MKJ Group
3:00pm - SaturdaySat 5th AugustAug 2017
The Laithwaite Community Stadium | Att: 1705

2 - 1


New era starts on Saturday

Brian Caffarey
9:29am, Thu 3rd Aug 2017
Woking v Gateshead
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 5 August 2017

With over 1800 season tickets sold, a big crowd is expected at the Laithwaite Community Stadium on Saturday for the start of a new era as Anthony Limbrick takes charge of his first competitive game as manager of a much-changed Cards outfit. In Gateshead he will be up against a side desperate to make the play-offs. Make sure you’re there to lend the Cards your support!


All Woking fans will share Anthony’s hope that the Cards can get off to a good start to the campaign on Saturday, especially since their next two games, away at Tranmere Rovers and Barrow, two more sides fancied for the play-offs, look decidedly tough. And, as we know from past experience, a poor start risks leading to loss of confidence and a sense of permanently playing ‘catch up’. If anything, the league is looking tougher than ever, with a host of other clubs, including Leyton Orient, Hartlepool United, Ebbsfleet United, AFC Fylde, Aldershot, Dagenham and Redbridge, Maidstone United and Boreham Wood, surely fancying their chances.

But, let’s look on the bright side! Anthony has made some encouraging and interesting signings and it’s plain that, thanks to his impressive coaching credentials and attention to detail, this Cards side will be extremely fit and in no doubt about what is expected of them.

A lot will of course turn on how quickly the new squad – which contains 10 new recruits at the time of writing – gels. But there were some useful pointers from the friendly games. Nathan Baxter, though young, is clearly a talented keeper and not slow to organise the defence in front of him. The experienced Richard Orlu, a stalwart of the Dover defence in recent seasons, looks like the sort of no-nonsense centre back we need, while it says a lot about the promise of Josh Staunton that the Daggers didn’t want to lose him. The busy Chez Isaac, with plenty of know-how from his time at Braintree Town, ought to be influential in midfield, and wide men Joe Ward and Bobson Bawling, backed up by full backs Louis Ramsay and Nathan Ralph, should give us pace and penetration down the flanks. Because of injury we haven’t seen anything of Jason Banton but he is, by all accounts, a talented player with attacking flair, and, when fit, should be able to complement the physical threat from the powerful Inih Effiong. Anthony will also be able to call on the likes of known quantities such as Kane Ferdinand, Fabio Saraiva and Charlie Carter, with perhaps the promising Academy player, Declan Appau, pushing his case for a first team place. Cards fans will be hoping perhaps that there might be at least one more attacking option before Saturday.


The Heed have been ‘nearly men’ the last couple of seasons, always looking as though they might make the play-off places but lacking sufficient consistency to nail it. A 9th place finish in 2015-16 was followed by an 8th place spot last season, with the Tynesiders falling away badly in the last month. The Heed Chairman, Richard Bennett, has said that a play-off place is “a must� this season but some fans are clearly concerned that a squad with an average age of 23 might not have sufficient experience to achieve the Chairman’s target, although the additional two play-off places may be just the incentive the Heed need.

Once again, former Halifax Town manager, Neil Aspin, has made substantial changes in the summer. Some very experienced players were discarded or chose to move on, including captain and ‘player of the season’ Liam Hogan, who’s moved to Salford City, along with another defender, Gus Mafuta; three more defenders, Manny Smith, James Bolton and George Smith; and midfielders Mitch Brundle and Toby Ajala. Aspin has brought in a dozen or so players, including those on loan. They include right back Theo Vassell, on loan at Chester last season from Walsall; left back Scott Barrow, previously with Merthyr Town but with experience at Newport County and Macclesfield; centre back Fraser Kerr, formerly with several Scottish clubs; highly experienced midfielder Russ Penn, who was on loan with the Heed for part of last season and who has enjoyed successful stints at York City and Cheltenham among other clubs; Kieran Green, a 20-year-old midfielder from Hartlepool United; well-travelled striker Richard Peniket, brought in from Halifax; Jordan Preston, who played up front for Guiseley last season; Robbie Tinkler, a 20-year-old defensive midfielder on loan from Middlesbrough, who had a loan spell at North Ferriby last season; and Fraser Horsfall, a young centre back on loan from Huddersfield Town.

Among those remaining from last season are keeper Richard Montgomery, defenders Neill Byrne and Jamal Fyfield, winger Wes York, midfielder Paddy McLaughlin and striker Danny Johnson, who netted 15 times last season.

The Heed have been handed four home games and two away games in August, so will be looking to make a strong start to the campaign. But their pre-season results were decidedly mixed, being held to draws by South Shields and Darlington and being beaten 3-0 at home by a young Newcastle United side. On Saturday, in their final friendly, they lost 3-0 at Conference North side, Harrogate Town, with Aspin admitting that they played poorly.


Adults £18
Over 65 £13
Disabled (Including carer) £13
Student (U19) £5
U16s £5

Don’t forget the great offer for season ticket holders in the Geoff Chapple Lounge!


