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3:00pm - SaturdaySat 22nd DecemberDec 2018
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Billericay Town
Billericay Town
0 - 4

Woking
Woking

Seconds hosts third as promotion challengers collide

Glen Harrington
7:37pm, Wed 19th Dec 2018
Billericay Town vs Woking
Vanarama National League South
Saturday 22nd December


It’s another crucial game on Saturday as the Cards make the relatively short trip to Essex to take on Billericay Town.

Due to FA Cup and Trophy commitments, Woking have only played two league matches in the last five weeks, and despite winning away at Slough and Weston have dropped to third in the National League South table. Alan Dowson’s side find themselves just behind leaders Torquay, two points ahead after two more games, and our hosts this weekend who are one point ahead after one game more. Naturally, it means that a positive result on Saturday will be all the more valuable for both sides.

Billericay, who were beaten 2-1 at the Laithwaite Community Stadium in September, have had a troubled time over the last few weeks with off the field issues placing them firmly back in the national media spotlight. That, coupled with a number of high-profile departures from their playing squad, including top scorer Jake Robinson, has understandably led to speculation about their potential demise. However, new manager Dean Brennan, who was appointed following Harry Wheeler’s departure back in August, has kept his side performing well with 11 wins in 19 games – including their last two matches – away to Bath City (2-1) and Eastbourne Borough (2-0).

It was an electric atmosphere back at Kingfield for the first meeting of these two teams earlier this year and we hope as many Woking fans as possible will make the journey to ensure the same again!

Woking Team News

Dowse made just one change for Tuesday evening’s FA Trophy replay with Maidstone United, in which the Cards were unlucky to eventually fall to a 3-2 defeat after extra time, with Greg Luer starting in place of Paul Hodges – who later came off the bench to score.

With fitness and fatigue, as well as a busy festive period potentially in mind, it will be interesting to see whether the boss sticks with his increasingly settled team or whether he’ll choose to make some tactical or enforced tweaks for this huge match-up. One man who is almost certain to return is Jamar Loza, ineligible for the double-header against parent club Maidstone, and many Woking fans will be excited at the prospect of seeing the Jamaican line-up on the opposite flank to new signing Aaron Eyoma – another pacey wide-man who got off the mark with his first goal this week.

Charlie Hester-Cook may also be under consideration. Dowse has had plenty of success in recent weeks by using Christian Jolley in a midfield enforcer role, in addition to the normal pairing in the middle of the park, and calling upon the academy graduate would allow him to utilise that setup again. Alternatively, he could stay with the tried and trusted 4-2-3-1 formation with Max Kretzschmar likely in behind either Jake Hyde, rested on Tuesday, or Noel Leighton.

Billericay Town

Departures have been the biggest talking point at Billericay in recent weeks. As well as star man Robinson, now at Maidstone, the club has seen Dean Inman, Jamie O’Hara, Ricky Modeste, Scott Doe and Adam Cunnington move on to pastures new with the club seemingly undergoing a significant restructure. However, Brennan has still been left with an exciting and talented squad more than good enough to challenge at this level, whilst the club’s new full-time training model has allowed the manager more time to work with his players.

In their last game, the aforementioned win over Bath, they selected veteran goalkeeper Alan Julian, most well known for his time with Stevenage but who has also been with Dartford and Bromley amongst others; a back four of Joe Kizzi, dangerous ex-AFC Wimbledon full-back Callum Kennedy, Colchester United loanee Paul Rooney, and versatile former Luton and Dagenham man Jake Howells; in midfield was Norwich City loanee Devonte Aransibia, as well as Sam Deering, Dan Waldren and another Football League veteran in Alfie Potter; whilst up front were two former Woking players in Moses Emmanuel (formerly Ademola) and Ross Lafayette – both regular scorers this season. The other major dangerman, striker Adam Coombes, is currently out injured.

On the Day

The AGP Arena can be found on Blunts Wall Road; the postcode is CM12 9SA – a drive of around one hour and 40 minutes from the Laithwaite Community Stadium. The nearest station is Billericay Railway which is a short taxi journey away.

Supporters can also book a place on the travelling club coach which departs at 11.00am due to anticipated heavy traffic. The cost for trust members is £10 adults and £5 for under-16s – with a £5 increase for non-members. To book your place please contact Adam Bowyer (adam.bowyer@cardstrust.co.uk) or call the club shop.

Matchday ticket prices are £13 for adults, £9 for concessions, £3 for under-18s and £1 for all those under the age of 11. Tickets can be purchased on the day or in advance via the Billericay website.

Next Up

The Cards are back in league action at the Laithwaite on Boxing Day, our first home league game since the end of October! Dowse will be taking on his former club, Hampton & Richmond Borough, and we hope as many supporters as possible will come down and cheer on the team.

