Woking Football Club, The Laithwaite Community Stadium, Kingfield, Woking, Surrey, GU22 9AA01483 772470
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Brian Caffarey - 30th December 2007

3pm on Tuesday 1 January 2008

Can the Cards avenge their narrow Boxing Day defeat by the Shots? On paper, it looks a very tall order, given Aldershot?s excellent home record and the Cards? lack of a cutting edge. But Woking are surely due a goal and, if the defence can show its customary resilience, an upset is not out of the question. The Shots, however, will be very keen to grab all three points after their disappointing defeat at Grays Athletic on Saturday.


The successive 1-0 home defeats by Aldershot Town and Torquay United put paid to a run of five consecutive wins by the Cards, although that sequence included victories against Croydon and Hemel Hempstead. It?s no disgrace to be beaten narrowly by the top two sides in the BSP but Woking fans were disappointed again on Saturday to see so few goal attempts. The few that did materialise came almost entirely from midfielders, not the forwards. Frank Gray?s ability to change things round is very limited in advance of any reinforcements in the transfer window but he might be tempted to start with an inexperienced front two of Liam Marum and Giuseppe Sole, given Marvin Morgan?s lack of impact since his return from suspension. Other possible options involve starting with Goma Lambu and switching the more attack-minded Danny Bunce and Adam Green on the left.

Woking will be missing Matt Ruby and Jerome Maledon again. I hope to get an update from Frank Gray on other players tomorrow (Monday).


Gary Waddock, who succeeded Terry Brown in the summer as the Shots? manager, is another believer in ?younger, hungrier players? and wasted little time in bringing in some talented youngsters who have quickly shown their potential. This strategy lay behind the decision too to release former captain Darren Barnard (at least we won?t have to suffer from his free kicks this campaign!), midfielder David Lee and Dons? legend Marcus Gayle, who was swiftly snapped up by Terry Brown at his new haunt, AFC Wimbledon. An unwanted departure was that of talented midfielder Mark Molesley, who decided to join Stevenage Borough.

An early signing was that of Anthony Straker, a former England U18 full back from Crystal Palace. He was joined by Anthony Charles, returning to the club from Barnet; Charles was part of the Shots? team which won promotion to the Conference in 2003. Midfield additions included Lewis Chalmers, who gained England C Team honours with Altrincham and is a long-throw expert, and Ben Harding from MK Dons, who had a loan spell at the Rec last season. An inspired season-long loan signing has been that of 19 year-old Scott Davies, who?s notched up some spectacular strikes. Scott was sent off at Grays on Saturday but will be eligible for the game against us. Up front, another promising young signing was that of Rob Elvins, a 20 year-old forward from WBA. Winger Joel Grant returned to the club from Watford after a successful loan spell last season and has recently signed a permanent contract. His speed and trickery caused problems for the Woking defence on Boxing Day but, fortunately for the Cards, his finishing was less impressive. A more experienced arrival was that of defender Rob Gier, who of course had a brief spell at Kingfield last season. Other signings include reserve keeper, Venezuelan Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz. A recent addition is 6?5? defender Nathan Koo-Boothe, who was with Kettering last season but who, like Joel Grant, is a graduate of Watford?s Academy and a Jamaican U21 international.

Key players remaining from last season include the forward pair of John Grant, who?s recently been out injured, and Jonny Dixon, whilst Rob Newman provides some experience in defence to complement Dave Winfield and captain Rhys Day. Nikki Bull (the subject of unpleasant barracking once more on Boxing Day by the more moronic element among Woking fans) has been in fine form in goal. The Shots have had to do without winger Ryan Williams, though, who is recovering from an operation and, like Ryan Scott, is not expected to figure this season.


Not even the most optimistic Shots fan had expected Gary Waddock?s new side to achieve such instant success. Things started brightly on the opening day with a 2-1 away win at Kidderminster. There were already signs of the Shots? new-found resilience and an ability to garner points even against the run of play ? traits which have become more pronounced as the season has progressed. Even on Boxing Day, when the Shots were far from masterful, they still had just enough quality to garner all three points. Rather reminds you of Dagenham and Redbridge last season, doesn?t it? But the Shots had a rude homecoming in their second fixture, crashing 3-0 at the Rec to Torquay United. Nonetheless, they recovered to go on a fantastic run, being beaten only once (at home to Crawley 1-0) in their next 11 games, including fine wins away at Forest Green Rovers and Oxford United. Stevenage Borough, in early October, were the third club to lower the Shots? colours, gaining a 3-1 win at Broadhall Way, followed a week later by Burton Albion, who gained a 2-0 win at the Pirelli Stadium. The only other defeats for the Shots have been at Cambridge United in the First Round of the FA Cup and on Saturday at Grays Athletic. The latter reversal ended a run of seven consecutive league wins.

