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3:00pm - SaturdaySat 18th AprilApr 2015
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Nuneaton Town
Nuneaton Town
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Woking
Woking

Cards aim to take it to final day

Brian Caffarey
4:12pm, Thu 16th Apr 2015
Nuneaton Town v Woking
3pm on Saturday 18 April 2015

Garry Hill’s side will be desperately keen to win this match since it would ensure that, whatever the results elsewhere, the play-off places won’t be decided till the final game of the season. Make the trip if you can to support the Cards in their last away game of the campaign. Check your diary, too, to make sure you’ve inked in the final game, at home against FC Halifax Town, at 5.15pm on Saturday 25 April, not least because we will be celebrating Kevin Betsy’s wonderful career as he hangs up his boots.

WOKING

Four teams are now left battling for the two remaining play-off places: Eastleigh, Forest Green Rovers, Macclesfield Town and Woking. In midweek Eastleigh made a huge step towards grabbing one of those places, winning their game in hand 2-0 at FC Halifax Town to leapfrog into fourth place. They now sit four points ahead of the Cards, who are in seventh place, and another win on Saturday, when they travel to Lincoln City, would put them out of Woking’s reach. Next, in fifth spot, are Forest Green Rovers with three points more than the Cards and an identical goal difference. Rovers travel to Gateshead on Saturday: if they were to lose and the Cards were to win, Woking would go above them on goal difference. Macclesfield Town, who have been on the slide, are now in sixth place, two points ahead of Woking but with a much inferior goal difference. They are at home to relegated Dartford.

Clearly, the Cards are the outsiders in the race for the play-off places but, with six points still to play for, anything is possible and it’s a terrific achievement by Garry Hill, Steve Thompson and the players to be contesting the play-offs on the final day of the season. At worst the Cards will finish seventh, continuing the year-on-year improvement under Garry’s and Thommo’s stewardship.

Joey Jones and Brian Saah will be available on Saturday following their respective suspensions. So, with Jake Cole, Joe McNerney and James Clarke all returning last Saturday against Gateshead, Garry should have most of his squad to choose from apart from long-term absentee Mike Cestor and, presumably, Aswad Thomas.

NUNEATON TOWN

Nuneaton Town’s relegation, along with Dartford’s, was sealed midweek by Welling’s win over Wrexham. This simply pre-empted the impending confirmation tomorrow of Nuneaton’s relegation as a result of the three-point deduction hanging over them for fielding an ineligible player.

Nuneaton had a dreadful start to the season, leading to the sacking of manager Brian Reid after seven games. Under ex-Ebbsfleet manager Liam Daish the Boro’ put up a good fight to get out of the relegation places, going on a seven match unbeaten run earlier in the year but their recent four defeats in a row meant that they could not make up sufficient ground to avoid the drop.

Nuneaton have some experienced players, including former Wrexham striker Rob Ogleby, fellow striker Andy Brown and England C midfielder James Armson. They have also brought in various young players on loan, including West Ham’s teenage striker Janaai Gordon and goalkeeper Max Crocombe from Oxford United.

GETTING THERE

Liberty Way
Nuneaton
Warwickshire
CV11 6RR

Official website: www.nuneatontownfc.com

By coach

The Cards Trust coach leaves Kingfield at 10.30am and costs £16 for members and £21 for non-members. Earlier this week there were still a handful of places available. Ring the Club Shop (01483 772470) to check the position if you’d like to book a place.

By car

The directions on the Nuneaton Town official site are as follows.

Via the M6:
Leave the M6 at Junction 3 and follow the signposts for the A444 towards Nuneaton Town Centre, eventually passing the George Eliot Hospital entrance on your left.
Continue straight on at the next island on the A444 towards Nuneaton Town Centre.
As you go down the hill, at the next roundabout turn right, taking the 2nd exit onto A4254 Avenue Road (going under the Coton Arches railway bridge).
Continue straight along this road eventually going straight on (2nd exit) at the first roundabout, then over a railway bridge and then straight on again (1st exit) at the second island (this is a mini island with the Crows Nest pub on your right).
At the next roundabout turn left into Townsend Drive (signposted Nuneaton RFC / Attleborough Fields Industrial Estate).
Then turn first right into Liberty Way for the stadium.

