Laithwaite Independent Financial Advisers
3:00pm - SaturdaySat 7th MarchMar 2020
The Shay | Att: 1995

FC Halifax Town
FC Halifax Town
0 - 2


Cards looking to boost play-off prospects against Halifax

Glen Harrington
7:06pm, Fri 6th Mar 2020
FC Halifax Town vs Woking
Vanarama National League
Saturday 7th March 2020

Woking travel to fellow play-off chasers FC Halifax Town on Saturday as the Cards look to back-up their win over Maidenhead United last weekend with a first away victory since November.

The Cards made it three league games without defeat against the Magpies as second-half goals from new signing Matt Jarvis and defender Moussa Diarra gave Alan Dowson’s side a deserved three points. Former one-time England international Jarvis was particularly impressive during his 30-minute cameo, also providing the assist for the second goal, whilst causing the Maidenhead defence constant problems down the left-hand side. It will be interesting to see if he’s considered fit enough to start on Saturday. The result took Woking back up to 11th in the league table, with 52 points, two points adrift of the play-off places and six behind third-place Halifax, who also have a game in hand.

It’s been a remarkable season for Halifax, who looked doomed to a relegation battle after previous manager Jamie Fullarton, who guided the Shaymen to safety in 2019, departed on the eve of the campaign. However, his successor, Pete Wild, has enjoyed an excellent year thus far and the former Oldham Athletic boss looks well placed to finish the year in the play-off places. Their recent form is impressive, with five wins out of the last six league matches, with the only blip a 1-0 loss away to Torquay United. Their last home loss in the league was against Notts County back in December. Last time out they won 1-0 at home to Sutton United.

This is an important game for the Cards as we look to finish the season strongly so please make the trip if you can and cheer on the team.

Woking Team News

Dowse should have a full-strength team to pick from against Halifax and has plenty of options to choose from all over the pitch.

The back five look settled, with Jack Cook, Josh Casey, Ben Gerring and Moussa Diarra playing in front of Craig Ross; in midfield, Kane Ferdinand, Ben Dempsey and Max Kretzschmar have been the preferred choice in recent weeks, although Godfrey Poku and Shaun Donnellan offer potential alternatives. The most intriguing choice will come up front where Dowse must select three out of six – with Jarvis, Jamar Loza, Dave Tarpey, Josh Neufville, Jake Hyde and Alex Wall jostling for position.

FC Halifax Town Team News

Against Sutton, the Shaymen started with Sam Johnson in goal. The former Port Vale man is in his third full year with the club after two previous loan spells. In defence was the vastly experienced Nathan Clarke, best known for a decade plus spell with Huddersfield Town, Matthew Brown, with the club since moving from Chester in 2015, Niall Maher, previously with Bolton Wanderers and Bury, along with former Woking captain Josh Staunton, who joined Halifax from the Cards at the start of last season.

In midfield was Danny Williams, formerly with Accrington Stanley and with experience from the Scottish pyramid playing for Inverness and Dundee, Jeff King, a summer addition from St Mirren, and Charlie Cooper, signed earlier this season from Forest Green Rovers. The front three were Tobi Sho-Silva, who has also played at this level for Bromley and Dover Athletic, Jack Redshaw, part of Salford City’s back-to-back promotion winning team, alongside Salford-loanee Devante Rodney, who has six goals in his last seven games (which includes one match for Stockport).

Last Time Out

Woking 0-0 FC Halifax Town – National League (16th November 2019)

These two teams cancelled each other out at the Laithwaite Community Stadium back in November, although it will have been the visitors who emerged the happier after playing more than half an hour with ten men following Nathan Clarke’s straight red card. Woking’s last visit to the Shay also ended goalless in November 2017 with our last win over Halifax coming back in November 2015, when a Dan Holman brace and a John Goddard goal gave the Cards a 3-0 win away from home.

On the Day

For those travelling directly, the ground is located on Shaw Hill, postcode HX1 2YT – approximately four hours from the Laithwaite Community Stadium. Halifax Railway Station is only a five-minute walk away from the Shay Stadium. The station is on the Trans Pennine route between Leeds & Manchester. On exiting the station approach turn left onto Church Street. Unfortunately, there is no supporters’ coach running for the game.

Ticket prices are £20 for adults, £17 for concessions (65+ and students), £9 for those aged between 12 and 17, £5 for under-12s and £3 for under-7s.

Next Up

Woking have back-to-back home matches next week, starting with the rearranged match against Barnet on Tuesday evening, before we entertain Dagenham & Redbridge next Saturday.

Kretzschmar and Hyde give Woking fantastic win

Alex Thrower
12:00am, Sat 7th Mar 2020
FC Halifax Town 0 Woking 2
Vanarama National League
7th March 2020

Two first half goals proved enough to give Woking an impressive and potentially vital three points as the Cards’ play-off charge gained momentum in West Yorkshire.

