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FCP
3:00pm - ThursdayThu 1st JanuaryJan 2015
The Laithwaite Community Stadium | Att: 1383

Woking
Woking
1 - 1

Eastleigh
Eastleigh

Cards aim for prosperous New Year

Brian Caffarey
3:15pm, Tue 30th Dec 2014
Woking v Eastleigh
3pm on Thursday 1 January 2015

If the Woking squad are eager to show how much they still want to make the play-offs, they’ve got the perfect opportunity in the next few weeks as they take on Eastleigh, who’ve just dislodged them from 5th place, Gateshead in 10th but only three points behind and second-placed Bristol Rovers. A tough call, certainly, but that’s the inevitable result of picking up only one point in their last five league games. The Cards and the Spitfires should know each other well after two recent encounters in which Garry Hill’s side are currently on top by virtue of an FA Trophy win and a Boxing Day draw at the Silverlake Stadium. But the Spitfires will be in confident mood after an eye-catching 5-1 win at Braintree on Sunday. When the going gets tough, that’s when the players most need your support, so come on down to Kingfield and cheer the Cards on to a win and the start of a New Year revival!

WOKING

A huge amount has been said and written about the Cards’ dismal performance at home to Aldershot Town on Sunday. We’ll have to see what, if any, changes Garry makes as a result. One change seems certain: Jake Cole coming in for Ross Worner, whose loan spell ended on rather a low note, with several recent errors marring his earlier superb form. Fans will hope that Scott Rendell, who came on as a late substitute against Aldershot, will be fit enough to play a bigger part this time.

EASTLEIGH

The well-financed Spitfires look well-placed to mount their own play-off challenge, especially if they take full advantage of their games in hand. Their squad has plenty of ‘big name’ players, including a whole host of well-known non-League strikers in Stuart Fleetwood, once of Charlton Athletic and Luton Town; ex-Card Craig McAllister; Yemi Odubade; Ben Strevens, who has starred for Dagenham and Redbridge and Crawley Town; and ex-Don Jack Midson, renewing his Oxford United partnership with James Constable. In goal the Spitfires have Ross Flitney, previously with Barnet amongst other clubs, and the midfielders include Jai Reason and ex-captain of Aldershot Town, Craig Stanley.

Eastleigh now sit in 5th position in the table with 43 points: the same number of points as Woking but with three games in hand. James Constable scored a hat-trick in the 5-1 defeat of Braintree Town.

ADMISSION

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

MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

The Club’s stylish matchday programme continues to attract compliments. It’s the same price as last season, only £3, but now with 64 pages, a soft laminate cover, high quality ‘finish’ and stunning photos. The New Year’s Day edition includes a welcome to special guest Lloyd Wye, another trip down memory lane to look at the birth of floodlit competitions, a celebration of a fan who’s been following Woking for nearly 70 years and a summary of points raised at the shareholders’ AGM, plus a round-up of all the recent Vanarama Conference games and much more, including match reports, previews and news of the Club’s commercial initiatives. If you can’t get to the game, you can order a copy from the Club Shop on shop@wokingfc.co.uk

THE BIG PUSH

The Cards Trust is holding a bucket collection at this match as a contribution to their target of raising £5,000 to add to Garry Hill’s playing budget so that he can strengthen the side in January. Please give as generously as you can and, better still, if you can afford a minimum of £10 a month, please become a regular contributor to the Boost the Budget scheme.

LAST TIME OUT

Eastleigh 2 Woking 2
26 December 2014

It’s hard to believe that this pleasing Woking performance was followed two days later by such a poor display against Aldershot. Garry Hill changed things around, with his side lining up in a 4-5-1 formation, with in-form Dean Morgan as the sole out-and-out striker.

It was Dean who gave the Cards an early lead, seizing on a deflected ball and showing great composure to round Flitney after the keeper had blocked his first attempt.

Eastleigh levelled the score in the 22nd minute when a Will Evans strike looped up off Joe McNerney, giving Ross Worner no chance.

The Cards restored their advantage with an excellent goal on 34 minutes when Theo Lewis slotted home neatly from a Chris Arthur cross. But they couldn’t hold onto their lead till half-time, Ross Worner failing to hold Constable’s strike, giving Craig McAllister a simple tap-in.

The Cards looked the more likely side in the second half to claim all three points but were unable to add to their goal tally.

