Tuesday's big clash
7:09am, Mon 21st Nov 2011
Woking v Chelmsford City
7.45pm on Tuesday 22 November 2011
Tuesday eveningâ€™s encounter has all the makings of one of the games of the season. The Cards, unbeaten at home and with 14 goals in their last four league games, take on Chelmsford City, unbeaten away and with 10 goals in their last two matches, including a 6-1 thrashing of Bromley on Saturday. A bumper crowd is expected. Make sure you are there â€“ and bring along a friend or two!
Garry Hillâ€™s side produced some wonderful football in the first half on Saturday to take a decisive 2-0 half-time lead at Crabble and showed all the fighting qualities needed in the second half as Dover strove to get back into the game. The Cards have now notched up nine wins and a draw in their last ten league games and lead Welling United by three points with a game in hand.
Garry Hillâ€™s master stroke, several weeks ago, in switching Mark Ricketts into central defence, thereby allowing the flair of Jay Davies to complement the huge strength of Jack King in midfield, has produced a superbly-balanced side. Adam Doyle has shown that he can operate equally well at left back as a left-sided central defender and Alan Inns, so dominant in the air, has performed wonderfully well alongside Mark Ricketts. The change has been tough in particular, though, on Joe McNerney, a very capable central defender who has been displaced in recent games. Up front, Wayne Grayâ€™s experience in leading the line has shone through of late, proving a perfect foil for the pace and trickery of Moses Ademola, Dale Binns and Paris Cowan-Hall. The fact that Garry Hill can afford to have players of the quality of Elvis Hammond, Gez Sole, Joe McNerney, Derek Duncan and Andy Little on the bench attests to the strength of this Woking squad.
Tuesday evening offers Woking the opportunity to stretch their lead to six points, with another three points to fight for a week later when, barring any Trophy replay, they travel to fourth-placed Dartford.
Woking and Chelmsford will do battle again, at the Melbourne Stadium, on Saturday in the FA Trophy.
Weâ€™ll have to see if Garry feels a need to make any changes as the side contemplates three tough fixtures in the space of seven days but he must be tempted to start on Tuesday with Saturdayâ€™s line-up at Dover if everyone is fit.
The Clarets, losing play-off semi-finalists for the last three years, sit 5th in the table with 31 points from 17 games, eleven fewer than the Cards. Their away form is particularly impressive, with six wins and two draws in their eight outings and 18 goals scored and only seven conceded. It may or may not be significant, though, that they have so far travelled to only one side, Weston-super-Mare, in the top half of the table. Until recently their home form has been their Achilles heel but a remarkable 4-0 win over AFC Telford in the FA Cup and now the 6-1 slaughter of Bromley suggest that they are becoming much more consistent.
The Claretsâ€™ strike force was depleted in the summer as the result of the departures of Wayne Gray, Rob Edmans and Billy Bricknell but Kezie Ibe joined from Farnborough, Cliff Akurang (serving the last of a three-match suspension on Tuesday) arrived from Thurrock and manager Glenn Pennyfather has recently added Bishopâ€™s Stortford striker Michael Bakare to the squad. Other summer arrivals included Kenny Clark, a central defender from Thurrock; Sam Corcoran, a young midfielder from Colchester United; Jermaine Brown, once with Aldershot; Max Cornhill from East Thurrock United; Aiden Palmer, a left-back from Leyton Orient; and winger Greg Morgan from Boreham Wood.
The Clarets have been unfortunate to lose winger Anthony Cook with a cruciate leg injury but Ricky Modeste always represents a threat, and they benefit greatly from the experience of captain Dave Rainford. Ex-Card Stuart Searle has been first-choice keeper ahead of Joe Woolley.
Make sure you get a copy of Tuesdayâ€™s excellent matchday programme, featuring a profile of keeper Aaron Howe and a celebration of some legendary Woking defenders, plus all the usual reports, previews, statistics and great photos.
Chelmsford City 3 Woking 0
17 August 2010
A horror story in the Cardsâ€™ first away game of the season, following a morale-sapping defeat at home by Dover Athletic in the opening fixture. Graham Baker brought in Jerome Maledon in place of Francis Quarm in midfield, with Toby Little and Sam Hurrell on the flanks and Craig Faulconbridge up front.
The Cards were 3-0 down after only 21 minutes. Lenny Pidgeley committed a dreadful error in the 9th minute. Attempting to prevent a corner, instead of booting the ball into touch he passed it straight to Ben Nunn, whose long-range effort was entering the net whilst Lenny was still scampering back towards his goal. In the 15th minute Takumi Ake, whoâ€™d impressed in trials at Kingfield in the summer, out-jumped Ricky Anane, and the promising Sam Higgins then fired home. Six minutes later the Woking defence failed to deal with a corner, with Dave Rainford nodding the ball home after it had rebounded from the crossbar.
Woking never looked like making a game of it and their misery was compounded in the second half when Aswad Thomas was shown a straight red for a rash challenge.
Woking 2 Chelmsford City 2
13 November 2010
The Cards desperately needed three points to make up lost ground but, in the end, were lucky to get a point. With Mark Ricketts and Francis Quarm injured, Graham Baker gave a debut to new signing Lee Sawyer, with Jerome Federico making his first appearance at Kingfield.
An even first half was eventually shaded by the Cards thanks to a penalty. Joe McNerney was obstructed as he attempted to head in from a corner. Dave Gilroyâ€™s spot kick was struck straight at the keeper but Moses Ademola fired home.
The Clarets began to dominate in the second half. Lockâ€™s free-kick from out wide went straight through the Woking defence for the equaliser. Then Ricky Modeste headed home unchallenged from a corner to make it 2-1 to the visitors. The Cards didnâ€™t really look like salvaging a point but in the 96th minute substitute Craig Faulconbridge won a soft penalty, which he converted.
Come on, you Cards!