Chester v Woking
Vanarama National League
3pm on Monday 17 April 2017
After their hugely important 1-0 home win over Macclesfield Town on Good Friday the Cards travel to Chester on Easter Monday for another crucial game in a fight against relegation which, as Garry Hill predicted some time ago, looks as though it will go to the last game of the season. Chester have been on the slide recently, so three points is a realistic target for the Cards. Make the trip if you can to support Garry Hill’s battlers!
A very determined Woking side gave their all on Friday to overcome a capable Macclesfield Town team, who came to the Laithwaite Community Stadium with an excellent away record and looking for three points to preserve their outside chance of a play-off place. Everyone contributed to a fine win, with, perhaps, special plaudits going to Delano Sam-Yorke, Terell Thomas, Keiran Murtagh and sponsors’ ‘man of the match’, Nathan Ralph. Gozie Ugwu, brought on at half-time, also deserves praise for holding his nerve to convert the all-important penalty.
Jamie Lucas and Ismail Yakubu were both injured but it sounds from Garry Hill’s post-match interview as though the latter at least is likely to be fit enough to play. Garry Hill will presumably not want to change things around too much even with two games in four days, although he has the likes of Fabio Saraiva and Connor Hall champing at the bit.
It was just as well the Cards gained three points since York City, with their victory away at Solihull Moors, and Braintree Town, winners at home over Guiseley, also won. But it was a relief to find that Lincoln City’s two late goals condemned Torquay United to defeat. Woking moved up a place to 19th on 48 points but remain above Solihull Moors and Braintree Town, in the last relegation place, only on goal difference. Torquay are four points behind and must now be favourites to join Southport and North Ferriby United in the drop. Above Woking are York City, also on 48 points, Guiseley on 49 points and Chester on 52 points. It couldn’t be much tighter with three games to go.
The remaining fixtures for the teams who seem to be most at risk of joining Southport and North Ferriby United in relegation are:
Chester (52 points): Woking (h), Sutton United (a), Boreham Wood (h)
Guiseley (49 points): Tranmere Rovers (h), Bromley (a), Solihull Moors (h)
York City (48 points): Wrexham (h), Woking (a), Forest Green Rovers (h)
Woking (48 points): Chester (a), York City (h), Dagenham and Redbridge (a)
Solihull Moors (48 points): Macclesfield Town (a), Eastleigh (h), Guiseley (a)
Braintree Town (48 points): Torquay United (a), Barrow (h), Aldershot Town (a)
Torquay United (44 points): Braintree Town (h), Dover Athletic (a), North Ferriby United (h)
So, a win for the Cards at Chester would leave them only one point behind the Blues with two games to play. Torquay’s home game with Braintree Town is another crucial fixture, with the Gulls desperately in need of a win.
The Blues’ recent form, with only four wins in their 18 games since the New Year and, most recently, three straight defeats, has caused them to be a late addition to the relegation dogfight. That spell includes six consecutive defeats at home, including most recently at the hands of York City. Four points clear of the relegation places, they will have every incentive on Monday to grab a win which would almost certainly guarantee safety. However, as already indicated, Chester’s home form is unimpressive, with eight wins, three draws and ten defeats. James Alabi is the danger man, with 15 goals to his credit.
Manager Jon McCarthy was given a one-year deal at the end of last season after having steered the club to safety with three wins in four games while in temporary charge. He brought in a number of new faces, including young keeper Liam Roberts on a season-long loan from Walsall, challenging Jon Worsnop for the number one slot; defender Ross Killock, who had a season at Chester on loan from Leeds United in 2013-14; imposing central defender Blaine Hudson, who started his career at Cambridge United but who switched to the Blues after two seasons at Wrexham; attacking midfielder Elliot Durrell, top scorer at Tamworth last season and previously at Wrexham; Wade Joyce, a defender from Stalybridge Celtic; Theo Vassell on loan from Walsall; Ryan Lloyd, a midfielder joining for another loan spell from Port Vale; and striker James Akintunde, who was with Cambridge United.
