Cards hope to get off mark on travels
5:57am, Thu 31st Aug 2017
Macclesfield Town v Woking
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 2 September 2017
The Cards will be buoyed by their comprehensive defeat of Torquay United last Saturday but this game will be a very different proposition. The Cardsâ€™ record at The Moss Rose over the years has been very poor and the present Woking side has yet to gain a point away from home. So, the odds will be very much on a home win. Can Anthony Limbrickâ€™s side produce a surprise, though, and get off the mark on their travels?
It felt as though there was a lot riding on last Saturdayâ€™s game against Torquay United. The Cards were in danger of slipping into the bottom four and they went into the match on the back of disappointing performances in their previous two outings. Fortunately, bottom-of-the-table Torquay, missing some key players and in disarray on and off the field, proved to be the ideal opponents: wide open at the back, little threat up front and lacking authority in midfield. Once Woking had taken the lead in the 23rd minute, the Gullsâ€™ resistance largely fell away.
All credit, though, to the Woking side for making the most of their opportunity, scoring four fine goals and generally looking much livelier in spite of the unusual Bank Holiday warmth. It was particularly welcome to see two midfielders, Kane Ferdinand and Charlie Carter, getting up in support to score two of the goals, while fellow midfielder Chez Isaac won the sponsorsâ€™ â€˜man of the matchâ€™ award. Jason Banton, starting for the first time and on till just beyond half-time, showed that he can offer the guile and invention which the side had tended to lack in previous games. Inih Effiong provided some great â€˜hold upâ€™ play and the talented Joe Ward was more prominent than in recent games. At the back, Richard Orlu and Josh Staunton looked comfortable in central defence. Bobson Bawling assuaged his disappointment in not starting by coming off the bench to score a superb goal.
Joey Jones and Fabio Saraiva were both still missing on Saturday. While Fabio seems likely to be out for a while longer, Anthony will no doubt be hoping that Joey will be available.
The Silkmen, who were relegated back to the Conference at the end of the 2011-12 season, have usually found themselves challenging â€“ but eventually falling short â€“ for a play-off place in subsequent seasons. Last year was no different, with the club finishing in 9th place. Macclesfield reached the Final of the FA Trophy but lost to York City.
Like most National League clubs, the Silkmen have had a huge turnover in personnel this summer, with manager John Askey, in charge since the summer of 2013, bringing in no fewer than 15 new players. They include ex-Woking keeper, Shwan Jalal, returning to The Moss Rose after a spell at Wrexham, and his competitor for the number one shirt, Billy Oâ€™Brien, formerly captain of Manchester Cityâ€™s reserve side. New defenders are highly-experienced Keith Lowe and Jared Hodgkiss, both from Kidderminster Harriers; Josh Thompson, who moved as a teenager from Stockport County to Celtic and has since played for Portsmouth and Colchester; Kieran Kennedy, most recently with Motherwell and AFC Fylde; and Adam Yates, on a short loan from Port Vale and with over 300 League appearances under his belt. In midfield a key signing was that of Elliot Durrell, a goalscoring midfielder who was a mainstay of Chesterâ€™s side last season. He is joined by ex-Torquay captain, Courtney Richards; Noe Baba, a Cameroonian U21 international previously with Fulham and Birmingham City; 19-year-old Ryan Lloyd, on a season-long loan from Port Vale; and Koby Arthur, another young recruit from Birmingham City, who had a loan spell at Cheltenham last season. It has been all change up front, too, with three new signings: Tyrone Marsh, with Dover last season; French striker Gime Toure; and Scott Wilson, formerly with Bristol City, Weston-super-Mare and Eastleigh.
Perhaps the most important signing, however, was the renewed contract for influential midfielder Danny Whitaker, with over 400 appearances for the Silkmen over two spells. Also remaining from last season are defenders David Fitzpatrick and George Pilkington; and midfielder Mitch Hancox.
