Cards seek more joy on the road
8:54am, Thu 7th Sep 2017
Maidstone United v Woking
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 9 September 2017
The Gallagher Stadium in November last season was the scene of Wokingâ€™s long-awaited first away win, with the Cards producing a surprisingly dominant performance. Last Saturdayâ€™s unexpected triumph at the Moss Rose means that Cards fans havenâ€™t had to wait as long this time round for three points on the road. Can Anthony Limbrickâ€™s side, now in 9th spot, build on that great result with more joy on their travels? But Maidstone are unbeaten at home, so it will undoubtedly require another very committed performance. Make the journey if you can to cheer on the Cards! Take it easy and book your place on the Cards Trust coach.
The 3-1 win at Macclesfield Town was certainly a notable occasion, given the Clubâ€™s terrible record there and the fact that the present side had not fared well on their away fixtures so far. Itâ€™s clear that the result could have gone either way in a game of multiple chances but the really impressive feature was the way Anthonyâ€™s side battled away under what was at times very intense pressure. In a strong team performance mention has to be made of some terrific goalkeeping from Nathan Baxter, more exceptional defending from Nathan Ralph, yet another promising contribution from Jason Banton, a superb finish from Joe Ward and a towering display from the inexhaustible Inih Effiong.
New loan signing, Regan Charles-Cook, made his debut off the bench, but there will be concern about the injury to Richard Orlu, especially since the squad doesnâ€™t include another specialist central defender to take his place.
The Stonesâ€™ first season in the National League proved testing at times. After a decent start their form slipped and they found themselves joining us in trying to stave off relegation. But the club and manager Jay Saunders held their nerves commendably and they rallied strongly to finish in 14th place.
With their ambitions reflected in improvements to their impressive new stadium by the River Medway, the Stones will be looking to consolidate their National League status this season and perhaps push for a play-off place. But itâ€™s been a bit of a mixed bag so far, with the Stones losing two and drawing two of their first four games. But then came good wins over Wrexham at home and Sutton United away, followed by a draw at home to Dagenham and Redbridge. But reports suggest that the Stones played poorly in their 3-1 defeat at Hartlepool last Saturday. That result leaves them in 19th position, with 9 points from 8 games. They are unbeaten at home, though, with one win and three draws.
There has been the usual infusion of new players in the summer. In defence, the Stones have brought in Alex Finney, on loan from QPR till January; Alex Wynter, most recently with Portsmouth and Colchester, for whom he made over 50 appearances; Joe Anderson, who once had a loan spell with Woking when he was at Fulham, subsequently joining Bromley, racking up over 150 appearances; Josh Hare, signed from Eastbourne Borough but who had four years at Gillingham.
In midfield new arrivals are Harley Willard, previously with Arsenal and Southampton; the highly-experienced Jai Reason, who made over 250 appearances for Eastleigh before ending last season at Boreham Wood; Reece Prestedge, converting his loan spell from Bromley into a permanent move; Stuart Lewis, previously on loan from Ebbsfleet, but with a great deal of Football League experience; and Tom Wraight, who hit 21 goals for East Thurrock last season.
Up front, the player who has been catching the eye is Zavon Hines, a former England U21 international who made over 20 appearances for West Ham but who has since failed to really make his mark at a number of League clubs, including, most recently, Southend United. Delano Sam-Yorke was of course another acquisition, joining from Woking after impressing in his loan spell at the Gallagher Stadium. The Jamaican international, Jamar Loza, has converted his loan spell from Norwich City into a permanent move, as has Joe Pigott, who was on loan from Cambridge United. Jack Richards has come up through the Stonesâ€™ youth set-up, while Johan ter Horst, is a former Folkestone Invicta player who made the huge leap to sign for Hull City in 2014.
Players remaining from last season include experienced keeper Lee Worgan, defenders Magnus Okwonghue and Seth Nana Twumasi and midfielders Harry Phipps and Jack Paxman.
Departures included Yemi Odubade (back with Eastbourne Borough), Alex Flisher (to Margate), Kevin Lokko (to Stevenage but loaned out to Dagenham and Redbridge) and Bobby Joe-Taylor (to Ebbsfleet United).
