Laithwaite Independent Financial Advisers
3:00pm - SaturdaySat 26th AugustAug 2017
Racecourse Ground | Att: 3875

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Cards hope for away joy

Brian Caffarey
9:09am, Thu 24th Aug 2017
Wrexham v Woking
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 26 August 2017

The Cards continue their tough start to the season with a trip to North Wales on Saturday. Anthony Limbrick will be hoping that his side can break their duck on their travels but the Red Dragons, though having made an indifferent start to the campaign, are usually strong at home and the Cards have been well beaten on their two away trips so far. Let’s hope the odds can be overturned!


The Cards put in a disappointing performance at home to Leyton Orient last Saturday, failing to make any headway against a side that had shipped six goals in their midweek defeat at Bromley. Woking seemed unable to produce any momentum or fluency, with Joe Ward and Bobson Bawling stymied on the flanks, Jamie Philpot making only sporadic impact in the number 10 position and little attacking support coming from midfielders Kane Ferdinand and Chez Isaac. Inih Effiong looked to have concluded that the only way to make any progress was for him to go on solo runs, bulldozing his way through but, almost inevitably, he was eventually crowded out. Perhaps the Cards missed Joey Jones’s ability to bring the ball purposefully out of defence but the lack of creativity remains a worry.

At the back, a plus was that the side defended set pieces well but the apparent insistence on playing the ball out through Richard Orlu induced quite a few palpitations in the second half.


This is the Red Dragons’ tenth season at this level and former captain Dean Keates, appointed manager in late October in place of Gary Mills, is hoping to succeed where his predecessors, Brian Little, Dean Saunders, Andy Morrell, Kevin Wilkin and Mills, all failed. Keates will certainly need to do better than last season, when the club finished in 13th position.

As part of a major overhaul he released 12 players in the summer, including ex-Card Shwan Jalal, who re-joined Macclesfield, and striker John Rooney. Players brought in include the former Forest Green Rovers midfielders, Sam Wedgbury and Marcus Kelly, plus former Macclesfield winger, Jack Mackreth; strikers Chris Holroyd from Macclesfield, Scott Boden from Inverness Caledonian Thistle and previously top scorer with Newport County, and Ntumba Massanka, returning on loan from Burnley, having made 18 appearances last season; defenders Manny Smith, returning from Gateshead, Kevin Roberts, a right back with Halifax last season, Shaun Pearson, with over 200 appearances for Grimsby, James Jennings, previously on loan, and James Hurst, most recently with Dover; and keeper Chris Dibble to compete with Chris Dunn. Midfielder Akil Wright arrived on loan from Fleetwood Town after a loan spell at Barrow last season. Keates also gave a contract to promising young defender Olly Marx and later brought in striker Alex Reid on a two-month loan from Fleetwood Town.

Players remaining from last season include keeper Chris Dunn, midfielders Mark Carrington and Paul Rutherford and young defender Leo Smith.

Wrexham, like Woking, have won two games so far and lost three. A home defeat to Macclesfield Town was succeeded by a win at Maidenhead and then a reversal at Dover. Victory over Gateshead at home was then followed by a 2-1 defeat last Saturday at Maidstone United.

Manny Smith and Mark Carrington will miss this game, having both been sent off at Maidstone. Alex Reid has been the scorer in Wrexham’s last two matches.


My Racecourse
Mold Road
LL11 2AH

Official website:

By coach

With train services disrupted by engineering works, the Cards Trust coach looks a good bet for those who wish to travel. It leaves the Laithwaite at 8.30am and the cost is £29 for members. £34 for non-members and £15/£17 for U16s. Ring the Club Shop (01483 772470) or email or to book your place.

By car

Take the M54 from the M6 (Junction 10A Northbound). Follow the M54 to the end of the motorway and join the A5 towards Shrewsbury. Continue on the A5 past Shrewsbury and Oswestry and then join the A483 towards Wrexham. Stay on the A483 as you reach Wrexham (this is the Wrexham by-pass). Exit at the 'Mold' junction and then follow the signs for 'Town Centre'. The Racecourse will come quickly into view. There is parking at Glyndwr University, for a small fee, next to the ground or at Maesgwyn Hall opposite the University.

By train

Wrexham General station is next to the ground but the work going on at Euston means that the journey there would be longer than usual, with trains starting from Marylebone Station. The 09.10 would get you to Wrexham, via a change at Birmingham Moor Street and a short walk to Birmingham New Street, at 13.03. The 10.10 would get you there at 14.01 but with an additional change at Shrewsbury. On the way back, the 17.44 would get you to Marylebone at 21.11 via New Street and Moor Street.

You need to bear in mind, too, that most train services between Woking and Waterloo will take longer than usual.


Admission prices are:

£20 - Adults
£15 - Over 64 / Under 21
£8 - Over 80 / Under 18
£1 - Under 11s

Cheaper tickets can be purchased by phone in advance: see the Wrexham website for details.


