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Cards face troubled Saints

Brian Caffarey - 7th February 2011

Cards face troubled Saints Woking v St Albans City
7.45pm on Tuesday 8 February 2011

Well, it’s all now down to the league and the Cards have got to go on an outstanding run in their remaining games if they are to make a late challenge for a play-off position. After Saturday’s hugely disappointing performance in the FA Trophy Garry Hill now knows how big a task he’s taken on but he and Steve Thompson seem very determined to change things round. Whether they can do it in time to affect this season’s fortunes must be a moot point, but nothing less than three points will do from Tuesday night’s game against the troubled Saints. Come down to Kingfield and show your support for Garry and Steve!

WOKING

After last Tuesday’s hard-fought win against a much-improved Thurrock side it was back to the old inconsistent Woking on Saturday as they laboured against a useful, but beatable, Salisbury City outfit. With Elvis Hammond having an ‘off’ day by his standards, and Dave Gilroy struggling to make an impact, there was little punch up front, although Moses Ademola looked lively in the second half. The midfield failed to impose itself and there were some shaky moments in defence too, notably for Salisbury’s first goal: till that stage, though not playing well, the Cards had matched their opponents.

With the cup-tied Reiss Noel and Sam Hurrell available again, youngsters pressing for a place and possibly even another new face or two before Tuesday evening, it would not be surprising to see a few changes in the Cards’ line-up. Whoever plays will know that nothing less than 100% commitment and effort will be expected by the new management team.

ST ALBANS CITY

The Saints have struggled all season, on and off the pitch. They drew their first five league games and didn’t register a win till their ninth outing, when they beat Havant and Waterlooville away. Wins remained hard to come by but their fortunes improved in January, with victories over Boreham Wood and Basingstoke Town away and over Maidenhead at home. But on 25 January they lost at home to Eastleigh and then drew at home to Lewes. Last Tuesday evening the Saints lost 1-0 at home to fellow relegation strugglers Boreham Wood, and on Saturday they drew 0-0 at Hampton and Richmond Borough. Kyle Vassell, who won’t have happy memories of his 45 minutes in a Woking shirt earlier this season, made his debut for the Saints on loan from Brentford.

A bright spot was a 3-1 home win over Staines Town in the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy, with on-loan Card Ollie Palmer scoring the opening goal, but they went out tamely to Dorchester in the next round, losing 3-0, failing to register a single shot on target.

In the FA Cup the Saints beat Beckenham Town and Kingstonian (after a replay) but then lost 4-0 at Luton Town in the Fourth Qualifying Round.

Veteran keeper Paul Bastock – and wayward shooting! – have often prevented the Cards from boosting their ‘goals for’ tally in recent encounters. The Saints’ squad includes ex-Card Peter Smith. Inih Effiong is the Saints’ danger man with seven goals to date.

To add to the Saints’ woes, they have just been docked 10 points – not yet reflected in published tables – and fined £7,500 for financial irregularities last season. It’s very hard to see how they can avoid relegation now.

The Cards should note, though, that St Albans’s away record isn’t bad: three wins, five draws and three defeats in the league, with 14 goals scored and 17 conceded.

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTERS

This season

St Albans City 0 Woking 1
4 September 2010

With on-loan Chris Bush shining, Woking totally dominated the game but could only manage to scrape a 1-0 win. As usual, Paul Bastock did his best to frustrate the mis-firing Cards forwards and was unlucky to have an own goal tacked to his name after inadvertently helping a Ricky Anane shot into his net.

Last season

Woking 0 St Albans City 1
10 November 2009

Graham Baker rested a few players following the cup game at Swindon Town and a dismal performance followed. Mitchell Bryant and Luke Medley were paired up front. The Saints won the game with a late goal from Sagna.

Woking 6 St Albans City 0
FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round
21 November 2009

Eleven days later the Cards crashed six past the Saints in the Trophy! It was not the Saints’ day as deflections helped at least three of the Cards’ goals. A 2-0 half-time scoreline, through an Arter deflection and a delightful Ademola chip, flattered the Cards but the Saints collapsed in the second half and further goals followed from Anane, Trevor Benjamin (on his debut), Arter again and Sole.

St Albans City 0 Woking 1
17 April 2010

The Cards registered their seventh win in eight games to take the fight for a play-off place to the last home game against Weymouth. But, as usual, they made hard work of it. Taking the lead through Arter before half-time against a Saints side reduced to ten men, they attacked almost at will in the second half but couldn’t force a second goal.

ADMISSION

Adults - £12
Juniors (u16s) - £2
Concessions / Students - £8

Come on, you Cards!

P.S. Don’t forget the Comedy Club night in the Cardinals Bar this Thursday evening! Please support this initiative.
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