Tough Crabble test for Cards
11:04am, Sun 5th Apr 2015
Dover Athletic v Woking
3pm on Monday 6 April 2015
The Cards travel to familiar foes Dover Athletic tomorrow afternoon in fifth place after their draw at home to Welling United yesterday, which was enough to take them above Forest Green Rovers on goal difference. Dover, like Aldershot against Forest Green on Friday, were kind enough to do Woking a favour, with the Whites beating play-off rivals Eastleigh yesterday, but that simply emphasises what a tough game the Cards can expect at Crabble against another in-form side. However, the Cards ought not to lack confidence on the back of four successive away wins.
The frequent unpredictability of Conference football has been very apparent over this Easter weekend so far. None of the teams chasing the two remaining play-off places was able to muster a win, with Macclesfield, Halifax and Woking all drawing and Forest Green Rovers and Eastleigh losing. In the end the Cardsâ€™ draw against Welling didnâ€™t look too bad a result but they will surely be rueing an excellent chance to have gained a much greater advantage. As it is, the result puts added pressure on Garry Hillâ€™s side to come up with the goods tomorrow afternoon.
Cards fans will be hoping that the Woking defence, which has conceded two goals in each of the last three games, will be more resilient than of late: it is likely to be tested by Connor Essam in particular at set pieces, while Tom Murphy and Stefan Payne will also pose a considerable threat.
The Cards were boosted yesterday by the return of Adam Newton from injury, enabling Mark Ricketts to move into midfield once Adam came on as a substitute in the second half. The industrious Manny Oyeleke also impressed after he came on as a substitute, making his Woking debut.
Wokingâ€™s play-off rivals are in action as follows tomorrow: Chester v Forest Green Rovers; Macclesfield Town v Wrexham; Welling v Eastleigh; and Lincoln City v FC Halifax Town.
The Whites, who were promoted through the play-offs last season, recovered from a very difficult start to the present campaign (including a 6-1 defeat at Kingfield back in August) to surge up the table, taking them just above Woking at the point when the two sides met in the FA Trophy 3rd Round in January (see below). Their surprising charge towards the play-off places lost momentum subsequently just as the Cards staged their own remarkable recent recovery. Indeed, following their FA Trophy victory, Dover didnâ€™t win one of their following seven league and Trophy games. However, their recent form has been impressive, with only one defeat (at home to Grimsby Town) in their last seven league games. Yesterday Dover did the Cards a huge favour by beating Eastleigh 1- 0 away with a header from Sean Raggett.
Manager Chris Kinnear, who returned to Crabble after a gap of 18 years to lead Dover into the play-offs, kept faith with many of the players who gained promotion to the Vanarama Conference. Those still remaining at Crabble include winger Ricky Modeste, midfielders Barry Cogan and Chris Kinnear Jnr and defenders Craig Stone, Richard Orlu and Sean Raggett.
Newcomers included striker Stefan Payne, who scored 31 goals for AFC Hornchurch and who numbered Fulham, Gillingham and Sutton among his previous clubs; Jake Reid, another striker, who had played for several Conference clubs, including Salisbury City and Newport County; highly-rated Italian midfielder Christian Nanetti, signed from Havant and Waterlooville; defender Tyrone Sterling, returning after a year away at Dartford; and well-travelled midfielder Nick Deverdics, whose most recent club had been in the Faroe Islands. Subsequent arrivals included influential captain ex-Gill Connor Essam; ex-Braintree striker Dan Holman, on loan from Colchester United; and keeper Andrew Rafferty, who had been with Hartlepool United; and, most recently, central defender Joe Cearuill, joining from Heybridge Swifts but who has played at a much higher level, including winning two caps for the Republic of Ireland.
Crabble Athletic Ground
Official website: www.doverathletic.com
The Cards Trust coach leaves Kingfield at 12 noon and is fully booked.
The directions on Doverâ€™s official website are as follows: make your way to the M25 and then take the M2/A2 (following the signs to Canterbury and then Dover) as far as the Whitfield roundabout (there is a McDonald's Drive-Thru on the left).
Take the fourth exit at this roundabout, down Whitfield Hill. At the bottom of the hill turn left at the roundabout and follow this road until the first set of traffic lights. At the lights turn right (180 degrees down the hill) and follow the road under the railway bridge, the ground is a little further up the road on the left.
There is no parking for supporters within the ground, although parking is available in the rugby ground, which is just inside the main entrance.
