MKJ Group
BSBP
1:00pm - TuesdayTue 1st JanuaryJan 2013
The Laithwaite Community Stadium | Att: 2961

Woking
Woking
3 - 1

Luton Town
Luton Town

Fingers crossed for New Year's Day

Brian Caffarey
12:14pm, Sun 30th Dec 2012
Woking v Luton Town
1pm on Tuesday 1 January 2013 (N.B. Kick-off time)

Let’s hope the weather relents sufficiently for what should be one of the best games of the season! The Hatters are desperate to get back into the League but are once again finding that the Blue Square Premier is a very competitive division. The Cards showed in the second half at Kenilworth Road on Boxing Day that they can match their opponents if they play with sufficient self-belief, so let’s get behind Garry Hill’s side and cheer them on to a memorable victory!

WOKING

The Cards now lie in 16th place in a very crowded table, so any return from this game would be very welcome indeed.

Garry will have top scorer Bradley Bubb available after serving his suspension on Boxing Day but Brett Williams will be serving only the second instalment of his three-game suspension and will still be missing. Cards fans will be hoping that influential midfielder Lee Sawyer will have recovered from the injury sustained at Lincoln to be able to figure in the starting line-up and that the talented Kevin Betsy, who was well shackled at Kenilworth Road, can make more impact. Above all, the Cards will need to avoid the sort of defensive errors which undid them on Boxing Day and remain disciplined.

LUTON TOWN

It was no surprise at Kenilworth Road to see the quality in Luton’s side, given the resources at their disposal and the strength and depth of their squad. Paul Buckle will have two more players to choose from at Kingfield, having decided to pay York City £50k for midfielder Jonathan Smith, whilst Crawley winger Scott Neilson is also switching clubs. Luton are hardly short of strikers, though, with the likes of Stuart Fleetwood and Jon Shaw already at their disposal.

The Hatters currently lie in 4th place in the table with 39 points from 22 games, seven points behind leaders Grimsby Town but with two games in hand. Away from home, they’ve won six, drawn one and lost four in the league. Luton’s game at home to Ebbsfleet United on Saturday was called off 20 minutes before kick-off, so like the Cards they will have had a rest since Boxing Day.

Buckle will no doubt be enjoining his charges to concentrate on getting three points at Kingfield and not think about next weekend’s FA Cup tie at home to Wolves.

ADMISSION PRICES

Adults £15
Over 65s/Students £10
U16s £5

The match will be segregated. Luton Town are selling tickets in advance but tickets will also be available on the day subject to availability.

MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

We’ve got another excellent 56-page matchday programme that should interest Woking and Luton fans alike, including an interview with ex-Hatter Adam Newton and an opposing view from a Luton fan – even the matchball sponsor has a Luton connection! Woking fans will revel in another instalment of Mark Doyle’s evocative decade-by-decade history of Woking FC and the latest account by Malcolm Wyatt of his travels ‘oop north’. As always, there is also all the news from the Blue Square leagues, match reports, previews, superb action photos and much more. If you can’t get to the game, you can order a copy from the Club Shop on shop@wokingfc.co.uk

LAST TIME OUT

Luton Town 3 Woking 1
26 December 2012

Defensive errors cost Woking dear in this game, with Jan Kovacs escaping his marker to head home from Luton’s first corner and then a missed clearance by Joe McNerney leading to the Hatters’ second goal before half-time. However, the Cards made a stirring come-back in the second half and immediately after an inspired tactical change by Garry Hill, which had thrown Joe and substitute Loick Pires up front, Joe slotted home after excellent work by Gavin McCallum. For a short while it looked as though Woking might grab a point but Alex Lawless gained a penalty in the 81st minute, converted by Scott Rendell, to put the game beyond the Cards’ reach.

NEXT GAME

The Cards’ next home game is the re-scheduled match against our FA Cup conquerors Ebbsfleet United, which is being played at 1pm on Sunday 13 January. Make sure you’ve got the date in your new diary!

Come on, you Cards!

P.S. Don’t forget to purchase your raffle tickets if you haven’t already done so – they can be bought right up until kick-off – and make sure you return any stubs that still need to be brought back.





Gritty Cards turn tables on high-flying Hatters

Phil Batts
12:00am, Tue 1st Jan 2013

Woking 3 Luton Town 1
Blue Square Bet Premier
1st January 2013


A determined Woking side rode their luck at times to pull off a creditable victory against an impressive Luton team, who are clearly one of the stronger outfits in the Conference Premier and one with a genuine chance of a return to the Football League. On a pitch which was clearly not conducive to good football, having taken a fearful battering from the recent inclement weather, Woking's early lead was quickly cancelled out by the Hatters who, as the game wore on, looked the team most likely to break the deadlock. The Cards dug deep, however, and a brace of goals at the business end of the match was enough to see them over the line and secure three valuable points.

Garry Hill sprang a surprise at the start of the match by employing an adventurous 4-4-2 system, using Joe McNerney in partnership with Loick Pires up front. The back four comprised Newton, Parkinson, Doyle and Nutter, with a midfield of Ricketts in the holding role, Betsy, Knott and Bubb breaking forward whenever possible to make it a three-pronged attack. This represented two changes from the Boxing Day team, Pires replacing Stockley and Bubb back from suspension in place of McCallum. Lee Sawyer was still missing, having failed to recover from the injury which he sustained at Lincoln.

Garry's positive approach paid immediate dividends. In the second minute, the Cards won a corner on the left, which was taken short and Billy Knott drove an unstoppable shot high into the net to give Woking a dream start. Notwithstanding the boggy midfield area, the Cards were doing their best to play some neat football and the Hatters appeared taken aback by the way their opponents were taking the game to them. Out of nowhere, however, Luton were back on level terms just five minutes later. Alex Lawless chipped the ball over a slightly square and static defence and Andre Gray, the Hatters' main threat for much of the game, raced through to slam an excellent equaliser high to Howe's left. One-all and barely time to draw breath.

