12:00am, Wed 7th Jan 2009
WOKING v NORTHWICH VICTORIA
7.45pm on Thursday 8 January 2009
With the Setanta cameras due to be present for this match, the Club will be keeping their fingers crossed that the weather doesn?t force the postponement of this crucial league encounter. (An initial pitch inspection takes place at noon on Wednesday.) January looks like a ?make or break? month for the Cards. After three games over the Christmas/New Year period against high-flying sides, in which three very creditable draws were obtained, Woking now have a series of matches against sides in the lower half of the table. Wins rather than draws are what is needed now. Anything less than a win on Thursday evening would be a major blow.
The Cards have only lost one of their last nine league games ? and then only by a dubious goal in injury time at Histon ? but, with only one win in that sequence (at Lewes), they still find themselves in the relegation places. However, there is a host of clubs lying just above them and a win on Thursday would propel them, at least briefly, up to 17th place at a minimum.
Phil Gilchrist will be looking for wins too from the visits later this month of Ebbsfleet and Eastbourne and will be hoping to get a result from the return encounter against the Vics on 31 January. A couple of wins on the trot would make a huge difference to our prospects.
Woking will be missing Gez Sole, serving the last game of his three-match suspension, and Bradley Quamina, serving the first of his two-match ban. Also missing, through injury, will be Tom Hutchinson, the subject of transfer rumours, and Paolo Vernazza. Phil Gilchrist will, however, be able to call on his three loan players: Simon Eastwood and Tom Denton, whose loans have been extended to 1 February, and Daniel Spence, whose three month loan runs to 17 January.
The Vics are in trouble, on and off the pitch. They currently lie bottom of the table, with only 15 points from 27 games. Their away record reads : Won 1, Drawn 3 and Lost 8, with 16 goals scored and 27 conceded. Their only away win was at Lewes on 18 October (but Woking fans will note that we haven?t won a home league game since before that: our 1-0 home win over Histon on 27 September). They have lost their last five league and Trophy games.
Dino Maamria, who did astonishingly well to steer them to safety last season from a seemingly hopeless position, left the Club in November and Steve King, the former Lewes manager, and one of the four candidates shortlisted by Woking in the summer, has taken over. He has been complaining about how difficult it has been to strengthen his squad in recent weeks because of the impact of the transfer embargo and will no doubt be busily bringing in players in the next few weeks as far as his budget permits. In the meantime, though, he has lost defender Mark Roberts to Stevenage, signed for ?5,000 following a month-long loan, and other Vics players, including Darryn Stamp, Lee Steele and Aaron Burns are available for loans.
Off the pitch there are continuing rumours that the Vics will be forced into administration, which would almost certainly condemn them to relegation.
2006-07 Northwich Victoria 0-2 Woking
Woking 3-2 Northwich Victoria
(Marum, Hutchinson, Smith)
2005-06 Woking 0-0 NorthwichVictoria (FA Cup 2nd Round)
Northwich Victoria 2-1 Woking (FA Cup Replay)
Northwich Victoria 1-3 Woking (29th September 2007)
Woking pulled ahead as early as the 4th minute when Matt Pattison charged down the Northwich keeper, to place the ball into the net. Half-way through the first 45 minutes, on-loan Joe Gatting put the Cards further ahead when he connected with a Goma Lambu cross. Paul Hakim added a third late on, with the Vics getting a consolation goal a minute later through Ryan Brown.
Woking 2-3 Northwich Victoria (23rd February 2008)
In front of a crowd of almost 3000 at Kingfield, Woking twice came from behind to draw level in the 90th minute. A fabulous free-kick from Michael Welch sent the home fans away empty handed, though, when he scored the winner three minutes into added time.
Come on, you Cards!