Cards seek another away win
7:18am, Sun 1st Oct 2017
Chester v Woking
Vanarama National League
3pm on Tuesday 3 October 2017
The Cards, still in the play-off places after Saturday’s draw against Hartlepool United, make the long trip to Chester on Tuesday evening. If they play with the confidence and determination they showed on Saturday, there is no reason why they can’t make it two wins on the road in a row.
Anthony Limbrick’s side played well on Saturday against a gritty Pools side. Once again, they showed the resilience to come back from a goal down and, on the balance of play, were perhaps unlucky not to take all three points. Jamie Philpot equalised with virtually the last kick of the first half and substitute Inih Effiong almost clinched it at the death, his effort slamming against the crossbar. Kane Ferdinand and Chez Isaac were superb as a midfield fulcrum, with the defence looking very solid too. It was hard to make decisive inroads into an obdurate Pools back line, but Regan Charles-Cook buzzed menacingly. Joe Ward didn’t see quite enough of the ball to turn threat into real substance. All that was missing was the second goal but some of the passages of play were a delight to watch.
The Cards are now 7th in the table with 22 points from 13 games, two points behind leaders Dover Athletic.
It sounds as if Jason Banton, injured in training during the week, won’t be available for Tuesday’s trip and probably for the game against Dagenham too. It was good to see Fabio Saraiva’s return to the bench after his recovery from the injury he sustained in the first game of the season.
The Blues have had a miserable 2017 so far but will be hoping that the corner has now turned following the appointment of Marcus Bignot as their new manager and their first home win of the calendar year. Bignot was the successful manager of Solihull Moors till November 2016, when he was lured away to manage Grimsby Town, a post from which he was dismissed in April this year.
Last season Chester started the campaign strongly but their form fell away disastrously and they ended up only just avoiding relegation. They stuck with manager Jon McCarthy but their patience ran out following a 2-0 defeat at Solihull Moors. At that stage the Blues had won only one of their opening eight games and had not won at home since December 2016. A temporary management team led by Tom Shaw saw the Blues suffer two more defeats and a draw before Bignot, in his first game in charge, led them to a 2-0 home win over Maidenhead United on 23 September. On Saturday their game at Eastleigh was called off due to the state of the Spitfires’ pitch – but not before they had made the very long trip to the south coast. Chester sit in 21st place with 11 points from 12 games. At home they have won one game, drawn three and lost two.
In the summer the club lost striker James Alabi to Tranmere Rovers and saw young defender Sam Hughes move to Leicester City. McCarthy also released half a dozen players, bringing in a number of new faces. These included keepers Alex Lynch, formerly with Wycombe Wanderers, and Conor Mitchell, on loan from Burnley. In defence arrivals were Andy Halls, an England C cap who was captain of Macclesfield last season and previously with Stockport County; Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, a left back from Torquay United but with previous spells at Luton and Kidderminster among other clubs; captain John McCombe, another signing from Macclesfield, who had made over 200 appearances for Port Vale before joining York and Mansfield; and Nathan Sheron, on loan from Fleetwood Town.
In midfield McCarthy brought in Kingsley James, rejoining from Macclesfield after having been ever-present in the 2015-16 season; and Paul Turnbull, arriving from Barrow, but previously with Macclesfield, Northampton Town and Stockport County.
Up front, another popular returnee was striker Ross Hannah, arriving from Barrow but who has also had spells at Bradford City and Grimsby; and Harry White, who scored 12 goals in 33 appearances for Solihull Moors last season.
Among those remaining from last season are defender Ryan Astles; club record appearance holder, midfielder Craig Mahon; highly-experienced midfielder Tom Shaw; and striker James Akintunde, previously with Cambridge United.
Swansay Chester Stadium
Official website: www.chesterfc.com
The Cards Trust is not running a coach to this game.
Head for the M25 and then travel north by M40, M42 and M6 till J16, joining the A500 (Crewe/Nantwich), subsequently following the A51 (Chester/Wrexham), the A49 (Warrington/Chester) and the A51 again (Chester). Follow the signs for Chester City Centre. At the Bars roundabout take the first exit onto the A5268 (North Wales/Wrexham), stay in left-hand lane and continue through traffic signals and at the Grosvenor roundabout take the third exit (A5268 Motorways M53/M56 All through traffic). At Watergate junction take A548 (Queensferry) and then at traffic signals turn left onto Stendhal Road (Sealand Industrial Estate) and bear right onto Bumpers Lane.
Parking at the ground costs £2. There is also parking in the industrial estate near the ground.
It’s not possible to do the return trip in a day for an evening game. Going there, the journey takes about two hours from London Euston. The 16.10 would get you to Chester at 18.08, whilst the 16.40 arrives at 18.46 via a change at Crewe.
The ground is just over two miles from the station, so it would be best to take a taxi or go by bus. Buses run from the City Centre Bus Exchange. You will need to catch the No 10A which by-passes Bumpers Lane. You will then need to walk up Bumpers Lane for half a mile to the football ground.
LAST TIME OUT
Chester 2 Woking 3
Vanarama National League
17 April 2017
A stoppage time penalty converted by Gozie Ugwu completed a remarkable comeback for Woking and secured a vital three points on the road on Easter Monday.
With Woking’s position in the National League looking precarious going into the Easter period, spirits were raised following the single goal victory over Macclesfield Town on Good Friday, and Woking started this match in positive mood and on the front foot against a Blues side which had lost three in a row and were now only four points above the Cards.
Woking started strongly and ought to have taken the lead when Delano Sam-Yorke had the goal at his mercy, albeit from a narrow angle. But the home side gradually grew in confidence and had the better of the last part of the first half.
Woking took the lead in the 53rd minute when Brian Saah swept home a half-volley after a corner was only partly cleared. The home side struck back immediately, Liam Davies scoring with a fine header from a great cross by Wade Joyce.
Things looked ominous for the Cards in the 82nd minute when Elliot Durrell put Chester 2-1 up, netting a cross from James Akintunde. Garry Hill threw on young loanee Connor Hall, who scored with his first touch, converting Keiran Murtagh’s cross. On 90 minutes the Cards were then awarded a penalty for handball. Keeper Lynch got a hand to Gozie Ugwu’s spot kick but couldn’t prevent it reaching the net.
The Cards’ defence then held firm to see out added time to secure a remarkable and hugely valuable win.
Chester: Alex Lynch, Luke George ©, Ryan Astles, Theo Vassell, Sam Hughes, Elliott Durrell, Tom Shaw, Ryan Lloyd, Wade Joyce (James Akintunde 73), Liam Davies, James Alabi.
Subs not used: Liam Roberts, Johnny Hunt, Matty Waters, Lucas Dawson
Goals: Liam Davies (55), Elliott Durrell (82)
Woking: Michael Poke, Jake Caprice (Connor Hall 84), Terell Thomas, Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Keiran Murtagh, Gozie Ugwu, Nathan Ralph, Fabio Saraiva (Max Kretzschmar 69), Delano Sam-Yorke (Jamie Lucas 61), Kane Ferdinand
Subs not used: Brandon Hall, Dennon Lewis
Goals: Brian Saah (53), Connor Hall (85), Gozie Ugwu (90+1)
The Cards are at home to promotion-chasing Dagenham and Redbridge this coming Saturday, 10 October. Come and see if managerial rookie Anthony Limbrick can get the better of wily old John Still.
Come on, you Cards!