Those retained included defenders Sam Hughes, a youth product who is being chased by a number of League clubs, Luke George, Ryan Astles and Johnny Hunt, midfielder Jordan Chappell and striker James Alabi.
Recent arrivals include midfielders Liam Davies, formerly with Tranmere Rovers, and Lucas Dawson, formerly with Stoke City and AFC Telford; and winger Danny O’Brien, returning from Wigan Athletic for a second loan spell.
Lookers Vauxhall Stadium
Official website: www.chesterfc.com
Check with Alan Barnes on email@example.com to see if the coach is running and if there are any spare places. The planned price was only £10 for Cards Trust members and £20 for non-members.
Head for the M25 and then travel north by M40, M42 and M6 till J16, joining the A500 (Crewe/Nantwich), subsequently following the A51 (Chester/Wrexham), the A49 (Warrington/Chester) and the A51 again (Chester). Follow the signs for Chester City Centre. At the Bars roundabout take the first exit onto the A5268 (North Wales/Wrexham), stay in left-hand lane and continue through traffic signals and at the Grosvenor roundabout take the third exit (A5268 Motorways M53/M56 All through traffic). At Watergate junction take A548 (Queensferry) and then at traffic signals turn left onto Stendhal Road (Sealand Industrial Estate) and bear right onto Bumpers Lane.
Parking at the ground costs £2. There is also parking in the industrial estate near the ground.
You can get to Chester from London Euston via a change at Crewe. The 10.05 from Euston arrives at Crewe at 12.10, with a train for Chester departing at 12.23 and due to arrive at 12.46. There is a virtually identical journey an hour later on the 11.06 from Euston, which should get you to Chester at 13.46.
On the way back, the 17.55 should get you to Euston at 20.35 via a change at Crewe.
The ground is just over two miles from the station, so it would be best to take a taxi or go by bus. Buses run from the City Centre Bus Exchange. You will need to catch the No 10A which by-passes Bumpers Lane. You will then need to walk up Bumpers Lane for half a mile to the football ground.
There is also a ‘Women at the Game’ initiative which offers reduced entry for female fans but tickets have to be purchased in advance.
LAST TIME OUT
Woking 3 Chester 1
Vanarama National League
29 August 2016
At the seventh attempt the Cards achieved their first win of the season in this Bank Holiday Monday fixture. And it was richly deserved, too, richly deserved, too, as the Cards produced a performance of great determination and no little skill to see off a Chester side coming off the back of a 4-0 trouncing of Sutton United.
Superbly led by ‘man of the match’, Keiran Murtagh, and benefiting from the confidence boost provided by the return of Ismail Yakubu in central defence, Woking started strongly, taking the lead in the 17th minute from a drilled effort by Murtagh. Familiar doubts crept in when Chester equalised in the 26th minute but the Cards quickly restored their advantage when Joey Jones powered home a header two minutes later, before finally making the game safe when Gozie Ugwu netted in the 75th minute after the Chester keeper could only parry a fine Jake Caprice cross into his path.
Woking: Michael Poke, Jake Caprice, Ismail Yakubu (Fabio Saraiva 78), Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Ben Gordon, Dennon Lewis, Max Kretzschmar (Charlie Carter 76), Keiran Murtagh, Gozie Ugwu, Charlie Penny (Zac Ansah 68)
Unused substitutes: Brandon Hall, Anthony Edgar
Scorers: Keiran Murtagh 17, Joey Jones 28, Gozie Ugwu 75
Chester: Jon Worsnop, Evan Horwood, Johnny Hunt (Sam Hughes 46), Blaine Hudson (Elliott Durrell 46), Ryan Astles, Jordan Chappell (James Akintunde 70), Luke George, Tom Shaw, James Alabi, Kane Richards, Ryan Lloyd
Unused substitutes: Liam Roberts, Craig Mahon
Scorer: Ryan Lloyd 26
The Cards are at home to York City on Saturday 22 April in a game which could decide the fate of both teams. Woking’s final league game of the season is away to Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday 29 April (12.15pm kick-off).
Come on, you Cards!
Cards target crucial away win
Brian Caffarey - 15th April 2017