Cards aiming to kick-off festive period with a win
4:54pm, Fri 6th Dec 2019
Woking vs Hartlepool United
Vanarama National League
Saturday 7th December 2019
Woking entertain Hartlepool United at the Laithwaite Community Stadium this weekend, in what is the Cards’ first of seven league and cup games in a four-week period over December and early January.
Alan Dowson’s side will be looking to bounce back from last week’s disappointing defeat at Boreham Wood, a result which ended a run of 10 points out of 12 throughout the rest of November, and had previously elevated Woking back to within three points of the top of the league table. The Cards are yet to beat Hartlepool in three attempts since the Monkey Hangers’ relegation to non-league football in 2017, drawing twice and losing once, although they came within a crossbar’s width of a stoppage time winner the last time Pools came to town in September 2017. After also coming close at Victoria Park this September, live on BT Sport, Dowse and co will no doubt be determined to take all three points this time around.
It’s been a challenging season so far for Hartlepool who started the year with promotion ambitions but have been held back by their own inconsistencies. They are currently in 12th place with 32 points from 23 games, six points behind Woking in fifth, but nine points clear of the relegation places. Manager Craig Hignett was sacked in October after just under nine months in charge and was replaced last month by former AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor who has remained unbeaten in five games so far – drawing 2-2 with both Ebbsfleet United and Boreham Wood, before thrashing Chesterfield 5-1 last time out. They’ve also kept their place in the FA Cup, impressing with a 4-1 win at Yeovil, before coming from behind to secure another 2-2 draw with Football League side Exeter City.
This should be an entertaining game so please come along if you can and support the team!
Woking Team News
After enjoying a settled team over the last few weeks, Dowse will be forced into changes for this one, with two at least guaranteed – Jamar Loza is suspended following his sending off against Boreham Wood, whilst Glen Rea has returned to Luton Town following the completion of his loan spell. Moussa Diarra is also a doubt after being forced off at half-time in Tuesday’s Surrey Senior Cup win over Chertsey Town.
The boss will at least be boosted by the return of Godfrey Poku, who has completed his one-match ban, whilst Kane Ferdinand is also thought to be close to full fitness after missing the last three league outings. Both players would be a natural fit in midfield. Further forward, Paul Hodges or Ibrahim Meite could take Loza’s place, whilst at the back Nathan Collier could start in lieu of Diarra.
Hartlepool United Team News
For their last league outing, the win over Chesterfield, Challinor selected Ben Killip in goal. The England C international was with Braintree Town last season having spent his early career with Chelsea and Norwich City. In defence was Peter Kioso, an energetic full-back who was a real danger the last time the two sides met, Mark Kitching, a product of Middlesbrough’s academy who was signed from Rochdale, the experienced Michael Raynes, who has played the majority of his career in the Football League for the likes of Stockport, Scunthorpe, Oxford United and Carlisle, plus Fraser Kerr, an addition from Gateshead last season.
In midfield was Ryan Donaldson, who has first-team appearances for Newcastle United and has also played for Cambridge United and Plymouth, Nicky Featherstone, who has racked up over 200 appearances for the club since his debut in 2014, Gus Mafuta and youngster Josh Hawkes. Up front was the ever-dangerous Gime Toure, who has 11 goals this season, including four in his last five, and another England C international, Luke James, who’s in his second spell with the club after time at Peterborough and Forest Green Rovers.
The man to look out for from the bench is undoubtedly Nicke Kabamba, a player Dowse knows well from his time at Hampton, and who has scored six goals in his last 11 games.
Last Time Out
Hartlepool United 1-1 Woking – National League (7th September 2019)
In this televised fixture, the Cards started the brighter and were unlucky to fall behind in first-half stoppage time, when Liam Noble scored from the penalty spot. However, Paul Hodges rescued a point for Woking 10 minutes from time with a brilliantly taken goal, his first in the National League. The result extended the Cards’ unbeaten run to eight-games in all competitions.
• Adults £18
• Over 65s £13
• Disabled (Including carer) £13
• Students (Under 19) £5
• U16s £5
Tickets are available on the turnstiles or in advance online. Remember, our matchday programme will also be on sale for £3. Don’t forget to grab your copy on the way in! You’ll then be able to visit the club shop for more great offers.
The Cards travel to Kingstonian next Sunday in an FA Trophy fixture. Our next league match is six days later away to Ebbsfleet United – our fourth meeting with the Kent-side this season.