Cards travel to league leaders
8:58am, Fri 11th Mar 2016
Cheltenham Town v Woking
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 12 March 2016
The Cards travel to league leaders Cheltenham Town on Saturday on the back of five successive league defeats, including the gut-wrenching loss in the fifth minute of injury time at Eastleigh on Tuesday night. Garry Hill and Cards fans will be hoping for a change of fortune at Whaddon Road but the odds are stacked heavily in the Robinsâ€™ favour as they seek automatic promotion back to the League at the first attempt.
It looked as though the Cards would get at least a point at Eastleigh after the home side had been reduced to ten men early in the first half and Joey Jones had given Woking a 1-0 half-time lead. But Keiran Murtaghâ€™s dismissal in the 60th minute evened things up and Jai Reason soon levelled the scores. The Woking goal appeared to have survived a final onslaught when, with virtually the last kick of the match, Will Evans scored to give Eastleigh a vital three points in their play-off chase and to leave Woking still standing on 49 points.
The Cards will of course be without Murtagh on Saturday, while there was still no sign of Bruno Andrade at Eastleigh.
The Robinsâ€™ already strong squad was boosted in the January transfer window by the signing of striker Dan Holman, who of course had enjoyed a very successful loan spell at Woking from Colchester United. Garry Hill tried hard to keep Dan but, not surprisingly, the Robins were able to make a better offer.
In addition to Dan Holman, Gary Johnson brought in defender Jordan Cranston from Gateshead for an undisclosed fee and 20 year-old defender Cameron Burgess on a youth loan from Fulham for the rest of the season. Midfielder James Dayton also extended his contract, while Lee Vaughan left the club and 16 year-old Luke Thomas joined Derby County for an undisclosed fee plus add-ons.
Other well-known names in the Robinsâ€™ squad include defenders Aaron Downes, who, however, has now been sidelined for the rest of the season, and Daniel Parslow, with York City for many years; top scorer Danny Wright, with Gateshead and Kidderminster Harriers among his former clubs; midfielders Kyle Storer and ex-Don Harry Pell; and striker Amari Morgan-Smith.
Following an injury to regular keeper Dillon Phillips in the defeat at Eastleigh just over a week ago, Johnson brought in Jon Flatt on loan from Wolves, whilst back-up keeper Calum Kitscha has been allowed to join Worcester City on loan but with a 24-hour recall clause.
On Tuesday night the Robins grabbed a late equaliser at Welling United through Dan Holman. By their standards they are going through a bit of a blip at present since they have drawn two and lost one of their last three games but they are still two points clear of Forest Green Rovers.
Whaddon Road Stadium
The Cards Trust coach leaves The Laithwaite Community Stadium at 11am, and costs Â£19 for Trust members, Â£24 for non-members and Â£10/Â£12 for under 16s.
To book your place on the coach, please contact the Club Shop on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01483 772470.
The AA-recommended route is via M4 to J15, then joining A419, followed by A417. The directions, given on the Cheltenham FC official website, as you near Cheltenham are: As the A417 continues downhill towards Cheltenham, passing the Air Balloon public house on the left, you will reach a roundabout. Take the first exit signposted Gloucester A417. Continue to junction with M5 motorway then head north on M5 (signposted Worcester). Stay on M5 for one junction then leave at Junction 11 and head towards Cheltenham on the A40. Continue over first roundabout then at next roundabout bear right, following signs for Oxford A40. After half a mile continue over a set of traffic lights. Then after another half a mile continue over some more lights, bearing left slightly and continuing to follow signs for Oxford A40. Go straight over next roundabout (still following Oxford A40). At next traffic lights turn right, then immediately left into Sandford Road. Continue to a mini-roundabout and turn left (still signposted Oxford A40). At next traffic lights continue straight over onto B4075 (signposted Prestbury). After half a mile bear right, staying on B4075 as it becomes Priors Road. Take the next left into Whaddon Road, continue over a mini roundabout and Whaddon Road stadium is on the right-hand side.
Getting from Woking to Cheltenham Spa is not particularly straightforward, involving at least two changes. The 10.25 train from Woking would get you there at 13.24 via Guildford, Reading and Swindon. The 11.00 would get you there at 14.09 via Basingstoke, Reading and Bristol Parkway. Cutting it very fine (taxi definitely needed), the 11.29 would get in at 14.22 via Basingstoke and Reading.
Cheltenham Spa railway station is approximately 2Â½ miles and a good 40 minutesâ€™ walk from the ground. Take the D bus (every 10 mins during the day/20 mins during the evening) from the station to the town centre. Then either walk (15 mins) or take the A bus to Whaddon Road. Alternatively, take a taxi from the station.
Over 65 and Disabled: Â£15
U18 and Students: Â£7
Away fans are accommodated in the Hazlewoods Stand.
LAST TIME OUT
Woking 0 Cheltenham Town 1
19 September 2015
Both sides went into this game full of confidence. The Cards had just inflicted the first defeat of the season on Forest Green Rovers to move up to fourth in the table, while Gary Johnsonâ€™s side were beginning to get into their stride, with back-to-back wins over Dover Athletic and Macclesfied Town taking them to third place.
Garry Hill made one enforced change from the midweek win, Chris Arthurâ€™s hamstring injury seeing his place go to on-loan Craig Braham-Barrett, making his debut.
In an even contest the young Cards side attacked brightly, with a number of crosses coming in from John Goddard, Bruno Andrade and Jake Caprice, but no one could apply the finishing touch against a well-organised Robins outfit. In the end, perhaps predictably, given Cheltenhamâ€™s height advantage, the decisive strike came from a corner in the 67th minute, Danny Wright climbing above Terell Thomas to head firmly home.
There was nothing in the manner of defeat to hint at the dreadful run which followed, which saw the Cards plummet to 17th in the table and suffer a humiliating FA Cup exit at the hands of Maidenhead United.
Woking: Jake Cole, Craig Braham-Barrett, Terell Thomas, Brian Saah, Jake Caprice (Giuseppe Sole 81), Bruno Andrade, Jimmy Keohane, John Goddard (Kadell Daniel 81), Keiran Murtagh (c), Harry Cardwell (Joey Jones 55), Dan Holman
Unused subs: Nick Hamman, Godfrey Poku
Cheltenham Town: Dillon Phillips, Jack Barthram, George McLennan, Aaron Downes (c), Rob Dickie, Daniel Parslow, Kyle Storer, Harry Pell, Jack Munns (Asa Hall 72), Amari Morgan-Smith, Danny Wright (Bill Waters 82)
Unused subs: Calum Kitscha, James Rowe, Lee Vaughan
Goal: Danny Wright (67)
Attendance: 2,035 (195 away)
The Cards are at home to Merstham on Tuesday night in the semi-final of the Surrey Senior Cup.
The Cards donâ€™t have a game next weekend due to the re-arrangement of their scheduled fixture against Grimsby Town, which will now take place on Tuesday 19 April. The Cardsâ€™ next home game is against Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday 26 March.
Come on, you Cards!