The equaliser clearly had a settling effect on the visitors, who began to look much more purposeful as both sides did their best to play attractive football whilst at the same time employing, understandably in the circumstances, a route-one approach more often than would normally be the case. On twenty-five minutes, Woking should have taken the lead. McNerney released Bubb with a clever pass inside the left back. The home side's top scorer, however, should have done much better from inside the penalty area as he dragged his shot wide without troubling the 'keeper.

This proved a wake-up call for the Hatters, who grew stronger as the half drew to a close. With a minute remaining, they might easily have grabbed the lead. Andre Gray's cross from the right was not cleared and it fell to Jon Shaw twelve yards out, who slammed his shot against the bar. Luton continued to press for the final few minutes and the Cards were relieved to go in at the break on level terms at the end of a high-octane first half.

Half-time: Woking 1 Luton Town 1

Buoyed by their pressure on the Woking goal at the end of the first half, Luton started the second half on the front foot and might have taken the lead early on when Scott Rendell should have done better with a header from a left-wing cross which failed to bring Aaron Howe into action.

The game was now starting to open up and become stretched, with Luton looking the stronger team. One wondered if their full-time status might prove to be the difference as Woking legs began to tire in the energy-sapping conditions. The game-defining moment then arrived on the hour mark. The excellent Ronnie Henry crossed from the right flank to an unmarked Jon Shaw who, from only a couple of yards out, managed to hit the underside of the bar when it appeared harder to miss. The ball was scrambled to safety and the Cards faithful heaved a sigh of relief.

In typical Garry Hill fashion, the manager then took immediate and decisive action, replacing McNerney and Pires with Gavin McCallum and Jayden Stockley. This quickly brought fresh energy to the team, with Stockley in particular showing up well with his selfless running and good hold-up play.

The game continued to remain in the balance as the time ticked away. On sixty-eight minutes, Woking had a great chance to take the lead when the energetic Knott released McCallum with a defence-splitting pass. Although the 'keeper did well to quickly rush from his line to narrow the angle, the Woking player lifted his shot onto the top of the bar when he might have done better. The Cards were not to be denied, however, and it was fitting that they should take the lead five minutes later courtesy of 'man of the match' Billy Knott. Jon Shaw gave the ball away to McCallum, who rounded Ronnie Henry. The resultant shot was parried by the 'keeper but only into the path of the onrushing Knott, who gleefully slid the ball home to give the home side what, in all honesty, was a slightly flattering lead.

The only question now was could the Cards hold on to their lead in the remaining fifteen minutes. The answer was an emphatic "yes" as they notched a third goal four minutes later with an excellent header from Stockley from a McCallum cross.

These two goals had clearly taken the wind out of the Hatters' sails and Kevin Betsy almost added insult to injury with a fourth goal deep into stoppage time with a great shot from the edge of the area which the 'keeper did well to tip over the bar.

What a strange game this had been. Midway through the second half it seemed as though the visitors were odds-on to take the three points, but having missed their gilt-edged chance on the hour, the Cards seemed to rediscover their belief and with the aid of two excellent substitutions went on to complete a victory which should do wonders for their confidence as they push closer to Garry's "safety" target of fifty points. There is no league match now until January 13th, which should give the team time to recharge its battery and hopefully see the return of Lee Sawyer to full fitness.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, John Nutter, Joe McNerney (Gavin McCallum 63), Adam Doyle, Mark Ricketts, Jack Parkinson, Billy Knott (Dean Sinclair 90), Bradley Bubb, Kevin Betsy, Loick Pires (Jayden Stockley 63)

Unused subs: Andy Little, Mike Cestor

Goals: Knott (2 + 74), Stockley (78)

Cautions: Pires (38), Ricketts (58)

Luton Town: Mark Tyler, Janos Kovacs, Alex Lawless, Jon Shaw (Stuart Fleetwood 79), Scott Rendell, Jake Howells (Lathaniel Rowe-Turner 90), Simon Ainge, Scott Neilson, Arnaud Mendy (Jonathan Smith 79), Ronnie Henry, Andre Gray

Unused subs: J.J. O'Donnell, Dean Brill

Goals: Gray (8)

Cautions: Neilson (52), Mendy (69), Rowe-Turner (90)

Attendance: 2961

MOTM: Billy Knott. An excellent all-round performance capped with two important goals
WOKING LINEUP
1Aaron Howe
2Adam Newton
26John Nutter
5Joe McNerney ('63)
6Adam Doyle
11Kevin Betsy
7Loick Pires ('63)
4Mark Ricketts
8Jack Parkinson
24Billy Knott ('90)
9Bradley Bubb
BENCH
Andy Little
3Mike Cestor
17Dean Sinclair ('90)
19Gavin McCallum ('63)
25Jayden Stockley ('63)
Luton Town LINEUP
1Mark Tyler
6Janos Kovacs
7Alex Lawless
9Jon Shaw ('79)
10Scott Rendell
11Jake Howells ('84)
12Simon Ainge
14Arnaud Mendy ('79)
20Scott Neilson
25Ronnie Henry
27Andre Gray
BENCH
2Lathaniel Rowe-Turner ('84)
13Stuart Fleetwood ('79)
17JJ O'Donnell
24Jonathan Smith ('79)
33Dean Brill

Woking 3-1 Luton Town (Garry Hill Interview)

Billy Knott Interview

4:28pm, Tue 1st Jan 2013
Billy Knott spoke to David Holmes after the game against Luton

Billy Knott:







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