Lovetts
3:00pm - SaturdaySat 7th OctoberOct 2017
The Laithwaite Community Stadium | Att: 2509

Woking
Woking
1 - 0

Dag & Red
Dagenham & Redbridge

Big test for Cards on Saturday

Brian Caffarey
6:19am, Thu 5th Oct 2017
Woking v Dagenham and Redbridge
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 7 October 2017

Non-League Day coincides with this very attractive fixture between two teams who both like to play pleasing football and score goals. John Still’s Daggers side, now in fourth spot, were promotion contenders this season before a ball was even kicked but Anthony Limbrick’s young, unfancied, Cards have been in excellent form with five wins in the last six games, which has lifted them to third place in the table. This match has all the makings of one of the highlights of the season, so, whether you’re a regular attender or having a break from the Premiership, make every effort to get down to the Laithwaite on Saturday!

WOKING

The Cards earned their third away win of the season at Chester on Tuesday, with the goals coming from the excellent Kane Ferdinand and Jamie Philpot, registering his third goal in as many games.

The Cards, playing some fine football, dominated the first half hour or so, taking the lead through a Ferdinand header in 11 minutes, before making the game safe in a more even second half when Philpot capitalised on a poor back pass in the 71st minute.

Josh Staunton, a summer signing from the Daggers, will no doubt be particularly looking forward to this game. Josh has looked increasingly influential in the Cards’ defence and it’s not hard to see why John Still was sorry to lose him.

Richard Orlu made it to the bench on Tuesday. Joey Jones is, presumably, close to a return. Jason Banton is still expected to be missing on Saturday, as will be Louis Ramsay.

DAGENHAM AND REDBRIDGE

Last season, following their relegation from League 2, the Daggers finished in fourth place but lost 3-1 on aggregate to Forest Green Rovers in the semi-final play-offs.

The Daggers had a promising start to this season, winning four and drawing four of their opening eight games. A trip to Hartlepool on 9 September brought their first defeat, followed by a second at home at the hands of Sutton United. But they returned to winning ways with victory at home against FC Halifax before drawing away at Solihull Moors. Last Saturday the Daggers won at home against bottom-of-the-table Torquay United but only did so thanks to a last-minute penalty. On Tuesday they gained a 1-1 draw at Aldershot Town, who were reduced to ten men after an hour, but were again indebted to a late goal, this time from defender Sam Ling in the 86th minute.

Elliot Justham was the Daggers’ usual keeper, one of a number of players reflecting John Still’s time as Luton Town manager, but Martin Cousins, formerly with Colchester United, has figured recently. Scott Doe and Craig Robson remain as a centre back partnership from last season. Doe has made over 300 appearances for the Daggers and, like midfielder Luke Howell, was re-signed by Still from Boreham Wood in summer 2016, having been released a year earlier. Three defensive additions this summer were Bondz NGala, Ben Nunn and Kevin Lokko. NGala is best known for his time at Barnet, where he made over 100 appearances, following Martin Allen to Eastleigh in November 2016, only to make an abortive move to Gillingham two months later, joining Dover Athletic instead when the Gills belatedly realised that Football League rules prohibited the move. Nunn is also very experienced, having made over 150 appearances for Boreham Wood, whom he joined in the 2012-13 season. Lokko signed for Stevenage from Maidstone United but, oddly, was then sent on a season-long loan to Dagenham. Other defensive options include Sam Ling, a 20-year-old who came through Leyton Orient’s youth set-up, and Luke Pennell, who was signed from Dunstable Town but who missed most of last season following an operation.

In midfield, in addition to Luke Howell, players remaining from last season include Andre Boucaud, Jake Howells and Matt Robinson. Boucaud is highly experienced, having played for a number of League clubs, including two seasons at Notts County prior to joining the Daggers. He also has over 30 caps for Trinidad and Tobago. Howells made over 330 appearances for Luton before joining Eastleigh in summer 2015 and then the Daggers in January this year. Robinson is familiar to Woking fans from his loan spell at Kingfield in the 2015-16 season but was part of Luton’s Conference-winning squad before re-joining Still in summer 2016 at Dagenham. New midfield signings in the summer were wide man Dan Sparkes, joining from Torquay United and previously at Braintree and Histon; Charlee Adams, a 22-year-old from Birmingham City, who has also had loan spells with Lincoln City and Kilmarnock; and Nicholas Wheeler, a winger who impressed in pre-season games, having played for Tonbridge Angels and previously Lewes.

