Laithwaite Independent Financial Advisers
7:45pm - TuesdayTue 10th NovemberNov 2015
The Laithwaite Community Stadium | Att: 1182

Woking
Woking
1 - 1

Braintree Town
Braintree Town

Cards face Iron resolve on Tuesday

Brian Caffarey
4:36pm, Sun 8th Nov 2015
Woking v Braintree Town
Vanarama National League
7.45pm on Tuesday 10 November 2015

Garry Hill will be hoping that at least a little of the confidence displayed in the 10-0 drubbing of Sutton Common Rovers in the Surrey Senior Cup last Tuesday will carry forward into this tough-looking fixture against the Iron, who are having a fine season under new manager, Dan Cowley. The Cards could desperately do with even a point to end their four-match losing streak in the league, part of a dismal sequence of seven defeats in the last nine league and FA Cup games. Come down to the Laithwaite Community Stadium to cheer on the side!

WOKING

Garry Hill took some comfort from the 1-0 defeat at Kidderminster Harriers a week ago, being encouraged by the commitment and effort on show and feeling that his side were unlucky not to come away with a point.

He will no doubt be hoping that this relative improvement, followed by the ruthless demolition of Sutton Common Rovers, will be carried through into this match. It would be good, in particular, to see some synergy between the front pairing of Dan Holman, playing against his former club, and recent arrival, Adam Cunnington, but they will be up against the tightest defence in the league.

The Cards’ injury list has grown again, with the news that Keiran Murtagh is out for several games following an operation.

The Cards will at least have had the benefit of a longer rest since their last game than their opponents have enjoyed. The Iron were in action earlier today, achieving a commendable 1-1 draw at home against Oxford United in the First Round of the FA Cup, skipper Kenny Davis equalising after Oxford had taken the lead. Let’s hope that their mind is on the replay!

BRAINTREE TOWN

Danny Cowley, who took Concord Rangers up three levels in his time in charge there, assumed the reins at Cressing Road following Alan Devonshire’s move to Maidenhead United in the summer. He has had a remarkably successful start at his new club, with the Iron now sitting in fifth place in the table with 32 points from 19 games, eight points ahead of Woking, having played one game more. The Iron’s promising start is mainly due to effective defending, with only 14 goals conceded altogether. Away from home – and here is another danger signal for the Cards – Braintree have won five, drawn two and lost two. Scalps include Eastleigh, while the Iron drew at Cheltenham Town and Dover Athletic.

Cowley was content to retain a substantial nucleus of players from last season’s squad, including Kenny Davis, striker Sean Marks and others such as Sam Habergham, Simeon Akinola, Mitch Brundle, Jordan Cox, Chez Isaac and winger Dan Sparkes. Additions included centre back Matt Fry, following Cowley from Concord Rangers, and his defensive partner Mark Phillips; midfielders Alex Woodyard and Matt Paine; and striker Michael Cheek, a top goalscorer with Chelmsford City last season in the Conference South. Anthony Edgar is a promising youngster on loan from West Ham.

The Iron’s last league game saw them inflict a 1-0 defeat on Macclesfield Town at Cressing Road, with 20 year-old Sammie Szmodics, on loan from Colchester, grabbing the winner.

ADMISSION PRICES

Adults £18
Over 65s and Students with NUS card £13
U16s £5

MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

A packed 64-page matchday programme on Tuesday evening includes profiles of Geoff Chapple Lounge ‘guest of honour’, former Liverpool, Brighton and Southampton star, Jimmy Case, and new loan signing Adam Cunnington. Glen Harrington picks Garry Hill’s five best home wins – see if you agree. Malcolm Wyatt gives his ‘take’ on the Cards’ recent games and there’s a report on the successful fundraising evening held for Scott Rendell and Ismail Yakubu, plus news from Woking’s Development Centre. In addition, there’s a look at what’s been going at other National League clubs; and news from the Cards Trust, plus match previews, reports and the usual superb match action photos. Great value at only £3!

LAST TIME WE MET

Braintree Town 2 Woking 1
22 September 2015

This game can perhaps be viewed as the beginning of the current lean spell. The Cards had played superbly to defeat unbeaten league leaders Forest Green Rovers and it was then a bit of a dent in confidence to lose narrowly 1-0 at home to high-flying Cheltenham Town a few days later. But if there were two away fixtures which were likely to test the side’s resolve, it was the following trips to Braintree and Dover Athletic – where the downward slide seemed to accelerate with each fixture.

