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Cards will need to battle for points

Brian Caffarey - 22nd September 2013

Cards will need to battle for points Woking v Luton Town
7.45pm on Tuesday 24 September 2013

Tuesday night’s game will surely be fiercely contested as the Cards, following a poor performance at Macclesfield on Saturday, look to drag themselves away from the wrong end of the table and the Hatters aim to lodge themselves in the play-off places. Make sure you’re at Kingfield for this eagerly-awaited clash.

WOKING

Those Cards fans who hoped that the 2-0 win at Hyde last Tuesday signalled a return to form were sorely disappointed – as was no doubt Garry Hill – by a very below par display at Macclesfield, with two late goals putting a far better gloss on Woking’s performance than it deserved.

The Cards will be hampered on Tuesday by the absence of striker Scott Rendell, who cannot play against his parent club, while Brett Johnson will continue to be missing by virtue of his hamstring injury and ex-Luton stalwart Adam Newton is apparently doubtful too.

Woking will need to show the commitment they displayed in full measure in last season’s corresponding fixture if they are to get anything from Tuesday night’s game.

LUTON TOWN

The Hatters are now in their fifth season in the Conference Premier – a far longer stay than anyone, in particular Luton fans, had envisaged when the club tumbled out of the League, having failed to overcome a 30-point deduction. The appointment in late February of the hugely-experienced John Still, who took Dagenham and Redbridge into League 2 and then League 1 via the play-offs, having previously won the Conference title with Maidstone United, seemed to signal a new recognition that firm non-League foundations had to be laid if the club was to achieve promotion.

Still has played down talk of immediate promotion but has nevertheless assembled a squad that looks more than good enough to reach the play-offs if the new players gel. The players he has brought in include several former Daggers: striker Paul Benson, on loan from Swindon Town; defender Scott Griffiths; and Solomon Taiwo, a midfielder whom Dagenham sold to Cardiff for £250k. Other additions include Anthony Charles, a Conference title-winner with Barnet and Aldershot; Shaun Walley, Southport’s pacey winger; Luke Guttridge, a midfielder from Northampton with over 400 League appearances to his name; Jim Stevenson, a midfielder from Histon, who has been receiving good reviews; defender Danny Fitzsimons, another capture from Histon; Andy Parry, a highly-rated centre half from Southport; and Alex Wall, a burly striker who played against us several times for Maidenhead United.

Luton sit in 9th place in the table with 16 points from 10 games. Their away record this season has not been particularly impressive, although they have faced some tough trips. On the opening day they lost 1-0 at Southport, followed by a 0-0 draw at Forest Green, a 2-0 win at Kidderminster and a 2-0 defeat at Wrexham. Last Tuesday the Hatters beat Dartford 3-0 at Kenilworth Road and, in another home game on Saturday, they beat Lincoln City 3-2, although it sounds as if the Imps had much of the play.

ADMISSION PRICES

Adults £15
Over 65s and students (with valid student card) £10
U16s £3

MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

Don’t miss out on the Club’s excellent matchday programme! In another packed edition Ian Nicholson interviews Gavin Williams. Woking fan Lewis Hulatt, born and bred in Luton, recalls the days when he used to grace the terraces at Kenilworth Road. And there’s an ‘opposing view’ from Hatters fan, Tom Skinner. And of course there are all the usual match reports, previews, news and great photos. If you can’t get to the game, you can order a copy from the Club Shop on shop@wokingfc.co.uk

LAST TIME OUT

Last season’s Boxing Day/New Year ‘double header’ saw honours shared, with the home team winning 3-1 in both games. Woking were never really in the match at Kenilworth Road, which was watched by a crowd of over 6,700, and fell behind on 15 minutes to a header from Kovacs from a corner. Andre Gray, who tormented the Woking defence all afternoon, set up the second Luton goal on 37 minutes, putting in a dangerous cross which Aaron Howe could only palm out to Jon Shaw, who netted easily. The Cards continued to be under pressure but pulled a goal back after 71 minutes when substitute Loick Pires combined well with Gavin McCallum. The latter’s shot was repelled but Joe McNerney, who had just been thrown up front, fired home. Woking were briefly in the ascendancy before Scott Rendell made the game safe for the Hatters, converting from the penalty spot after Mark Ricketts had fouled Alex Lawless.

The game at Kingfield was a very different affair, played on a pitch which had cut up badly during recent inclement weather. Garry Hill sprang a surprise, starting with Pires and McNerney up front in place of McCallum and Jayden Stockley. The Cards began strongly and took the lead in the second minute with a glorious strike from the edge of the box from ‘man of the match’ Billy Knott. The visitors quickly equalised, though, when Gray seized on a ball ‘over the top’ and slammed it past Howe. Luton got on top, although Bradley Bubb wasted a good chance midway through the half – as did Jon Shaw just before the break when he hit the bar. It looked initially as though the visitors would go on to dominate the second half but the turning point seemed to come when Shaw missed another excellent opportunity and Garry Hill then brought on McCallum and Stockley for the tiring McNerney and Pires. McCallum nearly put Woking in front when he lifted the ball over the keeper but onto the top of the bar. A few minutes later, though, the Luton keeper could only parry his shot and Billy Knott was quick to pounce to make it 2-1 to the Cards. Four minutes later Stockley made it 3-1 with a superb header from a McCallum cross.

NEXT UP

The Cards’ next home game comes up quickly, with the visit of high-flying Nuneaton Town on Saturday afternoon. Boro’s start to the season has been astonishing but they fell to Salisbury City on Saturday. Has the bubble burst? Come on down to Kingfield to cheer on Garry Hill’s side.

Come on, you Cards!
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