WOKING v DROYLSDEN
12:00am, Thu 1st Nov 2007
Woking v Droylsden
3pm on Saturday 3 November 2007
Frank Gray?s team will be keen to get last weekend?s hugely disappointing display out of their system with a good performance against Droylsden on Saturday. The Bloods have endured a wretched start to life in the top non-League tier, but pulled off a big surprise a few weeks ago when they hammered Oxford United 3-1 for their first win of the campaign. Unfortunately for the Bloods, that doesn?t seem to have been the start of a revival, since they suffered three subsequent league defeats, although they beat Corby away in the Cup. The Cards have lost only once in their last five league games but will be anxious to gain three points in their bid to move further up the table and away from any danger.
I spoke to Frank Gray this (Thursday) evening after he had had several days to reflect on last Saturday?s disastrous FA Cup exit at the hands of Staines. Frank denied that he there had been any lack of desire on the part of his team: ?they were fully prepared for the game and were just as desperate as the fans to do well?, he said, ?but on the day it didn?t happen and we just couldn?t put the ball in the net.? Frank thought that eight or nine times out of ten we would have won that game but that it illustrated the nature of Cup competitions. ?These games are one-offs, played over ninety minutes. There are always shocks in every round and there will be again in the next round. These things aren?t wholly predictable and it isn?t easy to put your finger on why we didn?t perform well.? He disagreed with the criticism that we hadn?t been adventurous enough, pointing out that, with the exception of Joe Gatting, the line-up and formation had been the same as that at Oxford, where we had created a host of chances in the first five minutes alone. He thought, however, that we had missed Joe up front.
Frank said that they hadn?t spent their time this week dwelling on the result but had concentrated on training and preparing themselves for the Droylsden game, when they hoped to produce a much better performance.
Frank said that there were no definite absentees for Saturday but that a couple of players had ?niggles? which would need to be assessed tomorrow and on Saturday.
He said that Droylsden would clearly be very keen to do well and had been boosted by their win over Oxford and their Cup victory ?but it?s up to us to make sure we get the three points?.
WHO ARE DROYLSDEN ?
If you?re a ?dyed in the wool? Southerner like me, Droylsden probably isn?t much more than a name, so who are the Bloods? Well, the ground is on the outskirts of Manchester, about four miles from the city centre and very close to Manchester City?s new ground. Their nickname comes from the red and white colours they adopted. What a pity we?re not still called the Cremators; that would have made for a sanguineous encounter and no doubt have provided a good headline for the inventive Clive Youlton! They started off as a village team playing behind the Butcher?s Arms and eventually made their way, via the Manchester and Cheshire Leagues, to the Northern Premier League. An important event on the way was a merger with local rivals Droylsden United in the 1950s. Like us, they had a bad spell in the early 1980s, sinking to Division 2 of the North Western Counties League. The Bloods, who are still part-time, joined the Unibond Premier in 1998/99. They endured successive play-off defeats in 2004/05 and 2005/06 to Kettering Town and Stafford Rangers but won the Conference North title outright last year on a tense final day. Chairman/manager Dave Pace has ploughed some ?3m into the club in his 12 years in charge.
It rather looks as though Dave Pace has concentrated on importing experienced players. Up front Robbie Talbot once commanded big non-League transfer fees as he moved from Burscough to Morecambe and then on to Burton Albion. Terry Fearns was touted for a move into League football after he scored over 40 goals in the Southport side which won the Nationwide North title. Steve Daly was his strike partner at Southport. Jody Banim played for Shrewsbury in the Conference before joining the Bloods in 2004. At the back the experienced hands include keeper Phil Senior, signed from Northwich, Steve Halford, formerly with Accrington Stanley and Chester and Colin Cryan, who played over 50 games for Scarborough in the Conference before joining Lincoln City and Boston United. The main arrivals in the summer were the tricky Robin Gibson and Ged Murphy from Stafford Rangers and defender Mark Hotte, also remembered from his Scarborough days. A recent reinforcement on loan is 19 year-old midfielder Dale Stephens from Bury.
SEASON SO FAR
The Bloods started off with two draws: a 3-3 encounter at Northwich ? which proved to be the only point they?ve won away from home to date ? followed by a 0-0 result at home to Salisbury City. But they then suffered eleven successive defeats before their astonishing win over Oxford United. Some of their losses were close-run things but they included a 5-0 reverse at Crawley Town and a 3-0 home defeat by Stevenage Borough. The Bloods were unable to follow up their Oxford feat, slipping to a disappointing 3-0 home loss to Farsley Celtic, followed by a 2-0 away defeat at Ebbsfleet and then a 1-0 loss at home two weeks ago to Histon, who had been reduced to ten men. So, Droylsden have accumulated only five points from 17 games, with a goal deficit of 27 goals. However, they defeated Corby Town 2-1 away in the Cup last Saturday and are now away to Harrogate Railway in the Second Round.
Come on, you Cards!
Log on to www.wokingfc.co.uk on Saturday evening for a match report.