Via the M1 / M69:
Leave the M1 at Junction 21 and take the M69 towards Coventry.
Leave the M69 at Junction 1 and take the A5 towards Nuneaton / Tamworth. Carry straight on over three roundabouts and after passing an Aldi supermarket on the right and The Longshoot pub on the left, take the next left at the traffic lights onto the A47 towards Nuneaton.
At the next roundabout turn left (1st exit) onto the A4254 (signposted Coventry / Bedworth).
At the next roundabout turn right into Townsend Drive (signposted Nuneaton RFC / Attleborough Fields Industrial Estate).
Then turn first right into Liberty Way for the stadium.

Parking is available for £2 at the ground. It is also available on the adjacent industrial estate but please be careful not to block any of the business entrances.

By train

It's a straightforward journey by rail to Nuneaton, with trains leaving Euston at 46 minutes past each hour and a journey time of one hour and seven minutes, so, for example the 12.46 from Euston would get you to Nuneaton at 13.53. Trains back are at 36 minutes past each hour up until 19.36, taking slightly longer than the outward journey.

Unfortunately, the ground is some two miles from the station, involving a long walk of about 35 minutes or a taxi ride. Taxis are available outside the station or from the taxi rank at the bus station in the town centre.

If you are walking, the directions on the Nuneaton Town official site are as follows: Leave the station and turn left along Regent Street and where the road forks keep to the right, cross the road and go slightly down hill. At the next traffic lights turn left into Vicarage Street (signposted A444 Attleborough/Bulkington). Keep going along this road passing the Police Station/Justice Centre on your left. At the next roundabout with St.Nicholas Church on one corner turn left onto Church Street (signposted B4114 towards Attleborough). Proceed along Church Street passing a park on your right and then going under a railway bridge. Go straight on at the mini roundabout by the chinese takeaway into Attleborough Road, continue past the Rugger Tavern pub on your right and then the Attleborough Arms pub on your left as the road becomes Highfield Road. At the next roundabout take the first exit onto the A4254 towards Hinckley (also signposted Attleborough Fields Industrial Estate). You will go over a railway bridge and then go past the Crows Nest pub on your right.
At the next roundabout turn left into Townsend Drive (signposted Nuneaton RFC/Attleborough Fields Industrial Estate). Then turn first right into Liberty Way for the stadium.

ADMISSION PRICES

Adults £14 (aged 17 or over), Juniors £3 (16 and under).
Transfer to the Main Stand seats, if required, is an additional £2, which is paid within the ground.

The game will not be segregated and Woking fans are welcome to use the bar, which will be open from 12 noon and which serves real ales. Live football will also be shown on screen.

If you’re interested in watching the game in style from the Executive Boardroom, please email admin@nuneatontownfc.com for details.

LAST TIME OUT

Woking 1 Nuneaton Town 0
30 September 2014

The Cards went into this game on the back of three successive defeats at Torquay, Bristol Rovers and at home to Kidderminster Harriers – which had put a decisive end to the side’s nine-game unbeaten start to the season.

Joey Jones came in for the suspended Josh Payne and the surprise of the night was seeing Kevin Betsy on the substitutes’ bench, making an early return after his operation.

The Cards passed up several good chances to take a first-half lead, with Jack Marriott guilty of blasting the best opportunity over the bar from only a few yards out.

The Cards found it equally hard in the second half to turn territorial advantage into a goal, thanks to some profligate finishing and some fine goalkeeping from Reice Charles-Cook. In the end, they owed the three points to another excellent free-kick from substitute Gez Sole, firing home just as four minutes of added time was about to begin.

