Cards off to Havant on Boxing Day
1:58pm, Thu 24th Dec 2009
Havant and Waterlooville v Woking
3pm on Saturday 26 December 2009
Boxing Day sees the Cards travel down to the Hampshire coast to take on the Hawks, who count quite a few Woking â€˜old boysâ€™ in their squad, including Manny Williams and Gary MacDonald. Graham Baker will be hoping that his side can bounce back from last Saturdayâ€™s disappointing home defeat against Bath City â€“ as they did on their last away trip, at Bishopâ€™s Stortford.
The Cards have the best away record in the league and ought therefore to be in a confident frame of mind when they travel down to Westleigh Park. But their self-belief may have taken a bit of a knock recently with the double reverse at the hands of Bath City. Whatâ€™s needed is precisely the kind of gritty, determined performance that saw them crush Bishopâ€™s Stortford after the first of those reverses by the Romans.
I hope to get an update from Graham Baker on injuries but, subject to that, he should have a full squad available for selection.
HAVANT AND WATERLOOVILLE
The Hawks would have hoped to improve on last seasonâ€™s disappointing league campaign with a better showing this time around, but it would be fair to say that things havenâ€™t quite gone to plan. Despite a promising start they have struggled of late, wins over Thurrock (in the FA Trophy) and Maidenhead at the end of November being their only victories in 10 games since beating Dover at the start of September. Their inability to turn draws into wins has been their undoing, leaving them in the lower half of the table despite a mean defence and only four defeats in eighteen games. Going into the holiday programme, they sit in 16th place in the league with 26 points from 18 games â€“ nine points fewer than the Cards but with three games in hand. At home theyâ€™ve won two, drawn five and lost two, with 11 goals scored and 12 conceded.
Manager Shaun Gale has recently brought in Elliott Charles, a young Barnet striker, as cover for Mustafa Tiryaki, who is beginning a four-match ban.
Familiar faces in the Hawksâ€™ squad include ex-Cards Gary MacDonald, Jay Gasson, Aaron Howe, Ian Simpemba and, of course, top scorer Manny Williams (15 goals in all competitions), who will no doubt have every incentive to prove that heâ€™s the goalscorer whom the Cards have been missing for most of this season.
Havant & Waterlooville FC
Westleigh Park, Martin Road,
Telephone (023) 92787822
Leaves 12.30pm; Â£11 members; Â£15 non-members.
From Woking follow the A320 towards Guildford and at Stoke crossroads take the A25 towards Aldershot. At Wooden Bridge roundabout take the 2nd exit, then merge onto the A3 and follow it until it becomes the A3M. Just after it does, take the B2149 turning, signposted to Emsworth. At the top of the sliproad turn left along Dell Piece East. Follow the road to a small roundabout and turn right.
Continue along this road into Rowlands Castle and you'll be confronted by a small double roundabout with a Harvester restaurant on the left. Go straight over the first and right at the second, taking the road running down the right-hand side of the Shell petrol station.
Follow this road round until it becomes a dual carriageway. At the first set of traffic lights turn left into Bartons Road. The ground will be on your right.
At the top of the hill immediately after a pedestrian crossing, turn right into Martin Road. The entrance to the ground is several hundred yards along the road on your right.
The ground has a moderately-sized car park manned by stewards on match days. The club also have use of the car park outside the office buildings to the left of the ground.
If you were planning to go by train, donâ€™t! There arenâ€™t any on Boxing Day!
Come on, you Cards!
P.S. Donâ€™t forget that the Cards are at home to Weston-super-Mare at 3pm on Monday 28 December and that reduced admission prices apply for this game and the return encounter against Havant and Waterlooville on New Yearâ€™s Day.
P.P.S. Happy Christmas!