The Cardinals' Bar will be showing the opening game of the Vanarama National League season between Sutton United & Leyton Orient (12.30pm kick off) live on the big screen, so come down early! Don't forget that the Outback Shack will also be open.


Make sure you grab a copy of the matchday programme, which will feature an interview with Anthony Limbrick as well as profiles of all the players.


Gateshead 2 Woking 1
Vanarama National League
18 March 2017

Once again, in their desperate struggle to avoid the drop, Woking found themselves unable to hang onto a valuable point. The Cards took a deserved first half lead when Terell Thomas headed home Fabio Saraiva’s corner and might have extended their lead, with Nathan Ralph firing just wide and the Heed keeper making good saves from Gozie Ugwu and new loan arrival, Jamie Lucas.

But Gateshead struck back soon after the break through Danny Johnson and then, at the death, Wes York netted Mitch Brundle’s cross to leave the Cards in the last relegation place with 38 points from 38 games, while the Heed moved up to 5th.

Gateshead: Montgomery, Bolton (Brundle 52), Hogan, Mafuta, M.Smith, G.Smith, Beere (Hannant), McLaughlin, Johnson, Burrow, York

Unused subs: Ajala, Hanford, Bell

Scorers: Johnson (52), York (90)

Woking: Poke, Caprice, Thomas, Saah, Yakubu (Carter 59), Ralph, Jones, Saraiva, Ferdinand, Ugwu (Sam-Yorke 66), Lucas (Morris 58)

Unused subs: Ansah, Hall

Scorer: Thomas (21)

Attendance: 832


The Cards make the very long trips to Tranmere Rovers (Tuesday 8 August) and Barrow (Saturday 12 August) before entertaining Eastleigh on Tuesday 15 August.

Come on, you Cards!

Ward pulls the strings in “Four Seasons� victory

Ian Toft
12:00am, Sat 5th Aug 2017
Woking 2 Gateshead 1
Vanarama National League
5th August 2017

Anthony Limbrick began his tenure as Woking manager with the perfect start as his new look Cards side defeated Gateshead on the opening day of the season.

In a game played in conditions representing the four seasons of British weather new signings Inih Effiong and Joe Ward scored goals either side of Danny Johnson’s deflected equaliser that sealed a home win. Despite being on top for large parts of the game Woking also had to remain disciplined until the very end to hold off a spirited Gateshead attack in order to claim the three points.

Limbrick will have been delighted to have witnessed a harmonious team performance, particularly with so many new faces. However special mention must go to Chez Isaac, Nathan Ralph and particularly man of the match Joe Ward in inspiring the home team to victory. The performance will no doubt galvanise the team’s self-confidence as they embark on a testing run of fixtures.

Woking lined up in their new look formation with Ramsay, Staunton, Orlu and Ralph at the back, Issac and Jones sitting deep in the centre of midfield allowing Bawling, Saraiva and Ward to push forward in support of lone striker Effiong. The visitors having made the long journey down from the North East adopted a more conventional 4-4-2 system.

As the game kicked off the crowd of 1,705 could have been forgiven for questioning whether it really was the opening day of the season. Rain fell so heavily from the dark clouds above that for a short time a repeat abandonment of the Basingstoke pre-season friendly felt like a distinct possibility. This influenced the early exchanges with both sides keen to test their opposing goalkeeper with several hopeful distant strikes hoping to catch them out in the wet and blustery conditions.

Attacking the Leslie Gosden Stand an early free kick by Ward nearly reached Staunton and was only scrambled away by the Heed defence after Montgomery in the visitors goal had fumbled in his attempts to collect. Jones attempted a long shot that was successfully blocked by Kerr. The rebound fell straight to Issac but he failed to get any power on his shot.

Ward gave an indication of what was to come with an early mazy run after he had collected the loose ball in the centre of the pitch. After skipping past two Heed defenders his strike could only be blocked by the legs of the onrushing Montgomery.

After a slow start Gateshead’s first significant attack came in the 13th minute when a ball was floated into the box and met by McLaughlin. His volley fired high and wide.

However this attack proved to be the exception to the early flow of play as the Cards looked to make their early pressure pay. Bobson Bawling had narrowly come close when he slightly mistimed his jump from a Ward corner. However a minute later in the 18th minute Bawling played in Effiong out wide to the right. After skipping past the left-back the Cards striker shot early which could only be stopped by the legs of Montgomery. The rebound fell kindly back to Effiong and he comfortably rolled the ball into the net to give the Cards a deserved lead.

The goal appeared to galvanise the visitors and the Heed began to show more of their promise. Penn shot from distance across the increasingly greasy pitch. However Baxter remained alert enough to prevent the ball slipping into his far corner.

The match hit an abrupt halt in the 25th minute when Fabio Saraiva stayed down under a heavy tackle. After administering primary treatment Club Physio Prajwal Rai promptly signalled to the bench that the Cards midfielder couldn’t continue. Saraiva limped off to be replaced by Charlie Carter. Given recent experiences of early season injuries Cards fans will be particularly anxious to know of the extent of Saraiva’s condition and how soon he may return.

