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WOKING v ALTRINCHAM

Brian Caffarey - 13th September 2007

Woking v Altrincham
3pm on Saturday 15 September 2007

It?s already clear that Altrincham will struggle again this season to maintain their BSP status. Manager Graham Heathcote has been muttering about the unrealistic expectations some fans have of the Club in the light of his budget. (Might Frank say the same?!) From the Cards? point of view, this is the sort of game from which we really must aim to get three points if we?re not to slip even nearer the relegation places.

WOKING
The Cards were without Tom Hutchinson and Bradley Quamina for the visit to Halifax on Tuesday evening, but both resumed training during the week and Frank Gray is hopeful that they will be available for selection this weekend. Young striker, Joe Gatting, has joined the club from Brighton & Hove Albion for a three month loan period and Paul Hakim from Stevenage Borough is expected to sign today (Friday) on an initial month?s loan. Liam Marum and Matt Gray remain on the long-term injury list.

ALTY SQUAD

After being spared relegation by Boston United?s double demotion, Graham Heathcote set about strengthening his side for another season of struggle. He seems to have opted mainly for bringing in experienced Conference campaigners, including Darren Tinson, 37 year-old central defender, who was with Burton Albion for the last two seasons but who won promotion to the League with Macclesfield Town; Chris Lane, a 28 year-old right back from Southport but who has also appeared for Hereford, Morecambe, Chester and Leigh RMI; and midfielder Jake Sedgemore, who was released by Kidderminster Harriers after spells at Shrewsbury, Northwich and Burton Albion amongst other clubs.

Another experienced hand, but this time from a League background, is 33 year-old midfielder Gareth Whalley, arriving from Swindon Town but with over 350 League appearances behind him with a host of clubs. A younger newcomer is Matthew Berkeley, a 20 year-old midfielder from Gretna. Two transfer deadline day signings were Sean Clancy, with Southport and Burscough last season, and winger Carlos Logan, released by Darlington at the end of last season. Alty?s prize asset, however, is striker Colin Little: without his goals in recent seasons the Robins would have been dead and buried.

SEASON SO FAR

The Robins have yet to register a win, recording three draws and five defeats in their opening eight games. The season started ominously with a 4-1 thrashing at home at the hands of Exeter City. But it was Alty who had taken the lead through Karl Munroe and they were one goal to the good still at half-time. But the Grecians rattled in four goals in the second half to leave Graham Heathcote threatening an early departure. The trip away to Halifax was more encouraging, the Robins earning a 2-2 draw, with goals from Colin Little and Jake Sedgemore, after going two-nil down. Two defeats followed, however: 3-1 away at Forest Green Rovers and 1-0 at home to Grays Athletic. Joe O?Neill netted for the Robins against the Rovers. Colin Little received a straight red against Grays to add to Heathcote?s misery.

The second of the Bank Holiday games saw Alty gain a point at Stafford Rangers in a 1-1 draw, Robbie Lawton giving them the lead before Rangers equalised with a penalty. On 1 September the Robins went down 2-1 at home to Aldershot Town. Darren Tinson cancelled out Jonny Dixon?s lead but Alty conceded again in the second half to send the Shots? fans away happy. The following Tuesday Altrincham managed a creditable 2-2 draw at York City. Darren Tinson gave Alty the lead but York City scored twice before Joe O?Neill headed a last-minute equaliser.

Last Saturday the Robins had a tough home fixture against Oxford United. With 13 minutes to go Jake Sedgemore equalised Paul Shaw?s lead for Oxford but Alty then conceded two late goals and had Karl Munroe sent off in the process.

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTERS

We have won all four games played against Altrincham since they were promoted. In December 2005 the Cards had a superb 4-0 away win over the Robins, having put thirteen past Camberley Town in a midweek Surrey Senior Cup game. Justin Richards and Steve Evans gave us a 2-0 lead at half-time, and Justin again and Steve Ferguson added two more in the second half.

In the last league game of that season the Cards triumphed 3-1 over Alty in a sparkling display which proved to be no guide at all to how we would perform in the FA Trophy Final a few weeks later. The goalscorers were Craig McAllister, Justin Richards (penalty) and Paul Watson, with Shola Oyedele pulling the strings in midfield.

Last September the Cards won 3-2 away during our Jon Nurse-inspired run of good form. Goma Lambu scored twice and Craig McAllister grabbed the third. In January, by which time all optimism had vanished, the Cards gained a vital 2-0 victory, with two second-half goals from Craig McAllister. James Bittner, Adam Green and Neil Barrett made their debuts in that match.

Come on, you Cards!
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