11:07am, Wed 13th Sep 2023
Hartlepool United v Woking
Vanarama National League
Saturday 16th September 2023
Woking travel up to the North East for the second time in three weeks when they face Hartlepool United at Victoria Park.
Darren Sarll's side are currently unbeaten in four, albeit with their last two matches ending in draws, but there were more positive signs on the injury front, with Jermaine Anderson completing the second half, as well as Manny Oyeleke getting 60 minutes under his belt, as Sarll also indicated that Reece Grego-Cox could be in line to make the squad for the trip up to County Durham.
Relegation last season saw Pools back in the division they did so well to get out of in 2020/21, when a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Torquay United secured their return to the EFL after a four year absence. Despite this, manager John Askey sought to do what he does best in getting teams promoted out of the National League, and it all looked to be going rather well with four straight wins in August sandwiched between away defeats to Barnet and Chesterfield.
However, the news that impressive 22-year-old pair Dan Dodds and Anthony Mancini are out long term has somewhat put a downer on an excellent start back to life in the National League, with Frenchman Mancini in particular showing plenty of promise in the early fixtures, in particular at Southend United. Despite these setbacks, Askey has put together a strong outfit, with one of his biggest coups, Emmanuel Diesweuvwe winning August Player of the Month for the division with six goals in six games after signing from FC Halifax Town in the summer.
Pools currently sit in fourth place having won five and lost three of their eight fixtures so far, scoring 19 goals but also conceding 17; only Aldershot and Fylde have conceded more goals, but only Gateshead and Chesterfield have scored more. Last time out, newcomers Oxford City shocked Askey's side by beating them 5-2 after falling behind twice, so Pools will be looking to react in front of their home fans on Saturday.
Last Time Out
Woking were defeated 1-0 by a singular Rhys Oates goal in March 2021, as Pools would ultimately go on to be promoted in the playoffs. Since the first meeting between these sides in September 2017, there have been two wins apiece, all for the home side, with two 1-1 draws.
Woking last got a result at Victoria Park in September 2019 in front of the BT cameras, as a Liam Noble penalty was cancelled out by a memorable Paul Hodges equaliser, whilst the Cards' last win over Pools was in December 2020, as a superb all round performance saw a 3-0 Woking win in front of a limited number of fans due to COVID, goals from Matt Jarvis, Jack Cook and Slavi Spasov.
Around the Ground
Victoria Park, currently known as the Suit Direct Stadium is located just a five minute walk from Hartlepool train station, which is served by some Grand Central services from and to London Kings Cross. As for pubs and restaurants, recommendations include the Rat Race micropub on the railway station platform, as well as the Anchor Tap further into town.
There is also a Wetherspoons near the station, as well as several takeaways, including a few fish and chip shops, whilst at the ground, there are two bars, the Centenary and Corner Flag Supporters Bar, which welcome away fans, whilst usual stadium fare is available in the away end.
Ticket details are available here