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Brian Caffarey - 10th January 2008
FA Trophy, 2nd Round
3pm on Saturday 12 January 2008

Surely, it?s our turn to win this one! For the third time in as many weeks, the Cards and the Shots go head to head. While the Trophy is clearly not as big a prize as winning the Conference and achieving automatic promotion, it is nevertheless a money-spinner in later rounds and the thought of playing at the new Wembley ought to be a big enough spur for both sides. For the Cards, a trip there would be a terrific achievement in a transitional season, so, go for it, lads! Play as you did in the second half at the Rec!


The Cards will be missing Paul Lorraine and Giuseppe Sole, both suspended, along with Matt Ruby, still recovering from an operation on his hand. Assuming everyone is fit, it looks likely that Matt Gray will move to the right back slot instead of Paul, with Goma Lambu and Matt Pattison joining Bradley Quamina and Adam Green in midfield (no Kevin James now, of course!). But bringing in Jerome Maledon is another option. Up front we can expect Marvin Morgan and Liam Marum to start, with new signing Jason Norville on the bench.


Gary Waddock has put together a young, exciting squad, with an emphasis on pace and movement. He was looking for ?younger, hungrier? players and this led to a clear-out of some of the older brigade, including former captain Darren Barnard, midfielder David Lee and Dons? legend Marcus Gayle, who was swiftly snapped up by Terry Brown at his new haunt, AFC Wimbledon.

An early signing was that of Anthony Straker, a former England U18 full back from Crystal Palace. We saw at the Rec particularly, where he was voted ?man of the match?, that his marauding instincts are an important attacking asset for the Shots. Anthony 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. Up front, another promising young signing was that of Rob Elvins, a 20 year-old forward from WBA. Winger Joel ?Valentino? Grant also returned to the club from Watford after a successful loan spell last season: Joel has recently signed a permanent contract. His pace and trickery down the Shots? left flank caused us lots of problems in both the recent games, although 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, top scorer, and Jonny Dixon, although it was Kirk Hudson, who is in fine form at present, who did the greatest damage in our holiday games. Ricky Newman provides great experience in midfield or in defence, where he complements captain Rhys Day and Dave Winfield. Nikki Bull has been in excellent 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. 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 29 December at Grays Athletic. The latter reversal ended a run of seven consecutive league wins. Their home record reads: won 11, drawn 0, lost 2, whilst their away record reads won 9, drawn 1, lost 3. The Shots have netted 54 goals, compared with Woking?s 24 but have conceded 31, two more than the Cards. Last Saturday the Shots gained a hard-fought 2-1 win at Northwich Victoria, with Kirk Hudson and Joel Grant on target.

In the last round of the FA Trophy 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. In the Setanta Shield Aldershot overcame Oxford United 1-0, the winner coming from Kirk Hudson, and now travel to St Albans in the next round.


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

Woking 0 Aldershot Town 1
Aldershot Town 2 Woking 1

Our record against the Shots is dire! We had to wait till last season to gain our first league win against them. In front of a 3,700 crowd and the TV cameras at Kingfield, the Cards turned in probably their best display of the season against a Shots side embarrassingly forced to wear Woking?s third strip. 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.

This season our Boxing Day encounter against the Shots at Kingfield, in front of nearly 4,500 fans, was a closely-fought affair but, as the clubs? respective goal tallies show, our Hampshire friends can muster more firepower and Kirk Hudson eventually struck to gain three valuable points. In the return encounter on New Year?s Day at the Rec we went down again, this time 2-1. The Cards conceded two goals in a poor 20 minute spell in the first half but rallied after the break, having the better of the second half and pulling a goal back through a Giuseppe Sole penalty after Tom Hutchinson had been fouled in the box.


The memories are perhaps becoming a bit distant now, and the old pork pie hats etc sitting in the drawer at home are all looking faded, but, as all Cards fans will be aware, the great Chapple/Lippiatt sides of the mid 90?s pulled off three wins in four years in the Trophy Final at Wembley, The vanquished sides were Runcorn, Kidderminster Harriers and Dagenham and Redbridge, all beaten 2-1. We haven?t had much to shout about since then! But at least we?ve been to Wembley, unlike our Hampshire neighbours!

The FA Trophy was introduced in the 1969-70 season to give professional non-League clubs a more realistic chance of reaching a Cup final. The first final was won by Macclesfield, who beat Telford United 2-0 in front of a 28,000 crowd. Some other Trophy facts:

? Three clubs have won the Trophy on three occasions: Telford (1971, 1987, 1989); Scarborough (1973, 1976, 1977); and Woking (1994, 1995, 1997)
? Four clubs have won the Trophy twice in succession: Scarborough (1976 and 1977); Woking (1994 and 1995); Kingstonian (1999 and 2000); Grays (2005 and 2006)
? Geoff Chapple won the Trophy five times with Woking and Kingstonian
? Mark Stimson won the Trophy three times in a row, with Grays and Stevenage
? Clive Walker collected four winner?s medals with Woking and Cheltenham
? Last year?s attendance of 53,262 at the opening of the new Wembley, to see Stevenage beat Kidderminster 3-2, was a record for the competition, beating the previous highest attendance of 34,842 when Martin O?Neill?s Wycombe side beat Kidderminster in 1991.

This season the Cards beat Hemel Hempstead away in Round 1 thanks to a terrific strike from Kevin James.

There?s some decent prize money to be won if we can reach the later stages of this competition:

Preliminary Round winners (46) ?1,000
First Round Qualifying winners (72) ?1,500
Second Round Qualifying winners (36) ?2,000
Third Round Qualifying winners (40) ?3,000
First Round Proper winners (32) ?4,000
Second Round Proper winners (16) ?5,000
Third Round Proper winners (8) ?6,000
Fourth Round Proper winners (4) ?8,000
Semi Final winners (2) ?16,000
Final winners (1) ?50,000
Final runners-up (1) ?25,000

The full draw for the Second Round is:

Vauxhall Motors v Burton Albion
Woking v Aldershot Town
Tonbridge Angels v AFC Wimbledon
Droylsden v Cambridge City
Weymouth v Kidderminster Harriers
Farsley Celtic v Alfreton Town
Rushden & Diamonds v Exeter City
Dorchester Town v Ebbsfleet United
Histon v Cambridge United
Braintree Town v Workington
Bishop's Stortford v Halifax Town
Newport County v Torquay United
Stafford Rangers v Forest Green Rovers
Crawley Town v Eastleigh
York City v Grays Athletic
Blyth Spartans AFC v Tamworth

Come on, you Cards!