Cards aim to get back to winning ways
8:53am, Thu 1st Oct 2015
Woking v Southport
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 3 October 2015
Garry Hillâ€™s side will be very keen to end a run of three consecutive defeats, which has seen them slip down the table since their thrilling win over league leaders Forest Green Rovers. Southport have won only one game this season but may well fancy their chances of repeating last seasonâ€™s unexpected victory at Kingfield. Come on down to the Laithwaite Stadium to cheer on the Cards to victory!
The euphoria of being the first side to take any points off Forest Green Rovers evaporated all too quickly as defeats followed at home to Cheltenham Town and away to Braintree Town and Dover Athletic. All were tough fixtures against in-form sides but the manner of the last two losses in particular â€“ marked by poor defending and little threat in front of goal â€“ was worrying.
The Cards now begin a sequence of three games against sides struggling at the foot of the table and must look to capitalise and pick up points.
Letâ€™s hope that the eight-day break will have helped to revitalise the side and that they can reproduce something at least approaching the form which they showed against Rovers.
The Sandgrounders finished only two places above the relegation zone last season and look as though they face another battle this campaign to avoid the drop. They presently sit in 22nd position with only 8 points from 13 games, gained from a 3-0 win over Altrincham at the end of August and draws against Macclesfield (a), Dover (h), Tranmere (h), Halifax (a) and Guiseley (a). A warning to Woking lies in the fact that the last four draws were all secured last month â€“ which rather reinforces the suspicion that the Port wonâ€™t be a â€˜pushoverâ€™. Indeed, the indications from those games were that they showed a considerable improvement in form and were unlucky not to gain more points. Their confidence wonâ€™t have been helped, though, by a 4-0 home defeat in their last match, albeit against a strong Grimsby side. Manager Paul Carden was upbeat before that game, commenting â€œIâ€™ve said it a few times in recent weeks that weâ€™re a good side with good players and itâ€™s up to us to prove it.â€�
The main threat seems likely to come from striker Louis Almond. His experienced partner up front, Andy Bishop, has been injured. The Sandgrounders have Ben Davies, a young defender, on loan from Preston, while striker Cole Stockton is on a three-month loan from Tranmere. A relief for Woking is that Mike Phenix, on loan from Barnsley and who previously troubled the Cards when playing for AFC Telford, will be missing through suspension, as will midfielder Gary Jones, sent off in the closing stages of the match against Grimsby: the Sandgroundersâ€™ sixth red card of the season.
Over 65s and Students with NUS card Â£13
Make sure you get your copy of the Clubâ€™s excellent 64-page matchday programme. Features include an interview with Jimmy Keohane and Glen Harringtonâ€™s assessment of Garry Hillâ€™s five best loan signings. Thereâ€™s also a look at whatâ€™s been going at other National League clubs; and news from the Cards Trust, plus match previews, reports and the usual superb match action photos.
LAST TIME WE MET
Woking 1 Southport 2
20 December 2014
This unexpected defeat made it three losses in a row for the Cards in a difficult mid-season spell. Woking were undone by a combination of the familiar failure to defend set pieces, resulting in both Southport goals, profligate finishing and some superb goalkeeping from David Raya Martin. Woking fansâ€™ unhappy memories of this game are reinforced by the knowledge that it was in this match that Mike Cestor incurred the cruciate injury from which he is still recovering.
A â€˜sloppyâ€™ start from the Cards saw the visitors take the lead in the 12th minute. A free-kick was flighted in from Wokingâ€™s left by David Fitzpatrick. An exposed Ross Worner missed his punch; the ball was half cleared, only to be headed back under the bar by Charlie Joyce.
Woking did create some decent chances during the remainder of the half but Raya Martin was equal to anything the Cards could conjure and Garry Hillâ€™s side would surely have been two goals adrift had it not been for Cestorâ€™s superb, but costly, block on Richard Brodie.
The away goal came under siege in the early part of the second half but led a charmed life as Kevin Betsyâ€™s shot was headed off the line. The sucker punch came in the 67th minute when Dominic Collins headed in from another Fitzpatrick free-kick.
Gez Soleâ€™s 87th minute goal from a well-worked move proved to be mere consolation in a disappointing defeat.
Woking: Ross Worner, Joey Jones, Joe McNerney, Mike Cestor (John Goddard 40), John Nutter (Chris Arthur 61), Theo Lewis, Keiran Murtagh, Josh Payne, Kevin Betsy (Giuseppe Sole 60), Dean Morgan, Jack Marriott
Unused subs: Jake Cole, Adam Newton
Southport: David Raya Martin, David Fitzpatrick, Dominic Collins, Luke Foster, Luke George, Richard Brodie (Danny Hattersley 80), Charlie Joyce, Joe Connor (Clayton McDonald 65), Paul Rutherford, Amadou Bakayoko
Unused subs: John Marsden, Mitchell Austin, Liam Roberts
The Cards travel to FC Halifax Town next Saturday (10 October). Their next home game is on Tuesday 13 October when Torquay United are the visitors, followed by Wrexham on the following Saturday (17 October).
Come on, you Cards!