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3:00pm - SaturdaySat 21st AprilApr 2018
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Guiseley AFC
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Cards face final chance at redemption

Glen Harrington
12:00am, Fri 20th Apr 2018
Guiseley vs Woking
Vanarama National League
Saturday 21st April 2018

The Cards’ National League status is hanging in the balance. After falling into the relegation zone for the first time this season without kicking a ball on Tuesday evening, thanks to Barrow’s win over Guiseley, Geoff Chapple and Jason Goodliffe’s side now know that even six points from the remaining two fixtures might not be enough to seal survival.

After having our winless run extended to twelve games by defeat at home to Bromley last time out, coupled with the good form of Solihull Moors and recent wins for Barrow and Maidstone United, the Cards’ prospects of staying in the National League for a seventh consecutive season now look alarmingly bleak. We could theoretically be relegated on Saturday with a draw or a defeat if Barrow win away to play-off chasing Aldershot Town. Even a win might not be enough to take it to the last day if the Bluebirds get three points against both the Shots and in their game in hand away to Bromley next Tuesday, although both Solihull and Maidstone would also need to pick up positive results before our final day clash at home to Dover, for that scenario to come true.

It’s been a tough season for bottom of the table Guiseley who did belatedly have their relegation confirmed by their defeat at home to Barrow earlier this week. This will be a fourth game in seven days for the beleaguered Lions who also hosted Dagenham and Redbridge on Thursday night as they catch up on postponements – losing 5-3. They are managed by former Republic of Ireland international defender Sean St Ledger, who is in caretaker charge following the dismissal of Paul Cox, and is their third head coach of the season. He has not done much to turn around the club’s fortunes thus far, winning just two of his eleven games in charge, although the 1-0 successes against AFC Fylde and Hartlepool were briefly able to stave off their seemingly inevitable relegation.

We hope as many fans as possible will travel for the game. The club is running a reduced price supporters coach for the match (see below) thanks to the generosity of the players – led by Nathan Baxter and Josh Staunton – who have volunteered to subsidise the cost as a thank you to our fans.

Woking Team News

The Cards have persisted with a 4-4-2 formation in recent weeks. The back-four is likely to remain unchanged with Louis Ramsay, Nathan Ralph, Josh Staunton and Jordan Wynter providing a solid platform in front of Nathan Baxter. In midfield, we could choose to reintroduce Joey Jones, for whom it would be a 200th club appearance, or Fabio Saraiva. Otherwise, Anthony Cook and Regan Charles-Cook will continue to provide the width, with Chez Isaac and Kane Ferdinand in the middle.

It’s up front where the real question marks will be. There was no Louie Theophanous against Bromley but he could return here alongside Reece Grego-Cox. If he does, then Charlie Carter will need to either drop back into his preferred midfield position, or go down to the bench. Jonny Edwards, who scored on our last away trip at Maidenhead, will also be hoping for a start.

Guiseley Team News

The Lions have an extremely large squad to work with after a season of chopping and changing, with each new manager bringing in their own players, and the club unable to move on some of those who have fallen out of favour. They made eleven changes for the game against the Daggers on Thursday to try and help the team deal with their congested fixture list and it’s hard to predict what combination could await the Cards on Saturday.

Last time out they started with Luke Coddington, on loan from Northampton Town, in goal; a back four of Ben Frempah, a recent signing from Solihull, as well as Elliot Green, Oxford United loanee James Roberts and player-manager Sean St Ledger. In midfield was Simon Lenighan, Callum McFadzean, Alex Purver, Bradford City loanee Ellis Hudson and Alex-Ray Harvey; with former Barnsley, Cheltenham and Colchester striker Kayode Odejayi up front.

They made all three of their changes at half-time against Dagenham, bringing on defender Ashley Palmer, familiar midfielder John Rooney, brother of Wayne, and another defender, Victor Nirennold, on loan from Fleetwood Town. Their unused substitutes were goalkeeper Joe Green and midfielder Andy Haworth.

Last Time Out

Woking 2-3 Guiseley (Saturday 28 October 2017 – Vanarama National League)

The Cards fell to a third straight league defeat and a first at home since mid-August. It had all started so well for the home side who took the lead early on through Declan Appau’s outstanding strike on his first league start for the club. Rowan Liburd struck either side of half-time to put the visitors ahead but the hosts were still confident of grabbing all three points after Regan Charles-Cook has scored the equaliser. However, it was Paul Cox’s side that were to emerge the victors, as substitute Mike Fondop scored within two minutes of coming on to seal the victory.

