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Cards desperate to atone for Derby Day disappointment

Glen Harrington - 27th December 2020

Cards desperate to atone for Derby Day disappointment Woking vs Eastleigh
Vanarama National League
Monday 28th December 2020

The Woking players will have less than 48 hours to recover from a deeply disappointing Boxing Day defeat at local rivals Aldershot Town, with Eastleigh the visitors for a lunchtime kick-off at the Laithwaite Community Stadium, in front of the BT Sport cameras.

It was a surreal afternoon in Hampshire on Saturday as, after dominating the opening half an hour, the Cards were undone by three goals in less than ten minutes. Whilst the opener had more than a hint of controversy, after the linesman’s offside flag was overruled by the referee in the middle, manager Alan Dowson will be furious that his players allowed two more quickfire goals to follow, whilst they were undoubtedly still stewing on the first. He will no doubt be equally disappointed that his side were only rarely able to threaten after the half-time break as the Shots secured a comfortable victory. The Cards will have a chance to reclaim the local bragging rights next Saturday, but for now, must focus on the challenge of another Hampshire-based side.

Eastleigh are currently in a somewhat misleading 14th place in the National League, two points behind the Cards, but with three games in hand – winning five and drawing three of their 11 fixtures and accumulating 18 points thus far. Their recent form is indifferent however, they’re without a win in four games in all competitions, with defeats to Maidenhead United, FC Halifax Town, and a goalless draw with Weymouth in their last three league games, as well as a 4-3 defeat at Wealdstone in the FA Trophy, in a game which they had led 3-0. Their last win came at strugglers Yeovil Town back at the start of December.

Woking – Team News

The Cards will welcome back defender Jack Cook who has now served his one-match league ban for accumulating five yellow cards. Fellow centre-back Ben Gerring and midfielder Max Kretzschmar remain suspended.

Eastleigh – The Boss

The Spitfires are managed by their former player, striker Ben Strevens. The 40-year-old, who played almost 700 professional games, predominately in League Two and the National League, also spent time with Barnet, Dagenham & Redbridge, Brentford, Wycombe Wanderers and Gillingham, spent five seasons with Eastleigh, helping them earn promotion to the National League in 2014. In 2016 he combined his playing duties with the role of assistant manager, before getting the top job two years later, replacing Andy Hessenthaler. He finished seventh in his first season, losing a play-off semi-final to Salford City on penalties, before coming 16th in last year’s shortened campaign.

One to Watch

Ryan Hill, who starred against the Cards for Hampton & Richmond Borough in pre-season, is worth keeping an eye on, but their biggest threat so far this season has been striker Ben House. The former Reading academy graduate has notched six league goals so far this campaign, including braces in the wins over Torquay United and Bromley (both 2-1 wins). He was the division’s Player of the Month in October and is a Scotland Under-21 international.

Last Time Out

Eastleigh 2-0 Woking – Vanarama National League (1st February 2020)

Early goals from Jack Payne and Tyrone Barnett were enough to secure all three points for the Spitfires and condemn the Cards to a sixth straight away game without a win. The reverse fixture finished 1-1 when Jamar Loza’s goal was cancelled out by former Card Scott Rendell deep into stoppage time.

Next Up

Woking are at home once against on Saturday when Aldershot Town will be the visitors. That’s followed by a trip to Wales, to face Wrexham, the following weekend.

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