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Tough away trip on Tuesday

Brian Caffarey - 11th December 2011

Tough away trip on Tuesday Dartford v Woking
7.45pm on Tuesday 13 December 2011

The Cards end their testing run of games against play-off chasing teams with this away trip on Tuesday night against a side who took four points off them last season. This season the Darts lost their way around the time of Charlie Sheringham’s transfer in October but look to be picking up the pace again. Garry Hill’s side should be confident, though, after Saturday’s 4-1 defeat of Sutton United and will want to take advantage if they possibly can of the chance of putting even more distance between themselves and potential challengers for that coveted automatic promotion place.

WOKING

Woking will go into this game without Paris Cowan-Hall, who tweaked his hamstring not long after scoring Saturday’s opening goal. Cards fans will be hoping he will be back in time for the Christmas/New Year games. On Saturday Garry Hill brought on Elvis Hammond to partner Wayne Gray and could start with those two players in tandem or he could decide to strengthen the midfield for what is likely to be a hard-fought battle.

Although Saturday’s scoreline looks emphatic, there was a period in the first half when Sutton seemed as though they might haul back the two goals they had conceded so quickly, passing the ball sweetly and creating several presentable chances in addition to the goal they scored. Woking’s midfield and defence may need to be a bit tighter on Tuesday evening.

Cards fans will also be keeping an ear open to learn if Frank Gray’s Basingstoke Town can clip the wings of second-placed Welling United at the Camrose on the same evening. If both games went Woking’s way the Cards would stretch their lead to a formidable twelve points. On the other hand, defeat for Woking and a win for Welling would narrow the gap to six points with a game in hand for Welling – so there is a lot at stake on Tuesday night.

DARTFORD

It was clear last season that Dartford, with their good support and impressive ground, were likely to become a force in the Blue Square South and they started this campaign in fine style, recording eight wins, two draws and only one defeat (away at Basingstoke Town) during August and September. Sheringham’s somewhat protracted impending transfer to Bournemouth seems to have unsettled the side, with losses to Boreham Wood and Truro City away and at home to Bromley in the FA Cup. But a recovery seems to have set in, with some decent results of late, including an away win at Salisbury and a 3-1 home defeat of Dover. On Saturday the Darts travelled to Brackley in the FA Trophy and came away with a 3-0 win. That makes it seven league and FA Trophy games on the run without a defeat.

Interestingly, Dartford’s home record mirrors Woking’s away record, each side notching seven wins, one draw and one defeat so far. Woking have the edge on goal difference with 26 scored and 9 conceded whilst Dartford have scored 20 and also conceded 9.

Among the new faces in the summer were Jon Wallis, an influential figure in Dover’s midfield in recent seasons: Richard Graham, a skilful winger from Eastleigh; and former Card Adam Green.

Following Sheringham’s departure manager Tony Burman brought in striker Jacob Erskine, most recently with Ebbsfleet. He also signed keeper Louis Wells from Staines.

The Cards’ defence will need to be on their toes to deal with the pace of Ryan Hayes, Lee Noble and Lee Burns.

GETTING THERE

Princes Park
Grassbanks
Darenth Road
Dartford
Kent DA1 1RT

www.dartfordfconline.com

By coach

Leaves Kingfield at 5pm. Members £13. Non-members £18. Phone the Club Shop (01483 772470) or email shop@wokingfc.co.uk today to book.

By car

Take the M25 eastbound. Exit at J2 (towards A2(E)/Canterbury/M2/Dartford). Then at roundabout take the 2nd exit onto the ramp to Dartford/A225. At the Princes Road interchange roundabout take the 1st exit onto Princes Road/A296, heading towards Dartford/Crayford/A225. Continue to follow Princes Road, then turn left at Darenth Road traffic lights and second left into Grassbanks. There is ample parking at the ground. Journey time is around 60 minutes according to the AA.

By train

You’ll need to head up to London to Waterloo East. Trains from there to Dartford take about 40 minutes. Possible trains are at 17.55 (18.36), 18.04 (18.44), 18.26 (19.04) and 18.40 (19.21). Trains back include those at 21.48, 21.55, 21.59, 22.01 and 22.18
The Dartford FC website gives the following directions for getting from the station to the ground. Exit station straight ahead towards the Orchard Theatre/Shopping Centre. Do NOT cross the bridge but take the steps/ramp down to the bus stops. Then take the Fastrack B service towards Bluewater/Gravesend and alight at the Princes Park stop. Buses run every 10 minutes during the day.
It is a 10-15 minute walk from Dartford town centre largely alongside the Fastrack busway.

LAST SEASON

Woking 2 Dartford 2
27 November 2010

The Cards went into this game unbeaten in their previous eight games but having failed to win at home in the league since 11 September. They started poorly against newly-promoted Dartford and found themselves a goal down in only seven minutes as Ryan Hayes executed a delicate lob over Andy Little. Elvis Hammond equalised somewhat fortuitously and the Cards began to pile on the pressure, taking a deserved lead just before half-time when Craig Faulconbridge headed in from Ricky Anane’s fine cross. The on-loan Jerome Federico was replaced at half-time by the more defensively-minded Jerome Maledon and the Cards seemed to lose their way. George Purcell equalised with a stunning half-volley and by the end the Cards were grateful to hang on for a point, with Purcell and Charlie Sheringham missing several good chances.

Dartford 3 Woking 2
9 April 2011

Five minutes of calamitous defending just before half-time put paid to the Cards’ chances of winning this game, leaving them 8th in the table and two points off the play-off places.

The Cards started strongly and won a penalty with only three minutes gone as Joe McNerney’s header from a corner was handled, but Elvis Hammond’s spot kick went harmlessly wide. Woking continued well on top, with Craig Dobson causing all sorts of problems. By midway through the first half the Darts had begun to get back in the game but found themselves 1-0 down in the 29th minute when Andy Burgess’s free-kick went over the keeper.

The home side came back strongly and on 38 minutes Bradbrook headed in powerfully from a corner. Two minutes later it was 2-1 when Charlie Sheringham came off best in a tussle with McNerney in the box and calmly passed the ball past Andy Little. Two minutes more and it was 3-1 as the Cards’ defence went missing, with Pallen scoring with a fine left-footed strike.

Things got worse for the Cards in the second half when Adam Doyle was sent off for obstructing the tricky Noble for a second time. Craig Dobson narrowed the deficit in the 82nd minute when he converted emphatically from the spot but the Cards were left to rue their uncharacteristic defensive frailties.


Come on, you Cards!

P.S. Don’t forget that Woking are at home on Boxing Day to Farnborough. Kick-off is at 1pm. Going to a match on Boxing Day is a great football tradition, so line up your family and friends now for a trip to Kingfield!
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