MKJ Group
7:45pm - TuesdayTue 28th FebruaryFeb 2017
The Laithwaite Community Stadium | Att: 1092

Woking
Woking
1 - 0

Dover Athletic
Dover Athletic

Battling Cards need home win

Brian Caffarey
4:16pm, Sun 26th Feb 2017
Woking v Dover Athletic
Vanarama National League
7.45pm on Tuesday 28 February 2017

Another valiant effort away on Saturday against a top-five team but alas, again, no points. So, Tuesday’s home game against Dover Athletic, also riding high in the play-off places, becomes even more critical. Come on down to the Laithwaite Community Stadium to cheer on Garry Hill’s side as they battle hard to escape the relegation zone.

WOKING

The Cards made a real game of it at Forest Green Rovers, taking the lead early in the second half, but, once again, couldn’t defend well enough to get even a share of the points. Fortunately, not too much damage was done to Woking’s league standing since Southport, Torquay United and Guiseley all lost (the last, though) to North Ferriby United, who moved off the bottom, above York City); Maidstone United and Braintree Town drew with each other; and York City were involved in the FA Trophy. So, the Cards remain in 19th place, now above Maidstone United only on goal difference.

Woking’s task on Tuesday evening – and away at North Ferriby United next Saturday – will be made even more difficult by the absence of skipper Keiran Murtagh, who picked up his tenth yellow card and a two-game suspension. Worryingly, too, Jake Caprice, the Cards’ main attacking outlet this season, hobbled off shortly before the end of Saturday’s game. It was a shame, too, that Connor Hall, scorer of two goals in the midweek county cup win, was injured in the warm-up and wasn’t able to start the game as planned.

But Garry Hill’s side know that getting points from home games is vital if they are to stave off relegation, so they are simply going to have to get on with it.

DOVER ATHLETIC

Dover are enjoying another fine season under manager Chris Kinnear. Having taken the side to the play-offs last year, he saw three of his best players leave in the summer: top scorer Stefan Payne joining Barnsley, influential midfielder Nicky Deverdics signing for Hartlepool and defender Sean Raggett joining Lincoln City. But the Whites have made light of these losses and are mounting another determined bid for a play-off place. They currently sit in 5th place following Saturday’s 3-0 home win over Eastleigh.

Dover have been hugely indebted to the form shown by Ricky Miller, who has already bagged 30 league goals, his fourth hat-trick of the season coming in Saturday’s win. But they are strong in all areas, with some useful additions to compensate for the departures. Among them were keeper Steve Arnold arriving from Forest Green Rovers; striker Ross Lafayette from Eastleigh; and winger Joe Healy, opting to join the Whites rather than stay at Maidstone United. More recent additions are winger James Caton, signed from Shrewsbury Town; defender Bondz N’Gala, a record signing by Eastleigh from Barnet but who then left by mutual agreement and was the subject of a botched transfer to Gillingham before heading to Dover; James Hurst, a utility player who was with AFC Telford; Connor Essam, also part of the exodus from Eastleigh and who played for the Whites before joining Leyton Orient; and Nicky Deverdics, returning on loan from Hartlepool United. Meanwhile, summer signing from Aldershot, Jim Stevenson, has gone on loan to Southport.

Both Ricky Miller (in the Academy) and Ross Lafayette (on loan) have worn the Cardinal red and white, but there are several other players in the Whites’ squad who have played for Woking: Moses Emmanuel (formerly Ademola), Jack Parkinson, Connor Essam and Aswad Thomas.

Other, familiar, names from last season include keeper Mitch Walker, defenders Richard Orlu, Tyrone Sterling, Sam Magri and Jamie Grimes and forwards Ricky Modeste and Tyrone Marsh.

Away from home Dover have won eight, drawn two and lost six games, scoring 28 goals and conceding 24.

ADMISSION PRICES

Adults £18
Over 65/Students with valid student card £13
U16s £5

LAST TIME OUT

Dover Athletic 3 Woking 1
Vanarama National League
22 November 2016

The Cards went into this midweek game on the back of a superb 3-0 away win at Maidstone United the previous Saturday, their first victory on their travels this season, but any hopes of a repeat performance were soon dashed as Garry Hill’s side once again exhibited all the defensive frailties seen in so many earlier matches. This made it easy for it easy for a tough, powerful, disciplined, efficient Dover side, who always looked to have the competitive edge. 

The Whites were quick to go on the offensive, with former Cards, Ross Lafayette (in for the suspended Ricky Miller) and Moses Emmanuel, looking sharp. On 20 minutes Emmanuel chipped a a pass to his unmarked strike partner at the far post, which was easily nodded in to put Dover one goal up.

