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Can Cards breach Shay fortress?

Brian Caffarey - 5th December 2013

Can Cards breach Shay fortress? FC Halifax Town v Woking
3pm on Saturday 7 December 2013

Can the Cards become the first side this season to come away with all three points from the Shay? Halifax’s home record has been remarkable this season, with nine wins and two draws in their 11 league games at the Shay. But Garry Hill’s side posted a threat last Saturday in the FA Trophy with their 3-0 win at Hereford, their third win in the last four games, so the Cards will travel in a confident mood.

WOKING

Garry was understandably delighted with his side’s performance at Edgar Street, with the Cards playing some fine football as they raced into a three goal half-time lead and then held onto it pretty comfortably after the break. The changes Garry made – switching Mark Ricketts to right back, bringing in Keiran Murtagh in midfield and giving Mike Cestor a starting place in central defence – all seemed to pay off. Up front, Scott Rendell and Jack Marriott proved simply too hot for the Bulls’ defence to handle.

FC HALIFAX TOWN

The Shaymen are definitely ‘home birds’ so far this season, with an astonishing contrast between results at home and those on their travels. Their nine league wins and two draws at the Shay have been accompanied by 28 goals for and only seven against. Away from home, however, it’s almost the reverse: no wins, two draws (one at Kingfield) and eight defeats.

But Halifax are not unbeatable at home as Guiseley showed last week with a 1-0 win in the FA Trophy and they have lost their last four games: away defeats at Braintree and Hereford in the league, the Guiseley defeat and, on Tuesday, a 2-1 defeat at Harrogate Town in the West Riding County Cup, although Halifax fielded an under-strength side in the last game.

The Shaymen have got injury problems, especially in defence where captain Danny Lowe, Marc Roberts and Ryan Toulson are all absent, along with striker Lee Gregory. Defender Matty Pearson is also doubtful for Saturday. Manager Neil Aspin has brought in striker Reece Gray from Rochdale and defender Tom Anderson from Burnley, both on loan. The Woking defenders will be well warned about Gray, who scored both goals in Hyde’s 3-2 defeat at Kingfield.

GETTING THERE

The Shay Stadium
Halifax
HX1 2YT (2YS for sat navs)

Official website: www.halifaxafc.co.uk

By mini-bus
The Cards Trust mini-bus leaves Kingfield at 9.30am. The cost is £24 for Trust members and £31 for non-members. To book a seat on the mini-bus please ring (01483 772470) the Club Shop or email shop@wokingfc.co.uk

By car
Take the M62 exiting at junction 24, follow signs for A629 Halifax into Skircoat Road, then on to Shaw Hill, where you will find the ground.

By train
Trains to Halifax depart from Kings Cross and are nearly all via a change at Leeds, although the 10.48 is direct, arriving at Halifax at 13.12. Look up www.nationalrail.co.uk or www.thetrainline.com for more details of times and prices.

The ground is five to ten minutes’ walk from Halifax station. Leave the car park, turn left and the ground is on your right in half a mile.

ADMISSION PRICES

Adults £17
Concessions £13
U16 £8
U12 £6
U7 £3

LAST TIME OUT

Woking 0 FC Halifax Town 0
12 October 2013

This was the Cards’ second 0-0 home draw in a row and was followed by two more games in which Garry Hill’s side failed to register a goal, illustrating the difficulties Woking were experiencing then in hitting the net. It was a fairly familiar story of some promising approach play but a lack of incisiveness in the final third of the pitch, with the Halifax keeper being rarely tested. Halifax themselves were content to counter-attack or rely on set pieces, where the huge Marc Roberts threatened. Woking almost conceded at the end when John Wilson hit the post and the hard-working Lee Gregory lost his footing as the goal gaped in front of him after he had rounded Sam Beasant.

Woking: Sam Beasant, Adam Newton, John Nutter, Joe McNerney, Jack Parkinson, Mark Ricketts, Josh Payne, Kevin Betsy, Gavin Williams (Giuseppe Sole 77), John Goddard (Anthony McNamee 77), Scott Rendell

Unused subs: Aaron Howe, Mike Cestor, George Frith

NEXT GAME

The Cards have a very attractive home game on Tuesday evening when they entertain promotion challengers Kidderminster Harriers. Last season’s 2-2 draw at Kingfield against the Harriers was a game of high quality and plenty of drama as both sides attacked relentlessly. (The Club will be collecting for the Woking FC Christmas Project that evening.)

On Saturday 14 December the Cards are away to North Ferriby United in the Second Round of the FA Trophy, so the league game against Chester that day has been postponed and will now be played on Tuesday 21 January 2014. (The Cards Trust is not running a coach to the North Ferriby game.)

Come on, you Cards!

P.S. Don’t forget the fans’ Christmas Party tomorrow, Friday 6 December! Tickets are free and include a raffle ticket. See the news item on 20 November for more details.

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