Ian East – @Easters86
Ian discusses the draw at the Kingfield
WOKING FC 1-1 TORQUAY UNITED – MATCH SUMMARY
Torquay picked up a valuable point at high flyers Woking last night thanks to a 2nd half goal from Tope Fadahunsi that keeps the Gulls mini unbeaten run going ahead of another huge task on Saturday as Notts County come to Plainmoor.
Considering Woking were 3rd in the league and some 27 points clear ahead of Torquay there was little between the two teams for much of the 90mins. It shows the fine margins of National League football (Wrexham and Notts aside) and that you aren’t too far away from success or disaster.
Torquay made 1 change from Saturday’s win over Maidstone, Ricky Aguilar wasn’t in the matchday squad and was replaced by Ryan Hanson, otherwise it was same again for an improving Torquay side.
Woking started the game the better of the two sides and Mark Halstead made a good low save to his left to deny Rhys Browne. Woking’s forward players looked a threat but to be honest both teams struggled to create many clear opportunities. In fact it was the Gulls who had the best chance as Aaron Jarvis got clear of the Woking back-line but smashed his low shot wide when he really should have at least hit the target. With the half nearing it’s end, a long ball into Rhys Browne was flicked into Padraig Amond’s path and the former Exeter striker found the bottom corner to give Woking an underserved lead and Torquay seemingly a mountain to climb in the second half.
To the Gulls credit they came out in the 2nd half far more energetic and forceful than in the first and Tope Fadhunsi (who’d basically been a spectator in the first period) was quickest to latch onto Dean Moxey’s long ball and smartly lob the ball over a stranded Ross in the Woking goal to make it 1-1. Fadahunsi then had another chance moments later as the Gulls broke away down the right hand side, De Silva found the striker in the box but his low effort was well saved by Ross who just got enough on it to keep it away from Jarvis.
Torquay were on top at this time and looked like the only side that would win the game, that momentum however slowly fizzled away and Halstead at the other end had to be alert to push away two long shots from James Daly. The Torquay defence was having an excellent game. The 3 centre backs led by Nico Lawrence were outstanding negating the Woking threat for the majority of the game.
With 15 minutes to go Fadahunsi was replaced by Crowe as Torquay seemingly settled for a point, this change however basically just invited Woking pressure and they introduced giant striker Dackers and went A to B even quicker on the desperate hunt for the winning goal. It nearly paid off at the death but Halstead made a superb save from Daly’s header and gratefully grabbed the rebound as Torquay held out for a deserved point.
Halstead 8 – Made 1 outstanding save late on which was a point saver, along with a couple of other good saves from long range efforts, another good display from the Torquay keeper.
De Silva 6 – Looked a threat in the first half but his passing and final ball was just all a bit half hearted, he hit so many short which put us in trouble a couple of times. Looks far happier going forward than having to do the defensive side.
Wyatt 7 – Decent, defended well he tries to get forward but you can tell it’s not that natural for him and doesn’t give you a lot of quality as an attacking force but he’s a decent defender at this level and is getting better.
Donnellan 7- Typical Donnellan performance for the most part, he’s a strong decent defender and looks natural as a 3rd centre back, albeit he made a ridiculous decision late in the first half when he chipped a ball across our own box which led to a Woking chance. Other than that he was really good again.
Lawrence 8 – MOTM see below
Moxey 8 – Again really good and borderline MOTM for me, great ball if he meant it for the equaliser, he’s going to be vital for the rest of the season. Helped shut down what’s been a potent Woking side this season.
Lapslie 8 – An 8 because he had to do 2 player’s work in the midfield, fully combative performance winning the ball back for us, chased and harried everything and tries to get forward. If Tom had a mobile playmaker next to him he’d look even better.
Hanson 3 – May be a tad harsh but all I can say positively is he kept going and kept trying. He offers us nothing though, in fact he hurt us more than helped for most of the game. Just doesn’t impact the game, doesn’t get on the ball, is weak in the challenge. Looks way off the pace and not up to this standard, this is the area we’ve got to find Lapslie a partner if Hall is out. Couldn’t believe he played the whole 90mins.