Visiting the second largest stadium in the division - behind Notts County’s Meadow Lane - and facing a formidable Halifax side who hadn’t lost at home since 21st December, the Cards were fully aware they would have to be playing at their best to damage Halifax’s push for the top of the table. They did so, and more, with an early Max Kretzschmar penalty setting the tone for a professional performance before Jake Hyde’s sixteenth league goal of the season assured the travelling fans of three points on the cusp of half-time.

There was just one change to the starting line-up from the side who defeated Maidenhead last time out, with Jake Hyde returning to lead the line in place of Alex Wall. There was no Matt Jarvis in the matchday squad, the midfielder not deemed fit for the game. With Sam Howes moving out on loan to Dorking Wanderers, Christian Paulat-Brigg was the substitute keeper, the 25-year-old returning from his own loan spell with Hampton and Richmond.

On a slightly overcast but mild afternoon, the Cards began the brighter side but couldn’t create any clear-cut chances against the side with the worst defensive record of the clubs currently in the play-off places. They were reminded early on however, of the formidable attack The Shaymen possess, with a Jack Redshaw cross finding Josh Staunton, but the former Woking man headed over from six yards. Following this, a fantastic lofted ball from Charlie Cooper found Devante Rodney, but the on-loan Salford City striker took too heavy a first touch and had his eventual effort well blocked by Ben Gerring.

Having weathered the early Halifax attacks, Kretzschmar found himself in possession wide on the right, linking up well with Hyde- performing excellently despite The Shaymen’s clear attempts to mark the forward out of the game. Having played some nice short passes between each other, Kretzschmar burst into the area looking to get a shot off but was brought down by Nathan Clarke. Referee Joe Hull- officiating his fifteenth National League game of the season- correctly pointed to the spot and Woking had the chance for the perfect start after thirteen minutes. Kretzschmar stepped up in front of an empty North Stand and placed his strike well into the bottom left corner. Standing at 6ft7�, Sam Johnson in the Halifax net got a big hand to it but not enough to stop Kretzschmar scoring his second penalty of the season.

Max fires home his penalty; pic: Jerry Lyons of The Onion Bag

The Cards grew in confidence, a Kretzschmar corner missing Ben Dempsey’s head by mere millimetres before Gerring and Moussa Diarra defended well to prevent Rodney getting in behind. Another Redshaw cross - the former Salford man providing a rare spark in the Halifax midfield -again found Staunton, but his header failed to test Craig Ross.

With the home fans silenced by a relatively uninspiring first half display from Halifax, Woking pressed in search of a second. Josh Casey surged forward from the left-back position to set up Hyde, but the striker’s shot from the edge of the D was straight at Johnson and cleared with ease. This was a warning for the home side of what played out in the 44th minute.

A fairly innocuous free kick on the half-way line was hit long by Gerring - the 29-year-old having one of his finest performances for the Cards - and floated into The Shaymen’s penalty area. Diarra rose highest, playing a header back across goal where Hyde was able to turn and blast a half-volley in from eight yards with Johnson totally helpless. The forward set off in celebration, Gerring lifting his arms above his head on the half-way line as shocked as everyone inside The Shay at the ease of the goal.

Seeing out the four minutes of injury time, the Cards went in at the break two goals ahead for the first time since their travels to Maidenhead in November. However, against a fellow play-off contender, the players knew the result was far from decided.

Half-time: Halifax Town 0 Woking 2

What followed was a performance of the highest professionalism from The Cards, displaying maturity and know-how to see out a game against one of the very top sides. Dowson will be pleased how the players have performed at the biggest grounds in this league - first winning at Stockport before picking up a respectable draw at Notts County.

Peculiarly, given the capacity of The Shay, the crowd was just 1,995 - 300 less than the return fixture at Woking earlier in the season. This seemed to dent Halifax Town, who admittedly were playing their second game of the week as opposed to Woking who had seven days off since beating Maidenhead. The second half started lifelessly, Hyde’s goal before half-time clearly taking the sting out of both the atmosphere and the home side’s performance.

Woking were content to sit back, invite pressure and catch the home side on the break, the first forage forward seeing Dave Tarpey’s low cross from the right cleared before it could reach the dangerous Hyde. With the resulting corner cleared, Dempsey hit the ball high into the air hoping to hit the edge of the area. Once it came down, about five minutes later, Diarra attacked it but caught Johnson. The home crowd were incensed and there was a minor scuffle on the field, but referee Hull saw nothing in it and all players came away without a booking.

