Seymours
FCP
3:00pm - SaturdaySat 17th JanuaryJan 2015
The Laithwaite Community Stadium | Att: 3853

Woking
Woking
0 - 0

Bristol Rovers
Bristol Rovers

Cards look to topple Rovers

Brian Caffarey
9:50am, Thu 15th Jan 2015
Woking v Bristol Rovers
3pm on Saturday 17 January 2015

A big crowd is expected at Kingfield on Saturday for the visit of second-placed Bristol Rovers, who are making a strong bid for an immediate return to the Football League and who are sure to bring a huge following with them. Garry Hill’s side, for their part, will see this as a great opportunity to send a clear signal that they are determined to stay the course in the play-off race. It should be a terrific match, so make sure you are there!

WOKING

Woking eventually overcame Oxford City on Tuesday night in their FA Trophy Second Round Replay but, as Garry Hill made abundantly clear in his post-match interview on WFC TV, he wasn’t impressed once again with the Cards’ performance and has said that he’s intent on bringing fresh faces to Kingfield, perhaps even before Saturday’s game. A couple of bright spots were John Goddard’s ‘man of the match’ performance, including his magnificent winning strike, and another lively display from Kevin Betsy, who seems to be returning to something approaching his form of the last couple of seasons after his long lay-off earlier in the campaign.

Mark Ricketts was again on the bench on Tuesday night but did not make an appearance, whilst Scott Rendell was still absent. Woking fans will be hoping that Scott has sufficiently recovered to at least make the 16 on Saturday.

Woking now sit in 7th place in the table, two points behind Eastleigh in fifth spot but having played one or two more games than most of the clubs around them. As Garry Hill has pointed out, though, some of these games in hand will involve the top clubs taking points off each other, with this weekend being the perfect illustration: the top eight sides are all playing each other. It may be a very tall order but the Cards could really do with a win if they are not to lose further ground, especially given that they will be in action again in the Trophy next weekend.

BRISTOL ROVERS

Rovers were relegated from the Football League at the end of last season: the first time they have experienced life outside the Football League. The side plays at the Memorial Stadium in the suburb of Horfield, sharing the ground with Bristol Rugby Club. They are known as the Gas from the old gasworks that was next to their former ground at Eastville, although their traditional nickname was the Pirates.

Gasheads experienced a rude introduction to life in the Vanarama Conference as they saw their side draw at home to Grimsby on the opening day and then lose successively to Barnet away and, much more worryingly, to Altrincham at home. But things have improved subsequently and Rovers now sit in second place in the table, having cut Barnet’s lead to six points. They have lost only once in their last 13 outings: a surprise 2-0 home defeat to Bath City in the Trophy. In subsequent games they’ve won and drawn against Torquay United and defeated Macclesfield Town, Gateshead and (most recently) Nuneaton Town. Rovers should be well rested, having not played since Sunday 4 January.

Manager Darrell Clarke was formerly manager of Salisbury City and became Rovers’ manager in March 2014, with eight games of last season remaining, having been assistant manager to John Ward. Among Clarke’s summer signings were Daniel Leadbitter, a right back from Hereford United; midfielder Lee Mansell, captain of Torquay United; Matty Taylor, striker, from Forest Green Rovers; influential midfielder warrior Stuart Sinclair, signed from Salisbury City; and Colombian Angelo Balanta.

The gulf in financial means between the two clubs is illustrated by the fact that Rovers have been able to boost their striking options with the signings of Nathan Blissett from Kidderminster Harriers and Jermaine Easter on his release from Millwall. Another arrival, on loan, is Leicester City midfielder Adam Dawson, who recently shone on loan at Nuneaton Town.

ADMISSION

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

The game will be segregated. Rovers fans should note that the terrace for away fans is uncovered but that some seating will be allocated to them in the covered main stand.

MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

The Club’s stylish matchday programme is expected to sell out quickly, so make sure you get your copy straightaway. The programme is still only £3 but now has 64 pages, with a soft laminate cover, high quality ‘finish’ and stunning photos. Saturday’s edition includes an appreciation of the fourth anniversary of Garry Hill’s and Steve Thompson’s arrival in the managerial ‘hot seats’ at Kingfield; a view from a Gashead on life in the Conference; Mark Ricketts’ thoughts on recent performances; a welcome to Sponsor’s Lounge special guest, ex-Saint Francis Benali; 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 pre-order a copy from the Club Shop on shop@wokingfc.co.uk

ONLINE COMMENTARY

If you can’t get to the game BBC Radio Surrey will be providing an online commentary at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/13629210

LAST TIME OUT

Bristol Rovers 2 Woking 0
20 September 2014

The Cards suffered their second successive defeat on the road at the hands of a resurgent Bristol Rovers side at a lively Memorial Stadium. Garry Hill’s side got off to the worst possible start, conceding in the third minute as Adam Cunnington volleyed home. They more than held their own in the remainder of the first half, causing some anxiety to Rovers fans, who wanted to see their side build on their early lead. But the Cards found it hard to keep their passing game going in the second half and Rovers wrapped the game up in the 86th minute with a fine Lee Mansell strike from a free-kick.

Woking: Ross Worner, Adam Newton (Nick Arnold 64), Joe McNerney, Mike Cestor, Chris Arthur, Giuseppe Sole (Reece Beckles 82), John Goddard(Keiran Murtagh 74), Josh Payne, Joey Jones, Dean Morgan, Scott Rendell

Unused subs: Andy Little, Theo Lewis

Booked: Cestor, Jones, Murtagh, Arthur, Payne

Bristol Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Daniel Leadbitter, Lee Brown, Tom Lockyer, Tom Parkes, Lee Mansell, Matty Taylor (Jamie White 93), Jake Gosling (Ollie Clarke 46), Dave Martin, Stuart Sinclair, Adam Cunnington (Ellis Harrison 61)

Unused subs: Will Puddy, Mark McChrystal

Booked: Gosling

Attendance: 6028 (276 Woking fans)

COMING UP

The Cards are at home next Saturday (24 January) to in-form Dover Athletic in the Third Round of the FA Trophy. (The scheduled away match at Dartford will be re-arranged.) The Cards’ next league game is at home against Alfreton Town on Saturday 31 January.


Come on, you Cards!

The Cards keep the Pirates at Bay

Jamie Hall
10:23am, Sun 18th Jan 2015
Woking 0 Bristol Rovers 0
Vanarama Conference
17th January 2015

The Cards produced one of their best performances in recent weeks to earn a creditable point against a big and strong Rovers team, who were looking to close the gap at the top of the table on Barnet, who had lost at Grimsby earlier in the day. The game ended in a stalemate after both sides had reasonable chances to snatch the game. Although Woking were unable to end their winless run in the league, which stretches back to the beginning of December, Garry Hill and his team will be pleased with the performance they put in to keep the Gas quiet for most of the game.

Woking made one change from Tuesday night's FA Trophy game, which saw Dean Morgan drop out of the squad to be replaced by Ross Lafayette, who was making his debut following a one-month loan deal from Luton Town of League Two.

Garry Hill stuck with the 4-4-2 formation he had used in midweek with Jake Cole in goal, Newton, McNerney, Clarke and Arthur in defence, Payne and Jones holding the midfield, Goddard and Betsy down either wing and Marriott and Lafayette playing up top together.

The first ten minutes was a battle to see which team could keep hold of possession the best and try to dictate the opening stages of the game. It was Woking who looked better when on the ball with some good passing moves involving Josh Payne and Joey Jones across the centre of the Woking midfield.

Despite Woking’s early promise it was the visitors, playing in front of a huge travelling contingent, who created the first real chance of the game. A lovely ball into the box was met by the head of Matty Taylor only for the linesman to wave his flag for offside. An early sign that the front men could be a handful for Woking’s back four.

