Cards target rousing finish
6:52am, Thu 28th Apr 2016
Woking v Eastleigh
Vanarama National League
5.30pm on Saturday 30 April 2016
An exciting finale to the season is in prospect on Saturday when the Spitfires come to the Laithwaite Community Stadium needing three points to have any chance of making the play-offs. The Cards will be equally keen to end the season on a high. Make sure youâ€™re there for the last game of the campaign â€“ but donâ€™t forget that itâ€™s a 5.30pm kick-off, with the ground and bars open from 3pm.
Woking FC are very grateful to Peacock Construction for sponsoring Saturdayâ€™s game.
Slowly but surely the Cards seem to have managed in the last half a dozen games or so to pull themselves out of the poor form which had engulfed them since mid-January. The 3-2 away win at Lincoln City last Saturday was the second in succession on the road and the fifth game in the last seven in which Garry Hillâ€™s side have managed at least a point.
Not for the first time this season the win had a lot to do with the excellence of two players: Jake Cole, whose tremendous goalkeeping has kept the Cards in games they would otherwise have lost, and John Goddard, who came off the bench for his first appearance following his hamstring injury to score a late, superbly-taken, winner. With Goddard seeming certain to join a League club in the summer, Cards fans will be hoping that he will be able to give them a send-off to remember on Saturday.
The Spitfires come to the Laithwaite on Saturday in 7th position with 75 points, behind sixth-placed Tranmere Rovers on a goal difference. But, even more crucially, they are three points behind fifth-placed Braintree Town. The Iron, who are at home to Altrincham, therefore need only a point to make sure of the final play-off place, whilst both Tranmere, who are home to Grimsby Town, and Eastleigh must win to have any chance of grabbing that final berth. However, if the Iron were to lose, it could all come down to goal difference. At present they have a goal difference of 15, whilst Tranmereâ€™s is 16 and Eastleighâ€™s only 12.
The Spitfires, with their strong financial backing, came fourth last season in their first campaign in the Conference National, losing out home and away to Grimsby Town in the semi-final play-off. An unimpressive start to this campaign saw manager Richard Hill decide to stand down towards the end of September, with defender Chris Todd eventually being handed the managerial reins on a permanent basis.
Results subsequently were rather inconsistent and perhaps affected by Eastleighâ€™s fine FA Cup run, which saw them eventually go out away to Bolton 3-2 in a 2nd round replay. February, with four straight league defeats, was a particularly bad period. There was a marked turnaround in March with five wins, one draw and one defeat (away to Braintree Town). But the Spitfires have dropped crucial points this month, including a (probably fatal) 1-0 home defeat by Tranmere last Saturday, which has handed the driving seat to Braintree.
The large, talented, Eastleigh squad is packed with well-known non-League players, including ex-Card Josh Payne and former loan favourite Yemi Odubade. Ex-Barnet keeper Ross Flitney is the regular number one; at the back Todd can call on the likes of Jamie Turley, Luke Coulson, Paul Reid, Will Evans and Dan Harding; in midfield, in addition to Payne, the squad includes Jai Reason, ex-Luton star Andy Drury and Ben Strevens. The difference in resources is particularly telling up front where Todd can choose between Jack Midson, Matt Tubbs, Lee Cook, James Constable and Kaid Mohamed. Todd could even afford to allow Ross Lafayette to go on loan to the Shots. Constable is top scorer with 18 goals in all competitions but he has recently had an operation for appendicitis and will miss this match.
Adults - Â£18
Over 65s, Students with NUS card, forces personnel and MOD civilian staff with recognised ID - Â£13
U16s - Â£5
Another packed, full colour, 64-page matchday programme includes an end-of-season interview with Garry Hill; some reflections by captain Mark Ricketts; a fanâ€™s eye view of the season from Glen Harrington; and a centre-piece re arguably Wokingâ€™s greatest-ever player, Evelyn Lintott. In addition, thereâ€™s a summary of recent league results; and news from the Club Board and the Cards Trust, plus match previews, reports and the usual superb match action photos. Even if you donâ€™t normally buy a programme, how about getting the last one of the season as a useful reference point in seasons to come? Great value at only Â£3.
BOOST THE BUDGET
There will be a â€˜Boost the Budgetâ€™ bucket collection. Please give what you can to give the playing budget an extra boost for next season.
LAST TIME WE MET
Eastleigh 2 Woking 1
Vanarama National League
8 March 2016
Wokingâ€™s poor run of form continued with a cruel defeat at the Silverlake Stadium. Joey Jonesâ€™s accurate first half header gave the Cards great hope that their four-game losing streak was coming to an end. However, a second half equaliser from Jai Reason and a last gasp injury time header from Will Evans meant that the Cards left Hampshire empty-handed.
The Cards had capitalised on the early dismissal of Spitfiresâ€™ captain, Paul Reid, by taking the lead midway through the first half. Jones escaped his marker from a corner to accurately head low into the corner.
Despite the second half loss of Keiran Murtagh for a second bookable offence, the Cards would have hoped to hold onto their lead until Reasonâ€™s skilful equaliser levelled the scores with twenty minutes to play. Some excellent goalkeeping from Jake Cole suggested that a draw was likely until Evans snatched the winner for Eastleigh with the last play of the game.
Woking: Jake Cole, Mark Ricketts (c), Joey Jones, Keiran Murtagh, Giuseppe Sole (Jake Caprice 61), John Goddard, Godfrey Poku, Daniel Carr (Joe Quigley 50), Cameron Norman, Joe Robinson, Matt Butcher
Unused subs: Alex Smith, Andrew Mills, Nick Hamann
Goal: Joey Jones (25)
Sent Off: Keiran Murtagh (60)
Eastleigh: Ross Flitney, Joe Partington, Will Evans, Paul Reid, Yemi Odubade (Jack Midson 86), Josh Payne, James Constable, Jai Reason, Lee Cook, Dan Harding, Luke Coulson
Unused subs: Michael Poke, Michael Green, Chris Todd, Tom Holland
Goals: Jai Reason (68), Will Evans (90)
Sent Off: Paul Reid (18)
Come on, you Cards!
P.S. Donâ€™t forget to pick up your season ticket application form for the 2016-17 campaign and take advantage of the â€˜early birdâ€™ savings.