Cards perform to their Max to four-ce biggest win of the season

Ben Musgrove
12:00am, Sat 22nd Dec 2018
Billericay Town 0 Woking 4
Vanarama National League South
22nd December 2018

Top-of-the-table clashes are expected to be tight, tense affairs where the odd goal can make the difference; rarely does the visiting team go to a side above them and run rampant in their own backyard. For Woking fans hoping for an early Christmas present, the performance they saw at the New Lodge was one that even Santa couldn’t have delivered – they needed Dowse himself to provide it!

Following two games against National League opposition where profligate finishing was ultimately the difference between success and failure, it was third time lucky for a Woking side that blasted away their title rivals with a barrage of first-half goals. Efforts from Ben Gerring, Jake Hyde and Jamar Loza were consolidated by a wonder-lob from Max Kretschmar in the second half, with the result meaning that the Cards leapfrog Billericay into second place in the table – two points off leaders Torquay with two games in hand – just in time for Christmas.

Woking’s line-up was largely a return to Dowse’s favoured 11, with Toby Edser recovering from a slight concussion on Tuesday night to make the team. Also in midfield was debutant Harry Taylor, boasting almost 50 League appearances at the tender age of 21, who joined the Cards on a month’s loan from Barnet in midweek. Loza returned to the side after being unable to play against his parent club on Tuesday night, with goal scorers Aaron Eyoma and Paul Hodges both moving to the bench.

The Billericay XI was almost unrecognisable from the side that Woking defeated 2-1 back in September, with key players like Adam Cunnington and Jake Robinson having been released as part of the Blues’ transition to a full-time model. Ex-Card Moses Emmanuel was one of the few to retain his place, as did ex-Stevenage ‘good sport’ Alan Julian to the delight of a number of Woking fans!

Cards fans hoping for a quick start to the game were almost rewarded, with Hyde played through on goal by Kretschmar within a minute. The hero of Swindon dragged his shot just wide of the near post, but the space he had found in behind the defence would prove a running theme in the first half.

The scoreline might suggest that Billericay were poor across the pitch, but that was far from the case – they had plenty of the ball in the first half, and the game could’ve changed entirely if they’d taken one of their early chances. Midfielder Jake Howells fired a shot straight into Craig Ross’s midriff early on, and a mistake from Gerring gave space for Emmanuel to put in a dangerous ball that ultimately went to waste. Howells and Devonte Aransibia combined particularly well throughout, but were unable to create anything telling.

The Cards would take the lead with their next big chance just fifteen minutes into the game, following a foul midway inside the Billericay half. Kretzschmar needs little invitation to put in a dangerous set piece, and his sumptuous ball to the back post was bulleted past Julian by the onrushing Gerring, scoring his third goal in just eight league games.

Just six minutes later, the visitors doubled the lead. Billericay’s back four were giving Woking plenty of space to play the ball both over and between them, and another great direct ball from midfield played Loza into open space down the right-hand side. Alan Dowson brought the Maidstone winger in due to a perceived lack of pace and Loza showed it in abundance, leaving Danny Waldren scrambling to keep with him before rolling an easy ball across goal for Hyde to rifle past Julian.

With the home side reeling, the Cards could smell blood, and went for the jugular. Loza was denied a goal of his own just two minutes later thanks to a superb block on the edge of the box, with the winger then turning provider for Hyde to force a superb low save from Julian. Gerring would also miss the opportunity to bag a brace as the half wore on, with his diving header slicing harmlessly wide of the ‘Ricay goal from a good position.

These attacks did leave Woking slightly more open, despite exceptional running from Taylor and midfield partner Christian Jolley. A Callum Kennedy corner – whose set pieces were a danger throughout – should have been bundled home by Aransibia, only for the Norwich loanee to fluff his lines unmarked at the far post, to the delight of the visiting fans.

The next goal would be crucial in the narrative of the game, and the 90 seconds surrounding it were the most accurate summary possible of the contest as a whole. A superb ball from the right-hand side ricocheted off the combination of Billericay forward Lafayette and Craig Ross, agonisingly wide of the Woking goal, for a corner. Kennedy’s resulting cross was dangerous, but dogged defending saw the Cards pick the ball up on the edge of the box – and within three passes, Loza was bursting in behind the defence down the left-hand side. His finish, waiting to sit Julian down before deftly guiding it over his head, was immaculate; the visiting fans, jubilant.


Jamar Loza’s neat finish for Woking’s 3rd; pic: David Holmes


It was a great time to score, and brought an impassioned response from the players as it did the fans. Casey would have to replace his shirt at half time due to damage done during the celebrations. The half time whistle 90 seconds later drew Woking’s most efficient half of the season to a close, and left them in a superb position to secure what could be one of the biggest results of the season.

Half-time: Billericay Town 0 Woking 3

With the Billericay management recognising that major change was needed, two changes were made at half-time. Paul Rooney and the ineffective Alfie Potter replaced by Antiguan international Calaum Jahraldo-Martin and the dangerous Adam Coombes respectively. The latter had almost rescued a point for Billericay at Kingfield earlier in the season, and was a clear statement of intent for the second half, with the changes meaning that Billericay switched to a back three in an effort to commit more bodies forward and to close the distance between their defenders.