On the Day

The Cards Trust will be running a coach to this game with a flat fee for members and non-members of £10 for adults and £5 for concessions and under-16s – a huge reduction thanks to the team! The coach will depart from the club at 8.30am on Saturday morning. For those travelling directly, the ground is located at Nethermoor Park on Station Road, postcode LS20 8BX. The nearest railway station is Guiseley which is about a five minute walk from the ground. Ticket prices for the game are £15 for adults, £10 for concession, £5 for under-18s and under-12s are free. Tickets can be brought in advance from the Guiseley website for a small additional fee.

Next Up

The Cards final game of the season is at home to Dover Athletic a week on Saturday. Whatever the situation we hope that as many fans as possible will come and cheer on the team and make the most of your final opportunity to see the boys in action until next season! Tickets as always can be bought on the day or in advance on the website.

Better Late than Nether as Cards Win Away

Adam Leary
12:00am, Sat 21st Apr 2018
Guiseley 1 Woking 2
Vanarama National League
21st April 2018

Woking live to fight another day in the National League after Richard Orlu’s header gave them a deserved three points on a nerve-jangling afternoon at Nethermoor Park.

The prospect of relegation from the top tier of non-league football was looming large, with results elsewhere going against the Cards, and caretaker boss Jason Goodliffe turning, with 5 minutes remaining, to the unlikely figure of Richard Orlu in search of salvation. Not all heroes wear capes: on this occasion, a captain’s armband was the garment in question.

Orlu’s first touch of the ball on being introduced as a late substitute was to head home Nathan Ralph’s corner and send the travelling Woking fans into ecstasy at the end of a somewhat strange match which saw the visitors play like a team with a huge amount at stake against their far more relaxed hosts, who had their relegation confirmed earlier in the week.

Woking came into this match in the relegation zone for the first time this season, on the back of a terrible run of results over the winter months and into early Spring. Last weekend, a dispiriting display and result at home to Bromley left the Cards deflated, and Woking fans could only look on as midweek results exacerbated the perilous situation. Whilst Woking fans would inevitably have one eye on events in other matches, talk of escaping the drop would be academic without three points from their travels.

Jason Goodliffe made two changes to the starting line up. Long-serving Joey Jones, making his 200th appearance for the Cards, came into the base of midfield, with Regan Charles-Cook dropping to the bench. Upfront, Louie Theophanous returned to the starting line up in place of Reece Grego-Cox. The rationale behind these choices from Goodliffe to add physical presence to the Cards lineup, and potentially leave some attacking options in reserve should Woking need to chase a goal in the second half.

Whilst Woking’s recent travails have been well documented, Guiseley have endured a horrendous season, with three changes in the dugout, end-of-season fixture congestion, a bloated playing squad and just 30 points on the board with relegation to National League North confirmed. Indeed, current caretaker boss Sean St Ledger made 10 changes from their last league match, a Thursday night home defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge. Fortunately, the Cards scouting of their opponents had taken place two nights previous, a home defeat to Barrow featuring a more recognisable line up to that which took the field today.

The Cards kicked off and sought to assert themselves early on, looking to play the game in their opponents half and probe for openings in the home defence. The midfield trio of Jones, Kane Ferdinand and Chez Isaac were industrious and composed, looking to get the ball into the feet of Anthony Cook, who looked to threaten with direct running from the right hand side, and Charlie Carter, who appeared to be playing in the number 10 role behind the main central striker Theophanous.

Woking forced a couple of early corners and free kicks, and their approach play was neat and tidy. Despite this, the Cards struggled to create any clear cut openings in the first 15 minutes of the match, except from set pieces, perhaps belying a general lack of confidence in forward areas. The best opportunity of the first 20 minutes came from an Anthony Cook corner, which was met well by Jones, but his header drifted narrowly wide of Joe Green’s post.

It was crucial for Woking to establish a solid platform in this match and not give away anything cheaply to their carefree opponents, and that was the case in the first half, with Guiseley limited to long balls forward which raced away down the pronounced slope on the pitch with little threat.

This was a game that Woking had to win, and they took the lead after 26 mins. Theophanous, who battled gamely up front, found some space and turned the ball into the feet of Cook, who played a delightful reverse pass with the outside of his foot through to the on-rushing Carter, who burst into the box. Carter kept his composure superbly as Green raced out to narrow the angle, and slipped the ball right footed past the keeper, to the delight of the travelling supporters enjoying the spring sunshine.

Woking’s general control of the match to that point meant that the lead was deserved, and the visitors continued to play in a pragmatic, disciplined way through to the half time whistle, with little incident to note save for a few Woking corners which the home defence were able to deal with.

Half-time: Guiseley 0 Woking 1

Expectations in the stands were that St Ledger would be seeking a response to a fairly lacklustre home first half performance, whilst Woking will have been hoping that the second half could see them build on the platform provided through Carter’s goal.

