Cards in vital league game
6:21am, Thu 15th Dec 2016
Woking v Guiseley
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 17 December 2016
Garry Hill will be hoping to see his side bounce back on Saturday after very disappointing displays in the FA Cup and FA Trophy. Saturday’s match against Guiseley is a huge opportunity for the Cards to put some more distance between themselves and the teams in the bottom four, including Guiseley. The Club has once again reduced admission prices, so please come along if you can to cheer on the side in this vital game.
The FA Cup and FA Trophy games came after a much better sequence of results in the league, with the Cards winning three out of four games to haul themselves out of the relegation zone. They now sit in 19th place, three points ahead of Braintree Town in 21st place, who occupy the last relegation slot but who have a game in hand on the Cards. Guiseley sit in 22nd place, five points behind the Cards, with Garry Hill’s side also having a game in hand. So, a win would stretch Woking’s lead over Guiseley to eight points and also perhaps enable them to overhaul Maidstone and Torquay, who are both two points clear of the Cards.
However, Woking’s record against teams below them has been very poor so far. In games against the teams currently below them, Woking have managed only two draws (Guiseley away and North Ferriby at home), while losing to Southport and York away and Braintree at home.
Woking will also have to play much better than in recent games if they are to take all three points on Saturday. Garry Hill had every reason to lambast Tuesday night’s performance, hinting at changes for Saturday. Only Brandon Hall could be happy with his contribution. However, Garry’s options are limited, given that Charlie Carter will still be suspended and Zak Ansah, Nathan Ralph and Max Kretzschmar are still presumably unavailable. Keiran Murtagh played only in the first half on Tuesday but will no doubt have a bigger role on Saturday. It would be no surprise to see Terell Thomas, the Cards’ best defender recently, back in the starting eleven.
The Lions 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 in 2014-15. In their first year in the National League the Lions just avoided relegation, finishing one place and one point above FC Halifax Town.
Guiseley’s start to this season was disastrous, with seven successive defeats. After five losses the Board dispensed with the services of manager Mark Bower, who had guided them to three promotions, and his assistant, midfielder Danny Boshell. Highly experienced central defender Adam Lockwood (ex-Yeovil and Doncaster) took temporary charge and was subsequently confirmed in post.
Over the summer Bower brought in a number of new faces, the best known of whom is striker Michael Rankine, who has done the rounds of a host of Conference clubs. Others included keeper Tim Deasy, who, however, quickly left the club, being replaced by Jonny Maxted on a three-month loan from Forest Green Rovers, recently converted into a permanent signing; Ashley Palmer, a defender who was part of North Ferriby United’s rise to the National League; left back Marcus Williams, with over 250 Football League appearances to his credit; Danny East, a midfielder from Grimsby Town; Javan Vidal, a midfielder/defender from Wrexham; Dave Syers, a midfielder formerly with Rochdale and Scunthorpe; and Jordan Preston, a 20 year-old striker from Blackburn Rovers.
Lockwood has since added midfielder Simon Walton, who made over 30 appearances for Crawley Town last season in League 2; Elliot Green, a centre back who has recently played in Sweden and Canada; James Weslowski, an experienced midfielder with a number of League clubs, including Oldham and Shrewsbury; right back Connor Brown, formerly with Oldham and Sheffield United; and Billy Whitehouse, a 20 year-old wing back on a three-month loan from Leeds United.
The Lions’ away form is their undoing in the league. They have yet to win a league game on their travels, having drawn two and lost ten of their twelve games. But they will have no doubt taken heart from their first away win of the season last weekend when they beat Chorley 1-0 in the FA Trophy with a goal from Michael Rankine. In the FA Cup the Lions did well to force a 0-0 draw at Lincoln City but lost at home in the replay.
The Club has reduced admission prices for this game:
Over 65/Students with valid student card £10
Check out the Club’s website for details of the offerings in the Geoff Chapple Lounge on Saturday.
LAST TIME OUT
Guiseley 1 Woking 1
10 September 2016
The Cards came into this game on the back of a 3-1 away defeat at Macclesfield Town. Connor Essam was playing his first game in his loan spell from Dover Athletic, joining Brian Saah and Joey Jones in central defence, while Delano Sam-Yorke made his first start of the season after recovering from injury.
Both sides had chances in the first half but it was the Lions who looked livelier at the start of the second half, quickly taking the lead when Adam Boyes was first to Nicky Clee’s cross. The Cards fought back, having their best spell of the game, and eventually secured a somewhat fortunate equaliser when substitute Fabio Saraiva’s strike was diverted to wrong-foot the Lions’ keeper.
Woking 3-5-2: Michael Poke, Jake Caprice (Charlie Penny 79), Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Connor Essam, Nathan Ralph, Keiran Murtagh (c), Max Kretzschmar (Fabio Saraiva 65), Dennon Lewis, Gozie Ugwu, Delano Sam-Yorke (Chike Kandi 65)
Unused subs: Brandon Hall, Charlie Carter
Goal: Fabio Saraiva (82)
Guiseley 4-2-3-1: Jon Maxted, Javan Vidal, Ashley Palmer, Robert Atkinson (c), Nicky Clee, Jake Lawlor, Alex Purver, Jordan Preston, Reece Webb-Foster (Marcus Williams 60), Will Hatfield, Adam Boyes (Michael Rankine 90)
Unused subs: Dan Atkinson, Luke Porritt, Simon Walton
Goal: Adam Boyes (47)
The Cards make the short trip to Aldershot Town on Boxing Day. Don’t forget that the kick-off is at 12.15pm. On New Year’s Day the Shots visit the Laithwaite Community Stadium for the return fixture: kick-off for that game is at 1pm.
Come on, you Cards!