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Luton Town
Luton Town
3 - 1

Woking
Woking

Big Boxing Day test for Cards

Brian Caffarey
8:00am, Mon 24th Dec 2012
Luton Town v Woking
3pm on 26 December 2012

A holiday ‘double header’ against Conference giants Luton Town has to be the highlight of the Cards’ league campaign. On the face of it, Woking’s chances of pulling off a result at Kenilworth Road look slim, given their generally poor away record and the fact that they will be missing two key strikers, but Garry Hill’s side’s three victories on their travels have all been at the expense of ‘big name’ sides (Stockport, Newport and Lincoln), so the occasion may just bring out the best in a team that is talented enough to cause a surprise.

WOKING

The postponement of the Cards’ home game against Forest Green Rovers on Saturday didn’t do Garry Hill any favours in terms of putting out his best side at Kenilworth Road. Had that game gone ahead top scorer Bradley Bubb would have served the suspension which he foolishly picked up against Welling United in the FA Trophy. So,with Brett Williams also serving the first of his three-game suspension, Garry will have to look to one or both of Loick Pires and Jayden Stockley to lead the front line. Gavin McCallum, who has rather disappeared from view of late after a very promising start to the season, might also come into the reckoning.

Garry will be hoping that the talented, if somewhat combustible, Lee Sawyer is fit since his midfield partnership with the excellent Kevin Betsy is such an important part of the Cards’ play. Above all, Woking will need to keep their discipline in what is likely to be a lively atmosphere in front of a huge crowd by Conference standards. Hatters’ ‘old boy’ Adam Newton at least will know what to expect.

LUTON TOWN

The Hatters, now in their third season in the Conference Premier, are once again struggling to live up to their ‘big name’ billing. They currently lie fifth in the table with 36 points from 21 games. At home they’ve won five, drawn two and lost three, scoring 19 goals and conceding 12. Their defeats, interestingly, have come against supposedly lesser sides: Telford, Braintree and Dartford. Their last league game saw them suffer a 5-2 setback at Newport County but they subsequently registered an injury-time 2-1 win at Matlock Town in the FA Trophy.

In the FA Cup the Hatters are looking forward to a home tie against Wolves on 5 January: let’s hope that their minds are partly on that game too!

Not surprisingly, Paul Buckle has assembled a strong squad with plenty of competition for places. Mark Tyler is a highly experienced keeper, having spent some 15 years in the League with Peterborough. Ronnie Henry, once with Stevenage, is a familiar name at full back. Up front the Hatters have some well-known non-League strikers in Jon Shaw, formerly with Gateshead; Stuart Fleetwood, a prolific scorer with Hereford and Forest Green Rovers, who earned a big money transfer to Charlton Athletic; and Scott Rendell, who has played for Wycombe, Torquay, Cambridge United and Crawley as well as Peterborough United. There is also a goodly number of players with substantial League experience, including central defender Garry Richards, who, like John Nutter, was released by Gillingham in the summer, and Dean Beckwith, another central defender, formerly with Northampton Town.

GETTING THERE

Kenilworth Road Stadium
1 Maple Road
Luton
Beds
LU4 8AW

By coach
The Cards Trust coach leaves Kingfield at 12 noon. No further bookings can be taken.

By car
Exit the M1 at Junction 11, and join the A505 towards Luton. Follow the A505 for approximately 1.5 miles and Kenilworth Road is on your right as you leave the one-way system along Dunstable Road.
Parking near the ground is likely to be in very short supply, so it might be better to head for a city centre car park and walk to Kenilworth Road.

By train
There are no train services on Boxing Day.

ADMISSION PRICES

Adults: £18
Over 65s & Under 21s: £13
Over 75s: £10
Under 16s: £8
Under 10s: £5

Woking fans will be seated in the Oak Road Stand at one end of the ground.

NEXT GAME

The Cards travel to Braintree Town on Saturday. Don’t forget that the return game against Luton Town on New Year’s Day kicks off at 1pm. There will be a big crowd, so don’t leave it till the last minute to arrive at the ground!

Happy Christmas and ‘Come on, you Cards!’

No Christmas cheer for Cards!

Alan Worth
7:19pm, Wed 26th Dec 2012
Luton Town 3 Woking 1
Blue Square Bet Premier
26th December 2012



On paper this was always going to be a difficult away test and so it proved. Woking never really managed to get much of a foothold in the game apart from a short period in the second half. In Andre Gray, Luton had a very dangerous forward whose pace and trickery caused the Cards difficulty throughout and the Hatters' well-organised defence appeared able to snuff out any Woking attacks relatively easily.

With Brett Williams and Bradley Bubb still needing to serve their suspensions and Lee Sawyer out injured, Garry Hill started with Newton, McNerney, Doyle and Nutter across the back, a five-man midfield with Betsy and a returning McCallum out wide, Ricketts and Parkinson in the centre of midfield and Billy Knott playing in a slightly more advanced role in the centre. Jayden Stockley was the lone front man. Andy Little returned to the Woking bench as substitute keeper resulting from the recent departure of Sam Beasant to Billericay.

An early Woking free-kick taken by Nutter saw Doyle unable to connect with his head but Ricketts was able to swing the half-cleared ball back into the box. The hosts cleared easily and so set down a marker for the first half.

