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3:00pm - SaturdaySat 23rd DecemberDec 2017
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Cards need to re-focus quickly

Brian Caffarey
9:00am, Thu 21st Dec 2017
Woking v Barrow
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 23 December 2017

The Cards need to re-focus quickly on the National League after exits from the FA Cup, FA Trophy and Surrey Senior Cup. Perhaps predictably, the fine performance against Peterborough United in the Emirates FA Cup replay was followed by a very ‘flat’ display against Maidenhead United in the Trophy, so the aim now must be to get back into contention for the play-off places. Anthony Limbrick will be hoping, therefore, that his side can turn the tables on a Barrow side which inflicted a comprehensive 3-0 defeat in Woking’s second away game of the season, but the Bluebirds’ recent away form is impressive. Come down to the Laithwaite Community Stadium to cheer on the Cards to what we hope will be an early Christmas present of three points. U14s in festive attire will be granted free admission and adults in festive attire will be entered for a free draw for a prize of a football signed by all the first team squad. Don’t forget, too, the Fans’ Christmas Party after the game.

WOKING

The fine displays in the Emirates FA Cup have masked some disappointing results in other games in the last couple of months, with the Cards managing only one win in their last seven league games. The side has now slipped to 12th place in the table and Anthony is clearly well aware how critical the holiday period will be in determining whether the Club will be looking upwards or downwards in the remainder of the season.

Although Anthony did not attach particular significance to the effect of playing three centre backs against Maidenhead, the experiment, if that’s what it was, did not seem to help the side’s attacking momentum.

On a positive note, it looks as if Anthony will at least start the holiday period with fewer injury worries than he has often experienced. Cards fans will be particularly interested to see if Jason Banton will get a run of games and if he can make an impact.

BARROW

The Bluebirds, owned since November 2014 by ambitious Dallas-based businessman, Paul Casson, won the Conference North title in the 2014-15 season. Casson then targeted immediate promotion to the Football League and manager Darren Edmondson paid the price in November 2015 for an unpromising beginning to the campaign. Former Mansfield manager Paul Cox was appointed the next day and eventually led the side to an 11th place finish in that campaign. Last season Barrow fell short of the play-offs by seven points, ending in 7th place.

Having carried out the usual summer makeover of his squad, Cox didn’t even see August out, manager and club deciding to go their separate ways. Micky Moore was placed in charge in an interim capacity and then given the job permanently but only lasted till mid-October, with Ady Pennock, the former manager of Forest Green Rovers, Welling United and Gillingham, taking up the reins on 27 October.

Like nearly every other Conference National side, Barrow’s squad underwent major changes during the summer, with some dozen arrivals. Cox released several players, including Inih Effiong, and lost three of his best players to League clubs: striker Richie Bennett, England C winger Jordan Williams and left back Nick Anderton. Other departures included Ross Hannah and Paul Turnbull, both joining Chester.

Cox looked to have made some promising signings by way of compensation. They included striker Adi Yussuf, joining from Grimsby but with experience at Leicester City, Burton Albion, Lincoln City and Mansfield Town amongst other clubs; Dutch defender David Nieskens, most recently with a Belgian third-tier side; French midfielder Bedsente Gomis, well known for his recent successful spell with Sutton United but previously with Southend United; highly experienced midfielder Asa Hall, most recently on loan at York City from Cheltenham Town, where he was part of their promotion-winning side, but with substantial spells at a number of other League clubs; 22-year-old keeper Stuart Moore, joining after six years at Reading, where he had loan spells at Peterborough United and other clubs; 19 year-old French midfielder, Donovan Mahoma, an U16 international joining from RC Lens’s U19 Academy; fellow compatriot Thierry Audel, a 30-year-old defender released by Notts County, following spells at Macclesfield Town, Crewe Alexandra and Lincoln City; defender Dan Jones, a long throw specialist, signing from Grimsby Town but with loans at Gateshead and AFC Fylde last season, following 37 appearances for Hartlepool United; Jimmy Dunne, a 19-year-old central defender, originally with Manchester United’s Academy but on loan till January from Burnley; Bradley Bauress, a goalscoring midfielder originally with Blackburn Rovers but joining from Witton Albion; 6’4� striker Jordan White, top scorer for Wrexham last season and previously with various Scottish clubs; winger David Fitzpatrick, who was with AFC Wimbledon but with loan spells at Tonbridge Angels and Torquay United; and defender Jack Barthram, a former Spurs Academy player who made 70 appearances for Cheltenham Town after joining from Swindon Town.

