Woking News & Mail
7:45pm - TuesdayTue 20th FebruaryFeb 2018
| Att: 1146

Ebbsfleet United
Ebbsfleet United
2 - 1


Cards seeking quick return to form

Glen Harrington
12:00am, Sun 18th Feb 2018
Ebbsfleet United vs Woking
Vanarama National League
Tuesday 20th February 2018

The Cards have the opportunity to quickly make amends for their disappointing defeat at Hartlepool on Saturday as they return to action at Ebbsfleet United on Tuesday evening.

Anthony Limbrick’s side gave themselves a mountain to climb at Victoria Park after defensive errors allowed the Pools to race into a 3-0 half-time lead. However, the Woking management team will be encouraged by the way their team didn’t let their heads drop and instead fought back bravely in the second-half, with Reece Grego-Cox and Jonny Edwards netting late goals to bring a degree of respectability to the scoreline. Indeed, it might have been even better for the visitors had they not left their comeback so late, and no doubt the team will be keen to prove that their early errors were just a blip in their recent upturn in form.

The Fleet, still with play-off aspirations after a solid first season back in non-league’s top division, were forced to come from behind as well on Saturday and went into the break trailing Halifax Town; but goals from new-signing Corey Whitley and Luke Coulson proved enough for Daryl McMahon’s side and sent them back to Kent with all three points. It has been an otherwise mixed start to the New Year for Ebbsfleet – who have been beaten by Tranmere, Boreham Wood, Chester, Bromley, and Northern Premier League side Warrington Town in the FA Trophy – but now sit just three points adrift of the top seven after back-to-back wins.

With plenty still on the line for both sides it should be an entertaining game at Stonebridge Road. We hope that all of our fans travelling to the game have an enjoyable evening and a safe trip.

Woking Team News

With Louis Ramsay, Jordan Wynter and Bobson Bawling all still sidelined for Tuesday’s game there are unlikely to be widespread changes to the Woking team. The Cards were boosted ahead of their game with Hartlepool with the news that Matt Young had won his appeal against suspension and the full-back will likely continue in defence alongside Josh Staunton, Richard Orlu and Nathan Ralph.

There are options for Anthony Limbrick in midfield with Chez Isaac and Joey Jones pushing for a recall; particularly after the trio of Damon Lathrope, Kane Ferdinand and Charlie Carter started the last two games and now may be in need of a break. Both Isaac and Jones came on from the substitutes’ bench against Hartlepool and helped inspire the late comeback which might be enough to earn at least one of them a start here.

Jonny Edwards, who scrambled in Woking’s late second against the Pools, will surely be hoping to be rewarded with his first start since the trip to Gateshead last month. Anthony Cook will definitely be missing out, as he’ll be ineligible against his parent club, meaning that Reece Grego-Cox and Jason Banton’s places will likely be safe. However, the Cards may also consider a start for Fabio Saraiva, who will provide more natural width than Edwards, and could inspire a slight change in formation.

Ebbsfleet Team News

Our hosts have a very strong squad, aided by their financial firepower, and will provide plenty of threat to the Cards on Tuesday evening.

Last time out they lined up with regular goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore; a back-four of former Dover full-back Sam Magri, the experienced Lawrie Wilson, who spent five years with Stevenage and has also played for Charlton and Bolton amongst others, and the veteran centre-back pairing of Dave Winfield and Kenny Clark; the long-serving Dean Rance partnered Jack Payne, who was promoted from League 2 with Blackpool last season, in midfield; they were joined by an attacking trio of Myles Weston, Andy Drury and Luke Coulson, who impressed for Eastleigh last season, and star striker Danny Kedwell who often proves to be the Fleet’s danger-man up front.

There are plenty of options for McMahon should he wish to freshen up his side. Whitley, who joined from Dagenham and Redbridge shortly before their last game, could start after coming off the bench to score against Halifax. Other players that Ebbsfleet could bring in include former Woking defender Chris Bush, midfielder Jack Powell who has played in the Championship with Millwall, and winger Sean Shields who like Whitley joined the club from Dagenham.

What the Boss Said

Anthony Limbrick on the upcoming game…

“‘We were disappointed with the result and the way we defended as a team making mistakes which cost goals against Hartlepool. Ebbsfleet are a team who are having a real go at the play-offs and it will be one of our toughest away games as they have decent attacking players and will be favourites to win the game.�

Last Time Out

Woking 1-0 Ebbsfleet United (Tuesday 21 November 2017 – Vanarama National League)

After a run of five league games without a win the Cards scored an important victory at the Laithwaite Community Stadium. Inih Effiong scored the only goal on the 30 minute mark and although the home side were forced to hold on at times in the second-half they successfully saw the game out thanks to a man-of-the-match performance from Kane Ferdinand and a superb goalkeeping display from academy prospect Sam Mason.

On the Day

The Cards Trust will not be running a coach to this game. For those travelling directly, the ground is located on Stonebridge Road, postcode DA11 9BA. The nearest railway station is Northfleet which is very close to the ground. Full travel details can be found on the Ebbsfleet website. Ticket prices for the game are £14 for adults, £11 for concessions, £6 for juniors (aged 12-16), and Under 12s are free. All tickets are pay on the gate.