Evans 6 – Again with Evans, he looks tidy on the ball he looks like he might be a good player but he doesn’t actually do anything. His quality into the box or shooting around the box just isn’t what you’d expect from a “number 10” unless it’s the rugby version.
Jarvis 7- Caused Woking’s defence problems all night with his physical style, he’s a proper national league number 9, the only real disappointing thing was he had such a good chance in the first half and didn’t make more of it.
Fadahunsi 7 – He gets a 7 because he scored and then nearly scored again after. Other than that he offered nothing in the 1st half and it was interesting to hear that GJ had a go at him at half time because he started the 2nd half way better and got involved a lot more. I understand that’s he’s not 100% fit but I felt we lost all momentum once he went off.
Crowe 6 – Dylan wasn’t on that long but helped secure the point for Torquay.
MAN OF THE MATCH – NICO LAWRENCE
This lad is going to give us a chance, the last time I saw a loanee centre back was Chin Okolie at Eastleigh and that lad was nowhere near good enough. Lawrence is in a different stratosphere to him. He looks a Rolls Royce of a player, typical modern build of a young Premier League centre back but he’s willing to do the National League stuff of heading it, putting his boot through it when he has to but he just looks a cut above the rest of our defenders. An enormous upgrade on everything we’ve had back there this season.
Pretty rubbish for the most part, stop start some really odd decisions for both teams just typical national league inconsistency but thankfully they didn’t dictate the outcome of the game.
It was the usual 3-5-2/ 3-4-1-2 whichever way you want to look at it, De Silva and Wyatt as wing backs, Hanson and Lapslie in the middle with Evans floating around behind Jarvis and Fadahunsi. Marshall was primed to come on shortly before we equalised which suggested Donnellan was going to get shifted into midfield, but that never happened as Tope scored before he came on. I mentioned it earlier but I was disappointed with Tope being subbed off. I understand the fitness concerns, but I felt that game ultimately was there to be won last night and in our predicament we can’t be too picky and choosy over games we are going to try and win! The sub for Crowe basically ended our chances and belief that we could win as we sat back, time wasted and settled for the draw.
Woking were under par at their own admittance, I said in the pub before the game there will be nothing in this game but they’ll probably find a way to win it. That was almost profound as thankfully Halstead came to the rescue at the end to stop that from happening. However it’s typical National League, other than the top 2 there is nothing really between the rest of the teams in the league, what separates them is literally one or two players at either end of the pitch. Woking have got experienced defenders and a dangerous forward line that you can see why they’ve done well this year as a it’s a proven method, but they weren’t great yesterday and we fully merited something from the game.
I didn’t know how to feel after the game yesterday, still don’t really. It’s a good point when you look at the league table and the difference between the sides then yes a draw is a good result and the performance warranted a point. It’s just that the game was there to be won at 1-1, and we’re playing Woking not Man Utd! Gary Johnson teams of the past would have really gone for that game and probably ultimately won it. We did for about 10 minutes when we sensed they were vulnerable, we nearly got the 2nd goal but there just wasn’t that deep down belief and quality to go on and do it. Once Tope was subbed off with 15 minutes still to play that was the moment where we ultimately gave up any hope of winning the game.
So, we got a point, is it helpful? Somewhat but we are still in the bottom 4 and because of our inability to win at home against some of the poorer sides in the league (Oldham, Scunthorpe, Yeovil, Gateshead) we are going to have to start winning some games that we shouldn’t on paper win. We’ve got Notts County on Saturday where anything there really is a bonus so when the chance is there to win at Woking it’s one I felt we really needed to take because how many of those opportunities are we going to get from now till the end of the season?
The performance was a good one, Lawrence I think is a star that’s going to give us a chance to hang around in games more which then means can we take chances at the other end? I like Jarvis, maybe Tope is a good finisher and he can get us a few goals but we need more from Evans, De Silva and co going forward. I really believe we need another central midfielder because Hanson isn’t the answer and if he’s favoured to McGavin then that tells you all you need to know. We can’t expect Lapslie to have to play like that every week especially against the better sides. Overall, a good performance a deserved point, we’re improving slowly there’s just a huge ‘what if’ moment for me.