Just a minute later and the Bristol Rovers supporters were disappointed not to see their team take the lead when target man Nathan Blissett raced through on goal but could only stab his effort wide as Jake Cole raced out to narrow the angle.

Woking then had their first real chance of the game as Joey Jones let fly from about 35 yards out but his shot smacked against the head of Lafayette, causing the ball to spiral upwards and almost over the head of Will Puddy in the Rovers goal, but the visitors' 'keeper did well to hold on to the ball.

This effort seemed to lift the Woking players as they went on the attack once more. A lovely weighted pass from Payne picked out Adam Newton in space on the touchline. He beat his man and whipped in an excellent ball for Jack Marriott, but unfortunately it was inches too high for the head of the Ipswich loanee.

With just a minute left on the clock before half-time, Bristol Rovers thought that they had taken the lead when the ball was slotted into the Woking goal by Taylor, but fortunately for the home fans, the linesman had raised his flag for offside.

Half-time: Woking 0 Bristol Rovers 0

Rovers quickly won a free-kick at the start of the second half 20 yards from the Woking goal only for Lee Mansell to put his effort just over the crossbar.

Woking settled down and were soon causing the Bristol Rovers' back four issues when John Goddard played in Kevin Betsy down the right-hand side. The veteran midfielder's cross couldn’t have been more precisely placed for Josh Payne, who was waiting in the middle of the penalty area, but the danger was snuffed out in the nick of time.

The home side now seemed to have the belief that they could go on and win the game. Another fine move starting with Josh Payne, who was having an excellent game, saw the midfielder receive the ball back but his finessed shot went narrowly wide of the post.

Time was now running out and with just five minutes plus stoppage time remaining, both teams were still pressing hard to break the deadlock. Again, it was Betsy, marauding down the right, whose cut-back was deflected into the side-netting by a Rovers defender with many in the ground thinking that the ball had found the back of the net.

The last chance of the game was to fall to the away side as a Bristol head met the delivery but to the relief of the locals, the ball ended up in the KRE.

In the end a draw was a fair result, as acknowledged by Garry Hill after the match. Woking certainly had their opportunities to score but so too did the opposition so a point apiece was probably about right.

Next up for the Cards will be Dover at Kingfield on Saturday 24th January in the 3rd round of the FA Trophy. Make sure you are there to see Garry Hill's men try to advance a step closer to Wembley.

Woking: Jake Cole, Adam Newton (Keiran Murtagh 90), Joe McNerney, James Clarke, Chris Arthur, Josh Payne, Joey Jones, Kevin Betsy, John Goddard, Jack Marriott (Giuseppe Sole 56), Ross Lafayette (Scott Rendell 74)

Unused subs: Andy Little, Mark Ricketts

Bookings: Joey Jones (48)

Bristol Rovers: Will Puddy, Tom Lockyer, Lee Mansell, Mark McChrystal, Lee Brown, Ollie Clarke (Daniel Leadbitter 26), Jake Gosling, Matty Taylor (Ellis Harrison 77), Tom Parkes, Andy Monkhouse and Nathan Blissett

Unused subs: Steve Mildenhall, Adam Dawson

Bookings: Ollie Clarke (21)

Sponsor's MOTM: Joe McNerney

Attendance: 3,853


WOKING LINEUP
23Jake Cole
2Adam Newton
32Chris Arthur
6James Clarke
5Joe McNerney
21Joey Jones
7Josh Payne
11Kevin Betsy
22John Goddard
16Jack Marriott
19Ross Lafayette
BENCH
31Andy Little
4Mark Ricketts
8Keiran Murtagh
9Scott Rendell
10Giuseppe Sole
Bristol Rovers LINEUP

Woking 0 - 0 Bristol Rovers (Garry Hill Interview)

Woking 0 - 0 Bristol Rovers (Joe McNerney Interview)

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