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Brian Caffarey - 23rd March 2008

3pm on Monday 24 March 2008

After the spectacular success of the last ?free for U16s? offer, which pulled in over 1,000 extra fans through the gates for the Northwich Victoria match, the Club is repeating this initiative for the visit of Nick Holmes?s side on Easter Monday. The Whites have had an excellent first season in the BSP, so the Cards will have to be on their mettle to extract three points from this encounter. Come on down to Kingfield on Monday afternoon and join the bumper crowd!


The Cards could do with some points to quell any lingering fears of being dragged into a relegation battle. Although Frank Gray?s side have been putting in some good displays recently, there has been no reward. They?ve now gone seven league games without a win. Tough trips away to Cambridge and Forest Green Rovers both saw narrow defeats and, of course, in the Setanta Shield semi-final last Tuesday, they were very unlucky to lose on penalties to Aldershot Town in an exhilarating game.

Although there was newspaper talk before Friday?s game of making changes in the light of the heavy demands of the fixture list, there was little evidence of this at Forest Green Rovers. But Frank must surely be tempted to start with Liam Marum up front in place of Jason Norville on Monday. Marvin Morgan was uncharacteristically quiet on Friday after an energetic display against Aldershot but he is a handful on his day and Frank will be reluctant to rest him. It wouldn?t be a surprise to see Adam Green brought in, although Gez Sole played well on Friday.

Subject to any new injury worries from Friday?s game, Paul Lorraine is the only absentee.


Nick Holmes kept faith with many of the players who secured City?s promotion from the Conference South last season, moving a number of them onto full-time contracts, and must have been particularly relieved to have held onto Matt Tubbs, their prolific striker, who forms a lethal partnership up front with the bruising Robbie Matthews, who has, however, been out injured recently. Among the new faces were Darrell Clarke, a midfielder who had played over 100 games for Hartlepool; Liam Feeney, a midfielder from Hayes; keeper James Bittner, who of course had a spell with us last season before losing his place to Nick Gindre; and midfielder Andrew Sandell, who joined the Whites initially on a month?s loan from Bristol Rovers. More recent additions include two players on loan from Luton Town, 19 year-old defender Ed Asafu-Adjaye and midfielder Rob Sinclair, and 18 year-old striker Ashley Barnes, on loan from Plymouth. Ex-Card midfielder Michael Fowler is also in the Whites? squad.


The Whites lie in 9th place, ten points adrift of the play-off places. Their away record is very respectable, with 6 wins, 6 draws and 7 losses; they?ve scored 30 goals in the process and conceded 29. Their 2-1 defeat at Ebbsfleet on 4 March ended a superb 12-match unbeaten run in all competitions, including four consecutive league wins. Since then the Whites have notched up three league draws, at home to Farsley, away at Crawley and, on Friday, a 3-3 draw at home to Histon. Matt Tubbs scored a late equaliser for Nick Holmes?s side, his 100th for the club. The Whites didn?t fare so well in cup competitions this year, going out early to Stevenage in the FA Cup, Exeter in the FA Trophy and Weymouth in the Setanta Shield.


We endured a dreadful defeat last season at the hands of Nick Holmes?s side in the FA Trophy. Against the run of play, we took the lead in fortunate fashion through Craig McAllister but the Whites ran out easy winners in the second half, with Matt Tubbs notching two of his side?s three goals.

In the away encounter in the league this season, at the end of August, the Whites inflicted our first defeat of the campaign, 2-1, after we had managed a creditable win and three draws in our opening four games. Missing Nick Gindre (replaced by Alex McCarthy from Reading) and Tom Hutchinson, Frank Gray drafted Bradley Quamina into the back five. Salisbury quickly over-ran our midfield three and were two up in twenty minutes, with goals from Matt Tubbs and Darrell Clarke. It was all change at half-time as the Cards came out in their green strip, with Quamina moving to midfield and David Shin replacing Jerome Maledon. The Cards were more in the game but could only manage a consolation goal from substitute Gez Sole (replacing the injured Michael Charles).

Come on, you Cards!

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