The Daggers have an impressive strike force in spite of having lost Oliver Hawkins in the summer on his move to Portsmouth and allowing Paul Benson to move on to Boreham Wood. Top scorer Corey Whiteley has been in great form. He signed for the Daggers in summer 2016 from Enfield Town, where he had scored 44 goals in two seasons, and was Dagenham’s ‘player of the season’ last year. He has already notched eight goals this term. Fejiri Okenabirhie is also a major threat. He signed from Harrow Borough in summer 2016, having started his career with Arsenal before a move to Stevenage. Elliot Romain was signed from Eastbourne Borough towards the end of last season for an undisclosed fee, having scored 20 goals for the Sports.

In the summer Still added Morgan Ferrier, who signed after a season at Boreham Wood, having joined them from Hemel Hempstead Town, and Michael Cheek, a prolific scorer for Chelmsford City and Braintree Town. Other youthful options are Mason Bloomfield, an Academy graduate re-signed in March, and Joe White. A more recent, surprising, addition is Chike Kandi, signed for an undisclosed fee from Leatherhead, whom he joined in the summer after playing intermittently for Woking last season. Clearly, Still sees more potential in Kandi than Garry Hill did!

Four of the Daggers’ squad were recently called up for England C training days: Sam Ling, Morgan Ferrier, Matt Robinson and Fejiri Okenabirhie. They join the Cards’ Josh Staunton and Joe Ward.

ADMISSION PRICES

Adults £18
Over 65s £13
Disabled (Including carer) £13
Students (U19) £5
U16s £5

As part of Non-League Day the holders of season tickets for Premiership, Championship and Football League clubs can watch the game for only £10 on production of their season tickets.

Woking season ticket holders have the chance to sample the delights of the Geoff Chapple Lounge for only £36. See the website for details.

MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

Don’t forget to grab a copy of ‘Cardinals’. Only £3 for interviews, previews, match reports, Academy updates and great photos. Saturday’s edition features an interview with Jason Banton.

LAST TIME OUT

Dagenham and Redbridge 1 Woking 1
Vanarama National League
29 April 2017

This, the last game of the season, will always be remembered by Woking fans for two reasons: the point gained ensured the Cards’ National League survival and it turned out to be Garry Hill’s and Steve Thompson’s last match in charge.

The Cards went into this game in a better position than many fans had feared a few weeks previously. A point was needed or one of York City, Guiseley or Torquay United – all playing at home – had to drop a point. If all three of those clubs had won and Woking had lost, the Cards would have been relegated on goal difference. As it turned out, both York and Guiseley failed to win their games, so the Cards would have been safe anyway even if they had not secured a draw at Dagenham.

That was not known, of course, by Woking fans, whose nerves jangled at kick-off. News that York had conceded an early goal helped, as did the Cards taking the lead through a Max Kretzschmar free-kick in the 12th minute. Woking had the better of most of the first half as they successfully harried and tackled in midfield. But they had a let-off after the break when Elliot Romain missed with a free header.

Cards’ fans’ nerves jangled again when the Daggers equalised in the 83rd minute, Scott Heard seizing on a clearance to fire in an effort which Michael Poke could only help on its way into the net. There was a final anxious moment when another free header went wide before the full-time whistle produced jubilation for all the away fans.

Dagenham and Redbridge: Mark Cousins, Matt Robinson, Luke Howell, Frankie Raymond, Elliot Romain, Luke Guttridge (Paul Benson 63), Fejiri Okenabirhie (Shaun Donnellan 63), Luke Pennell, Sam Ling, Jake Howells (Scott Heard 63), Josh Staunton

Unused substitutes: Elliot Justham, Mason Bloomfield

Scorer: Scott Heard 83

Woking: Michael Poke, Jake Caprice (Dennon Lewis 90), Terell Thomas, Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Nathan Ralph, Kane Ferdinand, Keiran Murtagh, Max Kretzschmar (Fabio Saraiva 76), Delano Sam-Yorke, Gozie Ugwu (Jamie Lucas 87)

Unused substitutes: Brandon Hall, Connor Hall

Goal: Max Kretzschmar 12

Attendance: 1860 (491 from Woking) 

COMING UP

The Cards have been drawn at home to Concord Rangers of the National League South in the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup on Saturday 14 October: a match Anthony Limbrick will be very keen to win, given the prospect of a lucrative First Round Proper tie. The return to National League action on Saturday 21 October sees the Cards travel to Neil Smith’s Bromley and then Dover Athletic on Tuesday 24 October. The Cards Trust plans to run a coach to Bromley: book your place on Saturday. The next home league game is against Guiseley on Saturday 28 October.

Come on, you Cards!


Charles-Cook Cracker Charms Conquering Cards

Ben Musgrove
12:00am, Sat 7th Oct 2017
Woking 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 0
Vanarama National League
7th October 2017

The Laithwaite Community Stadium maintained its growing reputation as something of a fortress this afternoon, as Woking played out a hard-fought and unlikely triumph over a dangerous Dagenham & Redbridge. In a fixture that few would have considered a top-of-the-table clash before the season kicked off, a stunning effort from Regan Charles-Cook proved to be enough to push the Cards to just a point from the top of the National League table, and five clear of falling from the playoffs.

