Cards begin Trophy trail
7:23pm, Thu 8th Dec 2016
Ebbsfleet United v Woking
The Buildbase FA Trophy, 1st Round
3pm on Saturday 10 December 2016
The Cards will need to quickly put behind them the disappointment of their defeat last weekend in the Emirates FA Cup and turn their attentions to the Buildbase FA Trophy, another competition in which they have a proud history but which has rarely been reflected in recent seasons. Garry Hill’s side have been handed a tough draw, away against an ambitious club which is well resourced and lying in third place in the Conference South. Make the trip if you can to back the team!
Garry Hill and Steve Thompson will have been intent this week on encouraging the squad to cast aside the disappointing display against Accrington Stanley and to concentrate instead on showing more of their true quality in this FA Trophy tie – not to mention the even more important task of ensuring the Club’s survival in the Vanarama National League.
Charlie Carter’s red card on Sunday means he will miss this game, and it seems unlikely that Keiran Murtagh will be fit enough to start. For Brandon Hall and Gozie Ugwu, the trip to Stonebridge Road will be a return to a club they’ve played for previously.
As all Woking fans will know, the Cards won the Trophy in 1994, 1995 and 1997 and were runners-up in 2006. There has been little to get excited about, however, in subsequent seasons, although Garry Hill’s side did reach the quarter-finals last year, beating Boreham Wood, Maidenhead United and Oxford City before losing to Grimsby Town.
The Cards don’t have a good record against the Fleet in recent cup games, having been knocked out of the FA Cup by them in 2008 and 2012.
The winners of Saturday’s tie will pocket £5k. The eventual winners of the competition – the final will be played at Wembley on 21 May in a ‘double header’ with the final of the FA Vase – will earn at least £90k in prize money from the final and previous rounds.
The Fleet are well backed financially and have a number of ‘big name’ players in their squad, especially in midfield and attack. The former Luton star Andy Drury, who was sold to Ipswich by the Hatters for £150k, has recently joined from Eastleigh. Among his midfield colleagues are dangerous winger Anthony Cook, formerly with Bromley; Sam Deering, who has tasted success with Oxford United, Barnet and Cheltenham (over 150 League appearances) and Whitehawk; John-Paul Kissock, who has previously turned out for Southport, Luton, Macclesfield, Oldham Athletic and Whitehawk; long-serving Dean Rance; and Sean Shields, a winger who was previously with Dagenham and Redbridge. Kissock is now on a short-term loan at AFC Telford.
Up front the well-known names are Danny Kedwell, familiar from his time at Welling but who subsequently scored freely for Gillingham; Charlie Sheringham; Aaron McLean, an ex-Shot who enjoyed huge success in the League with Peterborough; and ex-Card Bradley Bubb, who joined in the summer after scoring 24 goals for Oxford City last season.
On-loan defender Yado Mambo is cup-tied and won’t be available.
The Fleet, who are managed by Daryl McMahon, were pipped for promotion last year by Maidstone United in the Conference South play-off final. They presently sit in 3rd place in the National League South, trailing Maidenhead United and St Albans City. Last weekend they had a 3-1 away win at Oxford City, with goals coming from Charlie Sheringham, Sean Shields and Bradley Bubb.
Ebbsfleet United Football Club,
Kent DA11 9GN
Official website: www.ebbsfleetunited.co.uk
Ring (01483 772470) or email (email@example.com) to check if the Cards Trust is running a coach to this game.
Leave the M25 at Junction 2 and take the A2 signposted Canterbury. Leave the A2 at the Northfleet/Gravesend West junction. At roundabout, follow signs to Ebbsfleet International Station/A226, which will take you on to Thamesway and past Ebbsfleet International. The stadium is at the end of the road.
There is limited parking space down side streets such as Grove Road, while Thamesway is designated a ‘Clearway’ and any cars parked along there are liable to be ticketed. There is also limited space available in surrounding residential streets.
Ebbsfleet International Station offers secure matchday parking in its Car Park C for a small charge. It is just over five minutes’ walk from the ground and is the best bet for a parking space in the area.
The nearest station is Northfleet (take Gravesend service from Charing Cross, Waterloo East and London Bridge). It is only about 300 yards from the ground. As you leave the station go (more or less) straight ahead until you reach the main road. Turn left, walk to the bottom of the hill and the ground is on your right. Trains from Waterloo East leave at 26 and 56 minutes past the hour and take 54 minutes, so, for example, the 13.26 would get you to Northfleet at 14.20. Going back, trains leave at 05 and 35 minutes past the hour and take 56 minutes, so the 17.05 would get you to Waterloo East at 18.01.
The high-speed rail service from St Pancras International (platforms 11-13) to Ebbsfleet International (15-18 minutes’ journey time) will also take you to within walking distance of the ground. Proceed through Car Park C and out on to the roundabout where you will see the stadium in front of you.
The Cards’ next league game, at home to Guiseley on Saturday 17 December, looks to be one of the most crucial of the season. Garry Hill’s side have won three out of their last four league games, putting a little distance between themselves and the bottom sides, including Guiseley. This match is therefore a great opportunity for the side to move into safer territory. Conversely, a defeat would risk seeing the Club sinking into the mire once more.
Come on, you Cards!