Wrexham 2 Woking 1
Vanarama National League
7 January 2017

The Cards went into this game on the back of two defeats against Aldershot over Christmas/New Year, but with a much more spirited display in the second, injury-time, loss.

New loanee signing Connor Hall replaced the injured Max Kretzschmar. In a tight first half neither side created much by way of openings. The Cards took the initiative after the break but were unlucky to go behind to a John Rooney strike from the edge of the area. Woking responded quickly, Fabio Saraiva scoring with a diving header after Nathan Ralph’s effort had been blocked.

But the Cards were on level terms for only five minutes. The side was caught out by a quick attack following a disputed throw-in decision, with Rob Evans smashing home after Jordan White’s shot-cum-cross had been parried.

Connor Hall – who went on to join Bolton in the summer – had two excellent chances to equalise but his finishing did not match his ability to get into dangerous areas.

While the Cards were unfortunate not to come away with a point, in retrospect the continuing improvement from the second half of the game against Aldershot on New Year’s Day produced its rewards later in the month with crucial away wins at Torquay United and Eastleigh.

Wrexham: Chris Dunn, James Jennings, Martin Riley, Curtis Tilt, Anthony Barry (Hamza Bencherif 89), Jordan White, John Rooney, Izale McLeod (George Harry 82), Mark Carrington, Rob Evans ©, Leo Smith (Callum Powell 60).

Subs not used: Shwan Jalal, Jordan Davies

Goals: John Rooney (51), Rob Evans (60)

Woking: Michael Poke, Terell Thomas, Joey Jones, Brian Saah (Frankie Sutherland 89), Keiran Murtagh ©, Gozie Ugwu, Nathan Ralph, Fabio Saraiva, Dennon Lewis, Kane Ferdinand (Charlie Carter 80), Connor Hall (Luke Kandi 71)

Subs not used: Brandon Hall, Jake Caprice

Goal: Fabio Saraiva (55)

Attendance: 3,575


The Cards are at home to struggling Torquay United at 3pm on Bank Holiday Monday (28 August) in a game in which Anthony Limbrick’s side will be very keen to make home advantage pay. Bring family and friends along on Monday to cheer on the Cards!

Come on, you Cards!

Too little too late as Cards slip to defeat in North Wales

Malcolm Wyatt
12:00am, Sat 26th Aug 2017
Wrexham 1 Woking 0
Vanarama National League
26th August 2017

Glimpses of attacking promise in the closing stages were not enough to halt a 100 per cent National League loss rate on the road for the Cardinals this season.

A 43rd minute close-quarters finish from defender James Jennings – his first for the club - proved just enough to ensure victory for the Welsh hosts in a match unlikely to remain in the memory for long.

The result propelled Dean Keates’ less than impressive hosts into the top half of the table after three victories from six matches, while two-win Woking slipped to fifth from bottom.

The Dragons had enough chances to make their win more emphatic, but Anthony Limbrick’s shot-shy side were capable of at least salvaging a draw.

Not too much can be read into this reverse. There were promising signs, not least more assuredness at the back for much of the game, Woking never looking too flustered by their task after conceding.

On another day at least a couple of their created chances might have been tucked away. But the same could be said of the hosts.

There were certainly enough second-half moments to suggest a turnaround in fortunes, not least the shift put in by sub Jason Banton in the last 20 minutes.

Of the 32 players involved, just five featured in the corresponding fixture here in January – visitors Nathan Ralph, Kane Ferdinand and Charlie Carter, plus home sub Leo Smith and match-winner Jennings.

And this was a tale of two clubs desperately looking to redefine themselves, but both falling short of the mark amid late summer sunshine.

Marcus Kelly, Sam Wedgbury and Alex Reid tested Cards keeper Nathan Baxter early on, while it took Woking eight minutes to register a half-chance, Chez Isaac volleying over from Louis Ramsay’s delivery.

Bobson Bawling and Isaac were busy on the right flank, but Wrexham ensured they got no nearer, while at the other end skipper Richard Orlu had to head behind from a Jennings cross.

As the hosts continued to press, Reid’s strike from distance was pushed wide by Baxter, who then got hold of Jack Mackreth’s delivery.

In the next visitors’ spell of pressure a deep Isaac cross was pawed away for a corner, from which Orlu rose well but was outjumped, a further Isaac corner negated.

After one home attack, Ramsay – his shirt swapped for one without a number after an incident which left him with a bloody nose – battled upfield, but again the move stalled.

Isaac got the better of Kelly as Wrexham threatened again, the action swinging between ends but with the yellow-shirted visitors still lacking a cutting edge, Ramsay and Bawling failing to properly deliver.

Reid was way off target after good work by Akil Wright, while at the other end Isaac’s 40-yard run was snuffed out, both sets of fans increasingly frustrated.