Woking: Ross Worner, Mike Cestor, Joe McNerney, Joey Jones, John Goddard, Theo Lewis (Adam Newton 66), Keiran Murtagh, Chris Arthur, Dean Morgan (Kevin Betsy 76) Jack Marriott (Giuseppe Sole 76) Scott Rendell

Unused Subs: Jake Cole and Nicholas Arnold

Goal: Giuseppe Sole (90)

Nuneaton: Reice Charles-Cook, Leon McSweeney, Theo Streete, Gareth Dean, Connor Franklin, Anton Brown, Lee Fowler, Craig Curran (Jorrin John 75), James Armson, Adam Walker, Ben Hutchinson

Unused Subs: Ben Starosta, Delroy Gordon, James Wren and Ryan Quinn

Attendance: 1,313

COMING UP

The Cards’ final league game is at home to FC Halifax Town next Saturday, 25 April. Don’t forget that this match kicks off at 5.15pm. Whatever happens at Nuneaton, the game against Halifax will be a special day since Kingfield will be saying farewell to the wonderfully talented Kevin Betsy, who will be retiring from the game after a marvellous career at League and Conference level.

Come on, you Cards!

P.S. Have you booked your place yet for the Cards’ 125th Anniversary Summer Ball on Saturday 23 May? And don’t forget to take advantage of the ‘early bird’ offer for season tickets!




Basement battlers end Woking's play-off dream in Midlands stalemate

Malcolm Wyatt
10:06am, Sun 19th Apr 2015
Nuneaton Town 1 Woking 1
Vanarama Conference
April 18th 2015

Gutted Woking’s 2014/15 play-off dream ended with just one week to spare as relegated Nuneaton battled for a point at Liberty Way.

The hosts were largely good value for their draw, New Zealand international 'keeper Max Crocombe’s man of the match performance helping to deny the visitors.

While Woking lacked invention in the first half, they were the better side after the break and on another day might have scored a hatful.

In the end, a lone strike from Kevin Betsy - the veteran midfielder's last away goal for the Cards as he retires at the end of the season - saved the blushes, on a day when results elsewhere sent 'Boro rock bottom.

It all started promisingly for the visitors, the lively Yemi Odubade with an early swerving snapshot following a promising build-up instigated by Chris Arthur.

The next attack saw Boro teeter, Odubade the main threat again from an initial Josh Payne free kick aided by Joey Jones.

Nigerian striker Onome Sodje was on target for Liam Daish’s strugglers with an overhead kick, but his finish lacked power, while Jones and fellow live wire John Goddard caused a stir at the other end, the hosts clearing and Payne’s resultant corner coming to nothing.

An opportunist attack led to Nuneaton’s Robert Ogleby beating Cards' keeper Jake Cole but running out of space, while Sodje had a better chance but mis-kicked on a poor surface, the goal at his mercy.

But the home pressure continued and West Ham loanee Jaanai Gordon-Hutton went one better, unleashing a powerful 20-yard strike for the opener on 18 minutes.

Ogleby was nearly through soon after, while confusion between Joe McNerney and Cole led to a needless corner, the Cards struggling to resettle.

A swift move involving Odubade and Payne led to the latter’s cross, just too deep for top-scorer Scott Rendell, and as Nuneaton countered Arthur got the better of Ogleby.

A Lucas Dawson corner brought a further test for the visitors’ defence, but this time they stood their ground, a promising spell following.

Brian Saah – in a rare wander upfield - let loose with a cracking strike from distance, Oxford United loanee Crocombe doing well to turn the effort on to his post.

Then fellow central defender McNerney, on his 250th Cards performance, headed over Payne’s searching cross, Rendell doing similarly with a glancing finish as Woking finished the half more promisingly.

Half-time: Nuneaton Town 1 Woking 0

The hosts had shown more desire in the first period, a team relegated in mid-week clearly feeling that they had nothing to lose, or at least the players keen to put themselves in the shop window. Yet the Cards upped the ante in the second half, desperate for the victory which would keep alive their play-off dream.

An early Woking attack after the break led to a Payne centre, just too strong, before Crocombe turned the ball around his post from a Rendell header following nice touches from Goddard and Payne.

