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Cards still seeking top gear ahead of challenging trip

Glen Harrington
12:00am, Fri 17th Aug 2018
Hemel Hempstead Town vs Woking
National League South
Saturday 18th August

The Cards dropped points for the first time this week as they were beaten 1-0 at Wealdstone on Monday evening, a late penalty all that separated the two teams, with Alan Dowson’s side dropping to third place in the early season standings.

Once again, Dowse was quick to admit his own frustrations with the performance of his team, but those complaints were perhaps tempered by the fact that his injury depleted side were playing their fourth game in nine days. Nonetheless, the whole squad will no doubt be keen to make amends this coming weekend, as they look to return to winning ways against Hemel.

The Tudors, managed by Dean Brennan, should provide a stern test. They finished fifth in the National League South last season, qualifying for the play-offs, only to be beaten by eventual winners Braintree Town on penalties during their eliminator match. They started the new season with two wins and were the early pacesetters but have since slipped to fourth after draws with Dartford and Hungerford Town (both 0-0).

Even at this early stage of the season both teams will be desperate for the three points so get along if you can and lend your support to the Cards!

Woking Team News

Dowse made three changes on Monday evening, bringing in Paul Hodges, Kiran Khinda-John and Nicky Wheeler for Greg Luer, Christian Jolley and Reggie Young, with the latter dropping to the bench. Jack Cook and Duane Ofori-Acheampong then made their first appearances in a Woking squad this season as they joined Young, Fabio Saraiva and Sam Mason amongst the substitutes.

For Saturday, the Cards will have injury concerns over Jake Hyde – who went off in the first-half against Wealdstone – and Nathan Collier, who picked up a late knock, but defender Daniel Spence, who was sent off in second-half stoppage time, should be available, as his suspension doesn’t start until Monday – meaning he will instead miss the game with Truro City seven days later.

The boss implied that there would be changes after Monday’s disappointment and it will be intriguing to see how widespread those alterations will be come Saturday.

Hemel Hempstead Team News

The Tudors made seven changes for their game on Tuesday evening as they looked to freshen up their side from the game with Dartford, but it appears that the team which started against the Darts is likely to be closer to that which takes on the Cards this weekend.

At Princes Park they set up in a 4-3-3 formation with the experienced Laurie Walker in goal; a defence including Lloyd Doyley, veteran of over 400 games for Watford between 2001 and 2015, former Card Ismail Yakubu, ex-Millwall, Crystal Palace and Wolves man Darren Ward, and former Arsenal and Watford youngster Kyle Connolly.

In midfield was James Kaloczi alongside Reece Prestedge, who was with Maidstone United last season, and former England Under-20 international Jordan Parkes who scored 33 times in all competitions during the 2014/15 campaign, leading to a move to Ebbsfleet United, but returned 12 months later – he scored 15 in National League South last season. Up front was former Arsenal youth Sanchez Watt and Karl Oliyide either side of Steve Cawley – who impressed against the
Cards for Concord Rangers in the FA Cup last season.

Experienced striker Charlie Sheringham, son of former England man Teddy, is one to look out for from the bench. He recently re-joined the club after a spell in the Bangladeshi league.

On the Day

Vauxhall Road can be found in Hemel Hempstead and the postcode is HP2 4HP. It is just under an hour from the Laithwaite Community Stadium and there will be a Supporters’ Coach running. Due to expected problems on the trains this weekend it is not advised to travel by rail. Ticket prices are £14 for adults, £9 for concessions, £5 for Under 18s not accompanied by an adult, £1 for Under 18s accompanied by an adult and free for Under 10s.

Next Up

The Cards have a week’s break before hosting Truro City on Saturday 25th August. That’s followed by a trip to Eastbourne Borough on Bank Holiday Monday, before another home game against Billericay Town, the following Saturday.

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