Next Up

The Cards next game is at home on Saturday afternoon when we take on high-flying Boreham Wood, who sit sixth at the time of writing. Their squad includes a host of former Woking players, including Mark Ricketts, Keiran Murtagh, Bruno Andrade, as well as former loanees Joe Quigley and Shaun Jeffers, so make sure to come along for what should be a great game!

Fleet-ing Moments of Quality Not Enough for Cards

Ben Musgrove
12:00am, Tue 20th Feb 2018
Ebbsfleet United 2 Woking 1
Vanarama National League
20th February 2018

Bad luck can often be the difference maker between a win and a loss in a league as competitive as the National League, and Woking bore the brunt of that luck as they were defeated 2-1 by a well-organised and dogged Ebbsfleet United side on Tuesday night. The Cards could have been 1-0 up in the early stages, but after Johnny Edwards’ goal bound effort was deflected off the Ebbsfleet line by teammate Kane Ferdinand, an unfortunate penalty and a deflected strike either side of half time from Fleet striker Danny Kedwell were enough to deliver Woking their second consecutive defeat that dangles them 8 points above the drop zone, despite a Charlie Carter strike set up by second-half debutant Louie Theophanus.

Woking made a few changes to the side that failed to rescue a late draw at Hartlepool, with Damon Lathrope replaced by Joey Jones, and Anthony Cook ruled out against his parent club. New signing Theophanus started on the bench and would need to start strongly against a side boasting players with extensive league experience such as Danny Kedwell and Dave Winfield.

The game kicked off under a haze of rain and a vicious crosswind, and between the organisation of their opponents and the conditions, Woking struggled to get into their passing game in the initial stages. Largely restricted to their own third and looking to release runners with long balls splitting the Fleet centre backs and their fullbacks, chances were few and far between against an home side looking to start strongly. Andy Drury was unlucky not to score early on, pinging a low effort past the dive of Baxter and against the base of the post, shortly followed by a good chance sliced high and wide by Corey Whitely. It wasn’t long until the post came to the rescue of Nathan Baxter again, as slick work down the right released Drury inside the Woking box, and his cross was deflected back to Whitely rushing into the area. Josh Staunton threw himself into a brave block, and luck was with the Cards for now; the resulting strike cannoned off the centre-back’s challenge and struck Baxter’s right hand post.

After the opening onslaught, Woking did begin to establish their defensive shape, getting to grips with Ebbsfleet’s avenues of attack on either wing and their overlapping runs. The visitors solidified, largely thanks to the diligent work of a defensive midfield three in Jones, Isaac and Ferdinand, but struggled to show much forward endeavour, and the game entered a lull that gave neither fans much to cheer.

Out of nothing, the deadlock was nearly broken by Woking’s first chance of the game, and it was undoubtedly one of the best of the entire game. A floated free-kick from deep in midfield caught the wind at just the right time and floated in to Staunton lurking at the back post, who poked at goal. The defender beat Nathan Ashmore in the Ebbsfleet goal, but was denied his second goal in three games by the base of the post. Both sides followed in, with Edwards first to the ball, only for his shot to be blocked on the goal-line by the rear of Kane Ferdinand. Despite their shaky start, Woking should have been in the lead.

Such floated crosses were becoming literally hit-and-miss in the poor conditions, with Ebbsfleet at one point putting a corner straight out for a goal kick on the other side of the pitch. In contrast, a lower ball in from Matt Young a few minutes later nearly facilitated a Woking opener, only for Reece Grego-Cox’s resulting strike to force a superb stop from Ashmore, and a panicked Ebbsfleet clearance that nearly saw the ball end up in their net regardless.

On such margins do games fall, and within five minutes, the home side were ahead. Repeated failure to clear their lines saw a desperate Nathan Ralph header dropping from great height back into the Woking box, with Jason Banton under the ball shaping to clear. Banton’s clearance only met thin air instead of the dropping ball, with Whitely stealing the ball from his toes before going down in melodramatic fashion to Banton’s resulting challenge. The referee had no hesitation, and the penalty veteran Danny Kedwell gave Baxter – who dived the right way – absolutely no chance, with a powerful low drive into the bottom right corner.

Kedwell should have doubled the score a few minutes later when picked out inside the box by Jack Payne, but his half-volley was superbly denied by Baxter, who could do little about either goal and can be happy with his evening’s work, if not the result. The half-time whistle followed a few minutes later, and after wasting two great opportunities – and riding their luck themselves – Woking were glad not to be more than one goal down.

Half time: Ebbsfleet United 1 Woking 0

The Cards will have hoped for a strong start and a quick goal to get themselves back on level terms, but within a few minutes were picking the ball out of their own net again. Ebbsfleet, looking to kill the game off with an early intensity directness, dinked a ball from deep in midfield into Woking box and to the feet of Kedwell, 15 yards out with his back to goal. The striker managed to find some space from his marker but did little to threaten, poking a tame shot straight towards Baxter. It looked an easy save but for the unfortunate intervention of Richard Orlu; the captain’s block only saw the ball spin away on the slick turf and wrong foot Baxter, trickling agonisingly over the line.

