MKJ Group
3:00pm - SaturdaySat 22nd NovemberNov 2014
The Laithwaite Community Stadium | Att: 2617

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Cards take on league leaders

Brian Caffarey
6:57am, Thu 20th Nov 2014
Woking v Barnet
3pm on Saturday 22 November 2014

“Turn out in your numbers: it’s going to be a great game�. That was Garry Hill’s message to everyone about this Saturday’s match after Woking’s superb televised win at Halifax last Sunday. The Cards, in third place and with two games in hand, take on league leaders, Barnet, eight points clear of the Cards’ next opponents, second-placed Grimsby Town, so all’s set for what should be Kingfield’s biggest gate of the season so far. There have been some terrific games between the two clubs over the years and both of the present sides like to play attractive, attacking football. Don’t miss this one! Remember, though, that a road closure near the ground may lead to delays if you’re travelling by car: see the news item of 12 November for more details.


As Garry said, a week is a long time in football (as well as in politics). It’s hard to believe that a side that performed so poorly in the FA Cup at Wrexham could produce such a commanding performance a week later at the Shay. But the signs of recovery were there in the hard-fought midweek draw at home to Wrexham in the league, and on Sunday the Cards produced one of their finest displays of the season to make a mockery of the Shaymen’s redoubtable home form. It was all the more remarkable since the Cards were missing a clutch of players, including Jack Marriott, Joey Jones, Dean Morgan, Keiran Murtagh and, of course, Mark Ricketts.

The result and performance were testament to the astute way Garry and Steve have juggled their small squad, switching players into different positions and producing first-rate results. Adam Newton, not for the first time, showed his pedigree on the right-hand side of midfield, capping his display with two finishes which any striker would have been proud of; his right-back position has been ably taken for the time being at least by James Clarke, whom we’d expected, pre-season, to be partnering Joe McNerney at centre-back, opening the way for Mike Cestor, switching from the left-back slot, now filled by the rampaging Chris Arthur, to produce some excellent performances in that position. And then, in midfield, we’ve seen Theo Lewis, moving inside from the right flank, to work his socks off in midfield, harrying and closing down.

And, of course, we must mention Gez Sole, who always seems to produce the goods this season, whether he starts or comes on as a substitute. His all-round game appears to have developed, playing alongside the ever-reliable Scott Rendell, and, of course, those trademark free-kicks are simply astonishing!

Let’s hope that, whatever team Garry selects on Saturday, they play with the commitment, intelligence and skill shown at the Shay.


Martin Allen’s side have a superb away record in the league this season, having won seven, drawn two and lost only one (at Macclesfield) on their travels, scoring 22 goals and conceding only seven. Their first four away trips saw them score 12 goals without reply before drawing 2-2 at AFC Telford, with their other draw coming at Braintree Town. It may or may not be relevant to note that only three of their away games have been against sides presently in the top half of the table: Macclesfield, where they lost, and Forest Green and Gateshead, where they won both games.

John Akinde is the Bees’ top scorer with 14 league goals, one more than the Cards’ Scott Rendell. Other well-known players in a very strong squad include striker Charlie MacDonald, who joined from Oldham in the summer; former Portsmouth defender Bondz N’Gala; highly experienced keeper/coach Graham Stack; ex-Shot Adam Mekki; wingers Luisma Villa and Lee Cook, the latter once commanding a £2.5m transfer fee; versatile midfielder Mauro Vilhete; striker Jon Nurse, who had a loan spell with Woking in 2006; and defender Curtis Weston. They have recently added the highly-promising young striker Bernard Mensah, on loan from Watford, who had a spell with Braintree last season. Sam Togwell and Andy Yiadom will both miss the game through suspensions as a result of red cards in Barnet’s FA Cup defeat by Wycombe Wanderers.


Adults: £15
Over 65s and Students with a valid NUS card: £10
U16s: £3

The match will be segregated. Barnet fans will be allocated the open Chris Lane Terrace and part of the seating in the main Leslie Gosden Stand.