Among players remaining from last season were keeper Joel Dixon and giant defender/midfielder Moussa Diarra. Micky Moore then added experienced defenders Tony Diagne and Paul Bignot, plus midfielder Chris Clements on loan from Grimsby, while Dan Cockerline departed for Southport.

Ady Pennock’s most notable signing has been the return last month of former Norwich City and England striker, Grant Holt, to Barrow as player/coach. Holt had been with Kings Lynn Town before being enticed back to his native Cumbria. Two more recent arrivals are defender Calum Macdonald on a youth loan from Derby County and winger Lewis Walters on a month’s loan from Nottingham Forest. Alex Harvey has left for Guiseley.

Following the 3-0 win over Woking on 12 August the Bluebirds won only one of their subsequent 15 league and Cup games: a run which included a 2-1 away defeat by Shaw Lane in the Emirates FA Cup. Pennock’s first game in charge saw a home defeat at the hands of Macclesfield Town but this was followed by good away wins at Eastleigh and Gateshead before a chastening 3-0 defeat at home by Bromley. Since then Barrow have won away at FC Halifax, lost at home to Dagenham and Redbridge and beaten Nuneaton Town away in the FA Trophy, making it four away wins on the trot.

Barrow now sit in 19th place in the table.

ADMISSION PRICES

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

Season ticket holders have the chance to sample the delights of the Geoff Chapple Lounge for only £36. See the website for details.

MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

Don’t forget to grab a copy of ‘Cardinals’. Only £3 for interviews, previews, match reports, Academy updates and great photos.

LAST TIME OUT

Barrow 3 Woking 0
Vanarama National League
12 August 2017

Following a midweek defeat at Tranmere Rovers the Cards found themselves well and truly beaten again in their second away trip of the season. Anthony Limbrick made one change, bringing in Jordan Wynter in place of Chez Isaac, presumably in a forlorn attempt to counter the familiar Paul Cox tactic of pumping in high balls to an array of six-footers.

The Cards had two early chances but then fell behind to a superb strike in the 20th minute by Adi Yussuf. A second goal followed shortly after half-time, Jordan White heading the ball over the line as the strong wind frustrated an attempted clearance of a throw-in. White made the game safe six minutes from time, heading home from a corner.

Barrow: Stuart Moore, Jack Barthram, Daniel Jones, Jimmy Dunne, Moussa Diarra, Dave Nieskens, Alex-Ray Harvey, Asa Hall, Bedsente Gomis (Donovan Makoma 87), Jordan White (Harry Panayiotou 90), Adi Yussuf (Dan Cockerline 41).

Subs not used: Thierry Audel, Liam Hughes

Goals: Yussuf (20), White (47, 83)

Woking: Nathan Baxter, Louis Ramsay, Nathan Ralph, Joey Jones, Josh Staunton, Richard Orlu, Bobson Bawling (Kane Ferdinand 70), Inih Effiong, Charlie Carter (Jamie Philpot 53), Jordan Wynter (Chez Isaac 63), Joe Ward

Subs not used: Declan Appau, Matt Young

Attendance: 1,075 (38 Away)

COMING UP

No Cards fan will be unaware that there is the little matter of a Boxing Day/New Year’s Day double coming up against local rivals Aldershot Town. The Cards are away on Boxing Day, with a kick-off time of 3pm. Don’t forget that the return fixture at the Laithwaite Community Stadium on New Year’s Day kicks off at 1pm. Sandwiched between the two games is an away game at Eastleigh on Saturday 30 December.

