4:51pm, Thu 24th Nov 2011
Chelmsford City v Woking
FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round
3pm on Saturday 26 November 2011
It was clear when the FA Trophy draw was made that Woking had been handed one of the toughest ties of the round. That was confirmed in Tuesday eveningâ€™s hard-fought league encounter when the Clarets gained a fully-deserved 1-1 draw at Kingfield. Saturdayâ€™s game should be another fascinating contest. Psychologically as well as financially, it would be very welcome if Garry Hillâ€™s side could gain a result at the Melbourne Stadium.
At half-time on Tuesday Garry was forced to re-jig the line-up that had served the Cards so well in recent games. It had become clear that his side were being out-gunned in midfield and exposed down the left-flank. Garry brought on Derek Duncan to fill the left-back slot, returned Adam Doyle to his more familiar centre-back role and replaced Jay Davies in midfield by Mark Ricketts. He also brought on Elvis Hammond in place of Paris Cowan-Hall, who had been given a difficult time by the abrasive Kenny Clark. Those changes certainly helped the Cards get more of a grip on the game, enabling Woking to shade the second half, at least in terms of chances created.
It seems likely that, injuries permitting, Garry will start with his second-half side on Saturday or something very close to it. That is not to say that he will necessarily abandon his previous experiment since against weaker sides than Chelmsford City there is no reason to suppose that it wouldnâ€™t be equally successful again.
Garry will also need to bear in mind that, subject to any Trophy replay, the Cards have another very important league game on Tuesday night, when they are due to travel to fourth-placed Dartford. There is a question whether, either on Saturday or on Tuesday, he should draw on the likes of Gez Sole, Joe McNerney and Nathan Koranteng to provide fresh legs.
The Clarets must be rueing their relatively slow start to the league campaign since they showed on Tuesday that they have the ability to challenge for the automatic promotion place. Woking fans will be pleased to note that at present they lie eleven points behind the Cards.
In their last two home games Chelmsford have beaten BSP side AFC Telford 4-0 in the FA Cup and thrashed Bromley 6-1.
Chelmsford looked a strong all-round side on Tuesday. They have an experienced keeper in Stuart Searle and a solid defence marshalled by former Thurrock skipper Kenny Clark, who made sure, by one means or another, that the Woking central strikers rarely got the better of him. In midfield captain Dave Rainford and his colleagues ensured, especially in the first half, that they got plenty of possession, passing the ball sweetly at times. A player who particularly impressed, and whom the Woking defence will need to contain better this time, was right back Justin Miller, who made several surging runs.
The Clarets will have striker Cliff Akurang available on this occasion, his three-match suspension having been served.
While Garry Hill has made it clear that, not surprisingly, winning promotion to the BSP is his number one priority, he will be aware that the financial rewards from a good Trophy run are not insignificant - and, given Wokingâ€™s unexpectedly early exit from the FA Cup, would be especially welcome. The winners of Saturdayâ€™s tie will pick up Â£4k in prize money and, whichever team finally wins the competition, will have amassed Â£96k in prize money altogether, with gate receipts and other spin-offs to add on.
Quite apart from the financial rewards, of course, Woking have a great history in this competition and would love to lift the Trophy for the fourth time.
Please note that if a replay is required it will take place at Kingfield on MONDAY 28 November at 7.45pm and that Wokingâ€™s away game at Dartford on Tuesday night would be postponed. (The latter game would also be postponed of course if Dartford draw their Trophy tie.)
Chelmsford City FC
Departs: 12 noon
Members: Â£5 (thanks to an anonymous donation towards travel costs for Cards Trust members)
Exit junction 28 of the M25, onto the A12. After 10 miles exit junction 15 onto the A414. After 2 miles take 2nd exit at roundabout, then 1st exit at roundabout straight after, onto A1016 / Westway. After another 2 miles take a left onto Rainsford Road, then right into Park Avenue. Turn left onto Swiss Avenue, then immediately right onto Kings Road. Left onto West Avenue, keep straight on to Langton Avenue. Turn right onto Melbourne Avenue, and then immediately turn left onto Salerno Way, where the ground is on the left near the end of the road.
Nearest station: Chelmsford
From Woking the journey takes about 2 hours. Get the train to Waterloo, then Jubilee Line to Stratford, and then the train to Chelmsford. Trains leave Stratford at 09, 25, 38, 45 and 55 minutes past the hour and the journey takes about 25 minutes.
The station is 1.5 miles from the ground. Walking would take around 30 minutes, or you can take a taxi or bus. The number 54 and 56 services run every quarter of an hour or so, with the journey taking about 15 minutes.
Stand Transfer: Â£1
Come on, you Cards!