Dagenham, without a win on the road since the second week of the season, were looking to put in a strong performance after a run of close shaves. John Still’s side arrived at the Laithwaite determined to end their poor away run, despite the absence of the league’s top scorer, Corey Whitely.

Woking’s superb home form – joint best in the league alongside today’s visitors – was reason for Cards fans to be optimistic, and the consistency of Anthony Limbrick’s team selection suggested a similar confidence. An almost unchanged side from the Cards’ excellent win at Chester on Tuesday took to the field, with the absence of Fabio Saraiva, following an injury sustained in that victory. His absence meant a first Woking start for academy product Lazar Stojsavljevic at left-back, following the teenager’s professional debut during the week.

After tentative sparring in the first few minutes, the away side settled quicker and took firm control of the game in the early stages. Woking were patient with their passing but lacked the creative spark of recent performances, and Dagenham were the first to threaten when Morgan Ferrier broke away from Matt Young down the left channel. His cross went unconverted, but forced a corner, from which Andre Boucard’s goal-bound effort ricocheted away.

This early chance led to a number of corners that went begging for the visitors in the opening stages without creating a clear-cut chance, as the Daggers looked to take on Woking in their own half. Hard work by Isaac and Ferdinand in central areas failed to open up much space out wide, and Dagenham had a number of dangerous runs into the left and right channels thwarted by hard running and strong tackles.

This work ethic managed to gradually stem the flow of chances, with Ferdinand almost dropping in as a third centre-back at times to take possession and start working the ball across the park. Despite nervy periods, regular clearances and direct passing began to give way to the more intricate passing football that Woking fans have been enjoying in recent weeks, and Dagenham began to find themselves losing possession higher up the pitch as the half went on, despite continuing to create.

After the half an hour mark, the game took on a more even complexion, with Woking managing some exciting moments in the attacking third. Shortly after a Bawling shot from the edge of the box was dragged well wide, a Matt Young cross to the back post looked destined for the head of Ferdinand, only for the young midfielder to tangle with his marker. Then, towards the end of the half, Woking went as close as they had come thus far. A ball won high up in the midfield came to Bobson Bawling, who rolled a cultured pass down the right wing into the run of Jamie Philpot. Managing to beat his marker, Philpot’s cross met the head of Joe Ward, whose effort was claimed by Cousins on the goal-line, to the ironic cheers of the away fans.

There was still time to threaten at the other end, as Dagenham looked to make their first-half dominance count. Strong work by left-back Sam Ling found Morgan Ferrier racing down the left channel, and Woking fans held their breath as Ferrier and Wynter battled yard for yard inside the home penalty area. Ferrier chose not to fall to the floor in the 50/50 tussle, and shortly after the resulting corner, the referee blew the whistle for half time. Woking had held on rather than failed to capitalise, but there were signs from both sides that either could be in the lead; nevertheless, 0-0 slightly flattered the home side.

Half-time: Woking 0 Dagenham & Redbridge 0

Looking to build on their dominance of possession of the first half, Dagenham made an early change at half time, bringing on forward Elliott Romain for full-back Sam Ling. Woking remained unchanged, despite having experienced players on the bench.

If Woking fans had hoped for a dominant second half as with Hartlepool last week, they would have been disappointed to see the game resume its pattern as the second half got started. After Ward blazed over from 20 yards following an immediate break down the left, Dagenham came right back at the home side by forcing Baxter into a smart save from Okenabirhie’s raking effort. The Nigerian looked especially threatening down the right-hand side, combining well with Romain to produce some intricate passing and a number of deflected efforts.

Woking were working very hard to maintain their pressing game, and the strain became apparent when Regan Charles-Cook tested the line between yellow and red cards with a very late sliding tackle on Daggers captain Scott Doe. Going in one-footed wasn’t enough to prevent a crunching contact at speed after the ball had gone, and many in the crowd considered Charles-Cook to be fortunate when the referee produced a yellow card. Shortly after this, the most common substitute of this season so far was introduced for Woking, as Philpot gave way to Inih Effiong.

Philpot’s departure meant a change of style for Woking; whereas the Millwall loanee tends to run into the channels and try and play off the back off the defensive line, Effiong gave Woking the opportunity to go long and high, and to utilise crosses all the more effectively. Not more than two minutes after the substitute, excellent pressing from Charles-Cook in midfield gave Bawling the chance to cross from the right-hand side, and Effiong towered over his marker to head the ball goalwards. It took the save of the afternoon from Mark Cousins, at full stretch to his left, to agonisingly tip the ball around the Dagenham post.