The Cards gradually recovered and in a good spell looked as though they would make a real contest of it, with Jake Caprice’s runs and crosses catching the eye. However, just when the side needed to get to half-time only a goal down, they conceded a second. A long throw in the 42nd minute wasn’t cleared and, in spite of vociferous appeals for offside, Lafayette played Emmanuel through for an easy finish.

All hopes of an unlikely comeback were dashed immediately after half-time. The Woking defence stood stock still as an innocuous ball was lofted towards the Cards’ goal. Lafayette ran on and slotted past Brandon Hall.

It looked as though Dover would then run riot but Gozie Ugwu helped to steady the ship with a fine header from a Caprice cross to make it 3-1 and, later on, Delano Sam-Yorke missed a great chance to reduce the deficit still further, although Hall had also been forced to make some fine saves to keep the Cards in the match.

Dover Athletic: Steve Arnold, Sam Magri, Aswad Thomas, Richard Orlu, Jim Stevenson, Mitchell Pinnock, Jamie Grimes, Tyrone Sterling, Moses Emmanuel (Joe Healy 83), Sammy Moore (Chris Kinnear Jnr 84), Ross Lafayette

Unused subs: Mitch Walker, Jack Parkinson, Ira Jackson Jnr

Goals: Ross Lafayette 20, 46; Moses Emmanuel 42

Woking: Brandon Hall, Jake Caprice, Frazer Shaw (Delano Sam-Yorke 64) , Terrell Thomas, Brian Saah (Ismail Yakubu 58), Joey Jones, Keiran Murtagh, Fabio Saraiva, Charlie Carter (Frankie Sutherland 58), Gozie Ugwu, Chike Kandi 

Unused subs: Andy Little, Dennon Lewis

Goal: Gozie Ugwu 56

Attendance: 823 

COMING UP

The Cards will be targeting a win when they travel to North Ferriby United, second from bottom, next Saturday (4 March). The Cards’ next home game on Saturday 11 March will see the return of Mark Ricketts and Bruno Andrade when Boreham Wood are the visitors.

Come on, you Cards!


Max points the way to a crucial win

Nathan Thomas
12:00am, Tue 28th Feb 2017
Woking 1 Dover Athletic 0
Vanarama National League
28th February 2017


Woking welcomed high-flying Dover Athletic to the Laithwaite Community Stadium on Tuesday night, looking for and securing a vital three points to help The Cards in their quest to steer clear of The National League relegation zone.

On a dry evening – with the temperature slightly milder than earlier in the day – Dover kicked towards the LGS off on a pitch that still appeared to be heavily damaged and unpredictable in places.

Compared with the starting line-up for the game at Forest Green Rovers, with Keiran Murtagh now suspended for 2 games, Brian Saah, Max Kretzschmar and Chris Arthur came in, with Nathan Ralph and Macauley Bonne dropping to the bench. Woking lined up in a rigid 5-3-2 formation as they looked to plug the free-scoring opposition. Dover fielded a strong team that reflected their status as serious play-off contenders, with 32-goal (in all competitions) former Woking academy player Ricky Miller leading the line

Dover produced the first corner of the game two minutes in after good pressure from Miller, but it was comfortably dealt with by The Cards defence. The energetic Miller continued to cause problems early on for The Cards, chasing every lost ball and putting pressure on every Woking touch. Woking produced their first half-chance of the game on the 8th minute after Caprice raced to the by-line and dragged the ball across, but it was too quick for Ugwu. A deflected effort from Max Kretzschmar then produced a corner for The Cards which was cleared.

Aswad Thomas then produced a problematic delivery in the 11th minute which Brian Saah did very well to hook over the bar. Dover's resulting corner was then dealt with again by Saah. Dover enjoyed the majority of the possession in the early stages but failed to create many clear-cut opportunities with the ball. Miller produced a wicked delivery from a free-kick for the visitors, but again, the effort resulting from it was off target.

Gozie Ugwu fashioned a good opportunity for himself midway through the first half after good interplay with Ferdinand. His effort from 20 yards was comfortably over the bar. The referee continued to give decisions in the visitors favour, prompting a few moans and groans from Kingsfield faithful. Ugwu then got another chance after busy work from Kretzschmar produced another pacey delivery across the box that the Woking centre forward was inches away from getting a toe on.