Come on, you Cards!

P.S. The 400 Club draw will take place in the Cardinals’ Bar after the game. The special prize of £500 is up for grabs as well as the quarterly prizes of £100, £75 and £50.


Cards’ poor form continues as Barrow’s barrage pays off

Glen Harrington
12:00am, Sat 23rd Dec 2017
Woking 1 Barrow 2
Vanarama National League
23rd December 2017

Festive cheer was thin on the ground at the Laithwaite Community Stadium this afternoon as, despite Charlie Carter’s sixth goal of the season, the Cards fell to a fourth successive defeat in all competitions and extended an indifferent run of form to just two wins in the last 14 games.

Despite the result, manager Anthony Limbrick will no doubt highlight an improved performance when compared with last weekend’s FA Trophy exit at the hands of Maidenhead United, with the home side unfortunate not to claim at least a point after a commendable second-half effort.

The hosts gave themselves a mountain to climb after Moussa Diarra headed in Barrow’s opener inside two minutes, and despite Carter turning in Joe Ward’s free-kick to level the scores, the visitors' aerial dominance from set-pieces paid dividends as Jimmy Dunne quickly restored their lead.

Woking were much improved after the break but struggled to create clear-cut chances. Carter did come close twice more, heading wide from Nathan Ralph crosses, while goalkeeper Joel Dixon produced a superb save from his own player after Inih Effiong’s flick-on was turned goalwards; ultimately though the home side’s efforts were in vain as they slip into the bottom-half of the table.

Limbrick and his team made three changes from the side beaten by Maidenhead the previous week as the Cards returned to their preferred 4-2-3-1 formation; Josh Staunton dropped to the bench whilst Chez Isaac and Regan Charles-Cook were absent. In their place came Joey Jones, Carter, and Jason Banton, who made his first start since 21st October. Barrow, who won the reverse fixture 3-0 in August, gave a start to former Premier League striker Grant Holt.

Having struggled to deal with Barrow’s game-plan in Cumbria earlier this season, when set pieces and the monster-like throw of Dan Jones proved Woking’s undoing, few would have been surprised to see the Bluebirds starting with a similar approach at the Laithwaite.

Within a minute, Jones’ long ball cannoned around the penalty area, Diarra eventually got on the end of it, and only the quick reactions of Jojo Wollacott – retaining his place in the continued absence of first choice keeper Nathan Baxter – prevented Barrow taking the lead as the goalkeeper spread himself and caught the ball square in the face from close range. Sadly, Diarra did get his goal from the resulting corner, as he nodded home Lewis Walter’s corner.

Buoyed by their goal, the visitors stormed forward, whilst home fans were forced to watch on grimly through their fingers as every long ball and set piece caused chaos in the Woking penalty area. Richard Orlu hacked one such effort off the line, Wollacott dived at the feet of Diarra to deny him a second, before the Bristol City loanee was forced to palm Jones’ throw-in wide as the full-back took aim yet again, knowing that any touch could leave the ball nestling in the net.

The Cards desperately needed a moment of quality and, in a rare foray into the opposition half just after the 20 minute mark, one was indeed delivered – Ward’s free-kick from the left-hand side was hung in the air and was met superbly by Carter around the penalty spot, who guided the ball past Dixon, off the post and in.

Unfortunately, the goal did little to change Barrow’s approach, and they continued to enjoy the better of the play. First, Wollacott did brilliantly to deny Calum MacDonald with a flying save from a free-kick before, seven minutes on from the equaliser Dunne headed the visitors back in front. Walters, whose deliveries were excellent throughout, found the head of the defender with a free-kick from the left-hand side and he cushioned his effort back across goal and into the bottom left-hand corner. Thankfully from a Woking perspective, that proved to be Walters' last major action in the game, as he limped off with an injury just before the break.

