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Cards looking for return to form in the National League

Glen Harrington - 23rd January 2021

Cards looking for return to form in the National League Woking vs Maidenhead United
Vanarama National League
Saturday 23d January 2020

The Cards will be hoping to carry the momentum from Tuesday’s penalty shoot-out win over Bromley in the FA Trophy into today’s National League match against Maidenhead United, as they aim for a first victory in four league matches.

After another difficult Christmas period, which saw Alan Dowson’s side take just one point from three matches, Woking find themselves in the bottom-half of the table for the first time this season – in 13th place with 21 points from their 16 matches. They are currently two points adrift of the play-off places in a congested top-half of the table, further complicated by a four-game range of matches played and remain a healthy 12 points clear of the bottom three, with Weymouth, Barnet, and Dover Athletic at risk of being cut adrift at the bottom. The Cards will also be hoping to continue their impressive home form, which has seen them lost just twice in 10 games in all competitions this season, a run which has also included five victories.

Despite being tipped by many to struggle, Maidenhead have once again defied expectations, and enjoyed an excellent start to the season. They have accumulated 23 points in just 14 games and currently sit ninth in the league table – outside of the play-off places on goal difference alone. Their last outing was on Boxing Day, when they scored a comprehensive 4-0 win over Wealdstone, although they did lose their two previous games – away to Torquay United and away to Weymouth in the FA Trophy. Their last victory away from home was a 1-0 success at Eastleigh at the start of December. The Magpies has previously lost their first three league games but have since won seven and drawn two out of the last 11.

Woking – Team News

The Cards could hand a debut to striker Jonté Smith, who signed at the start of this week following his release by Cheltenham Town at the end of last season. It’s been a busy week on the transfer-front, as Dowse has also welcomed back winger Malachi Napa, who has re-joined on loan from Oxford United, and popular centre-back Moussa Diarra, who returns after a six-month spell at Havant & Waterlooville. There will certainly be competition for places after a number of impressive performances on Tuesday, including Diarra’s fellow defender Ben Gerring, who made his first appearances of the season after recovering from injury, and midfielder John Goddard, who had been sidelined since October.

Maidenhead United – The Boss

The Magpies have been coached by Alan Devonshire since 2015. The former West Ham United midfielder, who spent almost 15 years at Upton Park as a player, is in his second spell with the club having also managed them between 1996 and 2003. From Maidenhead, he joined Dowse’s former club Hampton & Richmond Borough, before a four-year spell with Braintree. Remarkably, he has now managed in over 1,100 first-team matches, in a career spanning more than 25 years.

One to Watch

Maidenhead’s squad includes two former Woking players, Shaun Donnellan and Manny Parry, who both joined the club from the Cards last summer, Donnellan announced on Friday evening that he was now out for the season. However, winger Sam Barratt is the clear dangerman, having scored nine goals so far this season. The 25-year-old is in his second spell with the club, having played for them between 2014 and 2018, before a two-year spell in the Football League with Southend United. He re-joined the Magpies last summer. His goals this season have included a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Solihull Moors and braces against King’s Lynn Town, Notts County, and Chesterfield, all in Maidenhead victories.

Last Time Out

Woking 2-0 Maidenhead United – Vanarama National League (29th February 2020)

The Cards did the double over Maidenhead last season. Having won 3-2 in the reverse fixture, an entertaining match shown live on BT Sport, Woking won a more mundane affair at the Laithwaite Community Stadium shortly before the season was curtailed. Matt Jarvis scored the opening goal, just moments after coming on for his Woking debut, before Moussa Diarra made the game safe with a header eight-minutes from time.

Next Up

Woking are back in action on Tuesday when, for the second mid-week in a row, they travel to Bromley. Our next home game is scheduled for the following Saturday against Stockport County.

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