Macclesfield have made an encouraging start to the season, having gained 11 points from seven games. A 1-0 opening day win at Wrexham was followed by draws at home to Hartlepool and Bromley. Defeats ensued at Sutton and Gateshead but the Bank Holiday saw wins over Dover at home and Chester away.
The Moss Rose Stadium
Official website: www.mtfc.co.uk
The Cards Trust is not running a coach to this game since there were insufficient â€˜takersâ€™ in advance to avoid an unacceptable loss on the cost of coach hire. The Trust is intending to run a coach to the game at Maidstone United on Saturday 9 September. Ring or email the Club Shop to book your place (01483 772470 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Exit the M6 at junction 17 (Sandbach) and follow the A534 to Congleton. From here take the A536 to Macclesfield (Macclesfield is signposted from the motorway). After passing the 'Millers' pub on the left continue for about 1/4 of a mile and take the first right after the speed camera onto Moss Lane. Follow Moss Lane until you reach the ground. There are brown signs indicating the way to Moss Rose. There is plenty of street parking near the ground but beware of parking restrictions in some places.
Direct trains leave Euston on the hour and take I hour 41 minutes e.g. the 12 noon train gets into Macclesfield at 13.41. Other, slightly slower, trains leave at 20 minutes past the hour and involve a change at Stoke-on-Trent e.g. the 11.20 from Euston arrives would get you to Macclesfield at 13.11. Direct trains back are at 56 minutes past the hour e.g. the 17.56 arrives at Euston at 19.39. Trains via Stoke leave at 26 or 27 minutes past the hour e.g. the 17.27 should get you to Euston at 19.22. The ground is about a 20-minute walk from the station. Leave the station and turn left up Sunderland Street until you reach a major crossroads at the war memorial. Turn left here and follow the road for about a mile.e eave the station and turn left up Sunderland St until you reach a major crossroads at the war memorial. Take the left here
Adults: Â£15 / Â£19
Concessions (Over 65): Â£10 / Â£15
Under 25s: Â£5
Under 12s (accompanied by adult): Â£3
The prices quoted are for standing/seated tickets purchased on the day. Cheaper tickets can be purchased in advance (e.g. by phoning 01625 264686 or by visiting www.mtfcdirect.co.uk)
Away fans are accommodated in the John Askey Stand (open terrace) or the visitorsâ€™ section in the Moss Lane Stand.
LAST TIME OUT
Woking 1 Macclesfield Town 0
Vanarama National League
14 April 2017
A win in this nail-biting game saw the Cards remain just above the relegation places on goal difference, with three games to play.
Just before half-time the Silkmenâ€™s Chris Holroyd crashed a scissor-kick against the Woking bar but the decisive moment came in the 61st minute when Danny Whitaker tugged back Kane Ferdinand in the penalty area. Substitute Gozie Ugwu nervelessly converted.
Both sides created opportunities, with Michael Poke making a crucial save just before the final whistle.
Woking: Michael Poke, Terell Thomas, Ismail Yakubu (c) (Charlie Carter 61), Brian Saah, Jake Caprice, Joey Jones, Keiran Murtagh, Kane Ferdinand, Nathan Ralph, Jamie Lucas (Gozie Ugwu 46), Delano Sam-Yorke
Unused subs: Brandon Hall, Fabio Saraiva, Connor Hall
Goals: Ugwu (61 pen)
Macclesfield Town: Craig Ross, Andy Halls, John McCombe, George Pilkington, David Fitzpatrick, Danny Whitaker, Ollie Norburn (Danny Whitehead 85), Luke Summerfield (Mitch Hancox 63), Jack Mackreth (James Thorne 71), Chris Holroyd, Reece Browne
Unused Subs: Scott Flinders, Neill Byrne
The Cards have another testing away game, at Maidstone United, on Saturday 9 September. Their next home game is against Solihull Moors on Tuesday 12 September, followed by another home game, against Sutton United, on Saturday 16 September.
Come on, you Cards!