Huge task facing the Cards
6:31pm, Thu 25th Mar 2010
Newport County AFC v Woking
3pm on Saturday 27 March 2010
The Cards travel to champions, Newport County AFC, on Saturday with the daunting task of trying to take points away from a ground where only three sides have managed a draw in the league this season and none have registered a win.
Two successive home wins, over Basingstoke Town (4-2) and Hampton and Richmond Borough (3-1), have ended a dismal and inexplicable nine-game sequence in which the Cards could manage only three draws and which looked to have ended their play-off aspirations, which had looked so bright at the turn of the year. Their chances of getting back into the top five are still slim, objectively, since they lie five points behind fifth-placed Welling United, with only seven games to play, numerous other sides in contention and a poor goal difference to boot. But, on paper, they have a relatively easy run-in after Saturday, so a positive result – perhaps even a point – at Newport would certainly boost their chances considerably.
Graham will have Matthew Wright back from suspension but fans will be waiting on news of Harry Arter’s injury. It was noticeable on Tuesday night that as soon as the combative midfielder went off Hampton and Richmond Borough came right back into the game. Certainly, if Harry is absent on Saturday, Graham will need to come up with a plan that allows someone to get forward from midfield in support of the front men.
Dean Holdsworth’s side have completely dominated the BSS this season, showing a remarkable degree of consistency, home and away. Prior to wrapping up the championship at home to Havant and Waterlooville nearly two weeks ago, they had been beaten only once this season, away to Staines Town last October. Last Saturday they clearly relaxed a little, allowing Thurrock to inflict only the second defeat of the season. They have not lost at home, winning 15 and drawing three so far. Ironically, two of the sides to come away with a point were Weymouth and Lewes, both of whom look doomed to relegation, but that was back in the summer; since then only Welling United, with a 2-2 draw on 6 February, have managed even a point.
The Cards may hope that Newport won’t be quite as formidable as earlier in the season, now that promotion is assured, but it’s hard to believe that they won’t want to end the season in style, especially in front of their own fans. So, if Woking come away with anything at all it will be quite an achievement.
Newport’s recent results have been:
27 Feb Newport County 1 Braintree 0
2 Mar Basingstoke Town 1 Newport County 5
6 Mar Weymouth 1 Newport County 3
12 Mar Newport County 1 Bishop’s Stortford 0
15 Mar Newport County 2 Havant and W 0
20 Mar Thurrock 2 Newport County 1
The main danger men have been Craig Read (22 goals so far) and Sam Foley (17 goals) but Foley will miss the rest of the season after picking up a hairline fracture at Thurrock. In the reverse fixture, back in mid-September, the Cards were perhaps a little unlucky to lose 1-0 to a Foley strike in the 20th minute but Woking showed their familiar failings in front of goal, exacerbated by Sam Sloma’s penalty miss.
Newport International Sports Village
Leaves 11.00am; £17 members, £22 non- members; book at the Club Shop or phone or email (email@example.com).
From the Severn Bridge on the M4 take the exit signed Newport (East) -Junction 24. Take the exit at roundabout signposted Newport International Sports Village, A48. Then go straight on at five roundabouts and take the first turning left into the Stadium car park.
Newport (High Street) is the closest station to the ground. Either take taxi from railway station or the 5 min walk to bus station - walk straight into the city centre from railway station (via underpass), left at end of street, keep straight and pass between the Principality Building Society and Vodaphone (Skinner Street) and then turn into Upper Dock St; the bus station is off to left. Either the No 9 or No 16 bus will take approximately 15 minutes to get to the ground. www.thetrainline.com gives up-to-date train times and routes.
Please note that the match will be fully segregated and that Cards fans will not be allowed into the Club bar.
Away fans will need to go to the turnstile at the cricket pitch end of the ground.
The Cards’ next home game is at 3pm on Saturday 3 April when Lewes are the visitors.