophy game at the Kingfield had almost as much goalmouth incident as that NL decider from 2019, but this time the chances were not taken and in the end a linesman’s flag denied us a late equaliser. Gary Johnson was understandably livid, he hadn’t progressed through the competition for this to happen, but this was very much the story of January and February – luck was not on our side and there was to be no cup double.
Thankfully by the 2nd April, super sub Danny Wright was back to provide a finish and take all three points at Plainmoor. At the time it appeared to be a decent rather than important 3 points, on a sluggishly dull afternoon in the Bay. Hindsight now tells us it was pretty big! A turning point in our season? Yeah alright go for it, with Wrighty back suddenly things were looking up.
This time around we are back up to Surrey to finish off the story, with the hope that this fixture will only occur in the future when we inevitably draw the Cards in the FA Cup 1st round (and lose!!). Safe to say we are due a win at their gaff. Since dropping back down to the Conference in 2014 we have a terrible record there, beginning with a 3-2 loss in March 2015.
The line-up that day under Chris Hargreaves (just for fun) was:
Rice, Dawson, Downes, Pearce, McQuilken, Young, Cameron, Gueguen, Ajala, Briscoe (Yeoman), Bowman (Prynn)
Downes and Briscoe scored quite early, before Woking fought back and none other than Scott Rendell popped up with the winner. How very Torquay!
The next season we did manage a 2-2 draw there in the league, but there was time for us to lose at the Kingfield in the FA Cup 4th qualifying! Then things got even worse, as the Cards beat us 3-1 in September 16 and then 4-1 in August 17 – James Gray probably scoring technically one of our finest ever Conference goals. Quite extraordinary considering what little else he provided in his brief Torquay career.
Enter the Gary Johnson era and the glorious chaos of Woking (a) at the end of 2018-19 National League South title winning season (I assume you remember that one!), followed by a hard earned 1-1 draw last season as Ben Whitfield popped up to equalise on his debut. Even that draw was bittersweet due to the injuries incurred on the evening, after that the squad never fully recovered before COVID called a halt to proceedings.
We won’t get a better chance to turn them over this week. Woking are a team beset by injuries, lacking key players and in a terrible run of form. Two big misses for them are Jamar Loza and Malachi Napa, who kept United’s makeshift defence busy throughout the Trophy game. Without players like that they have lost 5 out of the last 6 games, and have been leaking goals for fun – slightly surprising considering their first choice centre backs Ben Gerring and Moussa Diarra remain at the back. Diarra is uncompromising to say the least. His tackling is all or nothing (and often high); unsurprisingly he’s no stranger to a yellow card being wafted in his direction.
TT PLAYER PROFILlE – MOUSSA DIARRA
Date of Birth: 4th February 1990 – 31 years-old
Former Clubs: St Albans City, Hemel FC, Hampton & Richmond, Barrow, Dover Athletic, Havant & Waterlooville
National League Stats: Played 16, Goals 4, Bookings 6