As black clouds loomed over the Racecourse, Josh Staunton did well to keep out Ntumba Massanka then Kelly. But from sub Paul Rutherford’s resultant corner, 29-year-old left-back Jennings stabbed home after Carter cleared Manny Smith’s initial header off the line.

Half time: Wrexham 1 Woking 0

Both sides looked sharper after the break, but a drilled effort from Bawling was easily dealt with by under-employed Christian Dibble in the home goal, while as the hosts countered, Reid headed over.

Free-kicks followed in dangerous positions at both ends, yet the quality of finishing was little improved, and for all Joe Ward’s running Inih Effiong remained largely out of the game in the middle.

He came closer to Ward’s next cross after good work in midfield by Carter, the visitors starting to show more urgency, while the hosts looked capable on the break, but were let down by their finishing, not least when Kelly wellied over.

Bawling darted this way and that before a powerful volley that ended just wide of Dibble’s post, the first Woking change following as James Philpot replaced Carter, the 20-year-old forward soon looking lively.

But Effiong was unable to get a lethal touch from the sub’s first cross, Staunton going closer with a header from an Isaac corner, while Woking appealed for a penalty after Ward’s next centre was stopped in the box.

As Wrexham countered, Orlu cleared under pressure, with Reid and Kelly next to dither and be denied a killer second goal, the Cards stretched at the back while taking the game to their hosts.

A second change ensured the Surrey side took control, Banton replacing Bawling and soon having an impact.

Staunton stood his ground to deny Reid, the game still finely poised, Ramsay and Ferdinand then closing out Kelly before Baxter got down low to stop the next drilled effort.

Effiong was still isolated, for all the more promising build-up play, with Banton full of running and invention, despite the odd stray pass.

Orlu again proved cool to deny Massanka from Kelly’s through-ball as Wrexham broke back, with Rutherford next to play in play in the Burnley loanee, who looked odds on to beat Baxter, who somehow spread himself to stop with his legs.

Massanka’s next effort was far better, but again Baxter did well to deny him. And while Banton’s distribution improved, he still struggled to find a way through at the other end.

As Wrexham countered again, Baxter looked surely beaten this time, only for Reid to fire over, the late afternoon heat and bright sunshine soon taking its toll.

When the unmarked Philpot found himself in on goal, he couldn’t quite get the touch needed to turn home Banton’s neat delivery, the striker left with head in hands.

Former England U17s cap Banton again fed Philpot, but Dibble got to his cross, Woking soon making their final change, introducing Declan Appau.

Further Banton and Ralph crosses were stopped by Dibble, and from a Banton corner in the first of four added minutes, the ball almost crept in off home skipper Shaun Pearson, hitting the base of the far post before he collected again and cleared, another head-in-hands moment for the Cards.

More Woking pressure followed, but a late home substitution took the wind out of the sails, and while the Cards won one more corner, the referee called time before they could take it.

Wrexham: Christian Dibble, James Hurst, James Jennings, Manny Smith, Shaun Pearson ©, Jack Mackreth (Paul Rutherford 28), Sam Wedgbury, Ntumba Massanka (Leo Smith 79), Alex Reid, Marcus Kelly (Scott Boden 90), Akil Wright.

Unused subs: Olly Marx, Kevin Roberts.

Goals: Jennings 43.

Yellow card: Wright 50.

Woking: Nathan Baxter, Louis Ramsay, Nathan Ralph, Josh Staunton, Richard Orlu ©, Bobson Bawling (Jason Banton 72), Chez Isaac (Declan Appau 87), Inih Effiong, Charlie Carter (Jamie Philpot 65), Kane Ferdinand, Joe Ward.

Unused subs: Sam Mason, Matt Young.

Referee: Peter Gibbons.

Attendance 3,875 (66 away fans).

My MOTM: Jason Banton - barely on the pitch 20 minutes, yet at the heart of everything where others had failed to make an impact. Had the home fans looking nervously at their watches. A fine prospect when truly match-ready.
Wrexham LINEUP
17Christian Dibble
2James Hurst
3James Jennings
8Sam Wedgbury
5Shaun Pearson
4Manny Smith
7Jack Mackreth ('28)
16Marcus Kelly ('90)
20Akil Wright
9Ntumba Massanka
11Alex Reid
14Paul Rutherford ('28)
15Olly Marx
18Kevin Roberts
19Scott Boden ('90)
21Leo Smith ('79)
1Nathan Baxter
2Louis Ramsay
3Nathan Ralph
5Josh Staunton
6Richard Orlu
8Chez Isaac ('85)
22Kane Ferdinand
12Charlie Carter ('65)
7Bobson Bawling ('72)
23Joe Ward
9Inih Effiong
18Sam Mason
21Matt Young
17Declan Appau ('85)
10Jason Banton ('72)
20Jamie Philpot ('65)

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