Dover then came closest to breaking to deadlock 10 minutes before halftime, a loose ball finding Healy whose vicious right-footed effort had Poke stretching. The Dover winger however was denied by the woodwork and a magnificent stretch from the Woking keeper; it looked a combination of bar/post and Poke that prevented the away side from taking the lead. An even better chance came three minutes later for the visitors as they started to assert some real authority. Thomas produced another good delivery from left-back. This found Ricky Modeste unmarked at the back post, but he shockingly headed 2 yards wide of the open goal; another let off for The Cards.

The first half then came to an end with Woking fairly lucky to be on level terms at half-time. A three-minute spell saw two golden chances for Healy and Modeste but the visitors could not capitalise on this. Ugwu had two half chances for The Cards but Woking found it hard to breakthrough a strong Dover back line.

Half Time: Woking 0 Dover Athletic 0

The second half started as the first ended, with the visitors enjoying the majority of the ball. However, two speculative efforts 5 minutes in caused Poke no problems.

Dover then hit the woodwork again in the 52nd minute, this time courtesy of a Woking head. Thomas was once again found at the back post; the left-back’s header was a fairly weak one but needed to be dealt with. Yakubu headed dangerously over his own bar, with the clearance thankfully hitting the top of the woodwork. The resulting corner than forced a clash between Lafayette and Poke, causing the Dover man to be booked.

Woking's first major chance of the game eventually came on the hour mark. A good corner from The Cards found the head of Charlton loanee Terell Thomas but the young centre-back could only guide his header a few yards over the bar; he could not add to his goal against Forest Green at the weekend. The hour mark also prompted Woking into their first change of the evening as Fabio Sariava made way for Charlie Carter.

The breakthrough came straight after the change against the run of play for Woking. A truly magical run from Jake Caprice saw him beat three Dover players from the halfway line; his pace and guile saw him get to the byline. He produced a calm and composed pass into the box; another touch from substitute Carter's foot eventually guided the ball to Kretzschmar in the 6-yard-box who gladly rolled the ball into the empty net. He deserved a goal after a busy evening’s work.

Caprice now had confidence flowing through his veins as he whipped in another dangerous ball straight after the goal but The Cards could not double their lead. The last 20 minutes promised to be a nervy one.

Ricky Miller, who had been fairly quiet by his standards in the 2nd half, had a volley blocked from the resolute Cards defence. The resulting counter-attack from Woking created a shout for a penalty as the fresh legs of Carter were hauled down in the box. But the referee waved the appeals away. The Cards could have been dealt an injury blow with 10 minutes left of proceedings as their talisman and top-scorer Ugwu seemed to go down feeling his hamstring, but the striker thankfully jogged it off.

The goal-scorer Kretzschmar then made way for Colchester loanee, Bonne, with five minutes to go as Woking looked to close on a vital win. Woking continued to stay compact and strong as another foul on Poke relieved more pressure on the Woking backline. It was all Dover as the officials added on four additional minutes, but they could not fashion a clear chance. Garry Hill's back 5 were faultless all night in a terrific and important victory for the home side. Kretzschmar's tap in midway through the second half was enough to seal all three points against promotion chasing Dover.


Woking: Michael Poke, Jake Caprice, Terell Thomas, Joey Jones, Brian Saah, Ismail Yakubu, Fabio Sariava (Charlie Carter 63), Max Kretzschmar (McCauley Bonne 86 ), Gozie Ugwu, Kane Ferdinand , Chris Arthur

Unused Subs: Brandon Hall, Nathan Ralph, Dennon Lewis

Goal: Kretzschmar 66

Dover: Steve Arnold, Sam Magri, Aswad Thomas, Richard Orlu, Ricky Modeste (James Hurst 77), Ricky Miller, Jamie Grimes, Ross Lafayette (Moses Emmanuel 75), Joe Healy, Bondz N'Gala, Nicky Deverdics

Unused Subs: Mitchell Pinnock, Tyrone Sterling, Connor Essam

Booked: Grimes, Lafayette

Attendance: 1,092

Sponsor’s (Curchod & Co) MotM: Ismail Yakubu, who commanded the defence with his imposing physical presence keeping Ricky Miller quiet.

WOKING LINEUP
1Michael Poke
2Jake Caprice
26Chris Arthur
3Terell Thomas
5Brian Saah
6Ismail Yakubu
4Joey Jones
14Fabio Saraiva ('63)
15Max Kretzschmar ('86)
22Kane Ferdinand
9Gozie Ugwu
BENCH
18Brandon Hall
11Nathan Ralph
12Charlie Carter ('63)
16Dennon Lewis
23Macauley Bonne ('86)
Dover Athletic LINEUP

Woking 1 - 0 Dover Athletic (Keiran Murtagh Interview)

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