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Cards looking to continue title challenge as league campaign restarts

Glen Harrington - 18th January 2019

Cards looking to continue title challenge as league campaign restarts St Albans City vs Woking
Vanarama National League South
Saturday 19th January 2019


The Cards will be looking to make it nine successive league victories on Saturday as they travel to play-off chasing St Albans City.

Manager Alan Dowson will be hoping to have a refreshed squad available following a ten-day break after a 2-0 win over Welling United last week. However, he will have to go without winger Jamar Loza, who has joined Billericay Town, as well as several other key players – with Max Kretzschmar and Toby Edser also likely to be unavailable. Despite the potential for changes the team will high on confidence after a ten-game unbeaten league run stretching back to late October and will be hoping to keep the pressure on league leaders Torquay United with a positive result at Clarence Park.

The Saints currently sit in ninth place in the National League South, one point adrift of the top seven, and only four points off fourth place Chelmsford City in a tightly contested top-half of the table. Only two teams – Woking and Torquay – have scored more goals that St Albans’ 44 so far this year, although they’ve been let down somewhat by their leaky defence, with their 40 goals conceded more than all but six teams, with even second-bottom Gloucester City conceding less. Incredibly, that means Ian Allison’s side have been involved in 84 goals in just 26 games, so there is plenty of potential for a high scoring encounter. In terms of recent form, they enjoyed a seven-game unbeaten run either side of Christmas, including wins over Hemel Hempstead, Billericay and Oxford City, but they’ve since lost their last two games – 2-1 at Truro City and 3-2 away to Dartford. Their last home defeat in the league came against Chippenham Town back in November.

This weekend’s game has all the makings of a pulsating encounter so make the trip if you possibly can and get behind the team!

Woking Team News

Dowse will likely be forced into at least a couple of changes from the win over Welling with Loza gone and Edser, whose loan deal expires on Friday, unlikely to be involved. The game will probably also come too soon for top scorer Kretzschmar who the Cards will hope to have back in time for next week’s game at home to Wealdstone. Aaron Eyoma and Noel Leighton’s respective loan deals have ended whilst reserve goalkeeper Berti Schotterl has also moved on, opening the door for academy graduate Sam Mason to return to the squad. Ben Gerring, who failed a late fitness test against the Wings, should be fit to return.

This all means that Dowse and co will likely return to the regular back four of Gerring, Nathan Collier, Josh Casey and Jack Cook in front of goalkeeper Craig Ross; on-loan Barnet midfielder Harry Taylor, who filled in at right-back last time out, will be able to return to his more natural position alongside Christian Jolley and Armani Little, while Nicky Wheeler looks set for a recall alongside Harvey Bradbury and Paul Hodges. Jake Hyde and Greg Luer provide alternative options as part of the front three.

St Albans Team News

For their defeat at Dartford, Allison’s team included regular goalkeeper Dean Snedker, a back four of Josh McLeod-Urquhart, Michael Clark, Lewis Knight and the experienced Tom Bender, who has also had spells with Dartford and Chelmsford; in midfield was Jordan Sanderson, alongside the powerful Solomon Sambou, who was the club’s Player of the Year last year; out wide were Dave Diedhiou and Zane Banton – not to be confused with former Woking player Jason – and up front was target man David Moyo, scorer of 11 goals this season, and Sam Merson. Top scorer Ralston Gabriel left the club in December.

Last time out, it was Moyo who scored a stunning goal to give the Saints the lead at Kingfield, before Jake Hyde and Ian Gayle stole a narrow 2-1 win for the Cards.

On the Day

Clarence Park can be found on Clarence Road; the postcode is AL1 4NF – a drive of around one hour and 15 minutes from the Laithwaite Community Stadium. The nearest station is St Albans City which is a short walk from the ground.

Supporters can also book a place on the travelling club coach which departs at 12.00pm. The cost for trust members is £10 adults and £5 for under-16s – with a £5 increase for non-members. To book your place please contact Adam Bowyer (adam.bowyer@cardstrust.co.uk) or call the club shop.

Matchday ticket prices are £15 for adults, £10 for concessions, £5 for under-16s and free for under-12s. There is also a family ticket available for two adults and two children priced at £25.

Next Up

The Cards are back at home next Saturday when we take on Wealdstone at the Laithwaite Community Stadium. Our January fixture list then concludes with a mid-week trip to Egham Town in the Surrey Senior Cup.
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