2:36pm, Thu 12th May 2022
Chesterfield vs Woking
Vanarama National League
Sunday 15th May 2022
Woking’s season will come to an end on Sunday as they travel to play-off chasing Chesterfield for the final weekend of the regular National League season.
It’s been a challenging season for the Cards – one that promised much, highlighted by the early successes at Torquay, Notts County, and at home to Sunday’s opponents Chesterfield, but tailed off either side of Christmas. Ian Dyer and new manager Darren Sarll, who was appointed as Alan Dowson’s successor at the end of March, have comfortably guided the club to safety, meaning supporters have a fourth successive season of National League football to look forward to, and the managerial duo have used recent games to experiment with their team ahead of the summer break.
But after successive home defeats, against King’s Lynn Town and Eastleigh, Sarll and his players will no doubt be determined to end the campaign with another memorable away day. Indeed, the Cards have enjoyed plenty of success on their travels this season, picking up 28 points compared to just 24 at home, and they’ll be hoping to finish the season by taking another major scalp in the shape of Chesterfield. Jamar Loza is unavailable following his late sending off at Eastleigh, whilst Kyran Lofthouse remains sidelined through injury, but Sarll should otherwise have a full squad to choose from.
The Spireites, who have been in promotion contention all season, still need a point to be certain of participating in the end of season play-offs, having lost six of their last ten games. It’s been quite the collapse from a side who were top of the National League as recently as New Year’s Day, but now sit 18 points adrift of league leaders Stockport County, having only won eight out of 23 games since losing to Premier League giants Chelsea in the third round of the FA Cup.
The two biggest contributing factors to their relative demise have been the departure of manager James Rowe, who left the club by mutual consent at the start of February following allegations of misconduct, and the injury to star striker Kabongo Tshimanga, who has been out of action since mid-February after scoring 25 goals in his first 30 games of the season – including a run of seven successive games in October and November.
Rowe was replaced by former manager Paul Cook, who was last at the club between 2012 and 2015, and has since had spells with Portsmouth, Wigan Athletic, and Ipswich Town. He has won the League Two title twice, with Chesterfield in 2014 and Portsmouth three years later, as well as the League One title with Wigan in 2018. But thus far his win percentage in his second spell with the Spireites is his lowest as a manager since winning 8 of his 33 games with Accrington Stanley in 2012.
Despite the absence of Tshimanga, who remains 18 goals clear in Chesterfield’s top scorer rankings, Cook still has a talented squad at his disposal, including a litany of strikers – former Woking loanees Joe Quigley and Tom Denton, the dangerous Akwasi Asante, as well as the veteran Danny Rowe.
They will reach the play-offs provided they avoid defeat or match Dagenham & Redbridge’s result against Wrexham, who themselves are in a straight shoot-out for the league title with Stockport.
• Woking 3-1
Chesterfield – 28th September 2021, National League (Campbell 2, Effiong)
• Woking 1-4
Chesterfield – 8th May 2021, National League (Cooper)
• Chesterfield 4-0
Woking – 10th October 2020, National League
• Chesterfield 1-2
Woking – 13th August 2019, National League (Meite, Tarpey)
On the Day
Ticket prices are £18 for Adults, Concessions £14, 17-21 £11 and £7 for Under 16s.
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