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Dowse takes his Cards to Fleet as pre-season gets underway

Glen Harrington - 28th June 2018

Dowse takes his Cards to Fleet as pre-season gets underway Fleet Town vs Woking
Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 30th June 2018


The Cards start a new era on Saturday as they play their first game under new manager Alan Dowson. Fleet Town will be the opponents in the first of eight pre-season ties as Dowse and his new-look Woking squad make the relatively short trip to Hampshire to take on the tier eight side.

It will also be a first game in charge for Fleet’s new joint-managers Simon Haughney and Martin Grey who made the move from Walton and Hersham along with assistant Paul Thomas back in May.

Woking

When the first whistle blows on Saturday it will mark just nine weeks to the day since the Cards kicked off their now infamous final match of the 2017/18 season against Dover Athletic – whose last minute goal confirmed Woking’s relegation and ended a six-year stay for the club in the top flight of non-league football.

The man tasked with leading the Cards back to the National League is former Hampton and Richmond boss Dowson, along with his assistants Ian Dyer and Martin Tyler, although the latter currently remains on media duty at the World Cup in Russia. The trio already have the makings of a promising squad at their disposal with eleven players confirmed – in addition to defender Josh Staunton who was the only contracted player left from last season.

Thus far, the Cards have recruited three other familiar names who have featured heavily for the club’s academy in recent season, with goalkeeper Sam Mason, midfielder Declan Appau and winger Reggie Young all signing new deals. They have been joined by former Hampton trio Charlie Wassmer, Jack Cook and Christian Jolley. Wassmer and Cook were Dowse’s centre-back pairing at the Beveree last season and enjoyed the second best defensive record in the division. Meanwhile the experienced Jolley, who is comfortable in midfield or out wide, continues his now decade-long association with the Woking boss having started his career with him at Kingstonian.

Other names to look out for include the former Dartford trio, goalkeeper Berti Schotterl, versatile defender/midfielder Nathan Collier, and striker Duane Ofori-Acheampong, who all played their part in helping the Darts to a second place finish in the National League South last season. Ian Gayle, most recently of Wealdstone, will be looking to force his way into an already competitive looking defensive setup; whilst tricky winger Nicky Wheeler, last with Billericay Town but best known for his success with Tonbridge Angels, will be likewise hoping to impress.

They will no doubt be joined by a number of trialists as Dowse continues to build a competitive squad for the new season.

Fleet Town

Last season Fleet featured in the Southern Football League East Division and had a relatively disappointing year as they finished in 19th place with 34 points. Their tally was well short of their previous campaign when they amassed 50 points to finish 14th, although it was more than enough to steer clear of the solitary relegation place, which went to Arlesey Town on just 14 points.

There has been some controversy following the restructure of the non-league pyramid this summer and bizarrely the Blues do not yet know which division they will be playing their football in next season. They were originally allocated a place in the Isthmian League South Central Division – the eighth tier of English football, two divisions below the Cards, and one of three feeder leagues for the main Isthmian Premier, home to the likes of Leatherhead and Kingstonian.

However, following the resignation from the Northern Premier League of Shaw Lane, a late move was made to switch the Hampshire-side sideways to the Southern Football League West Division. They have understandably appealed this decision and are awaiting a result which is expected in early July. Should their appeal be successful they will be joined in their new division by the Cards’ near-neighbours Westfield, following their promotion as champions from the Combined Counties League, who play across the road at Woking Park.

Getting there

Fleet play their football next to Calthorpe Park which is accessed via a driveway on Crookham Road. The postcode is GU51 5FA. The ground itself is located within a residential area and the guidance on the club’s website advises supporters to ensure they are looking for Crookham Road when using a Sat Nav. The nearest train station is Fleet, about 20 minutes from Woking station, which is a 30 minute walk or five minute taxi journey from the ground.

We hope that as many fans as possible will make the short journey to support the Cards and give our new team and manager a proper welcome!
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