Cards hopeful of return to league action
10:12am, Wed 25th Jan 2017
Eastleigh v Woking
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 28 January 2017
Woking make the short trip to Eastleigh on Saturday, weather permitting, to take on Martin Allenâ€™s promotion-chasing side. Following last weekendâ€™s cancelled game against Tranmere, the Cards will hopefully be able to continue their league campaign after a two-week lay off. Results last Saturday mean that the Cards find themselves in the relegation zone once more, albeit with a game in hand on their rivals. Any points gained now are vital so if you can, make the trip to the Silverlake Stadium and cheer on Garry Hillâ€™s side.
Garry Hill has made no secret of his desire to bring in one or two new players to strengthen the squad but finding the right players at the right price is proving difficult. The extension of Terell Thomasâ€™ loan from Charlton until the end of the season is a very welcome boost but we must wait to see if there are any new faces named on Saturdayâ€™s team sheet.
The Cards have been without a competitive fixture for two weeks and with Gez Soleâ€™s testimonial cancelled mid week no opportunity for a run out of any sort. Despite this Woking will need to start on the front foot and work very hard if they are to come away with anything from Eastleigh. However the manager should have the majority of his squad members available for selection.
The ambitious Spitfires are already on their third manager of the season. A relatively poor start to the season, in particular a 2-4 home defeat at the hands of Dover Athletic, saw Chris Todd quickly relieved of the managerial reins and replaced by the vastly experienced Ronnie Moore, formerly manager of Hartlepool United but associated for many years with Tranmere Rovers and Rotherham United. Moore made an excellent start to his time at the Silverlake Stadium, with the side unbeaten in his first ten games in charge. But then results dipped and Moore left the club on 30 November after only three months in charge, with the club stating that it was due to â€œpersonal circumstances over the past few weeksâ€�.
He was quickly replaced by Martin Allen, switching from Barnet, with Allen candidly admitting that he moved because he would be better paid at Eastleigh.
The Spitfiresâ€™ squad is full of well-known players from the non-League world, including striker James Constable, who was promoted with Oxford United through the play-off final; midfielders Jai Reason, Sam Togwell and Ben Strevens; and defenders Joe Partington, Ryan Cresswell and Bondz Nâ€™Gala. Allen went back to Barnet to recruit Togwell and defender Gavin Hoyte and brought back Strevens, who had left to undertake a coaching role at Whitehawk. He has recently allowed defender David Pipe to join Newport County on loan till the end of the season and reserve keeper Ryan Huddart has returned to Arsenal. Allen has also signed 6â€™4â€� striker Darius Henderson from Mansfield Town. He has over 450 Football League appearances to his credit for a host of clubs. Finally Allen was again doing business last week with his former club â€“ Barnet signed winger Luke Coulson with full back Luke Muggleton moving in the opposite direction.
Central defender Connor Essam had a loan spell with the Cards earlier this season before being recalled by Eastleigh to cover an injury crisis.
A player who has caught the eye this season is top scorer, French striker Mikhael Mandron, who joined from Sunderland in the summer, having had loan spells at Fleetwood Town, Shrewsbury and Hartlepool in recent seasons.
Eastleigh now sit in 12th place in the league with 41 points. They drew 1-1 away to Sutton last Saturday but their home game with Macclesfield on Tuesday was postponed due to a frozen pitch. Earlier this month the Spitfires lost 5-1 at Brentford in the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup, having knocked out Swindon and FC Halifax Town in earlier rounds.
(NB. Eastleigh used to advise not to use this postcode for Satnav purposes. Not sure if that still applies.)
The Cards Trust coach leaves the Laithwaite Community Stadium at 12.30pm. The cost is Â£16 for members and Â£21 for non-members, with U16s at Â£8/Â£11 (maximum of two per paying adult). Ring (01483 772470) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place or email email@example.com
Take the M3 to J13. Turn right into Leigh Road. Go on till the crossroads and turn right at lights into Passfield Avenue. Go past Fleming Park Sports Centre on right. At the roundabout take second exit; at the next take the first exit; go past Concorde Club. Take the first turning right into Stoneham Lane and the ground is 100 yards on left-hand side.
The ground is about a 15/20 minute walk from both Eastleigh and Southampton Airport Parkway stations, which are on the same line and can be reached easily from Woking.
Ticket prices bought on the day are: Adults: Â£18, Senior Citizens: Â£12, Students: Â£12, U16s: Â£7.50, U7s: Â£3
Away fans are accommodated in the South Stand, entering by gates 10 and 11.
LAST TIME WE MET
Woking 3 Eastleigh 3
Vanarama National League
1 October 2016
Another rousing second-half performance saw the Cards claw back a valuable point after going behind in the 7th minute to a Luke Coulson goal, which Matt Tubbs, making his debut after his midweek loan signing, cancelled out with a deft header on 23 minutes. More poor defending, however, saw the Spitfires add further goals in the 29th and 45th minutes through Adam Dugdale and Joe Partington. Delano Sam-Yorke reduced the deficit in the 59th minute, with substitute Luke Kandi equalising in the 79th minute. In a thrilling finale either side could have claimed all three points but an animated Garry Hill was clearly delighted with his sideâ€™s stirring comeback.
Woking: Michael Poke, Joey Jones, Ismail Yakubu (Max Kretzschmar 78), Brian Saah, Dennon Lewis, Frankie Sutherland (Anthony Edgar 57), Keiran Murtagh, Charlie Carter (Luke Kandi 73), Fabio Saraiva, Delano Sam-Yorke, Matt Tubbs
Unused substitute: Brandon Hall
Goalscorers: Tubbs 23, Sam-Yorke 59, Kandi 79
Eastleigh: Ryan Clarke, Joe Partington, Michael Green, Adam Dugdale, Reda Johnson, Andy Drury, Jai Reason (Adam Dawson 70), Luke Coulson, Jason Taylor, James Constable (Jamie Cureton 70), Mikhael Mandron
Unused substitutes: David Pipe, Ryan Huddart, Ryan Bird
Goalscorers: Coulson 7, Dugdale 29, Partington 45
Attendance: 1403 (180 away fans)
The Cards are at home to Solihull Moors on Saturday 4 February.
Come on, you Cards!