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HEMEL HEMPSTEAD TOWN v WOKING

Brian Caffarey - 13th December 2007

Hemel Hempstead Town v Woking
FA Trophy, 1st Round Proper
3pm on Saturday 15 December 2007

The Tudors? website is billing this tie as the biggest game in their history, so there can be no doubt that our opponents won?t lack motivation on Saturday. Nor can we afford to take them lightly: they sit in fifth place in the British Gas Business Premier League i.e. the Southern League Premier Division. But we need a good FA Trophy run to add some cup interest (not to mention funds!) to our season, so, come on, lads, let?s really pull out all the stops for this one! Wembley beckons!

WOKING

The Cards go into this match on the back of three wins in a row: two victories in the league, against Ebbsfleet at home and Histon away, and sandwiched in between those results a comfortable away win at Croydon in the Surrey Senior Cup. The Woking side looked confident and compact at Histon last Saturday, so there?s absolutely no reason why they shouldn?t approach this difficult tie in a good frame of mind. Marvin Morgan will of course be missing again ? ironically, our recent fine run has coincided with his absence ? and Matt Pattison will also be a spectator as a result of the yellow card he picked up at Histon. That is a bit of a blow since Matt has played well in the last few games and his swashbuckling runs from the midfield, as well as his feisty tackling, will be missed. Frank?s options for replacing Matt include bringing in Goma Lambu or Bradley Quamina (if fit). As usual, the main concern will be whether we can create enough chances and convert them. We did the first part of the equation more convincingly at Histon but still needed a penalty in the second half to get our noses in front, having failed to capitalise on our opportunities in the first half.

HEMEL HEMPSTEAD TOWN

The Tudors, managed by Steve Bateman and Danny Nicholls, are a club on the rise. They made the play-offs last season, losing out to Team Bath. They were top of the British Gas Business Premier League i.e. the Southern League Premier Division but have recently slipped to fifth place. They have collected 32 points from 18 games. Their home record isn?t as impressive as their away record, so perhaps we had better try to finish the job at Vauxhall Road! They have won two, drawn two and lost three at home, including a midweek 3-2 defeat at home at the hands of Banbury United. Away from home, they have won seven, drawn two and lost two. In the league they have scored 32 goals and conceded 18. Drew Roberts, with 20 goals, including 10 league goals, is the top scorer.

In the Trophy their record so far is:

1st Qualifying Round: Dunstable Town 1 Hemel Hempstead Town 1
Replay: Hemel Hempstead Town 2 Dunstable Town 1
2nd Qualifying Round: Hemel Hempstead Town 2 Clevedon Town 1
3rd Qualifying Round: Hemel Hempstead Town 3 Team Bath 0

Apart from Drew Roberts, signed in the summer from Histon, other players to look out for include Dean Cracknell, a midfielder with plenty of experience with St Albans, Stevenage and Barnet amongst other clubs; Ollie Burgess, another midfielder, formerly with Nuneaton and Kettering; captain Paul Edgeworth; Josh Sozzo, yet another midfielder, previously with St Albans and a number of League clubs; Ian Brown, a keeper signed from Bedford Town; Simon Sweeney, a right back from AFC Wimbledon; and winger Matt Gearing.

FA TROPHY

The FA Trophy was introduced in the 1969-70 season to give professional non-League clubs a more realistic chance of reaching a Cup final. The first final was won by Macclesfield, who beat Telford United 2-0 in front of a 28,000 crowd. Some other Trophy facts:

? Three clubs have won the Trophy on three occasions: Telford (1971, 1987, 1989); Scarborough (1973, 1976, 1977); and Woking (1994, 1995, 1997)
? Four clubs have won the Trophy twice in succession: Scarborough (1976 and 1977); Woking (1994 and 1995); Kingstonian (1999 and 2000); Grays (2005 and 2006)
? Geoff Chapple won the Trophy five times with Woking and Kingstonian
? Mark Stimson won the Trophy three times in a row, with Grays and Stevenage
? Clive Walker collected four winner?s medals with Woking and Cheltenham
? Last year?s attendance of 53,262 at the opening of the new Wembley, to see Stevenage beat Kidderminster 3-2, was a record for the competition, beating the previous highest attendance of 34,842 when Martin O?Neill?s Wycombe side beat Kidderminster in 1991.

There?s some decent prize money to be won if we can reach the later stages of this competition:

Preliminary Round winners (46) ?1,000
First Round Qualifying winners (72) ?1,500
Second Round Qualifying winners (36) ?2,000
Third Round Qualifying winners (40) ?3,000
First Round Proper winners (32) ?4,000
Second Round Proper winners (16) ?5,000
Third Round Proper winners (8) ?6,000
Fourth Round Proper winners (4) ?8,000
Semi Final winners (2) ?16,000
Final winners (1) ?50,000
Final runners-up (1) ?25,000

Interesting 1st Round ties include the East Anglian affair between Cambridge United and Kings Lynn; the all Conference clash of Exeter City v Salisbury City; and the re-match between Grays Athletic and Lewes, the Blues? nemesis in the FA Cup.

GETTING THERE

Hemel Hempstead Town FC
Vauxhall Road
Hemel Hempstead
Herts
HP2 4HW

Tel: 01442 259777
Website: www.hemelhempsteadtownfc.com

By coach ? why not take it easy and go on the Supporters? Club coach? It leaves Kingfield at 12 noon and the cost is only ?10 for members and ?14 for non-members. Phone the Club Shop to book.

By car ? head for the M25 and then the M1. Leave the M1 at junction 8. At first roundabout go straight ahead (2nd exit). At next roundabout go straight ahead (2nd exit). Keep to right-hand lane and turn right at the first available cut through in central reservation into Leverstock Green Road. At double mini roundabouts turn left into Vauxhall Road. The AA estimates that the journey should take just under an hour.

By train ? it?s an easy journey from Euston to Hemel Hempstead. Possible trains include: 13.24, arriving 13.48; 13.36, arriving 14.06; and 13.54, arriving 14.18. Ask for the No 5 or 4 bus to Adeyfield Shops and it?s just a five minute walk from there. Or also ask for No 6 bus to Saracen?s Head.

Come on, you Cards!

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