Cards need to quickly refocus on league
8:21pm, Thu 16th Nov 2017
Woking v Maidenhead United
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 18 November 2017
With all the excitement generated by the Emirates FA Cup, it’s going to be hard for Anthony Limbrick and his players to concentrate fully on the bread and butter of the National League. But this encounter against the Magpies is the first of two successive home games, providing an excellent opportunity for the side to get back into the play-off positions. However, Alan Devonshire’s side have fared well in their first season at this level and will prove tough opponents. Come down to the Laithwaite Community Stadium and cheer on the Cards!
Even the most fervent and optimistic of Woking fans can’t really have expected the Cards to produce such a decisive result up at Bury, so massive credit is due to Anthony Limbrick and his players for putting on such a terrific display, bringing back fond memories of the days when Woking regularly discomforted League sides in the FA Cup.
Anthony stiffened the side by playing all three of Kane Ferdinand, Chez Isaac and Joey Jones, with Jamie Philpot dropping to the bench in a tactical change. Inih Effiong lived up to Anthony’s trust in him with a barnstorming display and a fine goal. It was good to see Charlie Carter making a return as a non-playing substitute, but disappointing to find Jason Banton missing again. Josh Staunton, as expected, was still out injured. Let’s hope the midweek exertions haven’t added to Anthony’s injury problems.
The creditable draw at FC Halifax Town last Saturday ended a run of three league defeats, with a clean sheet especially welcome after recent defensive lapses. Another clean sheet at Bury – and three goals! – provides a great platform for the Cards to march on in the league if they can re-focus quickly.
Devonshire didn’t take long to boost Maidenhead’s fortunes after returning there from Braintree Town in summer 2015. In his first season in charge the Magpies finished in 7th place in the Conference South. Last season, in spite of being pushed all the way by Ebbsfleet United, they lifted the title by two points. A huge factor was the 44 goals scored by Dave Tarpey, aided and abetted by ex-Iron favourite, Sean Marks, who made over 300 appearances for the Essex club over eight years. But there was also defensive solidity provided by Alan Massey, another former Iron, and Dean Inman, who had played for Devonshire when he managed Hampton and Richmond Borough.
Tarpey signed on again in the summer but was lured away away by Barnet on transfer deadline day. Inman has also recently departed, offered a deal by moneyed Billericay Town which he couldn’t refuse.
There are quite a few players in the Magpies’ squad who have worn the red and white halves at least briefly, including keepers Carl Pentney and Nick Hamann, both of whom also played for Braintree, Rene Steer and Moses Emmanuel, who is on a two-month loan from Sutton United, having moved there from Dover in the summer.
Pentney has been the regular keeper for the past two seasons. In defence we can expect to see: Remy Clerima, a French right back or central defender, who joined from Braintree in November last year; Jake Goodman, yet another former Iron, who joined in the summer, having also previously appeared for Margate and, before that, a number of other clubs on loan from Millwall; Alan Massey, formerly Braintree’s captain and making over 150 appearances over three seasons; Ryan Peters, player/coach, who moved with Devonshire from Braintree Town; and Rene Steer, a left-back who began his career at Arsenal before moving on to a number of other clubs, including Woking briefly, and then arriving at St Neots Town and Maidenhead. Other defensive options include youth graduate Maximilian Kilman, who was on loan at Marlow last season; and James Hammond, a right back recruited in the summer from Concord Rangers.
In midfield contenders for the starting line-up include Adrian Clifton, who returned to the club after two years away, having been on loan at Staines last season; winger Harry Pritchard, who scored in the 3-0 drubbing the Cards suffered in the FA Cup in 2015, and who has made over 150 appearances for the Magpies; James Conley, a driving force who joined permanently in the summer, having been on loan from St Albans City; Ryan Upward, a central midfielder who has been at the club since 2014; Sam Barratt, a highly-rated young player who was recently called up for the England C squad; Harold Odatemey, signed from Hampton and Richmond Borough, with previous appearances for a number of local clubs, including Walton and Hersham and Kingstonian; James Mulley, an experienced operator who won the Conference with AFC Wimbledon and another former Iron; and Christian Smith, who returned to the club from Bishop’s Stortford and with experience at a host of clubs, having originally started his career with Port Vale.
Up front, Devonshire, in addition to Moses Emmanuel and Sean Marks, can call on Jake Hyde, a locally-born player who signed from Stevenage in the summer, having originally been with Swindon Town and subsequently spending two seasons at Barnet and York City amongst other clubs; Christian McKenzie, who scored 21 goals for Romford last season and who has also played for Bromley; and youngster Josh Kelly.
The Magpies sit in 14th place in the table with 27 points from 19 games. So tight is the table that they are only two points behind the Cards in eighth place. Away from home, they have won three, drawn three and lost three in the league. Their last two away games have seen them draw at Dover and beat Bromley 3-2, so their recent form on their travels is good. But they played poorly last weekend in losing 3-0 at home to Gateshead, conceding two goals in the first ten minutes.
Over 65s £13
Disabled (Including carer) £13
Students (U19) £5
Season ticket holders have the chance to sample the delights of the Geoff Chapple Lounge for only £36. See the website for details.
Don’t forget to grab a copy of ‘Cardinals’. Only £3 for interviews, previews, match reports, Academy updates and great photos.
The Cards are at home again next Tuesday (21 November) when Ebbsfleet United are the visitors.
Come on, you Cards!