Cards need to re-focus quickly
9:00am, Thu 21st Dec 2017
Woking v Barrow
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 23 December 2017
The Cards need to re-focus quickly on the National League after exits from the FA Cup, FA Trophy and Surrey Senior Cup. Perhaps predictably, the fine performance against Peterborough United in the Emirates FA Cup replay was followed by a very â€˜flatâ€™ display against Maidenhead United in the Trophy, so the aim now must be to get back into contention for the play-off places. Anthony Limbrick will be hoping, therefore, that his side can turn the tables on a Barrow side which inflicted a comprehensive 3-0 defeat in Wokingâ€™s second away game of the season, but the Bluebirdsâ€™ recent away form is impressive. Come down to the Laithwaite Community Stadium to cheer on the Cards to what we hope will be an early Christmas present of three points. U14s in festive attire will be granted free admission and adults in festive attire will be entered for a free draw for a prize of a football signed by all the first team squad. Donâ€™t forget, too, the Fansâ€™ Christmas Party after the game.
The fine displays in the Emirates FA Cup have masked some disappointing results in other games in the last couple of months, with the Cards managing only one win in their last seven league games. The side has now slipped to 12th place in the table and Anthony is clearly well aware how critical the holiday period will be in determining whether the Club will be looking upwards or downwards in the remainder of the season.
Although Anthony did not attach particular significance to the effect of playing three centre backs against Maidenhead, the experiment, if thatâ€™s what it was, did not seem to help the sideâ€™s attacking momentum.
On a positive note, it looks as if Anthony will at least start the holiday period with fewer injury worries than he has often experienced. Cards fans will be particularly interested to see if Jason Banton will get a run of games and if he can make an impact.
The Bluebirds, owned since November 2014 by ambitious Dallas-based businessman, Paul Casson, won the Conference North title in the 2014-15 season. Casson then targeted immediate promotion to the Football League and manager Darren Edmondson paid the price in November 2015 for an unpromising beginning to the campaign. Former Mansfield manager Paul Cox was appointed the next day and eventually led the side to an 11th place finish in that campaign. Last season Barrow fell short of the play-offs by seven points, ending in 7th place.
Having carried out the usual summer makeover of his squad, Cox didnâ€™t even see August out, manager and club deciding to go their separate ways. Micky Moore was placed in charge in an interim capacity and then given the job permanently but only lasted till mid-October, with Ady Pennock, the former manager of Forest Green Rovers, Welling United and Gillingham, taking up the reins on 27 October.
Like nearly every other Conference National side, Barrowâ€™s squad underwent major changes during the summer, with some dozen arrivals. Cox released several players, including Inih Effiong, and lost three of his best players to League clubs: striker Richie Bennett, England C winger Jordan Williams and left back Nick Anderton. Other departures included Ross Hannah and Paul Turnbull, both joining Chester.
Cox looked to have made some promising signings by way of compensation. They included striker Adi Yussuf, joining from Grimsby but with experience at Leicester City, Burton Albion, Lincoln City and Mansfield Town amongst other clubs; Dutch defender David Nieskens, most recently with a Belgian third-tier side; French midfielder Bedsente Gomis, well known for his recent successful spell with Sutton United but previously with Southend United; highly experienced midfielder Asa Hall, most recently on loan at York City from Cheltenham Town, where he was part of their promotion-winning side, but with substantial spells at a number of other League clubs; 22-year-old keeper Stuart Moore, joining after six years at Reading, where he had loan spells at Peterborough United and other clubs; 19 year-old French midfielder, Donovan Mahoma, an U16 international joining from RC Lensâ€™s U19 Academy; fellow compatriot Thierry Audel, a 30-year-old defender released by Notts County, following spells at Macclesfield Town, Crewe Alexandra and Lincoln City; defender Dan Jones, a long throw specialist, signing from Grimsby Town but with loans at Gateshead and AFC Fylde last season, following 37 appearances for Hartlepool United; Jimmy Dunne, a 19-year-old central defender, originally with Manchester Unitedâ€™s Academy but on loan till January from Burnley; Bradley Bauress, a goalscoring midfielder originally with Blackburn Rovers but joining from Witton Albion; 6â€™4â€� striker Jordan White, top scorer for Wrexham last season and previously with various Scottish clubs; winger David Fitzpatrick, who was with AFC Wimbledon but with loan spells at Tonbridge Angels and Torquay United; and defender Jack Barthram, a former Spurs Academy player who made 70 appearances for Cheltenham Town after joining from Swindon Town.