The Woking midfield displayed plenty of industry, and, despite a few passes going astray on a dry, bobbly pitch, looked by far the more technically proficient of the two teams. However, they were dealt a very cruel blow on 62 minutes. A ball into Charlie Carter just inside the Guiseley half was miscontrolled by the Cards top scorer, the ball bobbling onto his shin and breaking to an opposing midfielder. He released Dayle Southwell in the inside right channel, who was able to evade the desperate challenge of Josh Staunton, and fire the ball brilliantly past Baxter from just inside the penalty area. This was a fine strike, the first (and later to prove the only) shot on target from the home side, and felt like a real blow to the Cards who had been in control to that point.

Goodliffe responded to this setback by making his first change on 67 minutes, Reece Grego-Cox coming on to replace Theophanous, who did plenty of selfless work throughout his time on the pitch. Woking sought to re-assert themselves in the game, however in truth the game became increasingly scrappy during this period, as the Cards need for a goal became all the more desperate. A second substitution was made on 75 minutes, with Anthony Cook, who tired in the second half after an excellent opening period, being replaced by brother Regan Charles-Cook.

Charles-Cook was typically bright, looking to get on the ball and cause problems for the home defence with his pace and trickery. It was he who won a corner with 5 minutes to go, turning his marker Holden inside out before having his low cross turned behind. Goodliffe took the opportunity to replace Isaac with Orlu in time for the set piece, looking to add an aerial threat that Woking had lacked, leaving them unable to make the most of a number of corners they had forced during the match. On this occasion though, the corner made its way into the box, Grego-Cox made a nuisance of himself in ensuring the keeper could not come and claim, and Orlu nodded home from 5 yards with his first touch of the ball, and his first goal in what has been an inconsistent campaign for the experienced defender.

Orlu slotted into the centre of midfield, dealing with everything in the air that came his way in that unfamiliar position. Woking showed some of the ‘game management’ that has been lacking for much of this season, seeing the remaining time plus 5 additional minutes of stoppage time without any alarm. Instead, attentions turned to how other results were shaping up, which sees the Cards’ fate out of their hands, relying on other results going their way, even with a win in the final home game of the season against Dover.

The final whistle drew Woking’s away campaign of 2017-2018 to a winning close, with the Cards picking up 3 points on the road for the first time since early October. The Cards form on their travels has been unquestionably below par, and is the primary reason why they are facing the drop. Strangely, there have been some significant highlights away from home this season, including winning at subsequent champions Macclesfield Town, play off chasing AFC Fylde, and, of course that famous FA Cup win at Bury. However, just 16 points taken from 23 away league games, and no wins from an away match further south than Cheshire, tell their own story.

The Cards fans that travelled to Guiseley deserved the spirited display put on by the Woking players today, and the three points that could still prove invaluable come the end of the season. A win has been long overdue, and this was a well-deserved reminder of the feel good factor that comes from winning football matches.

Guiseley: Joe Green, Ash Palmer ©, Will Hatfield, John Rooney, Dayle Southwell, Alex Purver (James Roberts 84), Curtis Morrison, Darren Holden, Rowan Liburd, Harry Flowers, Victor Nirennold

Subs not used: Luke Coddington, Ben Frempah, Kayode Odejayi, Andy Haworth

Goals: Southwell (62)

Bookings: Flowers

Woking: Nathan Baxter, Nathan Ralph, Kane Ferdinand, Josh Staunton, Louis Ramsay, Anthony Cook (Charles-Cook 75), Jordan Wynter, Joey Jones, Charlie Carter, Chez Isaac © (Orlu 84), Louie Theophanous (Grego-Cox 67)

Subs: Matt Young, Sam Mason

Goals: Carter (26), Orlu (85)

Bookings: Staunton, Grego-Cox

Attendance: 552

Referee: Andrew Miller

My MOTM – Joey Jones. Put recent high-profile mistakes behind him with an assured display in the base of Woking’s midfield. Won loose balls, communicated with his team mates and kept things simple, on a landmark appearance for the Cards.
13Joe Green
42Victor Nirennold
34Darren Holden
5Ashley Palmer
40Harry Flowers
8Will Hatfield
17Alex Purver ('84)
10John Rooney
35Rowan Liburd
27Curtis Morrison ('69)
12Dayle Southwell
1Luke Coddington
2Ben Frempah
39James Roberts ('84)
31Andy Haworth ('69)
19Kayode Odejayi
1Nathan Baxter
2Louis Ramsay
3Nathan Ralph
5Josh Staunton
15Jordan Wynter
8Chez Isaac ('84)
22Kane Ferdinand
4Joey Jones
23Anthony Cook ('75)
12Charlie Carter
9Louie Theophanous ('67)
18Sam Mason
21Matt Young
6Richard Orlu ('84)
11Regan Charles-Cook ('75)
20Reece Grego-Cox ('67)

Guiseley AFC 1 - 2 Woking (Jason Goodliffe Interview)

Guiseley AFC 1 - 2 Woking (Anthony Cook Interview)

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