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Cards' fate to be decided on final day

Brian Caffarey - 26th April 2017

Cards' fate to be decided on final day Dagenham and Redbridge v Woking
Vanarama National League
12.15pm on Saturday 29 April 2017

Well, Garry Hill said ages ago that he thought that the fight against relegation would go till the last game of the season, and so it has proved. The Cards are in a better position than many feared a few weeks ago but they still need a point from this trip to Garry’s former club on Saturday to secure their safety – or hope that at least one of York City, Guiseley or Torquay lose or draw. Conversely, Woking would be relegated on goal difference if they were to lose at Dagenham and all three of these clubs, all of whom are playing at home, were to win. So, a nerve-wracking final day is in prospect. Make the trip if you can to cheer on the Cards! And don’t forget that it is a 12.15pm kick-off.

WOKING

It’s testimony to the improved form which Garry Hill’s side have shown in recent months that they go into the final game of the campaign in as high a position in the table, 18th, as they have been all season. But, even with 52 points on board, they are not safe. While, obviously, a win against York City last Saturday would have allayed all worries, the 1-1 draw at least meant that the Cards’ fate rests in their hands and ensured that the Minstermen, like Torquay and Guiseley, have to win their final fixture to have any chance of overtaking Woking.

The relevant bit of the table looks like this:

Chester (52 points) (GD: -6)
Woking (52 points) (GD: -14)
Torquay United (50 points) (GD: -9)
Guiseley (50 points) (GD: - 17)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
York City (49 points) (GD: -15)
Braintree Town (48 points) (GD: -23)

Chester are safe, in practice, since even if, on a worst case scenario, all the teams below them were to win and they were to lose, their goal difference is far superior to York City’s, who would be level on points with them.

The final fixtures are:

Chester v Boreham Wood
Dagenham and Redbridge v Woking
Torquay v North Ferriby United
Guiseley v Solihull Moors
York City v Forest Green Rovers
Aldershot Town v Braintree Town

Torquay’s and Guiseley’s home games both look very winnable, and one wouldn’t like to bet against York City beating Forest Green Rovers, who have already secured their play-off place. So, it’s perfectly possible that Woking will need to get a point at Dagenham. The only realistic approach for Garry Hill and his players is to target a win.

DAGENHAM AND REDBRIDGE

It’s no great surprise to find that the highly-experienced, canny John Still has led the Daggers to a play-off place, following their relegation from League 2 at the end of last season. He has built a side with a mix of tried and tested players, several of whom have played previously for him at Luton Town, and well-judged captures from lower non-League clubs. They sit in 4th place with 83 points, two points behind Forest Green Rovers. There is an incentive for them to attain 3rd place since this would give them home advantage in the second leg against Rovers in the play-offs.

Woking may possibly take some comfort that the Daggers’ home record is less impressive than their away record. On their travels, John Still’s side have racked up 14 wins, more than any other side, but their home record reads: 12 wins, 4 draws and 6 defeats. Those losses have come against Boreham Wood, Gateshead, Barrow, Torquay, Guiseley and Maidstone. But the Daggers have been on a good run recently, winning five and drawing one of their last seven games, with the only defeat coming away at champions Lincoln City.

Up front, Woking will have to be wary of the immensely experienced Paul Benson, brought back to Victoria Road last summer and who has scored in each of the Daggers’ last three games; pacy winger Corey Whiteley, signed from Enfield Town last summer and who has bagged 16 goals; and Fejiri Okenabirhie, signed from Harrow Borough and previously with Stevenage. Top scorer, Oliver Hawkins, with 19 goals, has been injured and has missed the last few games. A recent addition is Elliot Romain, who had scored 20 goals for Eastbourne Borough.

At the back, Still can call on Scott Doe, re-signed, along with Luke Howell, in the summer after a season at Boreham Wood. Other defenders include Joe Widdowson, signed from Bury in January after a loan spell; Curtley Williams, another ex-Luton signing; Craig Robson, signed from Bognor Regis Town; the Donnellan brothers, Shaun and Leo; and Josh Staunton, a summer signing from Charlton Athletic. Elliot Justham is the regular keeper but Still gave a run-out to Mark Cousins in their last game, at Wrexham.