The commitment to trying to make amends was clear early on, with Howells forcing a strong low save from Ross just a few minutes into the half, and Gerring nonchalantly blocking a dangerous low effort moments later. At the other end, Woking were still looking to improve their lead. The dead-ball delivery was proving extremely effective, with Hyde finding himself free eight yards from goal after another great Kretzschmar freekick. His low drive towards the far corner was scuffed, but it still took the save of the game from Alan Julian to keep it out.

The next goal would change the course of the game; if it was Woking’s it was over as a contest, and if Billericay scored it would make the last half an hour a tense affair. As before a Cardinals sucker-punch would prove the gamechanger, but it could’ve been different if Adam Coombes had his shooting boots on. The forward found himself free just ten yards out after a great ball in from the left-hand side, but with the goal at his mercy, his tame effort was denied relatively easily by Ross.

Not more than a few minutes later, it was game over. Collier and Hyde combined superbly from a throw-in on the right, working the ball around two Billericay markers before the latter dinked the ball over the defensive line. Kretzschmar deceived the offside trap by charging onto the ball from deep, and rather than cutting inside to look for a cross, the midfielder floated the most delicious of chips over the despairing Julian into the corner of the net from thirty yards. Once again, the visiting fans exploded.

The effort had been valiant, but that moment of sumptuous quality utterly killed the game with half an hour to go. Billericay were allowed to keep more of the ball, and vaguely threatened with pot shots and driven crosses that could’ve ended up anywhere, but Coombes’ miss would prove their last major chance of the game.

Woking should have added more shortly after the goal, but for good work from Julian to block Nathan Collier’s cross and wasteful control at crucial moments. Dowse’s substitutes looked to promote ball retention and stamina rather than forcing further goals, with Wheeler, Leighton and Eyoma replacing Edser, Hyde and Loza respectively.

The final whistle blew to rapturous support, with the Woking fans staying to a man to congratulate their team on the biggest win of the season against one of the best sides in the division. To take six points from the title favourites at the beginning of the season is a great testament to the hard work of the management and the players who have been with the club this season, and as we enter the busy Christmas period, Woking fans have plenty to be thankful for.

Woking: 1. Craig Ross, 2. Nathan Collier, 3. Josh Casey ©, 4. Jack Cook, 5. Ben Gerring, 6. Christian Jolley, 7. Toby Edser (Nicky Wheeler 65’), 8. Harry Taylor, 9. Jake Hyde (Noel Leighton 70’), 10. Max Kretzschmar, 11. Jamar Loza (Aaron Eyoma 82’)

Unused subs: 15. Paul Hodges, 18. Berti Schotterl

Goals: Gerring 14’, Hyde 21’, Loza 43’, Kretzschmar 62’

Bookings: Leighton ‘76

Billericay Town 1. Alan Julian, 2. Joe Kizzi, 3. Callum Kennedy © (Connor Hunte 64’), 4. Danny Waldren, 5. Paul Rooney (Calaum Jahraldo-Martin 45’), 6. Billy Clifford, 7. Ross Lafayette, 8. Devonte Aransibia, 9. Moses Emmanuel, 10. Alfie Potter, (Adam Coombes 45’) 11. Jake Howells

Unused subs: 13. Ade Shokunbi, 17. Sam Deering

Goals: N/A

Bookings: Lafayette 36’

Referee: David Spain

Attendance: 1,220

Man of the Match: Max Kretzschmar. “The moodiest I’ve seen him and the best I’ve seen him play� was the description from teammate Ben Gerring – the midfielder was full of running, movement and creative intelligence for the entire ninety minutes. He started the show with a superb ball to pick out Gerring for the opener, and ended it by scoring what may end up as the Woking goal of the season. You could not ask for much more from a playmaker at this level.

Billericay Town LINEUP
1Alan Julian
2Joe Kizzi
3Callum Kennedy ('64)
4Danny Waldren
5Paul Rooney ('46)
6Billy Clifford
7Ross Lafayette
8Devonte Aransibia
9Moses Emmanuel
10Alfie Potter ('46)
11Jake Howells
BENCH
12Adam Coombes ('46)
14Ade Shokunbi
15Calaum Jahraldo ('46)
16Connor Hunte ('64)
17Sam Deering
WOKING LINEUP
1Craig Ross
2Nathan Collier
3Josh Casey
4Jack Cook
5Ben Gerring
6Christian Jolley
7Toby Edser ('65)
8Harry Taylor
9Jake Hyde ('70)
10Max Kretzschmar
11Jamar Loza ('82)
BENCH
12Noel Leighton ('70)
14Aaron Eyoma ('82)
15Paul Hodges
16Nicky Wheeler ('65)
18Berti Schotterl

Billericay Town 0 - 4 Woking | Ian Dyer Interview

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