Goddard’s resultant corner and a further Betsy raid came to nothing, but Jones, Goddard, Odubade and Arthur’s pace was carving up the home defence.

Sodje tested Cole at the other end before Woking‘s equaliser arrived, a swift attack ending with a looping Betsy lob which bounced up and struck the crossbar, the former Fulham man just about beating Rendell to the battle for the rebound, heading home at close quarters on 53 minutes.

Moments later Betsy was nearly in again, but couldn’t quite finish, Rendell also going close after a deep delivery and Jones lay-off.

Another swift move followed, the Cards turning up the heat, with several passes before skipper Mark Ricketts’ volley from distance brought another close call.

Payne was nearly in with the next ball across the goalmouth, while Betsy was deemed offside in the following raid. But Nuneaton weren’t done yet, their sub Adam Walker lobbing over.

Saah had to track back and stop another raid, going on to inspire a counter-attack, and no home marksman could get a clean shot as 'Boro pushed again.

When the visitors hit back, McNerney was checked by Crocombe at the back post after good work by Payne and Rendell. He still managed to cross, but put too much on his delivery.

Garry Hill soon made three changes in a bid to find that winner, with subs Keiran Murtagh and Giuseppe Sole quickly involved, Manny Oyeleke then joining them as a left-wing raid started by Arthur led to a corner, Payne’s first centre put behind and the second caught by the 'keeper.

Sodje still seemed capable of creating a shock home lead, but the Cards remained most likely to succeed, a Payne free kick causing flutters before Sole was kept out at the near post, Crocombe then gathering the following corner.

And after the inspired 'keeper had punched away a Ricketts' danger ball and Payne’s injury-time free kick was headed away, the visitors ran out of time, unable to make capital of five added minutes.

As a result, Woking’s seventh-place league finish - the highest of the Conference’s part-timers - was cemented, irrespective of next weekend’s home finale against Halifax, an impressive position but one perhaps hard to take in the circumstances on the day.

Nuneaton Town: Max Crocombe, Connor Franklin, Gavin Cowan, Gareth Dean ©, Robert Ogleby (Ryan Smith 62), Jaanai Gordon-Hutton (Adam Walker 60), Josh Rees, Elliot Wheeler, Jack Nardiello (George Maris 46), Lucas Dawson, Onome Sodje

Unused subs: Andy Brown, James Wren

Goal: Jaanai Gordon-Hutton 18

Caution: Max Crocombe 86

Woking: Jake Cole, Joey Jones (Keiran Murtagh 75), Brian Saah, Joe McNerney, Chris Arthur, Kevin Betsy, Mark Ricketts ©, Josh Payne, John Goddard (Manny Oyeleke 78), Yemi Odubade (Giuseppe Sole 75), Scott Rendell

Unused subs: Adam Newton, Michael Crowe

Goal: Kevin Betsy 53

Cautions: None

Attendance: 709

My MOTM: Josh Payne. There were a few contenders across the pitch, but Payne was a catalyst for Woking’s second-half fight-back with his set-pieces - in a typically committed performance.
Nuneaton Town LINEUP
1Max Crowcombe
20Elliot Wheeler
5Gareth Dean
4Gavin Cowan
3Connor Franklin
27Lucas Dawson
15Josh Rees
8Rob Ogleby
25Jack Nardiello
9Jaanai Gordon
28Onome Sodje
BENCH
19James Hogarth-Wren
6Adam Walker
12George Maris
17Ryan Smith
10Andy Brown
WOKING LINEUP
23Jake Cole
21Joey Jones
32Chris Arthur
5Joe McNerney
24Brian Saah
4Mark Ricketts
7Josh Payne
22John Goddard
11Kevin Betsy
17Yemi Odubade
9Scott Rendell
BENCH
30Michael Crowe
2Adam Newton
8Keiran Murtagh
29Manny Oyeleke
10Giuseppe Sole

Nuneaton Town 1 - 1 Woking (Garry Hill Interview)

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