Cards and Dons do battle!
9:28am, Fri 14th Jan 2011
AFC Wimbledon v Woking
FA Trophy, 2nd Round
3pm on Saturday 15 January 2011
The Dons and the Cards do serious battle at last! In the tie of the round Graham Bakerâ€™s side face a daunting task in travelling to the BSP leaders. Both sides are focused on their respective league campaigns but that wonâ€™t detract from their eagerness to make progress in the Trophy at the expense of near neighbours. The Cards will need to repeat FA Cup heroics to live with Terry Brownâ€™s side. Fingers crossed for an exciting tie!
The Cardsâ€™ impressive display in their 2-2 draw at Dover midweek, when they played some of their best football of the season, suggested that their confidence hadnâ€™t been dented by the disappointing league defeat at Basingstoke last Saturday nor the subsequent furore over some fansâ€™ reaction to that defeat and the exception which Graham Baker took to those criticisms and the manner in which they were voiced.
But Graham will have to make at least one change to his line-up tomorrow since Sam Hurrell, who is beginning to show why Graham brought him to Kingfield in the summer, is cup-tied, having played for Boreham Wood in this competition during his loan spell there. Nor will Reiss Noel be in the squad since he too is cup-tied, having played for Brentwood before his transfer. Two players who will be particularly looking forward to the trip to Kingsmeadow are former Dons, Andy Little and Alan Inns. The former is certain to play and the latter will be hoping that he gets the nod, although Joe McNerney and Adam Doyle both seem certain to start if fit.
Cards fans will be hoping that their side can raise their game for this tie as they did against Brighton and Hove Albion in the FA Cup and, indeed, against Dover in an earlier round of the Trophy. Up front, hopes rest mainly on the ability of Elvis Hammond to hold the ball up â€“ provided itâ€™s kept on the ground! â€“ wriggle past defenders and finish cleanly.
The Cardsâ€™ progress so far in this competition has been:
Dover Athletic 1 Woking 2
Harlow Town 0 Woking 2
Terry Brown has put together a squad which blends plenty of talented young players with a leavening of equally talented, but more experienced, performers. Their promotion challenge fell away last season, their first in the BSP, after a bright start. Brown substantially strengthened the squad in the summer and needed to do so if the Dons were to withstand the challenge of big-spending Crawley Town and relegated Luton Town. Among those who departed was Paul Lorraine, Wokingâ€™s â€˜player of the seasonâ€™ the previous year.
There is strength in depth in all positions, which is particularly apparent in the abundance of able strikers. Cards fans had already suffered from Danny Kedwellâ€™s goalscoring skills when he was at Welling but his four goals in the pre-season friendly between the Cards and the Dons was a sharp reminder of the damage he can do to defences. Similarly, Mark Nwojeki, on loan from Dagenham and Redbridge, has previously haunted us when plying his trade for Staines Town. You can then add in Jon Main, Kedwellâ€™s frequent striking partner, whoâ€™s expected to go out on loan soon; Christian Jolley, brought in from Kingstonian in the summer; and Luke Moore, another familiar name from his time with Ebbsfleet.
Itâ€™s the same story, though, if you look at defenders and midfield players. An interesting summer signing was â€˜bad boyâ€™ Andre Blackman, an exciting left-back who was with Arsenal, Spurs, Portsmouth and (for one game!) Bristol City. But heâ€™s now training with Oldham with a view to a move there. Another arrival was Barnetâ€™s Ismail Yakubu. Recently, Terry Brown has added the very experienced Jamie Stuart, who has won two Trophy winnerâ€™s medals with Grays Athletic â€“ once against the Cards, of course! The most recent arrival is Gareth Gwillim, whoâ€™s just been recruited from the Daggers to replace Chris Bush, who played briefly for the Cards on loan earlier this season but who has now been recalled to Brentford. Gwillim is expected to make his Donsâ€™ debut tomorrow. Midfielders include former Dover star Sammy Moore, the powerful Lee Minshull (who, though, is out injured), ex-Shot Kirk Hudson on loan from Brentford, Ricky Wellard, â€˜Toksâ€™ Rashid Yussuf and James Mulley, whoâ€™s signed on non-contract terms from Chelmsford City.
The Dons remain top of the BSP following their 0-0 home draw against Luton on Wednesday night â€“ a game in which they had to rely heavily on the excellence of their young keeper, Seb Brown. In a preview for that game Terry Brown spoke of the need to focus on the Luton encounter but also to be able to put out a â€˜strong-enoughâ€™ side to cope with our visit. Heâ€™s certainly got sufficient depth in his squad to ring the changes and still put out a formidable side.
In their only previous outing in this competition the Dons beat BSS leaders Braintree Town at home 3-0: another indication of the task facing the Cards.
The Cherry Red Records Fansâ€™ Stadium
Jack Goodchild Way
422a Kingston Road
Leaves at 1pm. Cost Â£10 for members; Â£15 for non-members. Phone the Club Shop today or email email@example.com
Take the A3 northbound. At the exit for New Malden/Worcester Park, turn off and go left onto the Malden Road (A2043) towards Kingston. Follow this to the next roundabout. Take the first exit onto the Kingston Road (A2043) and Kingsmeadow is a mile on the left.
Norbiton is the nearest station, within easy walking distance. From Woking trains for Norbiton leave at 17 and 48 minutes past each hour, changing at Clapham Junction. Alternatively, trains leave at 3 and 33 minutes past each hour, changing at Wimbledon. Journey time in both cases is around 50 minutes.
Leave the station via the back exit and take the first left onto Norbiton Avenue. Turn right at the end onto Gloucester Road and walk down to Kingston Road. Turn left, and Kingsmeadow is 400 yards on the right.
Trains back leave at 6 and 36 minutes past the hour, via New Malden and Surbiton, or at 21 and 51 minutes past the hour via Clapham Junction.
Come on, you Cards!