Scout Report: What to Expect From Woking

Woking tend to play a 4-2-3-1 and have been looking to address a vulnerability at the back of late, but have perhaps achieved it at the expense of their creativity. They conceded too freely in the opening weeks of the season (22 in their first 11 games), and although they’ve managed to tighten things up at the back since then, the goals have dried up a bit: they haven’t scored in 267 minutes.

Their defensive problems showed up clearly at Hyde even though they kept a clean sheet: it was shockingly easy for the struggling home side to run through the centre of their defence, but their finishing was woeful and Woking got away with it. Since then Woking have made a switch at centre back, bringing in Joe McNerney ahead of Mike Cestor, who seemed predisposed to wandering forwards or wide to cover his left back and leaving the heart of the defence exposed. The partnership of McNerney and Jack Parkinson has been together for three games, during which time they’ve conceded just once.

They look to pass the ball rather than hoof it long, even though they have a striker with physical presence in Scott Rendell and a layer in the hole who can deal with aerial challenges in Gavin Williams. Encouragingly for Wrexham they don’t seem to show much sign of being a side which will go long if their passing game doesn’t work out, as that sort of side has caused us problems this season.

Hyde (in red) forced mistakes from Woking with energetic pressing but lacked the intensity to keep it up throughout the game.

Hyde (in red) forced mistakes from Woking with energetic pressing but lacked the intensity to keep it up throughout the game.

Furthermore, they appear to be a team which can be hassled into errors when they try to pass the ball around by energetic pressing: having an extra man in the centre of midfield could be decisive for Wrexham and the energy of Dean Keates, Jay Harris and Joe Clarke when we don’t have the ball could be crucial.

Also, Woking’s 4-2-3-1 can leave them vulnerable on the flanks when the wide men failed to come back in support. Their full backs be left exposed, dragging centre backs across and opening up spaces which forwards can attack.

Left back Nutter (red circle) is left exposed by the lack of support ahead of him (yellow circle), opening up space for Hyde to attack.

Left back Nutter (red circle) is left exposed by the lack of support ahead of him (yellow circle), opening up space for Hyde to attack.

Woking’s attempts to close down these attacking avenues in their own half appear to have been at the expense of their attacking potential. However, on paper they have forwards who are capable of causing problems. Rendell, on loan from Luton, has three goals in seven appearances and a proven scoring record at this level while Kevin Betsy is one of the division’s better players. Watch out for his ability to go on driving runs down the left which draw men to him: he doesn’t tend to try to beat his man, but drags them out of position and then feeds in players in space inside or behind him. The right-sided Anthony McNamee, often used as a substitute, is also a threat as he’s dynamic and can beat a man on both the inside and the outside.

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