Cards need to bounce back again
5:13pm, Thu 29th Mar 2012
Woking v Thurrock
3pm on Saturday 31 March 2012
Top versus bottom â€“ should be a walk-over? Unfortunately, the Cards have tended to struggle against teams at the foot of the table, so no one should take anything for granted on Saturday. The Fleet are virtually certain to be relegated but that may simply mean that they can play without fear â€“ and, as weâ€™ve seen, a trip to Kingfield often brings out the best in opposing teams. But there can be no excuses for Garry Hillâ€™s side: theyâ€™ve got to win this one if they are to fend off Dartfordâ€™s challenge. Come down to Kingfield and cheer the team on!
The Cardsâ€™ four-match winning run came to an abrupt end at Eastbourne Borough last Saturday â€“ and to make matters worse the increasingly influential Kevin Betsy was shown red in the row that erupted over Gez Soleâ€™s disallowed â€˜equaliserâ€™. Fortunately, Dartford slipped up too, losing at Dorchester Town, so the Cards remain eight points clear, although the Darts still have a game in hand.
Garry Hillâ€™s side this season has always bounced back from a (rare) defeat with a win â€“ and now is certainly the time to maintain that fine record. The Cards have Adam Doyle and Betsy awaiting suspension but both will be available on Saturday, along with Dale Binns, whoâ€™s now completed his three-match ban. Cards fans will be awaiting news of Paris Cowan-Hall, who went off injured at Eastbourne, but the assumption is that Adam Newton will still be sidelined, along with long-term absentees Mark Ricketts and Jay Davies. Glenn Wilson, the latest loan signing, from Crawley Town, may well make his home debut.
The Fleet had a disastrous start to the season, winning only one game out of their first eleven league fixtures. Manager Robbie Garvey resigned not long before Wokingâ€™s visit to Ship Lane (see below). Garvey had already brought in some very experienced players in a bid to turn the clubâ€™s fortunes round, including Craig Holloway (who subsequently joined Welling United), Stuart Thurgood, Lee Boylan and Paul Terry â€“ all very familiar names in the non-League world. His successors, caretaker managers Lee Goodwin and Grant Gordon, added a host of new players, including Luke lâ€™Anson and Nathan Ashton from Dover; Ahmed Deen, most recently on loan to Cambridge City; Jamie Davis; and Anthony Furlonge, a young defender on loan from Southend United. Results have improved slightly, with the Fleet recording their first home win on 17 March against Dorchester Town: their three other wins have all been on their travels. But they remain 13 points adrift of safety and are all but certain to be relegated.
On Tuesday evening the Fleet lost 2-1 at Eastbourne Borough â€“ the same result as on Wokingâ€™s visit to Priory Lane the previous weekend.
Donâ€™t forget to pick up your copy of our excellent matchday programme. Highlights include a profile of Tom Davis and a look at the promotion and relegation battles which might impact on the Cards next season. In addition, of course, there are the usual high quality reports, previews and photos and all the up-to-date statistics.
LAST TIME OUT
Thurrock 1 Woking 1
17 December 2011
The Cards, with Ben Smith replacing the injured Mark Ricketts, had to come back from a goal down to grab a point at Thurrock â€“ and they couldnâ€™t really complain at the result as the visitors dominated the first half, playing some fluent football, with Paul Terry pulling the strings in midfield. Woking had a lucky escape as Terryâ€™s chip came off the bar but fell behind in the 25th minute when Jamie Guy shot home after the ball had pinged around the Woking box. The woodwork came to the Cardsâ€™ aid again before half-time when Aaron Howe managed to divert a shot onto the bar.
It was mainly one-way traffic after the break as the Cards desperately sought to get back into the game. Elvis Hammond hit the bar in the 51st minute and eventually got the equaliser in the 71st minute with a classy scissor-kick. But the home side had a couple of good chances on the break and might easily have snatched all three points.
Come on, you Cards!
P.S. Donâ€™t forget that the Cardsâ€™ penultimate home game of the season is on Easter Monday (9 April) at 3pm when Tonbridge Angels are the visitors.