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EBBSFLEET UNITED v WOKING

Brian Caffarey - 3rd April 2008

EBBSFLEET UNITED v WOKING
3pm on Saturday 5 April 2008

?Websfleet United?, as they have now been christened after their takeover by MyFootballClub.com, have been making news on the pitch too this season. A very satisfactory league campaign has been crowned with a Trophy Final against Torquay United after a fine semi-final victory over Aldershot Town. We always find the Fleet tough opponents, especially at Stonebridge Road; it will be no different this time round.

FLEET SQUAD

The Fleet squad already contained one former Card in the shape of Raphael Nade, having settled there following his stints at Carlisle and Weymouth. He was joined in the summer by another former Woking stalwart, Gary MacDonald, who had the misfortune to rupture his Achilles tendon in the opening game and has only recently returned to the fray. Another former Card arriving was midfielder Neil Barrett, who had a brief spell at Kingfield last season. Other new faces included Michael Bostwick, a young defender/midfielder, originally with Millwall, but who also figured for Rushden and Diamonds and Crawley; Chukki Eribenne, a much-travelled striker, most recently seen with Weymouth, where he was Raph?s strike partner, and Grays; and Chris McPhee, a very useful striker who started his career at Swansea and Brighton before moving to Torquay. The most notable departures were those of top scorer Charlie MacDonald, who moved to Southend, and central defender Ross Smith, who joined Dagenham and Redbridge.

Among the established players, defenders Paul McCarthy and Peter Hawkins, with over 600 League games between them, continue to give good service in defence, whilst Luke Moore, another product of the PASE scheme, is a very promising striker. The keeper, Lance Cronin, has been selected for the England C Team and his contract has now been extended for two more seasons. Danny Slatter, who has often impressed against us, is out for the season with a knee injury. A player to watch is 18 year-old forward John Akinde, another youth team product.

Recent arrivals are Ronnie Bull, a defender from Crawley Town; Darius Charles, a defender on loan from Brentford; and Charley Hearn, a midfielder on loan from Grays.

SEASON SO FAR

Liam Daish ? on no bigger budget than Woking?s, one suspects ? did extremely well to take them to seventh place last season, missing the play-offs by only four points. He has steered them to another satisfactory campaign in the league ? they currently sit in 10th place ? as well as a Trophy final. The Fleet have a particularly good home record, having won 12, drawn 1 and lost 5 games. They have had a bit of a blip recently, losing 3-0 at home to Rushden and then away to Histon and Stevenage but defeated Cambridge United 2-1 at home on Easter Monday and won 1-0 at York last Saturday. In the FA Cup they suffered the disappointment of losing 3-1 at home to Exeter City in the 4th Qualifying Round, while in the Setanta Shield they went out in Round Five, losing 4-0 at home to Weymouth. However, the Trophy saw them dispose of Carshalton, Dorchester, Weymouth, Burton and Aldershot on their way to Wembley.

GETTING THERE

Ebbsfleet United FC
Stonebridge Road
Stonebridge Road
Northfleet
DA11 9BA
Telephone: 01474 533796
Website: www.ebbsfleetunited.co.uk

by coach ? why not take it easy and go on the Supporters? Club coach? It leaves Kingfield at 12 noon and the cost is ?10 for members and ?14 for non-members. Call in at the Club Shop today to book a place or phone during the week

by car ? leave the M25 at Junction 2 and take the A2 towards Gillingham. Then take the B262 towards Stone/Greenhithe. At the end of the B262 turn right onto the A226 towards Northfleet and Gravesend. Keep on this road until you reach the ground on your left.

by train ? the nearest station to the ground is Northfleet, which is only a few minutes? walk away. Just come straight out of the station and turn left at the top of the road. The ground is then down the bottom of the hill on the right. Trains leave Waterloo East at 05 and 35 minutes past the hour and the journey takes 51 minutes, so the 13.05 arrives at 13.56 and the 13.35 gets in at 14.26. Trains back are at 16, 26, 46 and 56 minutes past each hour. Bear in mind, though, that there are engineering works on the line between Woking and London.

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTERS

We?ve always found the Fleet obdurate opponents, home and away, and last season was no different.

2006/07
Gravesend and Northfleet 1 Woking 0
Woking 2 Gravesend and Northfleet 2

The short journey round the M25 to North Kent proved ultimately to be fruitless for the Cards in October 2006. In a scrappy affair It became increasingly likely that one goal would settle the match and it fell to the then Conference leading goal scorer Charlie MacDonald to find the net in the 75th minute, converting a half chance after some "ping-pong" around the Woking penalty area. In the return encounter in relegation-haunted February 2007 Woking, in front of our lowest-ever Conference gate of 851, had substitute Gez Sole (replacing Neil Barrett!) to thank for grabbing a vital point. Gez put the Cards ahead in the 38th minute with a superb free-kick, only for Charlie MacDonald to equalise in the second half and for Alex Varney to give the Fleet the lead with seven minutes to go. Deep in injury time Gez struck again with a marvellous volley from 30 yards to rescue a point.

2007/8
Woking 1 Ebbsfleet United 0

This season we managed to secure all three points at home with a 1-0 win at the end of November, our first victory in nine games. Missing Tom Hutchinson, Paul Lorraine and Marvin Morgan, the Cards started with Matt Ruby and Jerome Maledon in defence, with Gez Sole partnering Joe Gatting up front. But it was Matt Pattison who scored the crucial goal in the 20th minute, side-footing home Danny Bunce?s cross on the volley. The Cards had a stroke of luck when a Raph header was dubiously disallowed for offside.

Come on, you Cards!
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