Again, as the half-hour mark rolled around, Woking began to grow into the game and win the ball in more dangerous areas. Isaac, Charles-Cook, and Ferdinand worked tirelessly in midfield to harry the Dagenham ball carriers, and special mention should be made for Stojsavljevic, who made several strong challenges and blocks on the Woking left, and whose aerial presence was pivotal in winning several 50/50’s and headers. The youngster only grew into the game as it went on, and should be commended for a promising performance in difficult circumstances.

As the cliché goes, it can take “a moment of genius� to separate two sides in a tight game, and when it came, it took the form of a' goal of the month' contender for the home side. Good pressing in the midfield yet again saw Woking take possession high up the field, with the ball arriving at the feet of Charles-Cook on the edge of the area. The Charlton loanee took two smart touches away from his marker, before unleashing a frankly outrageous strike across goal into the top right-hand corner, with Cousins unable to move. The KRE exploded behind the goal, with a flare and a solo pitch invader high-fiving Chez Isaac, making the scene all the more surreal.

The visitors, spurred into action by the prospect of losing a game they had often threatened to win, suddenly found their shooting boots, and began to register efforts on target with an alarming regularity. The introduction of Bloomfield for the impressive Okenabirhie gave them fresh legs to run at the Woking defence, and both Bloomfield and Romain forced sharp low saves from Nathan Baxter as the final minutes ticked down. The introduction of Richard Orlu on his return from injury gave Woking fresh defensive legs, and Dagenham’s increase of tempo only gave the Cards more opportunities to get possession and work the ball across the park.

Frustrations built as Woking rode their luck when they had to; Ferrier was booked for tripping over the ball and handling it as he broke down the right wing. Then with just 90 seconds remaining, Cards fans held their breath as Romain went down in the penalty area under Staunton’s challenge, only to release it as a cheer when he too was booked for simulation. A brief scuffle following this saw Staunton receive a yellow card, which rules him out of next week’s F.A Cup tie with Concord Rangers.

The decision stood, however, and shortly afterwards Woking fans were able to celebrate a victory that had at many points during the afternoon looked like a defeat. The home fans were deafening in their praise of a team that had demonstrated an ability to fight hard and grind out a result, even when unable to impose their game on impressive opposition. Six games without defeat has fostered a feel-good factor around Kingfield, and with an F.A Cup tie just around the corner, there is much to be excited about.

Woking: Nathan Baxter, Lazar Stojsavljevic, Josh Staunton, Jordan Wynter, Matt Young, Chez Isaac, Kane Ferdinand, Regan Charles-Cook (Richard Orlu 86), Joe Ward, Bobson Bawling, Jamie Philpot (Inih Effiong 63)

Unused subs: Charlie Carter, Sam Mason, Declan Appau

Goals: Charles-Cook 78

Bookings: Isaac 48, Charles-Cook 60, Staunton 90

Dagenham & Redbridge: Mark Cousins, Sam Ling (Elliott Romain 46), Jake Howells, Luke Howell, Scott Doe, Ben Nunn, Craig Robson, Charlee Adams (Matt Robinson 73), Andre Boucard (Mason Bloomfield 81), Fejiri Okenabirhie, Morgan Ferrier

Unused subs: Lewis Moore, Bondz N’Gala

Bookings: Doe 90, Howell 90+3

Referee: Chris O’Donnell

Attendance: 2,509

Man of the Match: Chez Isaac. The Woking captain put in a herculean shift in central midfield, facilitating much of Woking’s wide play and consistently harrying the opposition throughout.
WOKING LINEUP
1Nathan Baxter
21Matt Young
24Lazar Stojsavljevic
5Josh Staunton
15Jordan Wynter
8Chez Isaac
22Kane Ferdinand
11Regan Charles-Cook ('86)
7Bobson Bawling
23Joe Ward
20Jamie Philpot ('63)
BENCH
18Sam Mason
6Richard Orlu ('86)
17Declan Appau
12Charlie Carter
9Inih Effiong ('63)
Dagenham & Redbridge LINEUP
30Mark Cousins
2Ben Nunn
4Scott Doe
5Craig Robson
7Luke Howell
8Charlee Adams ('73)
17Andre Boucaud ('81)
19Sam Ling ('46)
29Jake Howells
10Morgan Ferrier
11Fejiri Okenabirhie
BENCH
13Lewis Moore
6Matt Robinson ('73)
12Elliott Romain ('46)
15Bondz N Gala
24Mason Bloomfield ('81)

Woking 1 - 0 Dagenham & Redbridge (Anthony Limbrick Interview)

Woking 1 - 0 Dagenham & Redbridge (Chez Issac Interview)

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