The Cards made three changes to their starting line-up, with Joey Jones, Godfrey Poku and Giuseppe Sole replacing Jake Caprice, Jimmy Keohane and Harry Cardwell.

In a fairly even opening half, Woking had the better of the exchanges and played some attractive football but without ever looking as though they would break the deadlock. The home side came into their own after the interval, however, and although Keiran Murtagh equalised with a fine header midway through the half following the dangerous Sim Akinola's opener five minutes earlier, the Iron ran out worthy winners as a result of Michael Cheek's strike with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Woking: Jake Cole, Craig Braham-Barrett, Terell Thomas, Brian Saah, Joey Jones (Ben Pattie 81), Bruno Andrade (Jimmy Keohane 74), Godfrey Poku (Kadell Daniel 73), John Goddard, Keiran Murtagh (c), Giuseppe Sole, Dan Holman

Unused subs: Nick Hamann, Jake Caprice

Goal: Keiran Murtagh (67)

Braintree Town: Will Norris, Mitch Brundle, Sam Habergham (Daniel O'Shaughnessy 46), Chez Isaac, Matt Paine, Kenny Davis (c), Taylor Miles (Dan Sparkes 46), Sim Akinola, Mark Phillips, Michael Cheek (Sean Marks 83), Alex Woodyard

Unused subs: Jordan Cox, Anthony Edgar

Goals: Sim Akinola (62), Michael Cheek (74)

Attendance: 652

COMING UP

The Cards have another vital home game on Saturday, against Macclesfield Town. If you are interested in going on the Cards Trust coach to the next away game, at Chester, the following Saturday, please put your name down at the Club Shop: the coach will only run if there are 25 people signed up seven days in advance.

Come on, you Cards!

Cards hit back to halt slump

Glen Harrington
9:14am, Wed 11th Nov 2015
Woking 1 Braintree Town 1
The Vanarama National League
November 10th 2015

John Goddard’s ninth goal of the season earned Woking a valuable point against high-flying Braintree, who had started the day inside the top five and just six points adrift of leaders Forest Green Rovers.
The Cards picked up just their fifth point in nine league matches as Goddard (pictured) cancelled out Sean Marks’ first-half strike, producing a calm finish from inside the penalty area after good work down the left from substitute Bruno Andrade.

The Iron, who were extremely well-organised and were coming off the back of an impressive FA Cup draw with League 2 promotion chasers Oxford United, were good value for the lead they held at the break – given to them when Marks held off the challenge of his marker and converted from close range.

However, a combination of tiredness from the visitors and a much improved second-half showing from Garry Hill’s men saw the home side deservedly claim a point twelve minutes from time, as Goddard kept his cool and rifled the ball home.

Woking made two changes from the side beaten by lowly Kidderminster Harriers ten days ago, with Jake Cole returning in goal in place of former Braintree stopper Nick Hamman, while Kadell Daniel got the nod over Andrade and Jimmy Keohane as an injured Keiran Murtagh dropped out.

Sadly, there was little sign of the Woking side which dismantled Sutton Common Rovers in the Surrey Senior Cup last Tuesday, as it was the men in sky blue and white stripes who had the better of the early play – albeit without creating many in the way of clear-cut goal scoring opportunities.

Indeed, it was the Cards who had the better of the early chances, with another former Braintree man – Dan Holman – shooting just wide as he produced a clever turn on the edge of the penalty area, before Adam Cunnington forced Will Norris into his first meaningful save of the evening.

But midway through the half and the deadlock was broken. Braintree built quickly from the back and set Mitch Brundle away down the right-hand side. Chris Arthur was caught out of position and couldn’t get back in time to prevent the cross which Marks ultimately turned home – giving a furious Cole no chance in the Woking goal.

The Cards attempted to hit back – with Daniel’s quick feet down the right causing problems and winning the home side a corner as he tried to pull the ball back for Holman on the edge of the six-yard box, before Matthew Robinson made Norris scramble across his goal to deal with a long range effort.

Ultimately though, there was little more to get excited about for the home faithful in a disappointing opening 45 minutes.

