Cards prepare for big day
1:33pm, Fri 7th May 2010
Bath City v Woking
BSS Play-off Final
2pm on Sunday 9 May 2010 (NB Kick-off time)
Woking’s roller-coaster season reaches its climax at Twerton Park on Sunday afternoon when the Cards take on a side who inflicted the heaviest defeat on them away in the league and the worst aggregate overall scoreline over the two games. Graham Baker’s team won’t be too worried about that, however, since they’re now in a rich vein of form which has seen them win seven and draw one of their last eight games and they can’t possibly play as badly again as they did on their visit to Bath back in December.
A week’s rest between the semi-finals and the final will have allowed Graham Baker’s side to ease their aches and bruises. He confirmed this morning that everyone is fit apart from Delano Sam-Yorke, who’s experienced a recurrence of his knee injury. So,. Harry Arter has recovered from the stomach bug which ruled him out of the last three games and Jamie Slabber has also resumed training following his operation.
The general expectation is that Woking will start with the same XI as against Dover but with Arter in place of Jerome Maledon in midfield or at least on the bench. Graham says that he won’t select his 16 till Saturday night or even on Sunday morning.
He says that everyone is feeling in good spirits, confident and looking forward to the game, adding that the previous results against Bath are now just history. He reckons that any advantage falling to Bath as a result of being at home will be counterbalanced by the fantastic support he’s expecting Cards fans to provide again for his team and our otherwise impressive away form against the top sides.
The Romans are in good form too, having beaten Chelmsford City by a 3-0 aggregate score in their semi-final tie despite being under the cosh, by the sound of it, for much of the home leg, in which they scored two goals in the final half hour to knock the stuffing out of the Clarets. Before then they’d put together a very good run to secure fourth place in the league, with five consecutive wins rounded off by a nervous last day 0-0 draw at home to St Albans City.
It’s been a very good season for Bath City, with an excellent FA Cup run to savour too, in which they reached the Second Round after beating Grimsby Town away 2-0. If that shows an appetite for cup games, it’s perhaps qualified by their record in play-off competitions, where they’ve failed to come out on top on the previous five occasions on which they’ve been involved.
Having shipped eight goals to Bath City in their two league games, Woking will be well aware of the danger posed up front by Darren Edwards and Kaid Mohamed. Woking’s 5-0 away defeat on 1 December was probably their worst performance of the season. An out-of-sorts Cards defence conceded two early goals to a rampant Bath team, taking full advantage of the wind behind them, with Mohamed and Edwards on target. Holland added a third just before half-time. Graham Baker rang the changes at half-time, replacing the lumbering Trevor Benjamin with Matthew Wright, and bringing on Nathaniel Pinney and Aswad Thomas. The Cards dominated immediately after the break but a Ross Worner mistake allowed Stolcers to make it 4-0 and Edwards then rounded off the rout. It just seemed to be ‘one of those nights’. Eighteen days later the Cards sought their revenge at Kingfield. Woking started brightly but suffered from their then familiar problem of turning pressure into goals. They were duly punished by a Mohamed penalty and an Edwards strike, to which Lewis Hogg added a free-kick in the second half. Perhaps one lesson the Cards can take away from both games is the knowledge that, with the likes of the highly experienced Jim Rollo in defence, long balls pumped forward aimlessly towards the Bath back line are not likely to be very fruitful even though Woking now have the aerial threat of Craig Faulconbridge in their armoury.
See Wednesday’s news item for full details on travel options and admission prices. To book a place on the coaches after 3pm on Friday please contact Rosemary Johnson on 01483 776609, as the Club Shop will not be open on Saturday.
Please also see the news item about parking at Kingfield on Saturday for those who are travelling by coach.
If you can’t make it to the game, see other news items re radio and internet live commentaries.
Come on, you Cards!