Cards hoping to pull off survival shock in front of the cameras
12:00am, Fri 27th Apr 2018
Woking vs Dover Athletic
Vanarama National League
Saturday 28th April 2018
The Cards take on play-off chasing Dover Athletic this weekend as part of the final round of matches of the regular National League season. Both sides still have plenty to play for in front of the BT Sport television cameras so make sure to come down and watch what will, hopefully, be an exciting and positive finish to a challenging campaign.
Richard Orlu’s first goal of the season could not have come at a better time. His header, seven minutes from time, gave the Cards a 2-1 win over AFC Guiseley last weekend, their first away from home in the league since mid-October, and brought them level on points with relegation rivals Barrow – who conceded a late equaliser to former Card, Aldershot Town striker Scott Rendell, who snatched a 1-1 draw for the Shots. The Bluebirds played their game in hand on Tuesday and picked up a valuable 0-0 draw with Bromley. It was a result which edged them a point ahead of Woking with one game left to play – at home to already relegated Chester – meaning a win for the Cumbria club on the final day will send the Cards down. Their far superior goal difference also means that anything other than a win for Woking, barring a mathematical miracle, will not be enough – the only hope for Geoff Chapple, Jason Goodliffe and co is that the Cards hold their nerve on home soil and win whilst Barrow – who have only won once at home since October – drop points.
Woking’s side of the equation is very simple and victory is essential to give the home side a sniff of survival this weekend. A win would also, ironically, take us past the 50-point target typically associated with safety. Dover are the side standing in the way of all three points and Joe Kinnear’s side promises to be, as always, tough opposition. They currently sit ninth in the league, with 70 points from their 45 games, and they have an outside shot at sneaking into the top seven if they win and other results go their way. Bromley, Boreham Wood, AFC Fylde and Ebbsfleet United are all within one win of the Whites and whilst they would need a lot of games to go their way they will no doubt be aiming to make it a second consecutive season in the play-offs – a remarkable achievement considering the number of key players they lost at the end of last season, including star player and top scorer, Ricky Miller – now at Mansfield Town, on loan from Peterborough.
Whatever the result proves to be the Cards would love to have your support this Saturday! Please remember that the game is kicking off at the earlier time of 12:30pm and that the bar will open two hours earlier.
Woking Team News
In arguably one of the club’s biggest one-off games since earning promotion back to the National League in 2012 it will be crucial for Chapple and Goodliffe to nail down the perfect team selection. They have plenty of options too after Orlu’s goal-scoring return last weekend and the commendable performances of Bobson Bawling, back from a desperately long injury lay-off, and Fabio Saraiva, who scored five goals between them in an 11-1 win for the Under-23s last weekend, the latter grabbing a hat-trick.
One area that is unlikely to cause too many dilemmas for the Woking management team is the defence where Louis Ramsay, Nathan Ralph, Josh Staunton and Jordan Wynter should continue ahead of Nathan Baxter. The midfield will be the crucial area with both Bawling and Saraiva having made their case for a late recall. Regan Charles-Cook was also only used as a substitute against the Lions after being a regular for most of his time with the Cards, whilst Charlie Carter, fresh from scoring his twelfth of the season last weekend, will be expecting to start in a potentially attacking line-up.
It will be interesting to see whether the Cards opt to go 4-4-2, with Reece Grego-Cox returning alongside Louie Theophanous, or whether they’ll prefer to stack the midfield and give one of the two forwards as much service as possible from an attacking trio playing in behind.
Dover Team News
Dover’s play-off challenge has stumbled in recent weeks with just seven points coming from seven games since beating eventual National League champions Macclesfield Town 2-0 at the Crabble in mid-March. You have to go even further back for their last win on the road which came against Chester at the start of the same month.
However, they did emerge as 3-2 winners over Gateshead in their last game, and certainly have a strong squad to choose from this weekend. Last time out they started with regular goalkeeper Mitch Walker; a back five which included towering Australian defender Giancarlo Gallifuoco, previously of Torquay, former Woking loanee Connor Essam, Kevin Lokko, who is on loan from Stevenage, Manny Parry and former Dagenham and York full-back Femi Ilesanmi; in midfield was captain Mitch Brundle, who was with Gateshead last season, and former Wrexham man Nortei Nortey; whilst the front three were England C international Mitchell Pinnock, Anthony Jeffrey and dangerman Ryan Bird.
Their choices from the bench include a couple of strong attacking options – former AFC Wimbledon man Ade Azeez and dynamic winger Keanu Marsh-Brown, previously of Barnet and Forest Green Rovers, both currently on loan; another wide-man, former Card Kadell Daniel, as well as midfielder Liam Bellamy and defender Josh Passley.
Last Time Out
Dover Athletic 3-1 Woking (Tuesday 24 October 2017 – Vanarama National League)
This marked the start of a bad run of form for the Cards – a run which they have arguably never fully emerged from. After losing just one game in 11 in all competitions, Anthony Limbrick’s side had lost at Bromley on the Saturday, and didn’t recover in time for their trip south, where they were well beaten for the second time in four days. Ryan Bird put the Whites ahead early on and doubled the home side’s lead after 20 minutes. Joe Ward did pull one back in the second-half only for Manny Parry to restore Dover’s two goal advantage less than two minutes later.
• Adults £18
• Over 65s £13
• Disabled (Including carer) £13
• Students (U19) £5
• U16s £5
Our matchday programme, ‘Cardinals’, will be on sale for £3. Don’t forget to grab your copy on the way in! You’ll also be able to visit the club shop for more great offers.