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Strengthened Cards ready for the battle

Brian Caffarey - 31st January 2014

Strengthened Cards ready for the battle Woking v Forest Green Rovers
3pm on Saturday 1 February 2014

Cards fans will have been delighted with yesterday’s news that Jack Marriott and Scott Rendell are re-joining the Club and that Keiran Murtagh’s loan has been extended. That sets the side up perfectly for two crucial home games in quick succession – weather permitting. The results in these games could go a long way to determining whether Garry Hill’s side can aspire to mid-table safety or whether the prospect is that of an out-and-out fight against relegation. First up on Saturday afternoon are under-achieving Forest Green Rovers, who, however, are showing signs of flourishing since manager Ady Pennock’s arrival. Come on down to Kingfield and cheer on Garry Hill’s side.


After very disappointing defeats against Welling United and Chester the Cards did well to secure a draw at Lincoln City last weekend and, but for a missed penalty in injury time, could have come away with all three points in a much improved performance. Of particular note was the encouraging partnership of Gez Sole and Kevin Betsy up front: another interesting option for Garry Hill. On Monday night a mix of regular first team players and youngsters overcame Leatherhead 3-1 to reach the semi-final of the Surrey Senior Cup.

Garry Hill’s re-signing on loan of Jack Marriott is quite a coup, the young Ipswich striker cutting short his loan spell at League One Gillingham, where he had made only one substitute appearance in a month, to return to regular first team football at Kingfield. Garry has done very well too to bring back Scott Rendell after what must have been some tough negotiations with his previous club, Luton Town. If the two can recapture their previous partnership, which saw them notch 18 goals between them, Cards fans will have plenty to rejoice in. It’s excellent news too that Keiran will also be with us till the end of the season: his strength and skill in midfield will do much to provide the ammunition for Jack and Scott.

The Cards sit in 18th place in the table, six points above the relegation places.


Rovers started the season as one of the promotion favourites, a judgment that seemed to be borne out by their 8-0 thrashing of Hyde on the opening day. But subsequent results were modest at best, with September and October proving disastrous, the latter seeing five straight defeats in the league and FA Cup. Things began to pick up in November and December, whilst January has seen a 1-1 draw at home to Hereford United, a 6-2 win at Hyde and a 3-0 home win over Chester.

Rovers presently sit in 13th place in the table but are only seven points off the play-off places.

Rovers have a very strong squad and have been active in the transfer market in the last month or so. The most high profile arrival has been that of 37 year-old Lee Hughes, described as a ‘fantastic kid’ (!) by his former manager, Micky Adams. Hughes originally made his name with Kidderminster Harriers many moons ago but arrives from Port Vale, for whom he scored 10 goals in 18 starts last season. Hughes scored two goals last weekend in Rovers’ 3-0 home win over Chester. The Woking defenders will no doubt feel his presence on Saturday.

Another striker arriving was the ex-Barrow, Luton and York City hitman Jason Walker. Going in the other direction were Matthew Barnes-Homer, joining Cambridge United; Reece Styche, going on loan to Wycombe Wanderers with a view to a permanent transfer; and Matty Taylor, going on loan to Chester.

Other well-known names in Rovers’ squad include James Turley, coveted England C striker James Norwood, Yan Klukowski and Brazilian Magno Vieira.


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


Saturday’s 56-page programme includes an interview with new Club Director and Club Chaplain Ian Nicholson, a profile of FGR’s ‘green’ chairman, Dale Vince, and another ‘where are they now?’ feature, looking at the subsequent careers of some former Woking favourites. 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


Woking 2 Forest Green Rovers 0
26 February 2013

This was a superb all-round team performance by the Cards against a team challenging for promotion. Garry Hill started with the same side that had secured an away win at Southport, which meant a home debut for on-loan keeper Seb Brown.

The first half was fairly even, with Rovers perhaps playing the ‘prettier’ football, but Woking’s confidence grew as the game progressed and they took the lead in the 51st minute with an excellent strike from the hugely impressive Kevin Betsy, smashing the ball into the top right-hand corner of the goal.

It was no great surprise when the Cards increased their lead in the 78th minute, Jack Parkinson swivelling and firing home after a massive scramble in the Rovers box.

The Cards held out comfortably enough for a win that took them to 9th place in the table and only three points short of their initial 50-point target.

Woking: Seb Brown, Adam Newton, Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson, Mike Cestor (Gavin McCallum 89) Mark Ricketts, Jack Parkinson, Kevin Betsy, John Nutter, Bradley Bubb (George Frith 90), Jayden Stockley (Brett Williams 84)

Unused subs: Elvijs Putnins, Loick Pires

Goals: Kevin Betsy (51), Jack Parkinson (78)

Cautions: Nil

Forest Green Rovers: Sam Russell, Jared Hodgkiss, Chris Stokes, Jamie Turley, Yan Klukowski, Magno Vieira, Matt Taylor, Eddie Oshodi (Lee Fowler 46), Ed Asafu-Adjaye, James Norwood (Yemi Odubade 57), Paul Green (Ben Wright 74)

Unused subs: Omar Koroma, Aaran Racine

Cautions: Eddie Oshodi (43)

Attendance: 1105


The Cards are at home again on Monday evening in another important league fixture, this time against financially-stricken Hereford United. The Bulls are by no means clear of relegation worries even without the threat of administration, so this would be three very valuable points for Garry Hill’s side if they could grab a win.

Come on, you Cards!
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