Among players remaining from last season were keeper Joel Dixon and giant defender/midfielder Moussa Diarra. Micky Moore then added experienced defenders Tony Diagne and Paul Bignot, plus midfielder Chris Clements on loan from Grimsby, while Dan Cockerline departed for Southport.
Ady Pennockâ€™s most notable signing has been the return last month of former Norwich City and England striker, Grant Holt, to Barrow as player/coach. Holt had been with Kings Lynn Town before being enticed back to his native Cumbria. Two more recent arrivals are defender Calum Macdonald on a youth loan from Derby County and winger Lewis Walters on a monthâ€™s loan from Nottingham Forest. Alex Harvey has left for Guiseley.
Following the 3-0 win over Woking on 12 August the Bluebirds won only one of their subsequent 15 league and Cup games: a run which included a 2-1 away defeat by Shaw Lane in the Emirates FA Cup. Pennockâ€™s first game in charge saw a home defeat at the hands of Macclesfield Town but this was followed by good away wins at Eastleigh and Gateshead before a chastening 3-0 defeat at home by Bromley. Since then Barrow have won away at FC Halifax, lost at home to Dagenham and Redbridge and beaten Nuneaton Town away in the FA Trophy, making it four away wins on the trot.
Barrow now sit in 19th place in the table.
Over 65s Â£13
Disabled (Including carer) Â£13
Students (U19) Â£5
Season ticket holders have the chance to sample the delights of the Geoff Chapple Lounge for only Â£36. See the website for details.
Donâ€™t forget to grab a copy of â€˜Cardinalsâ€™. Only Â£3 for interviews, previews, match reports, Academy updates and great photos.
LAST TIME OUT
Barrow 3 Woking 0
Vanarama National League
12 August 2017
Following a midweek defeat at Tranmere Rovers the Cards found themselves well and truly beaten again in their second away trip of the season. Anthony Limbrick made one change, bringing in Jordan Wynter in place of Chez Isaac, presumably in a forlorn attempt to counter the familiar Paul Cox tactic of pumping in high balls to an array of six-footers.
The Cards had two early chances but then fell behind to a superb strike in the 20th minute by Adi Yussuf. A second goal followed shortly after half-time, Jordan White heading the ball over the line as the strong wind frustrated an attempted clearance of a throw-in. White made the game safe six minutes from time, heading home from a corner.
Barrow: Stuart Moore, Jack Barthram, Daniel Jones, Jimmy Dunne, Moussa Diarra, Dave Nieskens, Alex-Ray Harvey, Asa Hall, Bedsente Gomis (Donovan Makoma 87), Jordan White (Harry Panayiotou 90), Adi Yussuf (Dan Cockerline 41).
Subs not used: Thierry Audel, Liam Hughes
Goals: Yussuf (20), White (47, 83)
Woking: Nathan Baxter, Louis Ramsay, Nathan Ralph, Joey Jones, Josh Staunton, Richard Orlu, Bobson Bawling (Kane Ferdinand 70), Inih Effiong, Charlie Carter (Jamie Philpot 53), Jordan Wynter (Chez Isaac 63), Joe Ward
Subs not used: Declan Appau, Matt Young
Attendance: 1,075 (38 Away)
No Cards fan will be unaware that there is the little matter of a Boxing Day/New Yearâ€™s Day double coming up against local rivals Aldershot Town. The Cards are away on Boxing Day, with a kick-off time of 3pm. Donâ€™t forget that the return fixture at the Laithwaite Community Stadium on New Yearâ€™s Day kicks off at 1pm. Sandwiched between the two games is an away game at Eastleigh on Saturday 30 December.
Come on, you Cards!
P.S. The 400 Club draw will take place in the Cardinalsâ€™ Bar after the game. The special prize of Â£500 is up for grabs as well as the quarterly prizes of Â£100, Â£75 and Â£50.