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Brian Caffarey - 23rd September 2007

Woking v Exeter City
7.45pm on Tuesday 25 September 2007

We have had some great games against Exeter City since they joined the Conference in the 2003/04 season. After our unbeaten record against them in the three previous campaigns, they turned the tables on us last year. Following their defeat by Morecambe in the Play-Off Final last season, the pundits were predicting that the Grecians might find the going harder this time round but they still look a force to be reckoned with. With a couple of the teams below us grabbing wins at the weekend, we could do with some points from this game notwithstanding Exeter?s fine away record. Make sure you are at Kingfield on Tuesday evening for what should be another very interesting encounter.


After two very unfortunate away trips Frank Gray will be hoping, first of all, that we don?t give away any penalties and that we keep eleven men on the pitch for a change. Paul Lorraine will be back after his one-match suspension for his transgression at Crawley but I?ve no idea at the time of writing who, if anyone, will be suspended for the Burton incident. Presumably, it will be Matt Ruby, if anyone, since there won?t have been time to consider any appeal. Ironically, with Paul?s return, Matt might well have found himself on the bench anyway.

The Cards need to start gathering some more points. Of the teams below us, both York, who are probably in a false position anyway, and Stafford Rangers won on Saturday, closing the gap. At Burton we looked much more cohesive and threatening in the second half when we pushed Goma Lambu and Matt Pattison out onto the flanks. Goma, in particular, though tireless in tackling back, looked much more effective in a more advanced role. His attempts to get to the byline or get past players didn?t always come off but at least he was always there, providing an outlet and taking the game to opponents. It would be surprising too if Marvin Morgan doesn?t start up front after being rested at Burton. He can be frustrating, trying to beat players when he should be passing, but he always carries a threat and occupies defenders. And, as we?ve seen, if he can just gain a foot on a defender he?s very hard to catch. Paul Hakim seems the likely striking partner. We need to tighten up in defence, though: we allowed Burton to get in far too many crosses and free headers.


Manager Paul Tisdale had to cope with raids by his former assistant, Paul Buckle, now manager of fierce rivals Torquay United, on his playing squad during the summer. Buckle paid ?17k to take top striker Lee Phillips to Plainmoor and also acquired keeper Martin Rice. Other leavers included ex-Shot Jon Challinor, who returned to Rushden and Diamonds, and Paul Ada, who joined Histon. To fill the gaps Tisdale brought in experienced striker Steve Basham, released by Oxford United, and two keepers: Andy Marriott, part of the fall-out from Boston United, and James Bittner, returning to his former club from Kingfield. Other new arrivals included midfielder Neil Saunders, captain of Team Bath last season, and defender Matt Taylor from Bath City. On loan from Bristol City is 18 year-old midfielder Frankie Artus. Tisdale can also call on the likes of Adam Stansfield, Lee Elam, Jon Richardson, James Mackie and Dean Moxey, so there is plenty of strength in depth in his sizeable squad. That is probably just as well since he is having to cope with quite a few injuries, including Steve Basham with a cracked rib.


The Grecians started the season as though they intended to make the pundits look a little foolish. A 4-1 thrashing of Altrincham up north on the first day was a superb tonic and wins followed against Crawley at home and Droyslden away, with draws at home to York City and Weymouth, before the Grecians found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-0 scoreline at Kidderminster, where James Constable plundered a hat-trick, assisted by ex-Card Justin Richards. But the Grecians recovered well to gain a 2-2 draw at Oxford United with two late goals from Richard Logan. They then drew again, 1-1 at home to Cambridge United. A 2-0 away win at Farsley Celtic was followed by home draws against Forest Green Rovers (3-3) and, on Saturday, Ebbsfleet United (1-1), when a late James Mackie strike rescued a point. So, the Grecians have only been beaten once this season and their away record reads ?three wins, one draw and one defeat?. Warning enough!


Woking 1 Exeter City 0
Exeter City 1 Woking 2

Woking 3 Exeter City 3
Exeter City 0 Woking 0

Exeter City 1 Woking 1
Woking 1 Exeter City 0

Woking 0 Exeter City 2
Exeter City 1 Woking 0

Our away win in the 2003/04 season was one of the best performances I?ve seen by a Woking side, with Adriano Basso outstanding in goal, and Raphael Nade and Michael Johnson causing havoc on the flanks. Amos Foyewa and Luke Cornwall grabbed the goals. For sheer excitement the 3-3 home draw on the opening day of the following season was hard to beat, with Steve Flack getting an injury-time equaliser for the Grecians. Woking gained a well-earned point at St James? Park in the 2005/06 season, thanks to a trademark Karl Murray free-kick, which cancelled out Tony Scully?s goal. Woking gained three points in the return fixture at Kingfield, on a bitterly cold evening. The Cards scored in the 79th minute when Justin Richards converted a penalty after a foul on Tom Hutchinson. Richards was later given a straight red for a two-footed challenge. Last season the Grecians eased past us home and away, with Paul Buckle and James Mackie getting the goals at Kingfield and Jon Challinor at St James?s Park.

Come on, you Cards!
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