Cards look over their shoulders
7:18pm, Thu 1st Mar 2012
Woking v Maidenhead United
3pm on Saturday 3 March 2012
This is a hugely important game for Garry Hillâ€™s side. Their lead has been reduced to nine points by Dartford, who still have a game in hand. The Cards have been struggling to find the form that took them to the top of the table and could really do with a convincing win against Maidenhead on Saturday to make sure that the Darts donâ€™t close the gap even further and to boost confidence. There is every incentive too to avenge the 4-1 thrashing which the Magpies inflicted on Garry Hillâ€™s side in the FA Cup: the Cardsâ€™ heaviest defeat of the season. Come down to Kingfield and cheer the team on to victory!
The Cards looked out of sorts at Hampton and Richmond last Saturday, starting very slowly, on an admittedly difficult pitch, and failing to gain any real momentum till the second half, when the most they could do was to cancel out the 1-0 half-time deficit to snatch a point. Meanwhile, Dartford were beating Salisbury City 2-0 at home and, on Monday night, grabbing three more points with a convincing 4-1 win over Basingstoke Town.
Garry said after the Hampton game that he thought seven more wins were needed from the Cardsâ€™ remaining 12 games. With six more home games to come, he must surely be hoping that his side can gain most of those victories at Kingfield, starting on Saturday.
Mike Cestor will be unavailable, serving a one-match suspension for the two yellow cards he received in the match against Dartford. But Woking fans will be pleased to see that Dale Binns was fit enough to turn out for the reserves against Farnborough on Wednesday evening, alongside Gez Sole, back from Basingstoke Town,
Drax Hippolyteâ€™s side lie 17th in the table with 33 points, only five points above the relegation places, having played two more games than Eastbourne Borough and Hampton and Richmond Borough, who fill two of those places. Their league form was very poor in the autumn, gaining only three points in three months, but things picked up in December/January, when they gained 14 points out of a possible 21. However, their last two games have produced disappointing results: a 1-1 draw at bottom-of-the-table Thurrock and, in particular, a 0-3 home defeat last Saturday against Boreham Wood.
The Magpiesâ€™ squad includes ex-Card Manny Williams, whilst the robust Alex Wall has often proved troublesome in attack. Reece Tison-Lascaris and Ashan Holgate will hope to repeat their form from Octoberâ€™s FA Cup encounter. The Boreham Wood game saw 19 year-old Australian keeper Aaron Lennox make his debut following his loan from QPR.
Donâ€™t forget to pick up a copy of the Clubâ€™s excellent matchday programme. The highlight this time is an extensive interview with Kevin Betsy in which he talks about his career to date and his return to the Club. In addition, of course, there are all the usual high quality previews, reports, fascinating stats and great photos.
LAST TIME OUT
Maidenhead United 4 Woking 1
FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round
15 October 2011
A disastrous afternoon! Garry Hill had always made it clear that his priority was promotion but a decent Cup run would have been very welcome, not least in helping to fill the coffers. But it was the vibrant Magpies who looked far more interested in making it through to the next round, racing to an astonishing 4-1 lead by half-time.
The Cards were missing Wayne Gray with a hamstring injury. Josh Griffiths continued at right back, with Adam Doyle and Joe McNerney in central defence.
There was no hint of what was to come as the game started slowly. The Magpies, however, took the lead in the 17th minute in virtually their first attack when Anthony Thomas, who went on to create havoc down Wokingâ€™s right, jockeyed defenders and sent in a shot which rebounded off the post to Ashan Holgate, who slotted home. The Cards equalised in the 23rd minute when Jack King converted a penalty after McNerney had been tripped. But five minutes later the Magpies took the lead again when Reece Tison-Lascaris shot home after the ball had rebounded off McNerney.
It was 3-1 after five more minutes had elapsed as Holgate converted at the far post from a Thomas flighted cross. And then 4-1 in the 41st minute as the Woking defence, at sixes and sevens, succumbed to a simple ball over the top, leaving Aaron Howe stranded, with Tison-Lascaris adding his second goal of the game.
Garry Hill brought on Dale Binns and Mark Ricketts before half-time in place of Griffiths and McNerney but, although the Cards had plenty of the game in the second half, their finishing, unlike Maidenheadâ€™s, was poor and anything that was on target was repelled by the excellent Jordan Clement, who was on loan from Aldershot Town.
Come on, you Cards!
P.S. Donâ€™t forget the Cards Trust Quiz Night tomorrow (Friday) evening, starting at 7.30pm, and the Surrey County Cup semi-final against Carshalton Athletic on Tuesday evening.