Aldershot?s home record reads: won 10, drawn 0, lost 2, whilst their away record reads won 8, drawn 1, lost 3. The Shots have netted 50 goals, compared with Woking?s 22, but have conceded 29, two more than the Cards. Another small ray of hope is that the Shots haven?t overwhelmed recent opponents at the Rec and, indeed, by all accounts, have been fortunate on several occasions to grab all the points. Their last four home league games have all been won by the odd goal only. On Saturday the Shots lost 2-1 at Grays Athletic. Rhys Day missed a penalty and Scott Davies was sent off for a foul on (of all people!) Ian Selley.

We have the pleasure of playing the Shots again in the next round of the FA Trophy on Saturday 12 January at Kingfield. In the last round the Shots made short work of Conference South side Hayes and Yeading, notching up a 5-0 win on the road, with goals from Scott Davies, John Grant, Jonny Dixon (2) and Kirk Hudson.


Aldershot Town 2 Woking 1
Woking 2 Aldershot Town 2

Woking 1 Aldershot Town 2
Aldershot Town 4 Woking 0

Woking 1 Aldershot Town 2
Aldershot Town 1 Woking 1

Woking 2 Aldershot Town 0
Aldershot Town 2 Woking 2

We hadn?t had the best of results against our near neighbours following their arrival in the Conference, so it was nice last year to grab our first win and then to gain a draw in the second encounter. In front of a 3,700 crowd and the TV cameras in the first meeting, Steve Evans gave Woking a first half lead after Gez Sole had brilliantly hooked the ball back across goal from beyond the far post. Ollie Berquez nearly made it two as his shot crashed against the post. The points were made safe in the 88th minute as Gez capitalised on defensive confusion to out-jump Nikki Bull and then recover in time to slot the ball home. In the return encounter in March the Cards stormed into an early lead through Daniel Webb, making his debut, before Kirk Hudson?s soft goal evened things up just before the break. Webb played in Craig McAllister fifteen minutes into the second half to put Woking on top again, only for John Grant to level the scores once more. Gary MacDonald was then sent off with ten minutes to go but the Cards survived the final Shots? onslaught. On Boxing Day the Cards largely matched the Shots but Kirk Hudson showed that little bit of quality in the box that we lacked in slotting home the winner. The Shots? joy was soon over-shadowed by the very sad news of the death of Supporters? Club Chairman and Club Director, Paul Muddell, who collapsed and died immediately after the game at Kingfield.


Aldershot Town FC
The Recreation Ground
High Street
GU11 1TW

by coach ? The Supporters? Club coach leaves Kingfield at 1.30pm.

by car ? head for A322. At Fox Corner take second exit, signposted for Pirbright and Aldershot, and then follow signs for Aldershot on the A324 and then A323.

by train ? Aldershot station is very close to the Rec: the ground can be seen on the right as you pull into Aldershot from Woking. Just turn right after the station forecourt and head down the hill: you will see the floodlights ahead of you. The best train looks to be the 13.49, which gets in at 14.09. (If you travel later than this, you?ll have to go via Guildford: the 14.02 arrives at Guildford at 14.10 and then you?d need to catch the 14.17, arriving at Aldershot at 14.34.) Direct trains back are at 06 and 36 minutes past the hour.


? away fans ? are usually allocated part of the East Bank and the adjoining open terrace. Some seats are made available in the South Stand. Signs direct away fans to the away turnstiles in Redan Road. Allow a good five minutes to get up the hill and round to the turnstiles.
? admission prices ? Standing: Adults ?13, Concessions ?9, U16s ?8. Seats: Adults ?16, Concessions ?10, U16s ?9, Disabled ?7 (carer free).
? colours ? the Shots play in red and blue, so the Cards will be in their away strip.

Come on, you Cards!

P.S. Don?t forget that we play the Shots again, at Kingfield, on Saturday 12 January in the FA Trophy.
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