Recognising that Woking needed changes to stay in the game, Anthony Limbrick brought off the uninspiring Banton to give a debut to striker Louie Theophanus, just a day after his move from Billericay Town was confirmed. Three strikers on the field would have made for an interesting game had it lasted, but Woking’s misfortune was compounded by an injury to the bright Grego-Cox, who was forced off just three minutes later; Charlie Carter took his place.

Whilst it wasn’t the original intention, within ten minutes of these changes, the two combined to put Woking right back in the game. Smart combination play down the left wing between Ralph and Theophanus saw the former create space for the latter to cross, and the new signing floated a perfect ball into the six yard box for an onrushing Carter bullet a header into Ashcroft’s top corner. It was the youngster’s ninth goal of the season, and his emergence as an important player for the club has been one of the bright spots of Woking’s season thus far.

This seemed to set up the game for a grandstand finish, with both sides having wasted multiple chances to kill the game off for themselves earlier on. But between the conditions and the high-intensity of the play to that point, the game instead entered a lull that both sides struggled to shake off. Woking continued to ‘go long’ to their wide forwards and switch the ball from deep, but frequently misplaced easy passes and failed to beat the first man with their long-ball distribution on more than one occasion. Ebbsfleet, in contrast, looked to work short and quick passes down either wing, creating little but finding plenty of space to retain the ball in the middle of the park as a result. Referee Alan Young was generous to keep his cards in his pocket on several occasions, as both sides worked hard to negate the other without creating much themselves.

As the game ticked on, it was the home side that began to create more and more, although their finishing was profligate at times. Centre back Kenny Clark saw a bullet header at the near post hit the side netting, with Jack Powell and Sean Shields also missing chances due to a lack of quality in the final third. Corey Whitely was almost released one-on-one at the death, were it not for an outrageous tackle from Matt Young, who slid in directly behind his man and yet managed to rescue the ball.

But for their profligacy, Ebbsfleet denied the visitors any meaningful effort in the final third, both due to Woking’s approach and to extremely resolute defending. The introduction of Fabio Saraiva for Isaac did little to change the shape of the game. Any chances the Cards did create were from crosses, and they came closest with a driven cross to the near post at the death; Charlie Carter’s run was denied by a superb tackle from Clark, competing with Young for challenge of the match with a powerful block.

The final whistle blew shortly afterwards, and it was fair to say that the better team had edged Woking out, consigning them to a second disappointing performance in just four days. The Cards never did enough to threaten a well-organised and determined Ebbsfleet defence after missing golden opportunities earlier in the game, and conceded through a wicked combination of bad luck and poor judgement at crucial moments. With tough games coming up against playoff contenders in Boreham Wood, Maidenhead United and Sutton United, Woking will need to show marked improvement over the coming weeks to avoid slid
ing towards the wrong end of the table.

Woking: Nathan Baxter, Nathan Ralph, Richard Orlu, Josh Staunton, Matt Young, Chez Isaac (Fabio Saraiva 75), Joey Jones, Kane Ferdinand, Jason Banton (Louie Theophanus 53), Jonathan Edwards, Reece Grego-Cox (Charlie Carter 56)

Unused subs: Declan Appau, Damon Lathrope

Goals: Carter 61
Bookings: Isaac 14, Edwards 29, Carter 66

Ebbsfleet United: Nathan Ashmore, Sam Magri, Kenny Clarke, Jack Payne (Jack Powell 59), Jack Connors, Dave Winfield, Morgan Whitely, Danny Kedwell, Josh Coulson (Sam Shields 79), Andry Drury, Dean Rance

Unused subs: Myles Weston, Jonathan Miles, Chris Bush

Goals: Kedwell 42, 49

Bookings: Rance 9

Referee: Alan Young

Attendance: 1146

Man of the Match: Nathan Baxter. The young keeper guessed the right way for the penalty, could do nothing about the second goal, and made several crucial stops to keep his team in the game at vital moments.
Ebbsfleet United LINEUP
1Nathan Ashmore
24Sam Magri
3Jack Connors
5Dave Winfield
6Kenny Clark
4Dean Rance
16Jack Payne ('59)
8Andy Drury
28Corey Whitely
25Luke Coulson ('79)
9Danny Kedwell
13Jonathan Miles
26Chris Bush
7Jack Powell ('59)
11Myles Weston
17Sean Shields ('79)
1Nathan Baxter
21Matt Young
3Nathan Ralph
5Josh Staunton
6Richard Orlu
4Joey Jones
22Kane Ferdinand
8Chez Isaac ('75)
20Reece Grego-Cox ('54)
10Jason Banton ('52)
29Jonny Edwards
16Damon Lathrope
17Declan Appau
12Charlie Carter ('54)
14Fabio Saraiva ('75)
9Louie Theophanous ('52)

Ebbsfleet United 2 - 1 Woking (Anthony Limbrick Interview)

Ebbsfleet United 2 - 1 Woking (Nathan Ralph Interview)

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