Woking Woe as Torquay Relinquish Goal Lead
Torquay United’s patchy start to the season continued as the Gulls let go of a first half lead to lose 3-1 away at Woking.
The hosts tested Torquay goalkeeper Brendan Moore within the first minute with a shot but the Gulls had a couple of chances of their own, Jamie Reid and Dan Sparkes with early shots blocked. Two-goal York hero Nathan Blissett tried to get things moving for the visitors with a breakaway nine minutes in but was dragged down by Joey Jones earning the Woking player an early caution. Reid then tried to send Sparkes away but the ball was too far ahead of the Torquay man and Michael Poke collected. Woking then enjoyed a purple patch, putting the visiting defence under pressure with their lively movement. Twice in four minutes, Woking nearly took the lead but Australian Giancarlo Gallifuoco blocked the first effort and Moore saved the second, Fabio Saraiva’s follow-up deflected out of play. Gozie Ugwu was the next player to threaten the Gulls but the striker’s 23rd minute effort cleared the bar. Despite the home pressure it was Torquay who took the lead. Gallifuoco had only shepherded the ball out of play at the other end when he was in the right place to finish off Blissett’s blocked header on 28 minutes. Ten minutes later, Torquay nearly doubled their lead, Reid missing from a tight angle after good work by Blissett and Sparkes. With the half nearing its end, both sides were in full flow and putting on a decent show for their respective supporters, Torquay finishing the half strongly with Blissett looking handy up front.
The first chance of the second half went Woking’s way and required Moore to make his best save of the night as Saraiva aimed a shot into the corner. Three minutes later, five minutes after the restart, Woking had cancelled out the Gulls’ opener, Delano Sam-Yorke heading home after Nathan Ralph’s low cross caused havoc in the Torquay box and Ugwu’s shot was only half-cleared. The goal spurred the home side on and Antigua and Barbuda midfielder Keiran Murtagh nearly put Woking ahead on 55 minutes, his long-range drive hitting the angle between post and bar. Three minutes later, with Torquay defenders giving their opponents too much space, Murtagh forced Moore into another save. Sensing their chance was near, Woking managed to get behind the visitors’ defence with their very next attack, Sam-Yorke with a tap in from Dennon Lewis’s cross for his second of the night. Just after the hour mark, Saraiva’s 30-yard drive was beaten away by Moore but a minute later Torquay reminded their hosts that the game was not yet won, Luke Young setting up Sean McGinty who tested Poke with a shot. Nevertheless, Woking were having the bulk of the possession. With 67 minutes gone, substitutes Chay Scrivens and Brett Williams (on for Joe Ward and Reid respectively) nearly combined but the passing lacked precision and the chance went. With 15 minutes remaining, Chike Kandi set up Murtagh as the now-dominant home side began to push for the finish line but his header squirmed wide of Moore’s goal. A rare chance from a corner gave Torquay hope with six minutes left but was adequately dealt with by the home side and Courtney Roberts’ long-range follow-up was wild and missed the target. Two minutes later it was all over, Woking executing a perfect counter-attack which was finished off, via the underside of the bar, by Lewis. Gallifuoco placed a stoppage time header over the bar as Torquay sought a second consolation but the match ended 3-1 with the home side worthy winners.
TUFC: Moore, McGinty, Verma, Gallifuoco, Rowe-Turner, Richards (capt), Young, Ward (Scrivens 46), Sparkes (Chaney 71), Reid (Williams 58), Blissett.
Subs Not Used: Lathrope, Gerring.
TUFC Bookings: None.
Woking: Poke, Caprice, Ralph, Jones, Saah, Essam, Murtagh, Saraiva (Carter 82), Lewis, Ugwu (Penny 85), Sam-Yorke (Kandi 71).
Subs Not Used: Hall, Kretzschmar.
Woking Bookings: Jones (09).
Referee: Mr C. O’Donnell
MOTM: Lewis (Woking)