This Saturday’s programme should appeal to Woking and Barnet fans alike and is likely to be in great demand, so be quick to get your copy. There is a feature on some of the great clashes between the Cardinals and the Bees, plus an interview with keeper Jake Cole, an ex-Barnet player who has impressed hugely for the Cards in recent games. Other features include a tribute to Joe Reay, the young Academy player who died recently, and a welcome to Sponsor’s Lounge special guest and Woking legend, Kevan Brown. And, of course, there is a round-up of all the recent Vanarama Conference games and much more, including match reports, previews and news of the Club’s community work and commercial initiatives.

The Club’s classy new programme is still only £3 but now has 64 pages, with a soft laminate cover, high quality ‘finish’ and stunning photos. If you can’t get to the game, you can order a copy from the Club Shop on


Woking 0 Barnet 0
8 October 2013

A solid and disciplined performance from Woking resulted in a 0-0 draw with Barnet after they were unluckily denied a late winner when three goal-bound headers from Joe McNerney were miraculously cleared off the line by the Barnet defence.

The Cards looked sharp and purposeful in the first half, making most of the running, with Barnet content to try to hit Woking on the counter-attack. Gavin Williams missed a good chance, scuffing his shot, whilst Barnet came closest through the flying Keanu Marsh-Brown. The second half turned into an exciting contest with chances and goalmouth incidents galore at both ends but neither side had quite the cutting edge required to turn the game in their favour. Nothing prepared fans, however, for the frantic finale in which the Bees’ goal led a charmed life.

In the away fixture, on 1 March 2014, the Cards produced a tremendous display, crushing their hosts 3-1.

Woking: Sam Beasant, Adam Newton, John Nutter, Jack Parkinson, Joe McNerney, Mark Ricketts, Josh Payne, John Goddard (Anthony McNamee 75), Gavin Williams, Kevin Betsy (Mike Cestor 87), Scott Rendell

Unused Subs: Aaron Howe, Giuseppe Sole, George Frith

Caution: Josh Payne (47)

Barnet: Graham Stack, Elliot Johnson, David Stephens, Jack Saville, Anthony Acheampong, Kieron Cadogan, Curtis Weston, Roberto Garcia Casabella, Keanu Marsh-Brown, Harry Crawford (Luisma Villa 83), Marciano Mengerink (Iffy Allen 69)

Unused Subs: Nick Jupp, Ahmed Abdulla, Edgar Davids

Caution: Keanu Marsh-Brown (86)

Attendance: 1,413


The Cards make the long trek to Grimsby Town on Tuesday evening for what is likely to be one of their toughest away encounters of the campaign. They are then at home next Saturday to Alan Devonshire’s Braintree Town.

Come on, you Cards!

P.S. Cards Trust members – please attend this evening’s AGM if you can. Starts at 7.30pm in the Cardinals Bar, with Geoff Chapple later recalling some of his great Woking memories.

Woking take the sting out of Barnet

Ben Mitchell
12:06pm, Sun 23rd Nov 2014
Woking 1 Barnet 1
Vanarama Conference
November 22nd 2014

Woking were looking to build on last week's televised victory over Halifax, by toppling league leaders Barnet at Kingfield.

Both sides started with a high tempo, but it was the visitors who struck first. Elliott Johnson, gliding past the defence, managed to play a superb cross into the path of Luisma Villa to tap in from 6 yards, although TV footage later showed that it was an own goal from an unlucky Mike Cestor.

Chris Arthur and Kevin Betsy carved out good chances for the home side but were unable to make a real impact in the first half. Down the other end of the park, Joe McNerney and James Clarke (pictured) were solid in defence, managing to keep the Bees' attacks at bay.

All of Woking's hard work paid off just before the hour mark, with a cutting Arthur cross finding its way through the Barnet defence for Mike Cestor to side-foot the ball into the net.

Although Garry Hill’s men will be happy with a point against the league leaders, it may be the opposition who feel that they were lucky to come away with anything.

Woking’s heroic performance was a fitting tribute to Joe Reay, who was remembered with a minute’s applause before the match, with both teams walking onto the pitch through a tunnel of academy players in black tracksuits.

With their brief dip in form now a distant memory, Woking burst out of the blocks to try and catch the visitors off guard. Unfortunately, travellers tend not to suffer too much jet lag making the short trip around the M25 from Barnet, as the opposition were also quick to launch an attack.

Within the first 90 seconds of the half, it was the Bees who swarmed the Woking defence, finding that extra gear early on.

