Cards hope for away joy
9:09am, Thu 24th Aug 2017
Wrexham v Woking
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 26 August 2017
The Cards continue their tough start to the season with a trip to North Wales on Saturday. Anthony Limbrick will be hoping that his side can break their duck on their travels but the Red Dragons, though having made an indifferent start to the campaign, are usually strong at home and the Cards have been well beaten on their two away trips so far. Let’s hope the odds can be overturned!
The Cards put in a disappointing performance at home to Leyton Orient last Saturday, failing to make any headway against a side that had shipped six goals in their midweek defeat at Bromley. Woking seemed unable to produce any momentum or fluency, with Joe Ward and Bobson Bawling stymied on the flanks, Jamie Philpot making only sporadic impact in the number 10 position and little attacking support coming from midfielders Kane Ferdinand and Chez Isaac. Inih Effiong looked to have concluded that the only way to make any progress was for him to go on solo runs, bulldozing his way through but, almost inevitably, he was eventually crowded out. Perhaps the Cards missed Joey Jones’s ability to bring the ball purposefully out of defence but the lack of creativity remains a worry.
At the back, a plus was that the side defended set pieces well but the apparent insistence on playing the ball out through Richard Orlu induced quite a few palpitations in the second half.
This is the Red Dragons’ tenth season at this level and former captain Dean Keates, appointed manager in late October in place of Gary Mills, is hoping to succeed where his predecessors, Brian Little, Dean Saunders, Andy Morrell, Kevin Wilkin and Mills, all failed. Keates will certainly need to do better than last season, when the club finished in 13th position.
As part of a major overhaul he released 12 players in the summer, including ex-Card Shwan Jalal, who re-joined Macclesfield, and striker John Rooney. Players brought in include the former Forest Green Rovers midfielders, Sam Wedgbury and Marcus Kelly, plus former Macclesfield winger, Jack Mackreth; strikers Chris Holroyd from Macclesfield, Scott Boden from Inverness Caledonian Thistle and previously top scorer with Newport County, and Ntumba Massanka, returning on loan from Burnley, having made 18 appearances last season; defenders Manny Smith, returning from Gateshead, Kevin Roberts, a right back with Halifax last season, Shaun Pearson, with over 200 appearances for Grimsby, James Jennings, previously on loan, and James Hurst, most recently with Dover; and keeper Chris Dibble to compete with Chris Dunn. Midfielder Akil Wright arrived on loan from Fleetwood Town after a loan spell at Barrow last season. Keates also gave a contract to promising young defender Olly Marx and later brought in striker Alex Reid on a two-month loan from Fleetwood Town.
Players remaining from last season include keeper Chris Dunn, midfielders Mark Carrington and Paul Rutherford and young defender Leo Smith.
Wrexham, like Woking, have won two games so far and lost three. A home defeat to Macclesfield Town was succeeded by a win at Maidenhead and then a reversal at Dover. Victory over Gateshead at home was then followed by a 2-1 defeat last Saturday at Maidstone United.
Manny Smith and Mark Carrington will miss this game, having both been sent off at Maidstone. Alex Reid has been the scorer in Wrexham’s last two matches.
Official website: www.wrexhamafc.co.uk
With train services disrupted by engineering works, the Cards Trust coach looks a good bet for those who wish to travel. It leaves the Laithwaite at 8.30am and the cost is £29 for members. £34 for non-members and £15/£17 for U16s. Ring the Club Shop (01483 772470) or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to book your place.
Take the M54 from the M6 (Junction 10A Northbound). Follow the M54 to the end of the motorway and join the A5 towards Shrewsbury. Continue on the A5 past Shrewsbury and Oswestry and then join the A483 towards Wrexham. Stay on the A483 as you reach Wrexham (this is the Wrexham by-pass). Exit at the 'Mold' junction and then follow the signs for 'Town Centre'. The Racecourse will come quickly into view. There is parking at Glyndwr University, for a small fee, next to the ground or at Maesgwyn Hall opposite the University.
Wrexham General station is next to the ground but the work going on at Euston means that the journey there would be longer than usual, with trains starting from Marylebone Station. The 09.10 would get you to Wrexham, via a change at Birmingham Moor Street and a short walk to Birmingham New Street, at 13.03. The 10.10 would get you there at 14.01 but with an additional change at Shrewsbury. On the way back, the 17.44 would get you to Marylebone at 21.11 via New Street and Moor Street.
You need to bear in mind, too, that most train services between Woking and Waterloo will take longer than usual.
Admission prices are:
£20 - Adults
£15 - Over 64 / Under 21
£8 - Over 80 / Under 18
£1 - Under 11s
Cheaper tickets can be purchased by phone in advance: see the Wrexham website for details.
LAST TIME OUT
Wrexham 2 Woking 1
Vanarama National League
7 January 2017
The Cards went into this game on the back of two defeats against Aldershot over Christmas/New Year, but with a much more spirited display in the second, injury-time, loss.
New loanee signing Connor Hall replaced the injured Max Kretzschmar. In a tight first half neither side created much by way of openings. The Cards took the initiative after the break but were unlucky to go behind to a John Rooney strike from the edge of the area. Woking responded quickly, Fabio Saraiva scoring with a diving header after Nathan Ralph’s effort had been blocked.
But the Cards were on level terms for only five minutes. The side was caught out by a quick attack following a disputed throw-in decision, with Rob Evans smashing home after Jordan White’s shot-cum-cross had been parried.
Connor Hall – who went on to join Bolton in the summer – had two excellent chances to equalise but his finishing did not match his ability to get into dangerous areas.
While the Cards were unfortunate not to come away with a point, in retrospect the continuing improvement from the second half of the game against Aldershot on New Year’s Day produced its rewards later in the month with crucial away wins at Torquay United and Eastleigh.
Wrexham: Chris Dunn, James Jennings, Martin Riley, Curtis Tilt, Anthony Barry (Hamza Bencherif 89), Jordan White, John Rooney, Izale McLeod (George Harry 82), Mark Carrington, Rob Evans ©, Leo Smith (Callum Powell 60).
Subs not used: Shwan Jalal, Jordan Davies
Goals: John Rooney (51), Rob Evans (60)
Woking: Michael Poke, Terell Thomas, Joey Jones, Brian Saah (Frankie Sutherland 89), Keiran Murtagh ©, Gozie Ugwu, Nathan Ralph, Fabio Saraiva, Dennon Lewis, Kane Ferdinand (Charlie Carter 80), Connor Hall (Luke Kandi 71)
Subs not used: Brandon Hall, Jake Caprice
Goal: Fabio Saraiva (55)
The Cards are at home to struggling Torquay United at 3pm on Bank Holiday Monday (28 August) in a game in which Anthony Limbrick’s side will be very keen to make home advantage pay. Bring family and friends along on Monday to cheer on the Cards!
Come on, you Cards!