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Cards chase play-off place

Brian Caffarey - 11th March 2011

Cards chase play-off place Thurrock v Woking
3pm on Saturday 12 March 2011

The Cards hope to make it nine wins in the last ten league games when they travel to Ship Lane tomorrow. Now sitting only one point off the play-off places, but with other teams also challenging the top five, Garry Hill’s side will need to lift themselves once more as they continue their hectic schedule.

WOKING

The Cards found it hard-going down at Weston-super-Mare on Tuesday night but managed to grind out an invaluable 1-0 win against a side with an impressive home record. Chelmsford City’s defeat at Hampton and Richmond Borough – the Cards’ opponents on Tuesday – narrowed the play-off gap to only one point but both Eastleigh and Dover Athletic, both with two games in hand on Woking, also threaten to break into the top five. It looks as though seven clubs will be battling it out for the four play-off places on the assumption that Braintree will probably claim the automatic promotion place. With lots of games to come between the clubs concerned, it makes for a potentially exciting end to the season.

There is no doubt that the Cards showed signs of tiredness in the Farnborough and Weston games. Garry Hill will be reluctant to change a line-up that has been extraordinarily successful but may need to consider whether he should turn to his two new unused signings, midfielder Andy Burgess and striker James Walker, to provide some fresh legs. He will still be without Joe McNerney, serving the second stage of his three-match ban. Reiss Noel is expected to continue to partner Adam Doyle in central defence.

THURROCK

The Fleet had a disastrous start to the season, failing to register a league win until their 15th attempt, a 2-1 home victory over Staines. By then Hakan Hayrettin had been replaced as manager by Greg Lincoln. But Lincoln stepped down in early January to be replaced by his assistant, Grant Gordon, as caretaker manager.

At the point when the Fleet visited Kingfield on 1 February (see below) their form had improved markedly, moving them up to 15th place, only three points fewer than the Cards, having notched two wins and a draw in their previous three away league games. But the Cards’ hard-fought victory began another poor run in which Thurrock have failed to gain a win. Starting with their most recent game, their results have been:

Thurrock 0 Basingstoke Town 3
Dorchester Town 3 Thurrock 1
Thurrock 1 Boreham Wood 3
Thurrock 1 Chelmsford City 1
Thurrock 2 Farnborough 4
Staines Town 1 Thurrock 1

The Fleet have now slipped to 19th in the table, with 27 points from 31 games. At home they’ve won four games, drawn five and lost seven, with 23 goals scored and 36 conceded.

Joe Woolley in goal has been in fine form. The Fleet have experienced centre defenders in Lee Flynn, Rob Swaine and Craig Pope. Joe Carlos and Matt Bodkin provide pace on the flanks. New signings include Lynval Duncan, a centre half from Bishop’s Stortford; Tom Murphy, a winger from Lewes, Marlon Patterson from Chelmsford City and Freddie Ladapo, a promising young striker on work experience terms from Colchester United.

GETTING THERE

Thurrock FC
South Way,
Ship Lane,
Aveley
Essex RM19 1YN

Website: www.thurrock-fc.com


By coach
Leaves 12.30pm. Members £11; non-Members £16. Phone the Club Shop (01483 772470) or email shop@wokingfc.co.uk today to book.

By car
Head for the eastbound M25. When going through the Dartford Tunnel use the left-hand bore. On emerging from the tunnel leave the motorway at the first exit, Junction 31. This leads to a large roundabout controlled by traffic lights. Take the third exit, which is Ship Lane, and the ground is about 75 yards on the right.

By train
Chafford Hundred Station (for Lakeside Shopping centre) is the nearest station, about two miles from the ground. If you travel up to Waterloo and then take the Jubilee Line to West Ham, you can pick up trains from there at 29 and 59 minutes past each hour, taking 22 minutes. So, for example, the 13.29 arrives at 13.51. Bus route 372 runs from Lakeside to Ship Lane. Trains return at 29 and 59 minutes past each hour.

Purfleet Station on the C2C line (Fenchurch Street to Southend) is about 3 miles from the ground.


PREVIOUS ENCOUNTERS

This season

Woking 1 Thurrock 0
1 February 2011

Garry Hill’s second game in charge marked the beginning – though it was far from obvious on the day – of the current fantastic run of league results. On a foggy, chilly evening Thurrock came to Kingfield with a good recent record and proved tough opponents. In the end the difference came down to a superb piece of finishing from Elvis Hammond on the half-hour mark. Picking up, to the right of the area, a pass or shot from Dave Gilroy, Woking’s ace striker lashed the ball back across keeper Woolley. Kieran Murtagh, making his debut, showed glimpses of the excellent form which was to follow.

Last season

Woking 0 Thurrock 1
6 February 2010

This game was dedicated to the memory of Phil Ledger but, unfortunately, the side did not produce a display to match. The misfiring Cards, who included new signing Jamie Slabber in their number, huffed and puffed in the first half but were then caught out just before the break by a stunning counter-attack which saw Fola Oronolishe head home past a helpless Ross Worner. The Cards started the second half brightly but became poorer and poorer as the game went on, finishing by throwing high balls in the direction of Tom Hutchinson.

Thurrock 2 Woking 2
16 March 2010

Graham Baker rang the changes for this game, dropping Jamie Hand and Sam Sloma and bringing in Craig Faulconbridge for his first start. And it was Craig who gave the Cards the lead in the 16th minute with a diving header from an Aswad Thomas cross. The Fleet equalised soon after the interval, with Clark latching onto a flicked through ball. But the Cards’ lead was quickly restored as Harry Arter crashed the ball home from close in. Unfortunately, they couldn’t hold onto all three points, with Anderson equalising with a header from a set piece. An improved performance but few would have expected that the Cards were about to embark on an amazing end-of-season charge up the table.


Come on, you Cards!

P.S. Don’t forget that the Cards are at home on Tuesday evening when Hampton and Richmond Borough are the visitors. If you’re not travelling to Thurrock on Saturday, why not pop down to Kingfield and see the reserves play Sutton United in the Quarter-Final of the Suburban Football League Cup?
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