Woking booked their place in the semi-finals of the FA Trophy for the first time in 15 years thanks to Jamar Loza’s first half strike. Torquay missed a penalty and also had a goal controversly ruled out deep into stoppage time as the league leaders recent unpredictable run of results continued.
On a glorious sunny day in Surrey, it was the Gulls who had the first chance of the match with Billy Waters firing over from the edge of the area. Woking responded immediately when an unmarked Moussa Diarra’s header from a free kick was cleared off the line in the fourth minute.
Diarra was at the centre of attention in the 13th minute, but this time for the wrong reason when he fouled Waters on the edge of the area. Asa Hall stepped up but saw his spot kick well saved by Craig Ross.
Marcin Brzozowski- signed on loan from QPR as an emergency cover- was tested for the first time when Loza’s curling shot was heading for the bottom corner, only for the Rangers loanee to parry the ball away for a corner.
In a first half full of end-to-end action Ross was alert to deny Max Sheaf before the deadlock was broken following good work from the impressive Malachi Napa who nutmegged his man before laying the ball off to Loza who cut inside and with his left foot shot into the bottom corner.
The Gulls were on the front foot at the start of the second period when a free kick from Jake Andrews shaved the post with Ross beaten. Whitfield then had an effort that Ross pushed over the bar as the visitors pressed for an equaliser.
Like the start of the first half the action was fast and furious with Woking almost adding a second from a corner when Diarra’s header across goal found Ben Gerring, with his header cleared of the line.
The Cards should have got the all-important second goal when Loza laid the ball on a plate for Jonte Smith who spurned a golden opportunity by blasting over.
Torquay countered when Ben Whitfield’s effort was cleared of the line. The Gulls threw everything at the Woking goal in a frantic finish and in time added on almost took the game to penalties.
With every Torquay player inside the Woking penalty area a free kick was swung into the box with Adam Randell stooping low with a header into the net. As the Gulls celebrated a late leveller their celebrations turned to despair when the assistant referee’s flag was raised, much to the relief of the Cards.
Woking 1 Torquay United 0
Buildbase FA Trophy quarter-final Saturday 28th February 2021
By Peter Moore