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Flying Cards looking to ground stuttering Concord

Glen Harrington
12:00am, Fri 7th Sep 2018
Concord Rangers vs Woking
National League South
Saturday 8th September

The Cards will be looking to win a fifth successive league match for the first time in four years on Saturday as they take on an out-of-sorts Concord Rangers side that have been heavily beaten in their last two games.

For the fourth time in just eight matches so far this season Alan Dowson saw his side come from behind to win last Saturday as a Max Kretzschmar double cancelled out Jake Robinson’s early penalty for Billericay Town and extended the Cards’ lead at the top of the table to five points – a very encouraging start for what is still a very new team and one which is arguably yet to hit top gear.

Concord, managed by former Dover Athletic, AFC Wimbledon and Leyton Orient midfielder Sammy Moore, who most recently had a spell in charge of Leatherhead last season, matched the Cards stride for stride at the top of the table over the course of the first six games but have fallen away badly over the last couple of weeks – losing 5-0 at home to Welling United before being beaten 4-1 at Chippenham Town in a game which they had taken the lead.

Despite their patchy form the Beach Boys proved in last season’s two FA Cup encounters that they will be far from a pushover and the Cards will need to continue their run of steadily improving performances if they are to take all three points.

Woking Team News

Dowse has been reluctant to rush back the injured trio of Jake Hyde, Christian Jolley and Charlie Wassmer, although all three are thought to be close to a return. Hyde, who has scored twice in his four appearances for the club, was an unused substitute again Billericay, whilst Wassmer completed a full 90 minutes in the friendly against Westfield in mid-week. There has been no word yet on centre-back Ian Gayle although with Wassmer and Nathan Collier ready to deputise for Jack Cook or Kiran Khinda-John, the Cards do at least have plenty of options.

Perhaps the area most of interest for supporters will be the front four. Kretzschmar, with six goals to his name already, has been the only ever-present thus far. Paul Hodges, who signed a contract extension this week, has started the last couple of games along with Nicky Wheeler and Greg Luer, but Dowse will know he has the likes of Reggie Young, Duane Ofori-Acheampong and a returning Hyde waiting in the wings should he wish to utilise them.

Declan Appau, who has made just one substitute appearance so far this season, featured for Farnborough last weekend and looks set to continue with our neighbours to get some game time.

Concord Rangers Team News

The most familiar name in the Concord team is former Woking-loanee Billy Knott who scored 10 goals in 22 appearances for the Cards during the 2012/13 season and went on to play for the likes of Bradford City, Gillingham and Lincoln City in the Football League. He returned home to Essex this summer after reported personal problems and we’re sure all supporters will want to wish him well after the game on Saturday – provided, of course, that he doesn’t score!

Against Chippenham, Concord lined up with another former Woking player, Sam Beasant, in goal; a back four of experienced right-back Sean Clohessy, who followed Moore from Leatherhead and is best known for him time with Southend United, yet another former Card in left-back Frazer Shaw and centre-back pairing Tyrone Sterling and Sam Blackman. In midfield was Lee Minshull, who was part of the successful Newport County team promoted to the Football League and was also with Moore at Leatherhead, alongside Knott, Ryan Hayes and Danny Green; whilst up front was veteran forward and assistant manager Jack Midson alongside former Maidenhead United and Luton Town target man Alex Wall – the duo already have 10 goals between them this season.

Last Time Out

Concord Rangers 1-2 Woking (FA Cup – Tuesday 17 October 2017)

The Cards came into the original tie at Kingfield, played three days earlier, in a confident mood off the back of five wins and a draw from six league games. However, Woking needed a very late Jamie Philpot goal four minutes from time to earn a replay, and the return game proved little easier. Regan Charles-Cook gave the visitors an early lead but this was cancelled out before half-time by Femi Akinwande. It took until the 117th minute for the Cards to force a winner deep into extra time through Charlie Carter, a goal which did of course set us on the way to a memorable cup run. Sadly, the Cards would win only twice more between the second game with Concord and the end of January, and no doubt Dowse will be keen to avoid any such repeat this time around.

On the Day

The Aspect Arena can be found on Thames Road, Canvey Island, and the postcode is SS8 OHH – it’s around a one hour and 25 minute drive from the Laithwaite Community Stadium. The nearest station is Benfleet, about three miles from the ground, and a short taxi journey costing around £10 may be required to reach the ground. Trains from Woking to Benfleet go via London and take around two hours in duration. Matchday ticket prices are £12 for adults, £7 for concessions with those between the ages of 12 and 16 costing £3.

Next Up

The Cards take on Dulwich Hamlet at the Laithwaite a week on Saturday. Seven days later we enter the second qualifying round of the FA Cup, for which the draw is yet to be made, and we finish our September fixture list with a trip to Torquay United.

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