GRAYS ATHLETIC v WOKING
3pm on Saturday 18 October 2008
This is a crucial game for both sides. Both clubs are in the relegation zone but the Cards have a four point margin over the Blues. Grays will be hoping to close that gap, while the Cards will be equally anxious to maintain and, even better, extend it. Although Grays are a club in turmoil, their home record is respectable, with three wins, two draws and two defeats to date, so Woking can expect a tougher challenge than when the two sides met at Kingfield a month ago, when the Cards won 3-1.
The Cards will definitely be missing Tom Hutchinson and Bradley Quamina, both serving a one-match suspension following their double yellow cards in last Saturday?s game against York City. Paul Lorraine also went off injured in that game. If Paul is missing too, Phil could face a bit of a conundrum in picking his defence. Patrice Konan could find himself switched into central defence. The return of Abdou El Kholti and Paolo Vernazza from injury could provide a few more options, though; both, however, have been on the sidelines for some weeks and it would therefore be surprising if they were expected to play a full ninety minutes . Cards fans will also be hoping that Wilfried Domoraud is fit to play: his physical presence in attack has been missed in the last couple of games.
Mick Woodward, Grays? owner and then manager, made wholesale changes in his squad during the summer and there was considerable optimism at the Recreation Ground that the Blues might mount a play-off challenge.
The new arrivals, who included several former Cards, were: Jamie Taylor (Dagenham), Chris Giles (FGR), Sam Sloma (Dagenham), Stefan Bailey (QPR), Steve Arnold (Norwich), Rob Gier (Aldershot), Mark Molesley (Stevenage), Charlie Ide (Brentford), Mark Haines (Northampton), Stuart Elliott (York), Ishmael Welsh (Yeovil), Alex Campana (Watford). Subsequently, Woodward brought in Fabian Wilnis from Ipswich and Lee Canoville from Notts County. He also brought back on loan from Gillingham the Blues? former captain, Stuart Thurgood. Jamie Taylor is out for several months following an operation.
There have continued to be plenty of comings and goings at the New Rec. Charlie Ide, Simon Downer and Danny Kedwell have left the Club. Kieron St Aimie, striker, and David Button, goalkeeper, joined on a month?s loan from Barnet and Spurs respectively. Gavin Dayes, defender, and Luke Hickie, midfielder, both joined on non-contract terms from Fisher Athletic and Simon Thomas, striker, joined on loan from Crystal Palace. The best-known arrival, though, is former Shot, Jonny Dixon, from Brighton and Hove Albion.
The Blues have had a poor start to the season, though, with the main problem lying in their away form: they have not so far picked up a single point on their travels. Mick Woodward stepped down, handing over the managerial reins, first, to coach Tim O?Shea and, more recently, to Wayne Burnett. (Cards fans may recall that Burnett had a brief, but memorable, sojourn, at Kingfield on non-contract terms in the 2002/03 season, making five appearances: if my memory serves me correctly, his departure from the Club was marked by a familiar gesture to home fans, who hadn?t been overly impressed with his contribution). He has since had successful managerial spells at Fisher Athletic and Dulwich Hamlet.
The turmoil at Grays has continued with the recent announcement that everyone is having their wages cut by 50%. This follows the withdrawal of three sponsors hit by the ?credit crunch?. All the players have been told that they can leave with immediate effect if they choose to do so. Tony Turburville, the former Farnborough Chairman, has been brought in to help re-structure the club.
The Recreation Ground
Leaves 12.00 noon; ?11 for members, ?15 for non-members; phone the Club Shop on Friday to book your place.
From Junction 30 of the M25, take the A13 towards Southend. At the Grays exit follow the signs to the town centre. Upon entering the one-way system, keep left then continue up the hill for about 1/2 mile. Turn right into Bridge Road. The ground is on your right. Parking within the ground is very limited, but there is a small, free public car park opposite the main entrance.
From Woking go to Waterloo and catch the Jubilee Line to West Ham. Change at West Ham for a train to Grays. The journey takes about 26 minutes and trains leave West Ham at 14, 29, 44 and 59 minutes past each hour. The ground is a short walk from Grays station. After coming out of the station, turn right, approx 800 yards, then turn right again into Clarence Road. You can enter the ground via Bradbourne Road on your right. Alternatively, for access to the bar, keep going along Clarence Road, turn right into Bridge Road, and the main entrance is on your right.
Woking 1-0 Grays
Grays 3-0 Woking
Grays 2-0 Woking (FAT Final)
Grays 2-2 Woking
(Justin Richards 2)
Woking 1-1 Grays
Grays 1-1 Woking (15 August 2007)
A dull game was livened up considerably by controversy when Matt Pattison accidentally put the Cards ahead while attempting to give the ball back to Grays after a Woking injury. The then Cards new-boy lobbed the keeper with his return ball and Woking then stood to one side and let substitute Ben Watson score an equaliser.
Woking 0-1 Grays (10 November 2007)
Ben Watson scored the winner for Grays in the 83rd minute at Kingfield as the clouds of doom began to descend upon Frank Gray?s management. A lowly crowd of under 1,200 just about summed up the day for Woking fans as mutterings of discontent circled Kingfield.
Woking 3 Grays Athletic 1 (13 September 2008)
The Cards finally got their first win of the season, with Phil Gilchrist having been given the managerial reins on a permanent basis earlier in the day. It didn?t look very promising in the first half as Mark Molesley gave the Blues an early lead but the Cards came good in the second half. Wilfried Domoraud netted an early equaliser, Paul Lorraine secured the lead with a diving header and then Joel Ledgister wrapped things up at the end with a fine finish.
Come on, you Cards!