12:00am, Fri 19th Dec 2008
LEWES v WOKING
3pm on Saturday 20 December 2008
You don?t have to tell any Woking or Lewes fan that this is a crucial game. Both clubs are desperately in need of three points as they struggle to get out of the relegation zone. Lewes also have hanging over them the threat of administration and an automatic points deduction ? which would leave them in a very parlous state.
Phil Gilchrist will be looking for a reaction to the hugely disappointing midweek defeat at home to Salisbury City in the FA Trophy. But the Cards will be missing Paul Lorraine ? sent off in that match ? as well as Tom Hutchinson, still in the early stages of his recovery from an operation on his knee. Goma Lambu is unlikely to be risked yet, although he has been back in training for a while now.
Presumably, we will see Patrice Konan recalled to shore up the defence. Up front, Phil seems likely to start with a front two, rather than the three he started with against Salisbury City. So, one of Liam Marum, Wilfried Domoraud and Tom Denton may have to give way.
The Rooks were the bookies? strong favourites for relegation before the season started. Hardly surprising, given the turmoil down at the Dripping Pan as Steve King (now manager of Northwich Victoria), who had guided the club to the BSP, departed at the end of last season, with all but one of the regular squad (Anthony Barness) leaving too. In fact, they started slightly better than their fans feared, gaining two draws from their opening fixtures: a creditable 1-1 draw at Kidderminster on the opening day and a 0-0 draw at Ebbsfleet on Bank Holiday Monday. But some heavy defeats followed, and the Rooks? goal difference now stands at -24. However, they have won three games at home and ? a warning to the Cards ? those have all been against struggling sides: Grays, Forest Green Rovers and Oxford United.
Lewes have 17 points from 22 games, three points fewer than the Cards. It will be little consolation to Woking to know that, even if they lose at the Dripping Pan, the Rooks won?t overtake them in the table thanks to the latter?s markedly worse goal difference. Lewes had a good win in the Trophy last Saturday, beating Team Bath away 2-1.
Manager Kevin Keehan used his Brighton and HA connections ? he was Commercial Manager there for nine years before succeeding Steve King ? to bring in the vastly experienced Danny Cullip in defence. Cullip has over 350 League appearances to his credit and turned down a contract at Gillingham to join the Rooks. Many of the rest of the squad have little or no experience at this level. There are family connections in the side: full-back Joe Keehan is the son of the manager and forward Michael Standing is a nephew. A recent arrival is midfielder Joe Tabiri from Barnet.
The Rooks are said to be on the verge of administration. The Directors recently asked 100 individuals to put ?5,000 into the club. That initiative failed, and the Directors are now seeking 30 individuals to put up ?5,000, with debts and loans being frozen.
The 1-1 draw at home to Lewes on 2 September proved to be the final straw for the Woking FC Board, with the Club then parting company with Kim Grant. Gez Sole rescued a point with an 85th minute equaliser.
The Dripping Pan
Leaves 11.30am; ?12 members, ?16 non-members; phone the Club Shop today.
The Dripping Pan is at the very start of Mountfield Road, directly behind the station. If you are coming from the north or west, turn off the A27 for Lewes and turn right (signposted Rodmell and Piddinghoe) after about a mile at the first set of traffic lights, adjacent to the prison. Follow that road until you get to a mini roundabout by The Swan puband turn left. Continue along this road leads to the ground.
There are limited car parking spaces in the Sussex Downs College andPriory Schoolcar parks down Mountfield Road past the ground. Metered street parking is available and there is apay and display car park directly outside the ground but please be aware that Lewes has quite a number of 'keen' trafficwardenspatrolling the townso you?d be wise to purchase a ticket where required.
Lewes has a fifteen minute train service to Brighton, departing approximately every fifteen minutes in both directions. There is a direct London train approximately every 30 minutes to Victoria, via Gatwick Airport and Clapham Junction. For more information check http://nationalrail.co.uk/
Lewes railway station is about a two minute walk from the Dripping Pan. When you exit the main entrance, turn left and follow the path over the bridge. The ground will be in front of you.
Come on, you Cards!