12:00am, Tue 15th Jul 2008
FARNBOROUGH v WOKING
7.45pm on Tuesday 15 July 2008
The first friendly of the season! Like them or loathe them, pre-season friendlies produce a tingle of anticipation at the thought of the season ahead. Personally, I rather enjoy the fact that you can just relax and enjoy a game of football without the result mattering at all! And it?s a good opportunity to begin to get the measure of new signings and look at any trialists. There?s a buzz around Farnborough these days as the re-formed club, champions last season of the Southern League Division 1 South and West, look forward to life in the Southern League Premier, with ambitions to get back to the Conference in double-quick time. It will be a good work-out for Kim Grant?s side in his first game in charge.
Cards fans will be hoping to get their first glimpses of new signings, Manny Williams, Abdou El Kholti and Joel Ledgister but it sounds as if we will have to wait a little longer to see Manny in action because he?s recovering from an ankle injury.
The demise of Farnborough Town in May 2007 led to the new Farnborough FC starting life in the British Gas Southern League Division 1 South and West. A new partnership between the club and Bisley FC saw Bisley Chairman, local businessman Simon Hollis, take over, with ex-Card Andy Clement in charge. The change also saw plans, now being implemented, for substantial improvements to Cherrywood Road.
The club swept to the title but Andy Clement had already indicated that he would have to step down at the end of the season because of other commitments. The managerial merry-go-round (from which Woking have alighted with their own appointment of Kim Grant) saw another ex-Card, Francis Vines, take up the reins in early May following his departure from Basingstoke, with, of course, former Woking manager, Frank Gray, heading for the Camrose.
The managerial merry-go-round, predictably, has been reflected in the move of several players, following Vines to Farnborough, a couple of whom are simply returning ?home? to the club they left when Town folded. The best known to Woking fans is Michael Charles, who had a brief spell at Kingfield early on last season before heading off to Basingstoke. He will be resuming his partnership in attack with Paul Harkness, who has just signed on for his seventh season at Cherrywood Road. Steve Laidler is another ?returnee?, whilst another making the short trip is promising 18 year-old central defender Connor Hamilton, formerly in QPR?s youth set-up.
Vines?s other new signings are keeper Chris Tardif from Maidenhead United; David Ray, who made over 230 appearances for Basingstoke before spending a year at Bognor Regis Town; and Ryan Scott, still only 21, who made 83 appearances for the Shots before breaking a leg at the end of the 2006-07 season.
Those re-signing over the summer include influential. experienced central defender David Woozley, Mark Gamble, Luke Evans, Rob Saunders, Adam Doyle, Darren Wheeler, Lyall Beazley, Ian Oliver and Nic Ciardini. 19 year-old Ciardini sounds like someone to watch, having notched 17 goals in 42 appearances last season.
Farnborough resumed training on 26 June, so should be a bit further along the fitness trail than the Cards, who didn?t return till 7 July. They?ve also played two pre-season friendlies already, losing 4-0 at home to a Southampton XI and winning 2-1 at home to Maidenhead United on Saturday, with the goals coming from Michael Charles and Mark Gamble in the first half.
Farnborough Football Club
by car ? leave the M3 at Junction 4 and take the A331, signposted to Farnham. After a few hundred yards, exit at the second slip road - signposted A325 Farnborough - turn right at the roundabout and cross over the dual carriageway and a small roundabout. Pass the Farnborough Gate shopping centre on your left and, at the next roundabout, turn left onto the A325. Go over a pelican crossing and at the next set of lights take the right filter into Prospect Avenue. At the end of this road turn right at the roundabout into Cherrywood Road. The ground is half a mile on the right.
by train ? the 18.26 from Woking gets into Farnborough Main at 18.38 and the 18.54 arrives at 19.09. It?s about a 25 minute walk from the station to the ground. Exit from the station approach and turn right onto Union Street i.e. with the railway line on your right. After half a mile turn right at the traffic lights onto Prospect Road, go under the railway bridge and follow this road over two mini roundabouts and a real one (where it becomes Cherrywood Road). The ground is half a mile beyond the third roundabout. Trains back are at 21.58, 22.16 and 22.46.
?6 adults; ?4.50 concessions; and ?1 for U16s.
Come on, you Cards!
Log on to www.wokingfc.co.uk on Wednesday for a match report.