The Daggers’ midfield contingent includes Andre Boucaud, who has played for a number of League and non-League clubs; Luke Howell; Matt Robinson, another recruit from Luton who also had a spell on loan with Woking last season and who has recently returned after breaking his leg; 35-year-old Luke Guttridge, signed from Luton in January; Jordan Maguire-Drew, a winger on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion; and Frankie Raymond, recruited from Eastbourne Borough in 2014.

GETTING THERE

Dagenham and Redbridge FC
Chigwell Construction Stadium
Victoria Road
Dagenham
RM10 7XL

Website: www.daggers.co.uk

By coach

The Cards Trust coach leaves Kingfield at 10.00am. The cost is only £10 for Cards Trust Members, £20 for non-Members, and £10/£5 for Under 16s. Phone the Club Shop on 01483 772470 or email shop@wokingfc.co.uk to reserve your place, or email Alan Barnes on a.barn1572@btinternet.com . Please book as early as possible, so that appropriate provision can be made.

By car

Take the M25 eastbound and head for the Dartford Tunnel crossing. Follow signs for A13 to Dagenham/ Central London. Proceed along this road and take the turn-off signposted Elm Park & Dagenham East and turn right at the roundabout at the bottom of the slip road. Proceed to the set of lights and turn left onto a dual carriageway. 

After about half a mile you will see a McDonalds on your right. Get into the right-hand filter lane and turn right onto the A1112 Ballards Road. The speed limit is 30 mph and there is a speed camera on your left. At the Bull roundabout bear left and go past Dagenham East Tube Station. Victoria Road is the fifth turning on the left.

There is no parking at the ground but there is parking in local streets, subject to parking restrictions.

By train

Take the train to Waterloo and then go on the Jubilee Line to West Ham. Switch onto the District Line and alight at Dagenham East. On leaving the station turn left and the ground is the fifth turning on the left, about 400 metres from the station. 

An alternative, if more convenient, is to take the train from Liverpool Street to Romford. When leaving Romford station turn left where the 103 bus (towards Rainham Station) will stop at the nearest bus stop. The bus stops outside the ground.

ADMISSION PRICES

Traditional Builders Stand 

Adult - £21.00 
Concession - £15.00 
Junior (10-16 year olds) - £12.00 
Under 10 – Free if purchased in advance with an adult ticket (one free per paying adult). Otherwise, £10 on the day.

LAST TIME OUT

Woking 1 Dagenham and Redbridge 3
Vanarama National League
20 August 2016

In their fifth game of the season and with only a point to show to date, the Cards suffered their third straight defeat at home. The Daggers raced into a 3-0 lead with only 20 minutes gone and, although a spirited Woking side pulled a goal back shortly after half-time, the mountain was too high to climb.

Craig Robson opened the scoring for Dagenham in the 11th minute with a deft header, and the lead was doubled six minutes later when Jordan Maguire-Drew hit a superb ‘curler’. Ben Gordon then brought down Maguire-Drew. Although Michael Poke saved Fejiri Okenabirhe’s spot kick, he was able to put away the rebound.

Anthony Edgar did well, in the 47th minute, to make space for himself in the Daggers’ box and beat the keeper with a low drive.

Woking: Michael Poke; Jake Caprice, Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Ben Gordon (Fabio Saraiva 45); Charlie Carter (Zak Ansah 81), Keiran Murtagh, Anthony Edgar, Nathan Ralph; Charlie Penny, Max Kretzschmar (Gozie Ugwu 73)

Unused subs: Brandon Hall, Dennon Lewis

Goals: Edgar (47)

Dagenham & Redbridge: Elliot Justham; Joe Widdowson, Craig Robson, Scott Doe, Curtley Williams; Matt Robinson, Paul Benson, Jordan Maguire-Drew (Corey Whitely 72); Andre Boucaud, Luke Guttridge (Josh Staunton 78), Fejiri Okenabirhe

Unused subs: Mark Cousins, Frankie Raymond, Christian Assombalonga

Goals: Robson (11), Maguire-Drew (17), Okenabirhe (19)

Attendance: 1153

COMING UP

Don’t forget that the Cards play Merstham in the Final of the Surrey Senior Cup at 7.45pm on Wednesday 3 May at the Laithwaite Community Stadium.


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