Cards tantalisingly close to title
8:47pm, Sat 7th Apr 2012
Woking v Tonbridge Angels
3pm on Monday 9 April 2012
Can the Cards seal their promotion on Monday afternoon? Yes, if they win and Dartford lose at Bromley. Wokingâ€™s splendid victory at Basingstoke on Friday and Dartfordâ€™s draw at home to Chelmsford today means that Garry Hillâ€™s side are now seven points clear with four games to go. So, the championship would be wrapped up on Monday if both results went Wokingâ€™s way. Make sure youâ€™re at Kingfield to cheer the Cards on to three more points in their penultimate home league game! And come along early and watch the highlights of the glorious 1991-92 season when the Cards won promotion to the Conference at a canter. The bar opens at 12 noon and the highlights of the 91-92 season will be shown at about 12.30pm. Please support the â€˜Big Bucketâ€™ collection too!
Garry Hill will have been delighted by the way that his somewhat patched-up side eased past Basingstoke Town on Friday. Everyone played their part, including Joe McNerney and Derek Duncan, who have not regularly started games but who performed very solidly. What stood out most was the sheer quality on the ball of players like Tom Davis, Keiran Murtagh, Kevin Betsy, Elvis Hammond, Moses Ademola and Gez Sole. The Cards looked and played like a side that believed they were going to win the league, oozing confidence and creating numerous chances. No one exemplified that self-belief more than Gez Sole, scoring in his eighth consecutive game.
Unfortunately, the influential Betsy will miss the Tonbridge and Maidenhead games, joining Adam Doyle on the list of suspended players. But Garry has got the luxury of being able to bring in any of Dale Binns, Paris Cowan-Hall and Jack King â€“ assuming King has recovered from the illness which ruled him out on Friday. Adam Newton and Mike Cestor were also on the bench at the Camrose, so there is scope to reshuffle the defence if Garry wants to change things around to rest any weary legs.
The Angels have had a very encouraging first season at this level, now lying 10th in the table with 53 points from 38 games, having won 14 games, drawn 11 and lost 13. Manager Tommy Warrilow has had his contract extended for two more seasons and he has been busy signing up players for next season and will be particularly pleased that BSBS top scorer Frannie Collin has committed himself to the club for another year.
The Angelsâ€™ recent form has been good, having notched up a seven-game unbeaten sequence before todayâ€™s 3-2 defeat at home to play-off contenders Dover Athletic.
There are a couple of ex-Cards in the Tonbridge squad in the shape of Robbie Kember and Nathan Koranteng. The latter came on for the Cards as a substitute in last Augustâ€™s fixture at Tonbridge. Some other well-known names include ex-Dover defender Ollie Shulz, always a threat at set pieces; Chris Piper; and striker Jon Main, who returned to Tonbridge after a very successful spell with AFC Wimbledon.
Winger Rory Hill will need to be watched carefully but Danny Walder will miss this match due to suspension.
THE BIG BUCKET COLLECTION
The Cards Trust will be holding a Big Bucket collection at the game. This is part of the Trustâ€™s â€˜Boost the Budgetâ€™ initiative to provide additional funds for Garryâ€™s playing budget next season. The Trust will match from other funds every Â£ given up to a total of Â£2,000, so please give as generously as you can. Please also become a regular monthly â€˜standing orderâ€™ donor if you can afford to do so. You can see from this season that your donations wonâ€™t be wasted!
Donâ€™t forget to pick up your copy of the Clubâ€™s excellent matchday programme. Highlights on Monday include: Garry Richardson on developing some possible Woking stars of the future; a wonderfully evocative piece by Mark Doyle about the sinking of the Titanic; an â€˜end of seasonâ€™ interview with club captain Mark Ricketts; and Sadie Gordonâ€™s look at the funnier side of the â€˜beautiful gameâ€™. In addition, of course, there are the usual high quality reports, previews and photos and all the up-to-date statistics.
LAST TIME OUT
Tonbridge Angels 3 Woking 6
29 August 2011
After three games in which the Cards had found the net only once Garry Hillâ€™s side returned to the devastating form which had seen them knock five past Sutton United in their first outing of the season. Garry brought in Paris Cowan-Hall for Gez Sole and his â€˜man of the matchâ€™ performance fully illustrated why Garry had been so keen to make him a last-minute addition to the squad. His pace, trickery and direct running â€“ allied to that of Dale Binns and Moses Ademola â€“ tore apart the Angelsâ€™ defence. Six goals barely reflected the chances created: it could easily have been double figures.
The Cards got off to a perfect start when Ademola was brought down in the box, with Jack King converting from the spot. Ademola hit the post before, in the 16th minute, Joe McNerney grabbed the second, slotting home after Elvis Hammond had latched onto a King header and forced the Angelsâ€™ keeper to parry.
Against the run of play, the Angels pulled a goal back in the 39th minute, sharp-shooter Frannie Collin scoring from the spot after a clumsy defensive challenge. But three minutes later it was 1-3 when Cowan-Hallâ€™s superb run and shot set up Ademola to blast home.
The game threatened to turn into a rout in the 55th minute as Cowan-Hall supplied Hammond, who crashed the ball home. But Tonbridge always carried a threat from set pieces and through the superb Collin, and made it 2-4 in the 75th minute when Judge headed home. The Cards poured forward once more and a lovely sweeping move saw substitute Wayne Gray net from a Binns cross to make it 2-5. Binns them bamboozled the home defence to present Gray with a simple tap-in to make it 2-6.
The Cards went close on several more occasions but Collin had the last word with a magnificent strike to make it 3-6.
Come on, you Cards!
P.S. Make sure youâ€™ve got the Cardsâ€™ last home game of the season firmly in your diary: 3pm on Saturday 21 April v Truro City. Come and show your appreciation for a fantastic season.