A relatively quiet first quarter saw Luton begin to settle. A dangerous low cross from Henry was taken by Howe and then Shaw looped a header over the bar. Gray’s pace saw him carry the ball into the box but the forward was denied by Doyle, putting the ball out for Luton’s first corner of the game. From this first set piece the Hatters took the lead and Woking again fell victim to a set piece. The corner was played in from the right by Howells for Kovacs to lose his marker and rise to glance the ball home into the far corner of Howe’s net.

Two further Luton corners followed in quick succession before Gray, chasing down a long Luton clearance, clashed with Doyle. Despite the howls of protest from the Luton fans referee Mr Johnson, who had an excellent game himself, waved play on much to the relief of the Woking contingent.

It was now all one-way traffic as Luton pushed hard for a second goal. Mendy’s fierce, goalbound volley from the edge of the box was deflected away, Gray was denied by a Ricketts's challenge in the box and Gray again was on hand to set up Fleetwood but Adam Doyle averted the danger with an excellent tackle.

A second goal was coming and it was that man Gray who set up the opportunity after thirty-seven minutes. He beat McNerney on the left and his subsequent cross was palmed out by Howe but straight to Jon Shaw, who made no mistake, returning the ball with interest and into the far corner of the Woking net.

Two minutes later Woking had their first effort on goal but it was a weak effort from McCallum after he had broken away following Aaron Howe’s punched clearance. McCallum ran half the length of the pitch but with limited support his shot was straight at keeper Tyler.

Half-time: Luton Town 2 Woking 0

Woking started the second period brightly and after five minutes won their first corner of the game. That opportunity was cleared easily as the Cards again struggled to carve out any clear-cut chances.

A Luton corner following a dangerous run from Gray saw Aingee rise to head goalwards in a crowded penalty area but Howe was able to tip the effort over the bar. Immediately afterwards a great ball, whipped in from the right, was headed just wide by a stooping Gray. The forward was again close after he controlled a ball into the Woking box on his chest with his back to goal. He turned to fire straight at Howe but the Hatters were again looking likely to increase their advantage.

On sixty-five minutes, Fleetwood was almost in on goal after the Cards’ defence was caught out by a headed Luton clearance. From a tight angle the Luton striker fired past the near post.

Garry Hill now decided to make a change. With Jayden Stockley getting little change out of the Luton central defenders, he was replaced by Loick Pires, with Joe McNerney joining him up front. These changes made an instanst impact on the game. Pires played a one-two with McCallum, whose shot was pushed away by Tyler. But McNerney was on hand at the far post to plant the ball back past the keeper and into the net.

With twenty minutes remaining Woking were now back in the game and it was the Hatters who suddenly looked nervous as they defended deeper and deeper in attempting to hold onto their goal advantage. A fierce McNerney shot was charged down with Woking now dominating play.

However, the game was made safe for the hosts on eighty-one minutes. A Gray shot hit Howe’s post and rebounded to Lawless. Surrounded by Woking defenders in the box, he was brought down by Ricketts and Mr Johnson pointed to the spot. Rendell converted the penalty and the Hatters had secured all three points.

A Pires back heel almost opened up an opportunity for Kevin Betsy and a goalbound McNerney header from Nutter’s free-kick wad headed clear. And that was as far as the Cards were able to get in their efforts to secure some form of consolation.

Luton looked a very impressive side on this performance and will provide another tough test for Woking when the reverse fixture is played back at Kingfield on New Year’s Day.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, John Nutter (Mike Cestor 90), Joe McNerney, Adam Doyle, Mark Ricketts (Dean Sinclair 82), Jack Parkinson, Billy Knott, Gavin McCallum, Kevin Betsy, Jayden Stockley (Loick Pires 70)

Unused subs: Brett Johnson, Andy Little

Scorer: Joe McNerney 71


Luton Town: Mark Tyler, Janos Kovacs, Alex Lawless, Jon Shaw, Scott Rendell, Jake Howells, Simon Ainge, Stuart Fleetwood (JJ O’Donnell 82), Arnaud Mendy, Ronnie Henry, Andre Gray (Matt Robinson 90)

Unused subs: Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Greg Taylor, Dean Brill

Scorers: Janos Kovacs 15; Jon Shaw 37; Scott Rendell 81 (pen)

Attendance: 6744

MOTM: Adam Newton - consistent at the back on his return to his old club, keeping the dangerous Fleetwood quiet for most of the game.
Luton Town LINEUP
1Mark Tyler
6Janos Kovacs
7Alex Lawless
9Jon Shaw
10Scott Rendell
11Jake Howells
12Simon Ainge
13Stuart Fleetwood ('83)
14Arnaud Mendy
25Ronnie Henry
27Andre Gray ('90)
BENCH
2Lathaniel Rowe-Turner
3Greg Taylor
17JJ O'Donnell ('83)
23Matt Robinson ('90)
33Dean Brill
WOKING LINEUP
1Aaron Howe
2Adam Newton
26John Nutter ('90)
5Joe McNerney
6Adam Doyle
11Kevin Betsy
19Gavin McCallum
4Mark Ricketts ('82)
8Jack Parkinson
24Billy Knott
25Jayden Stockley ('71)
BENCH
Andy Little
3Mike Cestor ('90)
16Brett Johnson
17Dean Sinclair ('82)
7Loick Pires ('71)

Luton Town 3 - 1 Woking (Garry Hill Interview)

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