Woking v Dover Athletic
Vanarama National League
7.45pm on Tuesday 28 February 2017
Another valiant effort away on Saturday against a top-five team but alas, again, no points. So, Tuesday’s home game against Dover Athletic, also riding high in the play-off places, becomes even more critical. Come on down to the Laithwaite Community Stadium to cheer on Garry Hill’s side as they battle hard to escape the relegation zone.
The Cards made a real game of it at Forest Green Rovers, taking the lead early in the second half, but, once again, couldn’t defend well enough to get even a share of the points. Fortunately, not too much damage was done to Woking’s league standing since Southport, Torquay United and Guiseley all lost (the last, though) to North Ferriby United, who moved off the bottom, above York City); Maidstone United and Braintree Town drew with each other; and York City were involved in the FA Trophy. So, the Cards remain in 19th place, now above Maidstone United only on goal difference.
Woking’s task on Tuesday evening – and away at North Ferriby United next Saturday – will be made even more difficult by the absence of skipper Keiran Murtagh, who picked up his tenth yellow card and a two-game suspension. Worryingly, too, Jake Caprice, the Cards’ main attacking outlet this season, hobbled off shortly before the end of Saturday’s game. It was a shame, too, that Connor Hall, scorer of two goals in the midweek county cup win, was injured in the warm-up and wasn’t able to start the game as planned.
But Garry Hill’s side know that getting points from home games is vital if they are to stave off relegation, so they are simply going to have to get on with it.
Dover are enjoying another fine season under manager Chris Kinnear. Having taken the side to the play-offs last year, he saw three of his best players leave in the summer: top scorer Stefan Payne joining Barnsley, influential midfielder Nicky Deverdics signing for Hartlepool and defender Sean Raggett joining Lincoln City. But the Whites have made light of these losses and are mounting another determined bid for a play-off place. They currently sit in 5th place following Saturday’s 3-0 home win over Eastleigh.
Dover have been hugely indebted to the form shown by Ricky Miller, who has already bagged 30 league goals, his fourth hat-trick of the season coming in Saturday’s win. But they are strong in all areas, with some useful additions to compensate for the departures. Among them were keeper Steve Arnold arriving from Forest Green Rovers; striker Ross Lafayette from Eastleigh; and winger Joe Healy, opting to join the Whites rather than stay at Maidstone United. More recent additions are winger James Caton, signed from Shrewsbury Town; defender Bondz N’Gala, a record signing by Eastleigh from Barnet but who then left by mutual agreement and was the subject of a botched transfer to Gillingham before heading to Dover; James Hurst, a utility player who was with AFC Telford; Connor Essam, also part of the exodus from Eastleigh and who played for the Whites before joining Leyton Orient; and Nicky Deverdics, returning on loan from Hartlepool United. Meanwhile, summer signing from Aldershot, Jim Stevenson, has gone on loan to Southport.
Both Ricky Miller (in the Academy) and Ross Lafayette (on loan) have worn the Cardinal red and white, but there are several other players in the Whites’ squad who have played for Woking: Moses Emmanuel (formerly Ademola), Jack Parkinson, Connor Essam and Aswad Thomas.
Other, familiar, names from last season include keeper Mitch Walker, defenders Richard Orlu, Tyrone Sterling, Sam Magri and Jamie Grimes and forwards Ricky Modeste and Tyrone Marsh.
Away from home Dover have won eight, drawn two and lost six games, scoring 28 goals and conceding 24.
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LAST TIME OUT
Dover Athletic 3 Woking 1
Vanarama National League
22 November 2016
The Cards went into this midweek game on the back of a superb 3-0 away win at Maidstone United the previous Saturday, their first victory on their travels this season, but any hopes of a repeat performance were soon dashed as Garry Hill’s side once again exhibited all the defensive frailties seen in so many earlier matches. This made it easy for it easy for a tough, powerful, disciplined, efficient Dover side, who always looked to have the competitive edge.
The Whites were quick to go on the offensive, with former Cards, Ross Lafayette (in for the suspended Ricky Miller) and Moses Emmanuel, looking sharp. On 20 minutes Emmanuel chipped a a pass to his unmarked strike partner at the far post, which was easily nodded in to put Dover one goal up.
The Cards gradually recovered and in a good spell looked as though they would make a real contest of it, with Jake Caprice’s runs and crosses catching the eye. However, just when the side needed to get to half-time only a goal down, they conceded a second. A long throw in the 42nd minute wasn’t cleared and, in spite of vociferous appeals for offside, Lafayette played Emmanuel through for an easy finish.
All hopes of an unlikely comeback were dashed immediately after half-time. The Woking defence stood stock still as an innocuous ball was lofted towards the Cards’ goal. Lafayette ran on and slotted past Brandon Hall.
It looked as though Dover would then run riot but Gozie Ugwu helped to steady the ship with a fine header from a Caprice cross to make it 3-1 and, later on, Delano Sam-Yorke missed a great chance to reduce the deficit still further, although Hall had also been forced to make some fine saves to keep the Cards in the match.
Dover Athletic: Steve Arnold, Sam Magri, Aswad Thomas, Richard Orlu, Jim Stevenson, Mitchell Pinnock, Jamie Grimes, Tyrone Sterling, Moses Emmanuel (Joe Healy 83), Sammy Moore (Chris Kinnear Jnr 84), Ross Lafayette
Unused subs: Mitch Walker, Jack Parkinson, Ira Jackson Jnr
Goals: Ross Lafayette 20, 46; Moses Emmanuel 42
Woking: Brandon Hall, Jake Caprice, Frazer Shaw (Delano Sam-Yorke 64) , Terrell Thomas, Brian Saah (Ismail Yakubu 58), Joey Jones, Keiran Murtagh, Fabio Saraiva, Charlie Carter (Frankie Sutherland 58), Gozie Ugwu, Chike Kandi
Unused subs: Andy Little, Dennon Lewis
Goal: Gozie Ugwu 56
The Cards will be targeting a win when they travel to North Ferriby United, second from bottom, next Saturday (4 March). The Cards’ next home game on Saturday 11 March will see the return of Mark Ricketts and Bruno Andrade when Boreham Wood are the visitors.
Come on, you Cards!