Woking News & Mail
Friendly
3:00pm - SaturdaySat 26th JulyJul 2014
The Laithwaite Community Stadium | Att: 960

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Woking
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AFC Wimbledon
AFC Wimbledon

Cards and Dons square up

Brian Caffarey
8:46am, Thu 24th Jul 2014
Woking v AFC Wimbledon
Pre-season friendly
3pm on Saturday 26 July 2014

This should be an excellent test for both sides, in front of a good crowd, as both sets of players gear up for the season ahead. The Cards are looking confident, with the squad based on tried and tested players from last season with a few promising additions. The only blow has been the news that Kevin Betsy is likely to miss the first 12 weeks of the season as the result of an operation on his knee which is due to take place on Monday. Neal Ardley, meanwhile, has been ringing the changes for Wimbledon and it will be interesting to see how their squad is beginning to shape up.

WOKING

The Cards won their first friendly 3-2 at home to Scottish Championship side Falkirk in spite of spurning several good chances. Last Saturday they drew 0-0 at Kingfield against a Fulham XI side which was, in effect, their U21 team. Few chances were created on a blisteringly hot afternoon. But Cards fans got their first, encouraging, sighting of new keeper, Jake Cole, from Plymouth Argyle, who can be expected to give Aaron Howe tough competition for the number 1 jersey. A first outing for new central defender James Clarke from Salisbury is still awaited. The Cards’ third new signing, attacking midfielder Theo Lewis, got in another 45 minutes. There were further appearances for trialists Xabi, Hicham Abdellah and Ebby Nelson-Addy and a first showing for Dylan Bonella.

On Tuesday a Woking XI, consisting mostly of these and other trialists, drew 1-1 at Frome Town, with Reece Beckles scoring the equaliser.

AFC WIMBLEDON

In contrast to Garry Hill, who has brought in only three completely new faces so far, Wimbledon’s manager Neal Ardley has been very busy in the transfer market, signing nine new players over the summer. Prominent among them is the formidable figure of Bayo Akinfenwa, a 16-stone centre forward who, as you can imagine, is hard to dislodge but is more mobile than you might expect. Ardley looks to have done well to have prised him from Gillingham, who apparently offered him a new contract. Partnering him will be Matt Tubbs, the former Salisbury and Crawley striker, who is on a season-long loan from AFC Bournemouth. A third addition to the strike force is the speedy 20 year-old Ade Azeez, who was with Charlton Athletic last season but who impressed in loan spells at Torquay and Dagenham.

Ardley has also brought in two new keepers to give some competition to former Woking favourite Ross Worner. James Shea, 23, was originally an FA Youth Cup winner with Arsenal but shone at Harrow Borough last season, whilst 20 year-old Joe McDonnell was being mentored by Ashley Bayes at Basingstoke Town. The other additions are: experienced midfielder Dannie Bulman from Crawley Town; Sean Rigg, a winger from Oxford United; Jack Smith, an experienced left back who was with Millwall; and Mark Phillips, a robust centre back from Southend United, who played with Ardley at Millwall.

Wimbledon’s first pre-season friendly saw them well beaten 3-0 by ex-boss Terry Brown’s moneyed Margate side, who featured ex-Don/Card Brett Johnson, but the Dons fared much better last weekend, taking a 2-0 lead against a strong-ish Chelsea side and only losing out 3-2 to the second of two goals from John Terry.

On Tuesday night a much-changed Wimbledon side beat Sutton United 2-1 at home, with goals from Ade Azeez and Chace Jacquart.

AFC finished a disappointing 20th in the table last season, with a nervous finale caused by the deduction of three points for fielding an ineligible player, but would hope to fare better than that with the squad Ardley has now amassed.

ADMISSION

Adults £8
Concessions £4
U16s FREE

The Leslie Gosden Stand will not be open for this match or any of the remaining pre-season games. There will be seating available in the Family and Directors' Stands. If you are elderly or infirm and need a seat, please speak to a Steward, who will endeavour to help you.

MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

There is a new-look programme to cover all the home pre-season friendly games. Read Garry Hill’s thoughts as the pre-season gathers pace.

NEXT GAMES

The Cards’ next friendly is on Wednesday 30 July when League One side Crawley Town are likely to provide a tough test for Garry Hill’s side.

The Cards’ remaining pre-season friendlies are:

Wednesday 30 July (7.45pm) Woking v Crawley Town
Saturday 2 August (2pm) Basingstoke Town v Woking
Tuesday 5 August (7.45pm) Woking v West Ham XI

The Conference Premier season starts in earnest on Saturday 9 August when Woking travel to Alfreton Town. The first home game is on Tuesday 12 August when Dartford are the visitors. Why not order a season ticket if you haven’t already got one? It could be an exciting campaign!

Come on, you Cards!

P.S. Woking fans – don’t forget the fans’ forum at Kingfield on Monday evening, starting at 7.30pm.

Cards Succumb to the Dons

Alan Barnes
9:56pm, Sat 26th Jul 2014
Woking 1 AFC Wimbledon 3
Pre-season friendly
26th July 2014

This was a good workout for both teams on a very hot afternoon. Both sides fielded strong teams for around an hour after which both sides made several changes.

The visitors were the first to show with a corner followed by a lob that bounced on the top of the net.

John Goddard then put Giuseppe Sole through only for a defender to get a toe in as he was about to shoot.

After sixteen minutes Wimbledon went in front. George Francomb made a good run down the right and put in a low cross which found Matt Tubbs totally free at the far post and he made no mistake.

Woking had their fair share of possession and put together a number of good passing moves which saw them reach the edge of the visitors' box on a number of occasions but they were unable to find the net. Theo Lewis, who was given the injured Kevin Betsy’s role, also showed up well down the left.

As the half wore on, Joey Jones had a long range effort which just cleared the bar as the Cards went in search of an equaliser. Lewis then put in a snapshot which was deflected away for a corner, although the referee awarded a goal kick. After forty-three minutes another effort, this time a half-volley from Scott Rendell, was well saved by the visitors' 'keeper James Shea.

With just seconds remaining in the first half, the home side was dealt a blow when a defensive error led to Wimbledon new boy Sean Rigg converting a second goal for the visitors.

Half-time: Woking 0 AFC Wimbledon 2

The league side came out of the blocks quickly at the start of the second half. A good move down the right flank saw Tubbs steal ahead of his defender but his flicked effort was well saved. Dannie Bulman then found himself totally in the clear for Wimbledon but hit the post.

The Cards kept battling, however, and just after the hour mark they were back in the game. The ball was worked across the front of the penalty area, eventually arriving at the feet of Rendell, who beat ex-Card Ross Worner with a shot into the top corner.

With both sides making a number of changes in the last half hour, the game understandably lost much of its early momentum. With minutes remaining, Mark Ricketts was withdrawn from the action. With all of the home substitutions having been used, the visitors sportingly also took a player off.

With the clock running down, Wimbledon made the game safe when Chris Arthur, another new arrival for the Dons, smashed in a third with an excellent twenty yard drive.

Woking: Jake Cole, Adam Newton, Mark Ricketts, Joe McNerney, Joey Jones, Josh Payne, Keiron Murtagh, Scott Rendell, John Goddard, Giuseppe Sole, Theo Lewis

Subs (all used): Aaron Howe, Adam Brice, Reece Beckles, Ebby Nelson-Addy, Dave Fitzpatrick, Xapi, Abdellah Hicham, Ferdinand

AFC Wimbledon: James Shea (Ross Worner), Barry Fuller, Mark Phillips (Sammy Moore), Andy Frampton, Jack Smith (Callum Kennedy), George Francomb (Kevin Sainte-Luce), Harry Pell, Dannie Bulman, Sean Rigg, Adebayo Akinfenwa (Chris Arthur), Matt Tubbs (Ade Azeez)

My MOTM: Difficult to single out one individual with so many substitutions

Attendance: 980

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