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Cards look to build on recent win

Alan Worth - 17th January 2017

Cards look to build on recent win Woking v Tranmere Rovers
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 21 January 2017


Garry Hill’s side continue their tough sequence of games on Saturday when high-flying Tranmere Rovers come to the Laithwaite Community Stadium. Come down if you can to cheer on the side as they seek to haul themselves away from the relegation zone.

WOKING

Woking secured a much needed and confidence boosting win away in Devon last Saturday against Torquay. The three points gained was enough to move the Cards up to 20th place in the table and one place above the relegation zone. Garry Hill and his squad will be anxious to build on this victory and do all they can to gradually move up the table and away from danger. That won’t be easy against a strong Tranmere side who are pushing for the automatic promotion at the head of the table.

Garry Hill has made it clear that he is doing all he can to bring in fresh faces and add more quality to his squad. In order to make space for potential new arrivals Anthony Edgar and Frankie Sutherland have both recently been released and Delano Sam-Yorke has been loaned out to Maidstone United. It will be interesting to see if there are any new replacements named on Saturday’s team sheet.

TRANMERE ROVERS

Tranmere failed last season to achieve promotion back to the Football League at their first attempt, ending up in a disappointing 6th place. Rovers won their first five games this season before drawing at Southport. Victory at Guiseley followed before they suffered their first defeat of the campaign, losing 3-1 at Aldershot Town. That was followed by another defeat, at home to Lincoln City. A goalless draw at York and defeat at Sutton by the odd goal saw Rovers slip to 5th place. Perhaps surprisingly, the Tranmere Board decided that this run of poor results was sufficient to part company with Manager Gary Brabin.

Brabin had concentrated in the summer on increasing Rovers’ options up front. England C striker James Norwood was already at the club, but Brabin added Andy Cook, Barrow’s top scorer last season with 24 goals; Connor Jennings, Wrexham’s top scorer and captain; and Darren Stephenson, who had scored 19 goals for Chorley. Two other new signings were midfielders Jay Harris, with Wrexham last season, and former Northern Ireland international Jeff Hughes, who had a loan spell at Prenton Park from Cambridge United last season. Other familiar names already at the club included imposing central defender Steve McNulty, winger and ex-Shot Adam Mekki, midfielder Lois Maynard and keeper Scott Davies.

Micky Mellon, the former Shrewsbury manager, was appointed to replace Brabin in early October. He oversaw an upturn in form from mid-October, the side going on a 10-match unbeaten run, which ended at Lincoln City on 17 December. In the holiday programme Tranmere beat Macclesfield Town at home but lost away. Last Saturday our visitors had a comfortable 4-1 win against South Park at Prenton Park in the FA Trophy and have drawn Chelmsford City at home in the next round.

Mellon returned to Shrewsbury to bring back striker Andy Mangan to Prenton Park. Mangan had also previously played for Mellon at Fleetwood Town. Other arrivals have included midfielder Adam Dawson, signed from Eastleigh, who had a loan spell at the club last season; and winger Ben Tollitt, signed from Portsmouth for an undisclosed fee after a successful loan spell. Tollitt originally came through the Everton youth set-up. Midfielder James Wallace has recently signed a permanent 18-month deal after a successful loan spell from Sheffield United.

Rovers sit in 3rd place in the league, behind Lincoln City and Forest Green Rovers. Away from home, they have won six league games, drawn four and lost four, scoring 19 goals and conceding 14.

ADMISSION PRICES

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

LAST TIME OUT

Tranmere Rovers 3 Woking 1
Vanarama National League
26 September 2016

The Cards went into this game with improved confidence following three wins and a draw in their previous five games whilst the home side had just sacked Gary Brabin after a poor run which saw only one win in the previous six games. The Cards played their part in a thrilling encounter and, at one stage in the second half, looked perfectly capable of claiming a point but were then undone by some clinical finishing and a penalty miss.

Woking showed up well in the first half but fell behind to an Andy Cook strike in the 34th minute. It was Cook who doubled the score in the 50th minute before Fabio Saraiva reduced the deficit with a mighty finish in the 68th minute. Unfortunately, Norwood immediately restored the two-goal advantage. Keiran Murtagh had an opportunity to pull a goal back again but his penalty kick was saved. In added time the home side gained a penalty, with Nathan Ralph also being shown a straight red, but Michael Poke saved the spot kick.

Tranmere Rovers: Scott Davies, Liam Ridehalgh, Steven Jennings, Steve McNulty, Michael Ihiekwe, Andy Cook (Ethan Jones 90), James Norwood, Ritchie Sutton, Louis Almond (Darren Stephenson 58), Ben Tollitt (Mitch Duggan 78), Lois Maynard.

Unused subs: Lee Vaughan, Iain Turner.

Goals: Cook 34, 49, Norwood 69.

Woking: Michael Poke, Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Connor Essam, Nathan Ralph, Keiran Murtagh (Anthony Edgar 78), Fabio Saraiva, Charlie Carter, Dennon Lewis, Gozie Ugwu (Chike Kandi 70), Sam Delano-Yorke (Zak Ansah 78).

Unused subs: Brandon Hall, Ismail Yakubu.

Goal: Saraiva 68.

Attendance: 4,214 (43 from Woking)

COMING UP

The Cards follow Saturday’s game with another testing encounter against a promotion-seeking club, Eastleigh away, on Saturday 28 January. Don’t forget, though, that Gez Sole’s testimonial game, against an AFC Bournemouth side, takes place at 7pm on Tuesday 24 January. The next home league game is on Saturday 4 February, when Solihull Moors are the visitors.

Come on, you Cards!
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