Win needed for play-off push
9:33am, Thu 11th Feb 2016
Woking v Guiseley AFC
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 13 February 2016
The Cards badly need three points from this game if they are to sustain their challenge for a play-off place, which has not been helped by picking up only two points from their last three league games. Guiseley, however, have shown that they are far from easy opponents in their first season at this level. Come on down to the Laithwaite Community Stadium to cheer on Garry Hill’s side!
The match is being sponsored by Woking-based Fernox, provider of market-leading treatments for cleaning and protecting central heating systems.
Last weekend, against Oxford City, the Cards got through fairly comfortably to the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy – only to find that they have been drawn away to Grimsby: a tough prospect, to put it mildly. While Steve Thompson has recently implied that he and Garry Hill have viewed the Trophy, rather than the play-offs, as their best bet this season, let’s hope that the players’ minds are fully focused on Saturday on beating Guiseley. A play-off place is still possible, not least because of the inconsistent form of most of the Cards’ rivals – Eastleigh in particular have been going through a bad spell – but they can’t afford to drop more points at home against teams like Guiseley, with the greatest respect to the Lions.
On Tuesday night a Woking side including several fringe and youth team players beat Westfield 4-1 to go through to the next round of the Surrey Senior Cup.
Guiseley AFC have risen quickly in recent years up the non-League pyramid, being promoted to the Conference North in 2009-10 and then going on to be defeated in four successive campaigns in the play-offs before finally gaining promotion last year in defeating Chorley.
In the summer manager Mark Bower assembled a side with a lot of Football League and Conference North experience, especially in defence, where he can call on keeper Steve Drench; skipper Danny Lowe, formerly captain at FC Halifax Town; centre back Adam Lockwood, with over 300 appearances for Yeovil and Doncaster; and Ben Parker, who has played for Leeds United, Bradford City, Doncaster Rovers and Carlisle. Midfield additions included Will Hatfield, previously with FC Halifax Town but with nearly 100 League appearances for Accrington Stanley under his belt. Up front, Bower brought in Tom Craddock, previously with Portsmouth, Oxford United and Luton Town, to join Adam Boyes, Liam Dickinson and Nicky Boshell, younger brother of Assistant Manager and midfielder, Danny Boshell.
More recently he has brought in utility player James Hurst from Torquay United; young striker Anthony Dudley, now in his second loan spell from Bury, having previously scored five goals in seven appearances; and Emile Sinclair, a striker on loan from York City.
Guiseley presently sit in 18th place in the table with 34 points, six points clear of the relegation spots. Away from home they have won two games, drawn seven and lost seven.
In the Non-League Paper last weekend manager Mark Bower was quoted as saying ‘We’ve got a good feel for this league now and a good idea what teams are about and what to expect from places like Braintree and Dover. They’re different from a Woking or Torquay’. A back-handed compliment – or just a hint that we might be seen as a more comfortable place to visit? But Bower did go on to say that he regarded Braintree, Dover and Woking as blueprints for part-time clubs who have shown that they can challenge the full-timers.
Last weekend Guiseley drew 2-2 at Dover Athletic in the FA Trophy, with goals coming from Will Hatfield and Gavin Rothery. The replay on Tuesday night was postponed for a week because of the Lions’ waterlogged pitch.
Adults - £18
Over 65s, Students with NUS card, forces personnel and MOD civilian staff with recognised ID - £13
U16s - £5
Another packed, full colour, 64-page matchday programme includes Mick Phillips’s insights into all the work that goes into videoing games for the Club and BT Sport; more news about the Woking FC Bikeathon, which takes place on Saturday; and another dip into the Club’s rich history. In addition, there’s a summary of recent league and Trophy results; and news from the Club Board and the Cards Trust, plus match previews, reports and the usual superb match action photos. Great value at only £3!
LAST TIME WE MET
Guiseley 4 Woking 4
12 September 2016
A youthful and much-changed Woking side just couldn’t put this game to bed, with Guiseley equalising for the third and final time deep into eight minutes of stoppage time.
The Cards were already without Mark Ricketts and Keiran Murtagh (in addition, of course, to Scott Rendell and Ismail Yakubu) but then lost Joey Jones to a warm-up injury, Harry Cardwell stepping in at the last minute. Jimmy Keohane was making his first start for the Club.
In a lively opening both sides had early chances but John Goddard put the Cards ahead with a superb free-kick in the 8th minute before doubling the lead in the 13th minute with a close-range finish after combining sweetly with Chris Arthur.
Some poor defending then allowed Guiseley back into the game, with goals from Rob Atkinson and Nicky Boshell. But just before half-time captain Brian Saah made it 3-2 to the Cards, heading home powerfully.
The home side’s pressure after the break paid off in the 67th minute when Tom Craddock equalised but Dan Holman restored the Cards’ lead eight minutes later, finishing coolly as the Guiseley defence appealed for offside.
But, much to Garry Hill’s annoyance, the Cards once again let the lead slip, with Jake Lawlor slotting home in injury time.
Guiseley: Steve Drench, Ryan Toulson, Ben Parker, Adam Lockwood, Jake Lawlor, Adam Boyes (Tom Craddock 55), Will Hatfield, Liam Dickinson, Nicky Boshell (Wayne Brooksby 55), Zac Thompson (Luke Porritt 77), Rob Atkinson
Subs not used: Danny Boshell, Steve Dickinson
Goals: Atkinson 33, Boshell 41, Craddock 67, Lawlor 90
Woking: Jake Cole, Jake Caprice (Ben Pattie 89), Chris Arthur, Brian Saah, Terell Thomas, Godfrey Poku, Harry Cardwell, Jimmy Keohane, John Goddard, Bruno Andrade (Kadell Daniel 65), Dan Holman (Giuseppe Sole 83)
Sub not used: Nick Hamann
Goals: John Goddard 8, 13, Brian Saah 45, Dan Holman 75
The Cards travel to Bromley next Saturday (20 February), followed by successive games away to Grimsby: first in the league on Tuesday 23 February and, second, in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy on Saturday 27 February. The Cards’ next home game is against Dover Athletic on Saturday 5 March.
Come on, you Cards!