Half-time: Woking 0 Braintree Town 1

Thankfully, at least from a Woking perspective, the home side came out fired up after the break and looked far more willing to meet their challenge head on. While there was still the odd frustrated groan from the sparse crowd, as some minor error or misdemeanour gifted the ball back to the visitors, it was pleasing to see the work-rate and desire returning on what could otherwise have been a miserable evening.

Of course, the Cards didn’t have it all their own way as they pushed forward in search of an equaliser, and could have fallen further behind had Danny Cowley’s side made more of some early second-half chances.

Within four minutes of the restart, a Mark Ricketts slip allowed the wonderfully named Sammi Szmodics to go clean through on goal, but Cole stood up well and the striker’s finish was woeful, as he rolled the ball gently into the midriff of the diving goalkeeper from what had looked to be the perfect angle.

The same player went far closer five minutes later, as he caught a wandering Cole off his line and almost capitalised with the most delightful of chipped efforts, only for the Woking number one to backpedal furiously and flick the ball clear with an outstretched glove.

At the other end, Daniel and Holman both went close from distance, while Cunnington watched on in despair as his toe-poked effort bounced back agonisingly off the woodwork – after he’d slid in to meet a fantastic ball across the box from Goddard.

The hosts soon introduced Andrade and Keohane, with the latter coming off the back of a hat-trick in the game with Sutton, and it was this that ultimately made the difference.
The tiring legs of the Braintree defence struggled to keep up with the pace and trickery of Andrade – who’d previously played just 70 minutes of football since mid-October – and the equaliser soon came as a result, with the winger beating his man down the byline and pulling the ball back for Goddard, who made no mistake in picking out the bottom right hand corner of the net.

Woking might have nicked it late on, as they continued to push forward in search of a winner. Holman, who was full of running once again, forced one fine late save from Norris from a tight angle – as the National League’s sturdiest defence refused to yield for a second time.

Meanwhile Braintree, who had started the night with such control, were left to hang on – their celebrations at the final whistle proving just how grateful they were to come away from the Laithwaite Community Stadium with a point.

All in all, a decent point for the Cards, who should be pleased both with a much-needed result and the fact that they ended the game on top and looking for the winner – much more so than a team who were twelve places and eight points ahead of them at kick-off.

Braintree fans will no doubt point towards their strenuous schedule as the reason for their second-half decline, which also included three yellow cards for diving, time wasting and dissent respectively in an ill-tempered finale, but for the hosts it will have to go down as an important step towards recovery – after the team's worst run of results in almost five years.

It’s worth remembering that all is not lost. Woking currently sit eight points adrift of the top five – with at least one game in hand on many of the teams above them – and with another home game to come this weekend, against mid-table Macclesfield, the fast approaching festive period could provide us with the perfect opportunity to get back on track.

Woking: Jake Cole, Cameron Norman, Chris Arthur, Mark Ricketts (c), Brian Saah, Joey Jones, Matthew Robinson (Jimmy Keohane 65), John Goddard, Kadell Daniel (Bruno Andrade 65), Dan Holman, Adam Cunnington

Subs not used: Giuseppe Sole, Terrell Thomas, Nick Hamann

Goals: John Goddard 78

Bookings: None

Braintree Town: Will Norris, Remy Clerima, Sam Habergham, Matt Paine, Matt Fry, Sammi Szmodics, Taylor Miles (Michael Cheek 69), Alex Woodyard, Chez Isaac, Mitch Brundle, Sean Marks (Ibra Sekassa 81)

Subs not used: Chris Haigh, Elliot List, Anthony Edger

Goals: Sean Marks 23

Bookings: Chez Isaac 60, Will Norris 90, Sammi Szmodics 90

Attendance: 1,182

Sponsor's MOTM: John Goddard – worked extremely hard and while he arguably wasn’t at his free-flowing best, he still ultimately provided the crucial moment of quality which earned his team a point.
WOKING LINEUP
1Jake Cole
26Cameron Norman
3Chris Arthur
5Brian Saah
4Mark Ricketts
7Joey Jones
14Matt Robinson ('65)
16Kadell Daniel ('65)
11John Goddard
20Dan Holman
25Adam Cunnington
BENCH
18Nick Hamann
22Terell Thomas
23Jimmy Keohane ('65)
15Bruno Andrade ('65)
10Giuseppe Sole
Braintree Town LINEUP

Woking 1 - 1 Braintree Town (Garry Hill Interview)

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