Eastleigh: Ross Flitney, Will Evans, Dean Beckwith, Paul Read Dan Spence, (Michael Green 63), Ben Strevens, Craig Stanley, Jai Reason, Jack Midson (James Collins 79), James Constable, Craig McAllister (Stuart Fleetwood 46)

Unused Subs: Lewis Noice, Yemi Odubade

Booked: Green, Reason, Strevens

Goals: Evans 22, McAllister 43

Woking: Ross Worner, Joey Jones, James Clarke, Joe McNerney, Chris Arthur, Theo Lewis (John Goddard 60), Keiran Murtagh, Josh Payne, Jack Marriott (Kevin Betsy 78),Dean Morgan, Giuseppe Sole

Unused Subs: Jake Cole, Adam Newton, John Nutter

Goals: Morgan 8, Lewis 34 

Booked: Lewis, Murtagh

Attendance: 1,752

COMING UP

The Cards don’t have a match this weekend since their scheduled game at Macclesfield was brought forward and played in December. Their next match is away at Gateshead on Wednesday 7 January, followed by a trip to Oxford City on Saturday 10 January in the Second Round of the FA Trophy. The Cards’ next home game is one not to be missed: at home to Bristol Rovers on Saturday 17 January. Rovers are sure to bring a huge following, so Kingfield should be rocking.

Come on, you Cards!

Marriott's last-gasp equaliser salvages hard-earned point

Adam White
10:25am, Fri 2nd Jan 2015
Woking 1 Eastleigh 1

Vanarama Conference

1st January 2015

With virtually the last kick of the game, Jack Marriott fired a hard-earned equaliser to give Woking a welcome share of the points in their New Year’s Day encounter with Conference play-off rivals Eastleigh at a chilly Kingfield. The visiting Spitfires took the lead in the sixty-ninth minute with a header from former Card Craig McAllister. Woking improved as the second half wore on but were unable to create many clear opportunities until a clever reverse ball from Kevin Betsy set Marriott free to blast home with the four minutes of injury time all but up.

The home side came into the game looking to end a poor run of recent results, compounded by the desperately disappointing defeat to local rivals Aldershot four days previously. Looking for a response from his side, Garry Hill made four changes. John Goddard, Keiran Murtagh and Giuseppe Sole all dropped to the bench. Theo Lewis was preferred in an attacking midfield role alongside the returning Kevin Betsy while Joey Jones was moved into central midfield to partner Josh Payne with Adam Newton starting at right back. Meanwhile, despite making a late appearance off the bench against Aldershot, top scorer Scott Rendell failed to make the 16 as his injury battle continued. Jake Cole took Ross Worner’s place in goal as Worner returned to AFC Wimbledon, his loan spell at Kingfield having come to an end.

It was Cole’s goal that would be the first to come under pressure as Eastliegh midfielder Craig Stanley forced a corner inside the first minute with a deflected shot. However, it was Woking who started the brighter in some lively opening exchanges. Kevin Betsy’s shot from the edge of the area was cleared on 2 minutes before the veteran midfielder miscued a cross after working a dangerous opening wide on the left. The first meaningful sight of goal fell to Jack Marriott seven minutes in. Ross Flitney in the Eastleigh goal lost track of a high cross, allowing the ball to fall at the feet of Dean Morgan and, with Flitney stranded, the Woking striker squared for Marriott who was unable to control 10 yards from goal, allowing the move to fizzle out.

Richard Hill’s Eastleigh outfit have become a familiar opposition for Woking fans, with this being the third meeting between the clubs in 19 days after sharing four goals on Boxing day in the reverse Vanarama Conference fixture and a 2-0 FA Trophy success for Woking earlier in December. It was the visitors who began to exert their influence with Woking fading as the half wore on. Craig McAllister set up Michael Green to wildly fire over from the edge of the area on 20 minutes after Josh Payne failed to clear his lines. Six minutes later a long ball fell to the swivelling James Constable 10 yards out. His weak shot deflected off James Clarke into Craig McAllister’s path, who cut back for Stanley to have a shot from the 18-yard line which was blocked.

Eastleigh began to take charge of proceedings. Ben Strevens’ spinning shot from a tight angle was closed down by Joey Jones and James Clarke in the 28th minute, Will Evans headed over from a corner after Cole had punched clear under pressure two minutes later, while McAllister was left with a free header eight yards out on 35 minutes but could only nod narrowly over after a miscommunication between Clarke and Cole had resulted in a corner. Worryingly for Woking, the chances were beginning to stack up for the Spitfires. Amid a succession of corners, McAllister whipped in a near post ball for Strevens to shape a side-foot volley goalward which was sliced over his own crossbar by the backtracking Joe McNerney a minute before half-time. While a few minutes earlier a wicked low cross from Green had fizzed past the onrushing Constable, who was free at the back post.

Woking’s only real chance of the half came ten minutes before the whistle. A rare sortie into Eastleigh territory saw the industrious Betsy switch wings and cut in from the right, his left-footed attempt spooning over off an Eastleigh head. Morgan’s resulting corner was headed up rather than out, allowing Betsy to climb and glance the swirling ball toward goal from close range only for a combination of the recovering Flitney and Jai Reason to block on the goal line.

Half-time: Woking 0 Eastleigh 0

Woking again started the half with the greater impetus. Betsy slipped in Morgan, whose effort from a narrow angle was comfortably pawed round the near post by Flitney, with Jones heading wide from the resulting corner. A raking pass from Payne resulted in a teasing cross from Newton only for Morgan to eventually work a shot from 12 yards that was quickly charged down. Eastleigh responded immediately with a Strevens cut back which found Jai Reason just inside the box, but with considerable time and space the Eastleigh number 10 couldn’t sort his feet out promptly enough and was hurriedly closed down by Newton.