Half-time: Woking 1 Barrow 2

Despite dominating almost the entirety of the first 45 minutes, Barrow looked nervous after the break, whilst the Cards, no doubt coming off the back of a grilling from their manager at the break, looked rejuvenated – Matt Young shooting wide from distance after a notable spell of pressure.

Woking continued to push forward in search of an equaliser. Carter glanced a header wide from Ralph’s corner when he might have done better, before Ward’s long-range effort called Dixon into action – the Barrow keeper initially spilling the shot before pouncing on the loose ball. The visitors had chances too with Bedsente Gomis shooting wide and man-of-the-match Wollacott again doing well to push a header wide.

Limbrick introduced Fabio Saraiva and Jamie Philpot in place of Banton and Jones as the Cards moved to a 4-4-2 formation, but with Barrow dropping increasingly deep in defence, the chances became harder to find. Carter went close with another header again from a Ralph cross, whilst Dixon was belatedly called into action to push the ball over the crossbar, after Effiong’s heavily deflected effort. Sadly, though, it was all too little too late.

Plenty to ponder for the Woking management team as 2017 threatens to end on a whimper. Whilst many will point to the distraction of a six-game FA Cup run, the reality is that much of the early-season promise is threatening to be derailed by this ongoing run of poor form, and with a trip to local rivals Aldershot Town just three days away it’s vital that the Cards rediscover the sort of performances that saw them defeat the likes of Sutton United, Dagenham and Redbridge, and enjoy four superb games against Football League opposition.

Woking: Jojo Wollacott, Matt Young (Louis Ramsay 86), Nathan Ralph, Richard Orlu, Jordan Wynter, Joey Jones (Jamie Philpot 71), Kane Ferdinand, Charlie Carter, Joe Ward, Jason Banton (Fabio Saraiva 59), Inih Effiong.

Subs not used: Sam Mason, Josh Staunton

Goals: Carter 21

Bookings: Orlu 70, Young 85, Effiong 90

Barrow: Joel Dixon, Dan Jones (Donovan Makoma 84), Jimmy Dunne, Moussa Diarra, Jack Barthram, Lewis Walters (Harry Panayiotou 43), Asa Hall, Calum MacDonald, Bedsente Gomis, Grant Holt (Jordan White 77), Byron Harrison.

Subs not used: Stuart Moore, Tony Diagne.

Goals: Diarra 2, Dunne 28

Bookings: Gomis 45, Dunne 51, Hall 56, Holt 70, Dixon 90

Attendance: 1,816

Referee: Gary Parsons

MOTM: Jojo Wollacott – a mixed afternoon for the young goalkeeper who, despite looking uncomfortable at times under Barrow’s aerial bombardment, will look back on several fine saves which kept his side in the game until the final whistle.

WOKING LINEUP
30Jojo Wollacot
21Matt Young ('86)
3Nathan Ralph
6Richard Orlu
15Jordan Wynter
4Joey Jones ('71)
22Kane Ferdinand
12Charlie Carter
23Joe Ward
10Jason Banton ('59)
9Inih Effiong
BENCH
18Sam Mason
2Louis Ramsay ('86)
5Josh Staunton
14Fabio Saraiva ('59)
20Jamie Philpot ('71)
Barrow LINEUP
12Joel Dixon
3Dan Jones ('84)
5Jimmy Dunne
6Moussa Diarra
21Jack Barthram
26Lewis Walters ('43)
14Asa Hall
8Calum MacDonald
23Bedsente Gomis
16Grant Holt ('77)
20Byron Harrison
BENCH
1Stuart Moore
19Tony Diagne
22Donovan Makoma ('84)
15Harry Panayiotou ('43)
9Jordan White ('77)

Woking 1 - 2 Barrow (Anthony Limbrick Interview)

Woking 1 - 2 Barrow (JoJo Wollacott Interview)

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