Maidstone United v Woking
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 19 November 2016
The Cards, still to register an away win in the league, travel to newly-promoted Maidstone United on Saturday. The Stones can be expected to become a force in the National League but their home form is not that impressive, so perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope for Garry Hill’s side. Make the short trip if you can to cheer on the team!
Yet again last Saturday the Cards failed to beat another struggling side, passing up a host of chances to grab three vital points – with the result that their task in pulling themselves away from the relegation zone becomes ever more demanding. With another away trip, to ‘home bankers’ Dover Athletic, coming up on Tuesday evening and then challenging visits from Gateshead and Bromley, Garry Hill’s side could desperately do with a change of fortune on their travels.
The Cards now sit in 22nd place with 14 points from 19 games.
On Tuesday evening a side containing a mix of first teamers and Academy players beat Walton Casuals 4-0 in the Surrey Senior Cup, with Fabio Saraiva netting a hat-trick and Delano Sam-Yorke also on the score sheet.
The Stones were promoted to the Vanarama National League at the end of last season, beating Kent rivals Ebbsfleet United 4-3 on penalties in the play-off final after the game had ended 2-2 after extra time. Thus the club reached the top tier of the non-League game 23 years after the demise of the former Maidstone United, who had spent three years in the Football League before going bankrupt. The new club has had to work its way up through Kent leagues and the Ryman League and led a nomadic existence before its impressive new stadium, by the River Medway in the town centre, was opened at the beginning of the 2012-13 season. That season the Stones won the Ryman South title, followed by the Ryman Premier title in 2014-15.
The Stones enjoy good support, averaging over 2,200 fans at home games last season, and seem likely to challenge for a Football League place once they have established themselves at National League level. A new stand, bringing the capacity up to over 4,000, has recently received planning approval.
Maidstone presently sit in 17th place in the table with 22 points from 19 games. Rather surprisingly, their home form, on their 3G pitch, is relatively poor, with two wins, three draws and four defeats, and 11 goals scored and 18 conceded. In the FA Cup the Stones defeated Billericay Town 3-0 at home in the 4th Qualifying Round before drawing 1-1 at Rochdale in the First Round Proper. In the replay on Tuesday evening they lost 2-0.
The Stones have an experienced keeper in Lee Worgan. At the back they recruited two Welling United players in the summer, Anthony Acheampong and Kevin Lokko. In midfield Ben Greenhalgh returned to the club after a spell at Concord Rangers. His midfield colleagues include Dan Sweeney, who joined from Dulwich Hamlet but who has also played for Kingstonian and AFC Wimbledon; and Tom Murphy, who has shone for Dover Athletic against us in the past. Up front two familiar ex-Woking names are Liam Enver-Marum, who joined the Stones in September from Oxford City, and Yemi Odubade, snapped up from Eastleigh. A recent loan signing is Bradley Hudson-Odoi from Sutton United.
James Whatman Way
The Cards Trust coach leaves the Laithwaite Community Stadium at 12.30pm and costs £15 for members and £20 for non-members, with accompanied U16s at £8/£10 (a maximum of two with one adult). Phone or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) the Club Shop or email email@example.com today to book your place.
M25, M26, M20 (junction 6). Follow signs to Maidstone on the A229. The ground is in the town centre, by the river, on James Whatman Way (third exit at the White Rabbit roundabout). But please note that the parking at the ground is all allocated and there is no point turning into James Whatman Way unless you have a parking place.
Other car parks (pay and display) are located at Invicta House (five minutes walk, ME14 2UY), Maidstone East Train Station (seven minutes walk, ME14 1QN) and Fremlin Walk (seven minutes walk, ME14 1PS). Maidstone Lions operate a charity car park at Maidstone Job Centre Plus (Staceys Street, ME14 1ST) on matchday Saturdays.
If you fancy a walk along the River Medway to the ground, park at Lockmeadow Centre on Barker Road (ME16 8LW). Cross Lockmeadow Millennium Bridge and pass All Saints Church and the Archbishops’ Palace, along the towpath to The Gallagher Stadium.
The quickest route is to take a train from London Victoria to Maidstone East, which is only a short walk from the ground. Come out of the station and turn left on the main road. At the end of this road you will see the ground to your left – just cross the dual carriageway by the pedestrian crossing. Trains go at 22 and 52 minutes past the hour and take about an hour. So, the 12.22 arrives at 13.18, the 12.52 at 13.55 and the 13.22 at 14.18.
Concessions (65+/students with valid ID): £12
Youth (11 to 16 year olds): £7
Junior (Under 11): £2
Stand seat plus £2 on the above prices – subject to availability
The Cards have another tough away trip next Tuesday evening (22 November) when they travel to old foes, Dover Athletic. The Cards’ busy schedule continues with home games against Gateshead (Saturday 26 November) and Bromley (Tuesday 29 November) before their home Emirates FA Cup 2nd tie versus Accrington Stanley at 2pm on Sunday 4 December.
Come on, you Cards!
P.S. Don’t forget the Cards Trust Quiz Night on Friday 25 November! See the website for details.