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Cards target successful start

Brian Caffarey - 7th August 2014

Cards target successful start Alfreton Town v Woking
3pm on Saturday 9 August 2014

The real thing at last! Garry Hill’s side won’t lack confidence in travelling to Alfreton on Saturday but it is a tough place to visit for an opening fixture. The Reds had a particularly strong home record last season and will be looking to continue in that vein. Make the journey if you can but, if you can’t, make sure you’re at Kingfield for the first home game against Dartford on Tuesday evening. Let’s cheer the Cards on to a successful start to the season!

WOKING

The Cards will of course be missing the influential Kevin Betsy – out for some 12 weeks or so following his knee operation – and they will also have to cope without captain Mark Ricketts, carrying over a one-game suspension from last season. While the make-up of much of the side is fairly clear, there are uncertainties in particular about who will partner Joe McNerney in central defence, given that James Clarke has only played less than half of a pre-season game – impressing against a West Ham XI on Tuesday night; and whether anyone will start up front with Scott Rendell.

It remains to be seen, too, whether Garry will spring a last-minute surprise with a late signing.

ALFRETON TOWN

The Reds, under Nicky Law, were one of the surprise packages last season, their fourth in the Conference Premier, mounting a play-off bid that only faltered right at the end of the season when they had three points deducted for fielding an ineligible player. They finished in 11th place with 67 points, one point and two places below the Cards. But for the deduction, they would have pushed the Cards down to 10th place. Their home record was particularly impressive, with 13 wins, six draws and only four defeats all season, scoring 45 goals and conceding 33. Their challenge was founded to a considerable extent on the goalscoring prowess of John Akinde, who had trialled for Woking in the summer. Akinde notched 18 league goals but the Reds will have to look to others this season since Akinde joined Barnet this summer.

In spite of Alfreton’s successful campaign, Nicky Law has been busy in the transfer market, signing 12 new players at the last count. Nearly all of them seem to come with bags of experience of the non-League game and, often, some lower League experience too. Several too have already played for Alfreton at some stage in their careers. Notable additions include central defender Luke Graham, Hereford United’s captain last season; defender Chris Smith, York City’s captain in the year they won promotion to the League and the FA Trophy; midfielder Anthony Powell, returning after two successful years with Mansfield; and Duane Courtney, a defender, most recently with Tamworth. A quick returnee was England C international Dan Bradley, who decided that his recent move to Barnet had been a mistake.

The Reds will no doubt be hoping that experienced striker Paul Clayton, who scored seven league goals in 19 starts, and Tom Shaw, with eight in 34 starts, can plunder a few more this season to make up for the loss of Akinde. Jay McFadzean, brother of MK Dons’ Kyle, will also be looking to contribute from an attacking midfield role.

The Reds’ last pre-season game ended in a surprising 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Solihull Moors after some decent performances against League opposition.

GETTING THERE

The Impact Arena
North Street
Alfreton
Derbyshire
DE55 7FZ

Official website: www.alfretontownfc.com

By coach
The Cards Trust coach leaves Kingfield at 10.00am. The cost is £17 for members and £22 for non-members. Ring or email the Club Shop (01483 772470 or shop@wokingfc.co.uk) to book your place – assuming that there are still some seats left.

By car
From M1: Turn off at junction 28 onto the A38 towards Derby. Follow for two miles, then take the slip road onto the B600. Turn right at main road towards the town centre. After half-a-mile, immediately after the Catholic Church on left, turn left into North Street. The ground is 150 yards down on the right.

By train
Alfreton Station is about 15 minutes’ walk from the ground. You’d need to take a train from St Pancras International to either Nottingham or (slightly quicker) Chesterfield and then catch a train to Alfreton. For example, the 11.15 to Nottingham arrives there at 12.54, with a train to Alfreton leaving at 13.17 and arriving at 13.43. Or you could catch the 11.58 to Chesterfield, arriving at 13.43, and then the 13.52 to Alfreton, getting in at 14.02. Look up www.nationalrail.co.uk for options and prices.

The Alfreton website gives the following directions from the station: Leaving the station approach, turn right on Mansfield Road and up the hill towards the town centre. Take the second turn left onto Prospect Street (post office on left corner, chip shop on right). Continue for full length of Prospect Street. At top, cross Nottingham Road on a light-controlled pedestrian crossing. Facing you is a Roman Catholic church. North Street goes down the right-hand side of the church. 150 yards down, the ground is on your right, set well back.

ADMISSION PRICES

It looks as though admission prices are the same as last season:

£18 for each adult (aged 16 upwards)
£12 for senior citizens (persons aged 65 and over) and children 15 and under who are non Junior Reds members
£12 for students upon production of a student card at the turnstile on the day of the game
£3 for Junior Reds members (up to and including 15 year olds) provided they are accompanied through the turnstile by a paying adult.

Cheaper tickets can be purchased in advance by credit card by telephoning the Early Bird Match Ticket Administration Office on 01773 830277 Monday to Friday, 9am to 3.30pm each day. There is also a Group Saver scheme for five supporters or more. Look up www.alfretontownfc.com for more details of the ticketing arrangements.

LAST SEASON

Alfreton Town 3 Woking 1
7 September 2013

This was the Cards’ fourth defeat in a row in a worrying start to the season. Despite having plenty of possession Woking looked toothless up front in comparison with the Reds, for whom Akinde proved a handful. He set up Alfreton’s first goal in the 9th minute, scored by Tom Shaw. Woking were perhaps slightly fortunate to equalise through a Gavin Williams penalty a minute later but went 2-1 down before half-time when Shaw netted again following a half-cleared corner. The Reds wrapped up the game in extra time in the second half, with Danny Meadows slotting home from a counter-attack.

Woking 2 Alfreton Town 1
12 April 2014

This match followed a 3-0 home defeat by Cambridge United, which had ended the Cards’ sequence of six league wins and a draw. Missing Keiran Murtagh, and playing their fourth game in eight days, the Cards looked second best to Alfreton for much of the first half, with Akinde putting the Reds ahead in the 20th minute. Woking looked sharper in the second half and staged a late come-back. In the 80th minute Joey Jones headed home John Nutter’s free-kick off a post and, five minutes later, Jack Marriott superbly controlled a long ball and crashed home the winner.

NEXT GAMES

The Cards’ first home league game is on Tuesday evening when rivals Dartford are the visitors. Please come along if you possibly can to support the side. The Cards are then at home again on Saturday 16 August when Macclesfield Town come to Kingfield.


Come on, you Cards!






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