A ferocious burst of pace exposed Woking on the wing, allowing a searching cross to be played into the six-yard box where Cestor, in attempting to clear, could only guide the ball into the roof of his own net from close range to give Barnet an early lead.

Woking were not fazed by the goal and continued to mount pressure on the Barnet defence.

Their best effort came from a well-worked training ground move which culminated in a Scott Rendell shot skidding narrowly away from goal.

Barnet themselves remained dangerous on the break with Lee Cook seeing his headed effort cleared off the line through the combined efforts of Jake Cole and McNerney.

The intensity of the match was clear to see, on and off the ball, with heavy challenges from Barnet's John Akinde and Woking’s Clarke both resulting in yellow cards.

It was Clarke who had the best chance of the half for the home side, rising highest to get on the end of a cross from Arthur, only to see his header pass a fraction wide of the upright.

Given the amount of possession that Woking had enjoyed throughout the half, they were probably unlucky to go in at the break a goal down. A touch more composure on the ball and in front of goal might just have brought about the equaliser which their overall play had merited.

Half-time: Woking 0 Barnet 1

The second half continued in a similar fashion to the first, with both sides posing a threat on the break.

Barnet saw two goal-mouth scrambles, in as many minutes, eventually cleared off the line by the Woking defence.

But it would be the Cards who would make the most of their early pressure to find an equaliser. The ball pin-balled its way around the Barnet penalty area, before Arthur managed to squeeze a pass through the visitors' back line. The flag stayed down as the ball slid its way to Rendell, who showed great strength to hold the ball up and lay it into the path of the oncoming Cestor. The defender, looking to make amends for the Bees' opener, redeemed himself by calmly placing his effort into the bottom corner.

Barnet tried to regain their lead instantly. A pinpoint pass to Cook put him through on goal and one-on-one with Cole. The Woking keeper dived bravely at the striker’s feet, getting enough of the ball for referee Mark Whitton's liking, despite protests from the travelling supporters that a penalty should be awarded. Cole's parry only went as far as Barnet's captain Charlie MacDonald who, with the ball at his feet, was faced with an open goal. Had it not been for Cards' goalscorer, Cestor, heroically hurling himself into the path of the shot from MacDonald, the Bees would have been back in front.

Woking saw their chance to take more than a point from the league leaders and tried to push on for all three, with efforts from Newton, Clarke and substitute Jack Marriott coming close to a second goal late in the game.

Both teams will probably feel that they could have taken all three points from the match but in the end a draw was probably a fair result.

Woking next face Grimsby Town at Blundell Park this coming Tuesday evening. The Mariners sit just one place and one point above the Cards, in second place. However, with two games in hand on their midweek opposition, Woking will be hoping that they can push on and keep this resurgent run of form going.

Woking: Jake Cole, Adam Newton, Mike Cestor, Joe McNerney, James Clarke, Josh Payne, Scott Rendell, Giuseppe Sole (Jack Marriott 73), Kevin Betsy, Theo Lewis (Joey Jones 55), Chris Arthur

Unused Substitutes: Aaron Howe , John Goddard, Dean Morgan

Goal: Mike Cestor 57

Cautions: James Clarke 45, Mike Cestor 90

Barnet: Graham Stack, Elliot Johnson, Bondz Ngala, Dave Stephens, Curtis Weston, John Akinde (Jon Nurse 90), Charlie MacDonald, Lee Cook, Luisma Villa (Bernard Mensah 65), Mauro Vilhete, David Hunt

Unused Substitutes: Jack Saville, Luke Gambin, Adam Mekki

Goal: Mike Cestor (og) 2

Cautions: John Akinde 50, Graham Stack 87

Attendance: 2,617

Sponsor's Man of the Match: James Clarke
23Jake Cole
2Adam Newton
3Mike Cestor
5Joe McNerney
6James Clarke
14Theo Lewis ('55)
7Josh Payne
11Kevin Betsy
32Chris Arthur
9Scott Rendell
10Giuseppe Sole ('73)
1Aaron Howe
21Joey Jones ('55)
22John Goddard
24Dean Morgan
14Jack Marriott ('73)

Woking 1 - 1 Barnet (Garry Hill Interview)

Woking 1 - 1 Barnet (James Clarke Interview)

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