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Maidstone United
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Woking
Woking

Cards search for elusive away win

Brian Caffarey
9:51am, Wed 16th Nov 2016
Maidstone United v Woking
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 19 November 2016

The Cards, still to register an away win in the league, travel to newly-promoted Maidstone United on Saturday. The Stones can be expected to become a force in the National League but their home form is not that impressive, so perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope for Garry Hill’s side. Make the short trip if you can to cheer on the team!

WOKING

Yet again last Saturday the Cards failed to beat another struggling side, passing up a host of chances to grab three vital points – with the result that their task in pulling themselves away from the relegation zone becomes ever more demanding. With another away trip, to ‘home bankers’ Dover Athletic, coming up on Tuesday evening and then challenging visits from Gateshead and Bromley, Garry Hill’s side could desperately do with a change of fortune on their travels.

The Cards now sit in 22nd place with 14 points from 19 games.

On Tuesday evening a side containing a mix of first teamers and Academy players beat Walton Casuals 4-0 in the Surrey Senior Cup, with Fabio Saraiva netting a hat-trick and Delano Sam-Yorke also on the score sheet.

MAIDSTONE UNITED

The Stones were promoted to the Vanarama National League at the end of last season, beating Kent rivals Ebbsfleet United 4-3 on penalties in the play-off final after the game had ended 2-2 after extra time. Thus the club reached the top tier of the non-League game 23 years after the demise of the former Maidstone United, who had spent three years in the Football League before going bankrupt. The new club has had to work its way up through Kent leagues and the Ryman League and led a nomadic existence before its impressive new stadium, by the River Medway in the town centre, was opened at the beginning of the 2012-13 season. That season the Stones won the Ryman South title, followed by the Ryman Premier title in 2014-15.

The Stones enjoy good support, averaging over 2,200 fans at home games last season, and seem likely to challenge for a Football League place once they have established themselves at National League level. A new stand, bringing the capacity up to over 4,000, has recently received planning approval.

Maidstone presently sit in 17th place in the table with 22 points from 19 games. Rather surprisingly, their home form, on their 3G pitch, is relatively poor, with two wins, three draws and four defeats, and 11 goals scored and 18 conceded. In the FA Cup the Stones defeated Billericay Town 3-0 at home in the 4th Qualifying Round before drawing 1-1 at Rochdale in the First Round Proper. In the replay on Tuesday evening they lost 2-0.

The Stones have an experienced keeper in Lee Worgan. At the back they recruited two Welling United players in the summer, Anthony Acheampong and Kevin Lokko. In midfield Ben Greenhalgh returned to the club after a spell at Concord Rangers. His midfield colleagues include Dan Sweeney, who joined from Dulwich Hamlet but who has also played for Kingstonian and AFC Wimbledon; and Tom Murphy, who has shone for Dover Athletic against us in the past. Up front two familiar ex-Woking names are Liam Enver-Marum, who joined the Stones in September from Oxford City, and Yemi Odubade, snapped up from Eastleigh. A recent loan signing is Bradley Hudson-Odoi from Sutton United.

GETTING THERE

Gallagher Stadium
James Whatman Way
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1LQ

Website: www.maidstoneunited.co.uk

By coach

The Cards Trust coach leaves the Laithwaite Community Stadium at 12.30pm and costs £15 for members and £20 for non-members, with accompanied U16s at £8/£10 (a maximum of two with one adult). Phone or email (shop@wokingfc.co.uk) the Club Shop or email a.barn1572@btinternet.com today to book your place.

By car

M25, M26, M20 (junction 6). Follow signs to Maidstone on the A229. The ground is in the town centre, by the river, on James Whatman Way (third exit at the White Rabbit roundabout). But please note that the parking at the ground is all allocated and there is no point turning into James Whatman Way unless you have a parking place.

Other car parks (pay and display) are located at Invicta House (five minutes walk, ME14 2UY), Maidstone East Train Station (seven minutes walk, ME14 1QN) and Fremlin Walk (seven minutes walk, ME14 1PS). Maidstone Lions operate a charity car park at Maidstone Job Centre Plus (Staceys Street, ME14 1ST) on matchday Saturdays.

If you fancy a walk along the River Medway to the ground, park at Lockmeadow Centre on Barker Road (ME16 8LW). Cross Lockmeadow Millennium Bridge and pass All Saints Church and the Archbishops’ Palace, along the towpath to The Gallagher Stadium.

By train

The quickest route is to take a train from London Victoria to Maidstone East, which is only a short walk from the ground. Come out of the station and turn left on the main road.  At the end of this road you will see the ground to your left – just cross the dual carriageway by the pedestrian crossing. Trains go at 22 and 52 minutes past the hour and take about an hour. So, the 12.22 arrives at 13.18, the 12.52 at 13.55 and the 13.22 at 14.18.

ADMISSION PRICES

Adults: £15
Concessions (65+/students with valid ID): £12
Youth (11 to 16 year olds): £7
Junior (Under 11): £2
Stand seat plus £2 on the above prices – subject to availability

COMING UP

The Cards have another tough away trip next Tuesday evening (22 November) when they travel to old foes, Dover Athletic. The Cards’ busy schedule continues with home games against Gateshead (Saturday 26 November) and Bromley (Tuesday 29 November) before their home Emirates FA Cup 2nd tie versus Accrington Stanley at 2pm on Sunday 4 December.