As the relentless downpour finally began to ease Gateshead continued to apply the pressure. A cross was floated into Danny Johnson who was able to get over the ball and volley downwards. The ball clipped Orlu who was in the line of fire and it took a wicked unfortunate deflection to wrongfoot Baxter. Though the Cards goalkeeper was able to belatedly alter his dive he could only despairingly witness the ball trickle into the inside netting of his goal.

Despite the disappointing setback of conceding the Cards went again and turned their focus back on attacking the visitors. Isaac was able to play a searching ball wide to Ward which was played back inside. As Issac rushed on into space the returned pass got caught under his feet and the shot was high and wide.

However shortly before half time another cross field pass out to Ward was expertly controlled. Exuding all the confidence that he took from his time at title-winning Lincoln last season the Cards winger took a couple of strides towards goal before unleashing an inch-perfect placed shot across the goalkeeper into the far bottom corner of the net. As the sun started to shine for the first time in the afternoon the Cards fans in the Leslie Gosden Stand behind could celebrate the home side having restored their lead.

Half Time: Woking 2-1 Gateshead

In an attempt to get back into the game the visitors made a change at half-time with former North Ferriby United midfielder Robbie Tinkler coming on to replace Fraser Kerr.

Effiong hustled Vassell to win possession in a dangerous area and laid the ball off to Carter. He looked to set up Issac and his quick shot narrowly missed its target with Montgomery stranded.

In the 53rd minute the Cards came agonisingly close in adding to their tally. Ward out on the left beat two men and passed across to Issac. Before he could line his shot up a Gateshead defender scrambled across to tackle but a fierce ricochet off Issac sent the ball goal bound. With Montgomery beaten the ball rebounded out off the far post into the path of Effiong who snatched at the ball to guide it over the bar. Perhaps to his relief he discovered that the linesman would have flagged him offside had he hit the target.

Despite their ventures forward the Cards also had to be aware in defence. Preston found himself in plenty of space as the Heed rushed forward. As it appeared he would be one-on-one with the goalkeeper his hesitation in switching the ball onto the other foot enabled Staunton to charge back and get a last ditch tackle in just as Preston prepared to strike. In another Heed attack soon after a cross through to Johnson was hit first time. This time Orlu sensed the danger and managed to get enough of a block for the ball to rebound away from danger.

Having soaked up some sustained second half pressure Woking showed their supporters that they could also play some attractive football. In a wonderful phase of play late on Jones sprayed a long searching pass out to Ward who skilfully controlled and danced past his opponents. Sensing the onrushing Ralph he played a perfectly weighted pass who allowed Ralph to collect and turn towards goal. With little other option the Gateshead defender was left with little option to foul for a free kick on the edge of the penalty area. Unfortunately the resulting set play failed to reward the enterprise that had come before.

However despite a few further efforts from the visitors to pressurise the Cards held on to take their first three valuable points in what will likely be a hard fought but entertaining season based on this opening showing.

The Cards now turn their attentions to the North West of England with challenging journeys to Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday and Barrow on Saturday as they look to add to this satisfying start.


Nathan Baxter, Louis Ramsay, Nathan Ralph, Josh Staunton, Richard Orlu (c), Joey Jones, Chez Isaac, Bobson Bawling (Jamie Philpot 70), Joe Ward (Kane Ferdinand 90), Fabio Saraiva (Charlie Carter 25), Inih Effiong

Unused subs: Sam Mason, Matt Young

Goals: Inih Effiong (18), Joe Ward (44)

Booked: None


James Montgomery, Theo Vassell, Scott Barrow, Neill Byrne, Jamal Fyfield, Fraser Kerr (Robbie Tinkler 46), Russell Penn (Richard Peniket 72), Paddy McLaughlin, Jordan Preston, Danny Johnson, Jordan Burrow

Goals: Johnson (26)

Booked: None

Sponsors MOTM:
Joe Ward: What an opening day for the new Cards winger. As well as a coolly taken goal Ward capped off a sensational debut with an exquisite second half Cruyff-turn to cap off a performance of skill, drive and determination

Referee: Adam Bromley

Attendance: 1,705

1Nathan Baxter
2Louis Ramsay
3Nathan Ralph
5Josh Staunton
6Richard Orlu
4Joey Jones
8Chez Isaac
7Bobson Bawling ('70)
23Joe Ward ('90)
14Fabio Saraiva ('25)
9Inih Effiong
18Sam Mason
21Matt Young
22Kane Ferdinand ('90)
12Charlie Carter ('25)
20Jamie Philpot ('70)
Gateshead LINEUP
1James Montgomery
2Theo Vassell
3Scott Barrow
5Neill Byrne
6Jamal Fyfield
4Fraser Kerr ('46)
16Russell Penn ('72)
13Paddy McLaughlin
11Jordan Preston
9Danny Johnson
10Jordan Burrow
8Richard Peniket ('72)
12Robbie Tinkler ('46)
17Kieran Green
21Dan Hanford
23Jon Mellish

Woking 2 - 1 Gateshead (Anthony Limbrick Interview)

Woking 2 - 1 Gateshead (Joe Ward Interview)

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