Woking looked to ease into the second period. Jones, who looked far more at ease in the centre of midfield than he did at full back against Aldershot, showed good composure to create space and drift a diagonal ball into the path of Betsy, whose chest control eased him past his man before drilling a powerful cross toward the waiting Marriott. Only a last-ditch sliding interception from Spence denied the waspish Woking forward a simple tap-in. However, just as Woking were looking as if they might take the game to the visitors, Eastleigh took the lead. A deep free-kick from the persistent Green found ex-Woking striker McAllister, who guided an accurate header back across goal and past Cole to open the scoring against his former club with 69 minutes on the clock.

Finally, Garry Hill’s men stirred. Three minutes later, the sponsor's 'man of the match' Kevin Betsy played a slide-rule ball inside the right channel for Marriott, who thumped an angled shot against the post. A Josh Payne header then saw Morgan race through but, under considerable pressure, he could only find the outstretched arms of Flitney. Morgan again came close five minutes later as he flung himself at a Jones cross, although his looping header could only nestle on the roof of the net. Despite the mounting Woking pressure, Eastleigh continued to prove a threat on the counter. A bouncing ball was misjudged by Clarke, allowing Constable to nip in for Eastleigh’s clearest chance of the half but Cole sped sharply from his line to block the shot at close range. Former QPR stopper Cole’s assured performance would no doubt have given Garry Hill confidence following Worner’s departure.

Woking rallied as time looked to be running out. A Jones shot flew just over from the edge of the 'D' before Betsy was beaten to a through ball by an off-limits charge from Flitney. With two of the allotted four minutes of injury time already up, Woking fashioned their clearest chance so far. Morgan’s neat control and deftly weighted pass put Marriott through but Flitney did well to rush from his line and dive at the feet of the Woking forward to smother his shot. With that, it looked as if Woking were finished. Eastleigh even then had the chance to seal the win as a counter-attack left Woking exposed three against two, Constable squaring for substitute Yemi Odubade who, with the goal at his mercy, could only scoop over – a huge let-off for Garry Hill’s men. Reason then had the chance to carry the ball into the corner and see out the last few seconds for his side but instead elected to try and pick out Constable with an ill-advised cross: more good fortune for the Cards.

The ensuing counter afforded Woking a final chance to salvage something from a hard-fought affair. As the four minutes ticked to a close, a quick free-kick from substitute Giuseppe Sole invited Betsy to cut in from the right. Unable to work a shooting chance, he instead picked out the intelligent run of Marriott with a neat reverse ball between a pair of Eastleigh defenders, allowing the spinning Marriott to gleefully clip home the equaliser from a tight angle. With the goal recorded at 93:54 there was barely time for the visitors to re-start and a relieved Woking claimed a deserved point.

Garry Hill will be pleased with the character shown by his side as they fought to the final whistle with the frustration mounting and clear-cut chances repeatedly evading them. On the balance of play, Woking deserved to take something from the encounter and the performances of Jones, Marriott, Cole and, notably, Betsy will provide Hill and Steve Thompson with sufficient encouragement as the Cards head into the New Year. However, Woking are still without a win in their last six league games and their priority in the coming fixtures will be to manufacture a win as soon as possible and look to recreate their performances of earlier in the campaign. The Cards' attention will now turn to the lengthy away trip up to Gateshead next Wednesday as they look to keep their play-off ambitions alive.

Woking: Jake Cole, Adam Newton, Joe McNerney, James Clarke, Josh Payne, Kevin Betsy, Theo Lewis (Giuseppe Sole 79), Jack Marriott, Joey Jones, Dean Morgan, Chris Arthur

Unused Subs: Keiran Murtagh, John Nutter, John Goddard, Andy Little

Booked: Betsy

Goal: Marriott 90+4

Eastleigh: Ross Flitney, Dan Spence, Michael Green, Craig Stanley (James Collins 60), James Constable, Jai Reason (Yemi Odubade 67), Craig McAllister (Stuart Fleetwood 79), Jack Midson, Ben Strevens, Will Evans, Paul Reid

Unused Subs: Lewis Noice, Chris Todd

Booked: Green, Strevens

Goal: McAllister 69

Sponsor's MOTM: Kevin Betsy

Attendance: 1,383
WOKING LINEUP
23Jake Cole
2Adam Newton
32Chris Arthur
6James Clarke
5Joe McNerney
21Joey Jones
7Josh Payne
14Theo Lewis
16Jack Marriott
11Kevin Betsy
24Dean Morgan
BENCH
31Andy Little
15John Nutter
8Keiran Murtagh
22John Goddard
10Giuseppe Sole
Eastleigh LINEUP

Woking 1 - 1 Eastleigh (Garry Hill Interview)

Woking 1 - 1 Eastleigh (Kevin Betsy Interview)

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