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Cards look to defy injury problems

Brian Caffarey - 3rd September 2015

Cards look to defy injury problems Macclesfield Town v Woking
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 5 September 2015

The Cards, sitting in third place in the table after their four-point haul over the Bank Holiday, have a tough trip to Macclesfield on Saturday but will be hoping to stretch their unbeaten run to seven games in spite of their extremely unfortunate injury problems.

WOKING

The news this week that scans have confirmed that Ismail Yakubu, injured in the 1-1 draw at Boreham Wood last weekend, has ruptured his anterior cruciate and will be out for 12 months is a huge blow to Ismail and the Club. Ismail has been in outstanding form and it’s almost unbelievable that he’s suffered the same injury as top scorer, Scott Rendell, who managed only 37 minutes of the opening game of the season. And that’s not counting Mike Cestor, still recovering from the same injury suffered last season. Garry Hill has every reason to think that he’s jinxed!

The Cards, looking on course for three points at Boreham Wood before injuries successively sidelined Joey Jones, Mark Ricketts and Yakubu, grabbed an important win against Welling United two days later. Garry had worked quickly to draft in two new players, Terell Thomas, a 19 year-old defender from Charlton Athletic, and Jimmy Keohane, a midfielder who left Exeter City in the summer after several seasons. Both made impressive debuts, Thomas looking comfortable as an admittedly inexperienced replacement for Yakubu, while the busy Keohane came off the bench to score an excellent goal to make the game safe.

The Cards had struggled, though, in the first half, with the midfield looking decidedly off-colour in the absence of Mark Ricketts, and with Joey Jones, not fully fit, and Keiran Murtagh having to adopt more defensive roles. Had Welling been sharper up front, they might well have set the Cards a much stiffer test by half-time. But Woking improved after the break and were comfortable 2-0 winners by the end.

A brighter piece of news this week was that Dan Holman’s loan has been extended to 2 January 2016. He has been a constant threat to opposition defences with his aggressive running and shooting on sight.

MACCLESFIELD TOWN

The Silkmen exceeded expectations last season, just missing out on a play-off place as they finished in 6th place, two points ahead of Woking and only one point behind fifth-placed Forest Green Rovers. Their success largely stemmed from a very tight defence.

They have had a mixed start to this campaign, losing away to Torquay on the opening day before drawing at home to Southport and beating Welling United. But these results were followed by a 5-3 defeat at Lincoln City, a 1-0 loss at Eastleigh and a 2-1 defeat at home to local rivals Chester last Saturday, with Chester grabbing two very late goals. But the Silkmen recorded an impressive 2-0 away win at Grimsby Town on Monday afternoon, with Kristian Dennis scoring both goals in what otherwise sounded like a classic ‘backs to the wall’ performance away from home.

Over the summer manager John Askey lost his highly-rated keeper Rhys Taylor, bringing in ex-Card Shwan Jalal to compete with Ritchie Branagan for the number 1 spot. Shwan saved a penalty on his debut in the 0-0 draw with Southport and received the ‘man of the match’ award but was injured during the 5-3 defeat at Lincoln. He returned, though, to play an important part in the victory over Grimsby. Other significant departures were those of defender Scott Barrow, who joined Rhys Taylor in signing for Newport County; striker Matthew Barnes-Homer, who joined Aldershot Town; and Adriano Moke, who transferred to Wrexham.

Arrivals included midfielder Danny Whitehead, centre back Neill Byrne from AFC Telford, and striker Kristian Dennis, returning from Stockport County. Other players who had already appeared for Macc but who joined permanently included striker Jack Sampson.

GETTING THERE

Moss Rose Stadium
London Road
Macclesfield
Cheshire
SK11 7SP

Official website: www.mtfc.co.uk

By coach
The Cards Trust coach leaves the Laithwaite Community Stadium at 9.30am. The cost is £28 for members and £33 for non-members, with accompanied U16s (a maximum of two per adult) £14/£17. Ring or email the Club Shop to book your place (01843 772470 or shop@wokingfc.co.uk).

By car
Exit the M6 at junction 17 (Sandbach) and follow the A534 to Congleton. From here take the A536 to Macclesfield (Macclesfield is signposted from the motorway). After passing the 'Millers' pub on the left continue for about 1/4 of a mile and take the first right after the speed camera onto Moss Lane. Follow Moss Lane until you reach the ground.

By train
Direct trains leave Euston on the hour and take I hour 41 minutes e.g. the 12 noon train gets into Macclesfield at 13.41. Other, slightly slower, trains leave at 20 minutes past the hour and involve a change at Stoke-on-Trent e.g. the 11.20 from Euston arrives at Stoke at 12.48, with a train from Stoke to Macclesfield leaving at 12.55 and arriving at 13.11. Direct trains back are at 56 minutes past the hour e.g. the 17.56 arrives at Euston at 19.43. Trains via Stoke leave at 26 or 27 minutes past the hour e.g. the 17.27 should get you to Euston at 19.24. The ground is about a 25-minute walk from the station.

ADMISSION PRICES

Adults: £15 / £19
Concessions (Over 65): £10 / £15
Under 18s / Students: £5
Under 12s (accompanied by adult): £3

The prices quoted are for standing/seated tickets purchased on the day. Cheaper tickets can be purchased in advance (e.g. by phoning 01625 264686 or by visiting www.mtfcdirect.co.uk)

LAST TIME OUT

Macclesfield Town 2 Woking 1
6 December 2014

This proved to be the beginning of a poor mid-season run which saw the Cards go eight league games without a win. In retrospect the surprise is that, after such a barren spell, the Cards were still able to recover sufficiently to put in a challenge for a play-off spot.

Garry Hill’s side had gone into this game on the back of two home wins over Braintree and Altrincham but were behind in 14 minutes after Ross Worner could only parry Danny Whittaker’s shot to the waiting Matthew Barnes-Homer, who tucked away from close range. The Silkmen applied more pressure but Woking rallied in the last quarter of an hour or so before the break.

The Cards came out looking determined to take the game to Macclesfield and evened the scores in the 51st minute when lone striker Dean Morgan fired into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

The game remained poised until the 89th minute when Paul Turnbull found the net with the help of a deflection to rob the Cards of a point they probably deserved on the balance of play.

Macclesfield Town: Rhys Taylor, Andy Halls, Scott Barrow, George Pilkington, Paul Turnbull (c), Chris Holroyd (Arthur Gnahoua 72), Waide Fairhurst (Denny Johnstone 80), Adriano Moke, Danny Whittaker, Matthew Barnes-Homer, Liam Hogan

Unused subs: Alex Grant, Will Bailey, Ritchie Branagan

Woking: Ross Worner, Mike Cestor, Joe McNerney (c), James Clarke (Adam Newton 85), Josh Payne, Keiran Murtagh (Giuseppe Sole 81), Kevin Betsy, Joey Jones, John Goddard (Jack Marriott 90), Dean Morgan, Chris Arthur

Unused subs: Scott Rendell, Andy Little

Attendance: 1,383

COMING UP

The Cards travel to Guiseley next Saturday (12 September). The Cards then have two very attractive and testing home games against table-topping Forest Green Rovers (Tuesday 15 September), who have recorded seven straight wins, and Gary Johnson’s unbeaten Cheltenham Town(Saturday 19 September). Make sure both matches are in your diary!

Come on, you Cards!

P.S. Don’t forget the fans’ forum at 7.30pm this evening in the Geoff Chapple Lounge (remember to park in the parking area near the Snooker Club), plus the Elvis Tribute Night tomorrow evening.
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