Halifax’s greatest chance came just before the hour, a corner dubiously given was swung in by Redshaw. With the Cards’ defence only able to watch it evade their heads, the ball was headed back across the six-yard box by Clarke. Rodney- playing against Woking for the second time this season having started for Stockport in November- was able to get a decent head on it but the ball cannoned down off the bar. A few shouts that the ball had crossed the line were turned away and after a few chants for VAR in the crowd, Woking heeded the warning that this game was still a contest.

A contest, however, that turned slightly bad tempered. Gerring picked up his second booking from Hull this season - the last coming away to Barnet - for a late challenge on Jeff King. Shortly after, Kane Ferdinand was nearly caught in possession by Rodney, but the Irishman was able to pass the ball back to Ross without too much trouble.

Woking smelled more goals and some good work by Jamar Loza down the left saw the forward burst into the area but he perhaps was a victim of his own pace, as his low cross failed to trouble the Halifax defence - his team mates unable to keep up with the Jamaican international. Just moments later, Dempsey brilliantly played in Hyde, beating the offside trap, but his shot was saved excellently by Johnson on the penalty spot. The ball came back to Hyde, who hand-balled it but sportingly stopped play and admitted to the referee his error - Hull was taking no prisoners and the Woking forward found himself booked.

Halifax tried to get in behind Woking but appeared short of ideas, with only substitute Cameron King looking like producing anything of real quality. Jack Cook, again having one of his best in a season packed with excellent performances, burst forward with ten minutes to go trying to find a shot on his left foot. Having got into the area, the defender was shoved over by captain Matty Browne, but was adjudged to have dived and was booked. It certainly wasn’t a penalty, but there was contact from the Halifax skipper and a yellow seemed harsh.

The final few minutes passed, and the 67 travelling Woking fans were elated at the final whistle knowing this performance takes the Cards tantalisingly close to the play-offs. With a run-in in April against multiple sides at the lower end of the table and some key players hitting top form, the Cards know a place in the top seven is a real possibility.

This was as professional a performance as you are likely to see in the National League, with the Cards winning consecutive league matches for the first time since November. Dowse will be beaming at the high quality of this away victory.

Next up for the Cards is a home game against Barnet - also very much in the hunt for the playoffs - on Tuesday night, the North London side; they have played three games fewer than Woking. As for Halifax, they remain in fifth place and should have enough to finish in the top seven. Will we be seeing them again come May? We can only dream.

Woking (4-3-3) : 13 Craig Ross, 2 Jack Cook, 3 Josh Casey ©, 5 Ben Gerring, 6. Moussa Diarra, 7 Dave Tarpey (20 Josh Neufville 77’), 8 Kane Ferdinand, 9 Jake Hyde (23 Jayden Wareham 80’), 10 Max Kretzschmar, 18 Ben Dempsey, 22 Jamar Loza (16 Shaun Donnellan 88’)

Unused subs: 21 Chris Paulat-Brigg, 12 Nathan Collier

Goals: Kretzschmar 14’ pen, Hyde 44’

Bookings: Gerring 64’, Hyde 70’, Cook 77’

Halifax Town (4-4-2) 1 Sam Johnson, 4 Nathan Clarke, 5 Matty Brown ©, 7 Jamie Allen, 14 Josh Staunton ( 6 Liam Nolan 60’), 20 Jeff King, 21 Danny Williams, 22 Charlie Cooper, (11 Tobi Sho-Silva 79’), 23 Jack Redshaw (10 Cameron King 60’), 31 Niall Maher, 35 Devante Rodney

Unused subs: Jerome Binnom-Williams, Will Appleyard

Bookings: None

Goals: None

Referee: Joe Hull

Attendance: 1,995 (67 away)

Man of the Match: Ben Gerring. It could have been all eleven, fantastic team performance
FC Halifax Town LINEUP
1Sam Johnson
14Josh Staunton ('60)
31Niall Maher
4Nathan Clarke
5Matthew Brown
20Jeff King
22Charlie Cooper ('79)
21Danny Williams
23Jack Redshaw ('59)
7Jamie Allen
35Devante Rodney
12Will Appleyard
3Jerome Binnom-Williams
6Liam Nolan ('60)
10Cameron King ('59)
11Tobi Sho-Silva ('79)
13Craig Ross
2Jack Cook
3Josh Casey
5Ben Gerring
6Moussa Diarra
18Ben Dempsey
8Kane Ferdinand
10Max Kretzschmar
22Jamar Loza ('89)
7Dave Tarpey ('79)
9Jake Hyde ('81)
21Christian Paulat-Brigg
12Nathan Collier
16Shaun Donnellan ('89)
20Josh Neufville ('79)
23Jayden Wareham ('81)

FC Halifax Town 0 - 2 Woking | Martin Tyler Interview

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