James Whatman Way
The Cards Trust coach leaves the Laithwaite Community Stadium at 12.30pm and costs Â£15 for members and Â£20 for non-members, with accompanied U16s at Â£8/Â£10 (a maximum of two with one adult). Phone (01483 772470) or email (email@example.com) the Club Shop today to book your place.
M25, M26, M20 (junction 6). Follow signs to Maidstone on the A229. The ground is in the town centre, by the river, on James Whatman Way (third exit at the White Rabbit roundabout). But please note that the parking at the ground is all allocated and there is no point turning into James Whatman Way unless you have a parking place.
Car parks (pay and display) are located at Invicta House (five minutesâ€™ walk, ME14 2UY), Maidstone East Train Station (seven minutesâ€™ walk, ME14 1QN) and Fremlin Walk (seven minutesâ€™ walk, ME14 1PS). Maidstone Lions operate a charity car park at Maidstone Job Centre Plus (Staceys Street, ME14 1ST) on matchday Saturdays.
If you fancy a walk along the River Medway to the ground, park at Lockmeadow Centre on Barker Road (ME16 8LW). Cross Lockmeadow Millennium Bridge and pass All Saints Church and the Archbishopsâ€™ Palace, along the towpath to The Gallagher Stadium.
The quickest route is to take a train from London Victoria to Maidstone East, which is only a short walk from the ground. Come out of the station and turn left on the main road. Â At the end of this road you will see the ground â€“ just cross the dual carriageway by the pedestrian crossing. Trains go at 22 and 52 minutes past the hour and take about an hour. So, the 12.22 arrives at 13.18, the 12.52 at 13.55 and the 13.22 at 14.18. Returning, trains are at 10 and 33 minutes past the hour.
Concessions (65+/students with valid ID): Â£12
Youth (11 to 16 year olds): Â£7
Junior (Under 11): Â£2
Stand seat plusÂ Â£2 on the above prices â€“ subject to availability.
LAST TIME OUT
Woking 2 Maidstone United 4
Vanarama National League
25 March 2017
This was a shattering defeat for the Cards. Going into this game, on the back of a fine 3-1 away win at Braintree Town, the Cards stood in 19th place, ahead of the Stones on goal difference but with the latter having two games in hand. There was added interest in Delano Sam-Yorke lining up against the side with whom he had just enjoyed such a successful loan spell and who had then made an offer for him.
Woking bolted into a two-goal lead thanks to early strikes from Delano and Jamie Lucas (now with Bath City). A quick-fire response by Maidstone Unitedâ€™s Jamar Loza halved the deficit before the break and, despite a spirited display, the home side succumbed in a disappointing second half, conceding three goals without response as Loza grabbed two more to complete a hat-trick while former Cards loanee Yemi Odubade piled on the misery with a late fourth for the Stones.
The defeat left the Cards in 20th place, one point above the drop zone with six games left to play.
Woking: Michael Poke; Chris Arthur, Terell Thomas, Ismail Yakubu (Fabio Saraiva 66), Jake Caprice (Zak Ansah 78); Keiran Murtagh, Joey Jones, Kane Ferdinand; Jamie Lucas (Gozie Ugwu 57), Delano Sam-Yorke
Unused subs: Brandon Hall, Charlie Carter
Goals: Sam-Yorke 13, Lucas 25
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan; Tom Mills, Jamie Coyle, Kevin Lokko, Seth Nana Twumasi; Joe Pigott (George Oakley 90), Stuart Lewis, Jack Paxman (Yemi Odubade 66), Alex Flisher, Reece Prestedge, Jamar Loza (Harry Phipps 85)
Unused subs: Bobby-Joe Taylor, Magnus Okuonghae
Goals: Loza 29, 68, 75, Odubade 82
The Cards have two consecutive home games coming up. On Tuesday (12 September) Solihull Moors are the visitors, followed on Saturday 16 September by high-flying Sutton United, who will be sure to bring plenty of fans. Make sure both dates are firmly in your diary!
Come on, you Cards!
P.S. If youâ€™re not travelling to Maidstone, why not pop down to the Laithwaite Community Stadium and see the young Cards play Leatherhead in the Suburban League? Kick-off is at 3pm and admission is only Â£4 for adults and Â£2 for concessions.