Come on, you Cards!

P.S. Don’t forget the Cards Trust Quiz Night on Friday 25 November! See the website for details.

Woking rock Maidstone United for first away win of the season

Haydn Cobb
12:00am, Sat 19th Nov 2016
Maidstone United 0 Woking 3
Vanarama National League
19th November 2016

A brace from Gozie Ugwu steered Woking to their first away win of the season in the league which saw them rise out of the relegation zone in the Vanarama National League.

Fabio Saraiva got Woking on their way with his sixth league goal of the season to give Garry Hill’s side the lead on the half-hour mark before Ugwu doubled the advantage five minutes later with a bullet header.

Ugwu’s second goal came in an almost identical fashion to his first thanks to smart work by Jake Caprice which enabled the striker to nod home and wrap up Woking’s first win on the road this season.

What could please Hill even more than the three goals was a first clean sheet in the league for two months as the Cards end their winless run of eight league matches.

Woking boss Hill made three changes to his starting line-up with Chike Kandi and Terrell Thomas returning plus new signing Frazer Shaw in immediately placed at left back.

Woking’s previous outing on a 3G artificial pitch was a frustrating loss at Sutton United but the Cards, with a timely confidence boost from the Surrey Senior Cup win on Tuesday night, looked comfortable in possession in the early stages.

Hunting a first away win in the league this season, it was Maidstone who had the early chances but goalkeeper Brandon Hall easily dealt with the opening efforts on the Woking goal.

After weathering the home team’s pressure in wintery rain, the away side grew into the game with Murtagh making threatening runs into the Maidstone United box, given more freedom in midfield with Joey Jones playing the holding midfielder role.

Murtagh proved the inspiration for Woking’s opener as he was fed the ball into the inside-left channel by Frazer before reaching the goal line and cutting back to an onrushing Saraiva. Fresh from his midweek hat-trick, Saraiva had the presence of mind to slot his left-foot effort around the Maidstone bodies and into the bottom right corner.

With the Gallagher Stadium stunned into silence on the half-hour mark, Woking doubled their lead five minutes later through Ugwu’s fifth league goal of the campaign. Jake Caprice carved out a yard of space on the right flank to whip in a delightful cross for Ugwu to attack from the back post and nod back across goalkeeper Lee Worgan.

Despite Woking’s recent woes on the road, the away side kept their composure to see out the half by limiting their hosts to just one other shot on goal, which required an outstretched Hall to beat out Bradley Hudson-Odoi’s curling freekick.

Halftime: Maidstone United 0 Woking 2

With the home side eager to get back into the match Maidstone United started on the front foot but the Cards soaked up the pressure and posed a threat on the counterattack.

It was Woking who had the best chances early on, with Ugwu’s fizzing shift and shot blocked out by Worgan, while Charlie Carter saw a free header narrowly flash past the left-hand post.

In truth Woking could have had their first away win of the season wrapped up inside an hour with an open opportunity for Saraiva and his second goal of the game. The Cards worked the ball well across the Stones penalty box to find Saraiva in plenty of space on the left but his unchallenged effort was blazed over the crossbar.

However, Woking never lost composure with the knowledge opportunities would continue to come and Ugwu gave his team a three-goal cushion with less than 20 minutes remaining. In an almost role replay of Ugwu’s first of the afternoon, Caprice sprinted down the right wing to deliver a pinpoint cross for his striker to head home in front of the travelling supporters.

In a season where Hill’s side has continued to demonstrate flashes of high quality football, Woking were eager to cap a terrific performance with a first clean sheet in the league in two months. Former Cards player Yemi Odubade was substituted on for Maidstone United and the pacey forward threatened but the Woking’s backline held firm to complete the team’s best performance of the season so far.

Maidstone United: Lee Worgan; Callum Driver, Tom Mills, Jamie Coyle, Kevin Lokko; James Rodgers, Bradley Hudson-Odoi (Yemi Odubade 72), Jack Paxman, Alex Flisher, Bobby-Joe Taylor (Ben Greenhalgh 79), Jamar Loza

Unused subs: Liam Enver-Marum, Dan Sweeney, Jack Evans

Bookings: Rodgers (35)

Woking: Brandon Hall; Jake Caprice, Brain Saah, Terrell Thomas, Frazer Shaw; Fabio Saraiva, Joey Jones (Frankie Sutherland 82), Charlie Carter, Keiran Murtagh, Chike Kandi (Delano Sam-Yorke 68); Gozie Ugwu (Anthony Edgar 84)

Unused subs: Andy Little, Ismail Yakubu

Goals: Saraiva (29), Ugwu (34, 72)

Bookings: Murtagh (58)

Referee: Chris O’Donnell

MOTM: Gozie Ugwu – Shone brightest alongside a number of star performers with his clinical finishes for two goals.

Attendance: 2147
Maidstone United LINEUP
WOKING LINEUP
18Brandon Hall
2Jake Caprice
24Frazer Shaw
3Terell Thomas
5Brian Saah
4Joey Jones ('82)
8Keiran Murtagh
12Charlie Carter
14Fabio Saraiva
9Gozie Ugwu ('84)
21Chike Kandi ('68)
BENCH
Andy Little
6Ismail Yakubu
23Frankie Sutherland ('82)
19Anthony Edgar ('84)
17Delano Sam-Yorke ('68)

Maidstone United 0 - 3 Woking (Garry Hill Interview)

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