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Cards face tough home test

Brian Caffarey - 24th November 2016

Cards face tough home test Woking v Gateshead
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 26 November 2016

The Cards, desperate to put points on the board, take on promotion-hopefuls Gateshead on Saturday afternoon. Come on down to the Laithwaite Community Stadium to cheer on the Cards in what promises to be a tense and exciting encounter!

WOKING

It was disappointing that the Cards could not get anything out of their midweek trip to Dover Athletic. After their fine display at Maidenhead there were hopes that Garry Hill’s side could pull off another surprise at Crabble but they were undone by the re-emergence of familiar defensive failings, conceding crucial goals just before and after the break at a point in the game when they looked well capable of overcoming a one-goal deficit.

The Cards still sit one place above the relegation places but now only on goal difference from Braintree Town.

With more games coming up thick and fast, Garry will be relieved that various players, including Michael Poke, Nathan Ralph, Dennon Lewis and Ismail Yakubu, are all ready, or nearly ready, to return to action. There was good news, too, that Terrell Thomas’s loan has apparently been extended.

GATESHEAD

The Heed had a relatively disappointing season in 2015-16, finishing in 9th place, 13 points off the play-off places, but look as though they could mount a concerted challenge for a play-off spot this time round. That prospect was hugely reinforced by an astonishing 5-0 away win a fortnight ago over fellow promotion-chasers, Dagenham and Redbridge. They have also achieved creditable draws at home since then to two more top sides, Eastleigh and Macclesfield Town. Apart from their win at Dagenham, the Heed have also won away at Southport, Braintree, Tranmere and Maidstone. They are unbeaten in their last nine league games, including their last four away games: a sequence which includes five draws. Manager Neil Aspin is keen to turn draws into wins in order to move the Heed up from 9th place into the play-off spots.

Aspin – clearly with money at his disposal – almost completely rebuilt his squad in the summer. Among the arrivals were keepers Dan Hanford from Carlisle and Sam Johnson, on loan from Port Vale but who was at Halifax with Aspin and won an FA Trophy winner’s medal with the Shaymen; defender James Bolton, another arrival from Halifax on a three-year contract; George Smith, a right-sided defender who made 40 appearances for Barnsley and who also had a brief loan spell with Crawley last season; centre back Manny Smith, one of three recruits from Wrexham but who also has 150 appearances for Walsall on his CV; captain, defender Liam Hogan, signed from Tranmere but another player previously with Aspin at Halifax; Jamal Fyfield, a defender signed from Wrexham who won promotion with York City and who has also turned out for Grimsby and Welling; winger Wes York, who made 90 appearances for Wrexham over two seasons; attacking midfielder Sam Jones, who notched 19 goals for Alfreton last season; midfielder Toby Ajala, with Torquay last season but who has also had loan spells with AFC Wimbledon and Cheltenham Town and a season at Welling; and striker Reece Styche from Macclesfield Town, best known for his time at Forest Green Rovers. Highly experienced midfielder Russell Penn, with over 300 Football League appearances with Burton, Cheltenham, York and Carlisle, is on loan from the Cumbrians.

Sam Jones, recently moved to an out-and-out striking role, and Danny Johnson, with 10 league goals already, are both in fine goalscoring form.

The Heed have a reputation for playing good football on the ground.

ADMISSION PRICES

Adults £18
Over 65/Students with valid student card £13
U16s £5

MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

Don’t forget that Saturday’s and Tuesday’s matchday programmes will contain vouchers giving priority for the purchase of tickets if the Cards make it through to the Third Round of the FA Cup.

COMING UP

The Cards follow Saturday’s game with another crucial home fixture on Tuesday evening: at home to Bromley (7.45pm kick-off). Then at 2pm on Sunday 4 December they entertain Accrington Stanley in the 2nd Round Proper of the Emirates FA Cup.

Come on, you Cards!

P.S. Don’t forget Friday night’s Cards Trust quiz: see details on the official website.
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