If you have to take the M20/A20 leave the A20 in Folkestone (the exit immediately after the tunnel through the hill) and travel through the Alkham Valley (turn left at the roundabout at the end of the slip-road and then left again, following the signs for Alkham) which will eventually take you near Kearsney train station (turn right into Lower Road just before the railway bridge, before you get to the station).
The main railway station in Dover is Dover Priory, which is about two miles from Crabble and would take you about 25/30 minutes on foot. The closest station to Crabble is Kearsney, which is about a 15/20 minute walk from the ground. Normally, you would be able to reach Kearsney via trains from London Victoria (via Faversham and Canterbury East) but engineering works mean that the best option is undoubtedly to make your way to St Pancras International (the Southeastern services from platforms 11-13) and either take a train direct to Dover Priory or go via Canterbury West and Canterbury East to Kearsney.
The 12.37 from St Pancras International arrives at Dover Priory at 13.41. Unfortunately, there isnâ€™t a good connection to then pick up a train to Kearsney: youâ€™d have to wait for the 14.28 service, arriving at 14.32, and youâ€™d still have a 15/20 minute walk from there. If you go direct to Dover Priory, walking or getting a bus or taking a taxi look the best bet.
Another option is to take a train from St Pancras International to Canterbury West and then take the shortish walk to Canterbury East (well signposted in the city) to pick up a train going to Kearsney and Dover Priory. If you travelled on the 12.12 from St Pancras it would get you into Canterbury West at 13.08 and you could then take the 13.38 from Canterbury East, which gets into Kearsney at 14.00.
If you get off at Kearsney, turn right as you leave the station, go under the railway bridge and then take the first road on the left (Lower Road). Follow Lower Road all the way along, past a pond on your right and Crabble Corn Mill on your left. At the end you will see the Cricketers pub on the other side of the road. Turn right and you will see the entrance to the ground.
Over 60's: Â£12
Under 18's: Â£6
Under 11's: FREE
Transfer to the seated stands:
Over 60's & Under 18s: Â£1
Under 11's: Free
LAST TIME OUT
Dover Athletic 1 Woking 0
FA Trophy Third Round Replay
27 January 2015
This was a disappointing performance from a Woking side which had come back in dramatic fashion at Kingfield to earn a replay in a 3-3 draw.
The Cards started well and looked in control for the first 20 minutes or so but Dover gained the ascendancy from that point onwards and thereafter looked much the more threatening side, with only some fine goalkeeping from Jake Cole keeping the result in any doubt. The Whites had several good chances before the break, with both Stefan Payne and Tom Murphy going close.
After the interval Stefan Payneâ€™s stooping header hit a post before Dover took the lead in the 60th minute through a superb free-kick from Nick Deverdics which crashed down off the underside of the bar. Woking rallied a little after Charles Banya and Gez Sole came on, with Kevin Betsy missing a great chance to equalise with a header from close in. Dover had chances to extend their lead but, in the end, held on fairly comfortably to the single goal lead.
So ended Garry Hillâ€™s hopes that he might take the Cards to a Trophy Final this season. Dover were eliminated in the following round by Bath City.
Woking: Jake Cole, Joey Jones, Joe McNerney, James Clarke, Chris Arthur, Adam Newton, Keiran Murtagh (Charles Banya 71), Josh Payne, Kevin Betsy, Scott Rendell, Ross Lafayette (Giuseppe Sole 72)
Unused subs: Mark Ricketts, John Goddard, Andy Little
Booked: Kevin Betsy, James Clarke
Dover Athletic: Andrew Rafferty, Connor Essam, Tyrone Sterling, Sean Raggett, Richard Orlu, Sean Francis (Tom Wynter 72), Barry Cogan (Chris Kinnear 90 +4), Nicky Deverdics, Solomon Taiwo (Ricky Modeste 87), Tom Murphy, Stefan Payne
Unused subs: Mitch Walker, Jake Reid
Booked: Solomon Taiwo, Ricky Modeste
The Cards are at home to Gateshead this coming Saturday, 11 April, in their penultimate home league game of the season. Donâ€™t forget that the Cardsâ€™ final home league game against FC Halifax Town on Saturday 25 April kicks off at 5.15pm.
Come on, you Cards!
P.S. Have you booked your place yet for the Cardsâ€™ 125th Anniversary Summer Ball on Saturday 23 May?