Cards aiming to extend unbeaten run against former boss

Glen Harrington
6:53pm, Thu 12th Sep 2019
Woking vs Ebbsfleet United
Vanarama National League
Saturday 14th September 2019

Garry Hill returns to the Laithwaite Community Stadium for the first time in two-and-a-half years on Saturday, as he brings his struggling Ebbsfleet United side to town looking to spring a surprise against the National League leaders.

It will be a somewhat surreal reunion for Woking fans with their former manager, who enjoyed almost universal support throughout more than six years at the helm, leading the Cards to the National League South title in 2012 as well as four consecutive top-half finishes in the fifth tier. However, sentiment will be put well and truly to one side during the game itself, as Woking look to continue their superb start to the season under current boss Alan Dowson. The Cards are currently on an eight-match unbeaten run, stretching back to the second game of the season, and returned to the top of the table last Saturday with a deserved point away to individual goal to secure a 1-1 draw, his first as a player at this Hartlepool United – as Paul Hodges scored a fantastic individual goal to secure a 1-1 draw, his first as a player at this level.

It’s been a tough start to the season for Ebbsfleet. Rocked by reported financial troubles behind the scenes mid-way through last season, Hill has been forced into a near-complete overhaul of his squad since his arrival at the club in November 2018, and despite securing a creditable eighth-place finish last campaign things have proved much tougher so far this year – starting with five consecutive defeats before a mild rejuvenation in recent weeks – picking up six points from their last five games, including a first win, to lift them off the bottom of the table. Their recent run has seen them pick up draws with Notts County, Dover Athletic and Eastleigh, whilst also beating Boreham Wood 2-1, but they did suffer defeat at the hands of another of this season’s struggling sides, Aldershot Town.

This should be another great game and, as well as being a chance to give Garry and a number of ex-Woking players a warm welcome, is the perfect opportunity to see the high-flying Cards as they hopefully put on another excellent performance in a season which has been full of them so far. Come along if you can and support the team!

Woking Team News

Dowse and his management team certainly have plenty of options to choose from at present. At the back, Manny Parry will be desperate to force his way back into the starting eleven, at the expense of either Ben Gerring or Moussa Diarra who have started each of the last two games. In midfield, Godfrey Poku has arguably been the standout player for the Cards so far this month, and should start again alongside Kane Ferdinand with Shaun Donnellan sidelined.

Further forward, Woking fans will be waiting with bated breath to hear whether or not Toby Edser’s loan spell from Nottingham Forest has been extended following his excellent start to the season, although Dowse does have the as yet untested Jake Gray waiting in the wings for his debut. Up front, the trio of Jake Hyde, Dave Tarpey and Tyreke Johnson continue to impress, although Hodges’ man-of-the-match cameo against Hartlepool could have forced him into the equation.

Ebbsfleet United Team News

The Fleet currently boast five ex-Woking players within their ranks. Of these, the most fondly remembered will undoubtedly be John Goddard, who made 128 appearances for the club between 2013 and 2016, scoring 27 times and winning the club’s Player of the Year Award. He has since played in the Football League for both Swindon Town and Stevenage, before less memorable spells at Bromley and neighbours Aldershot last season. Conference South winning midfielder-turned-defender Jack King has also enjoyed a career at a higher level since leaving the Laithwaite Community Stadium – playing for Preston North End, Scunthorpe United and Stevenage before moving to Stonebridge Road in 2018. Also returning will be striker Gozie Ugwu, Woking’s top scorer during the 2016/17 season with 21 goals in all competitions, defender Aswad Thomas, who made just shy of 100 appearances for the club across two spells, and midfielder Frankie Sutherland, who played a handful of games for the Cards three years ago.

In their last game, a 1-1 draw at home to Eastleigh, Hill started with Australian Jordan Holmes, currently being selected ahead of long-term number one Nathan Ashmore, in goal; in defence was King, Thomas, former Eastleigh and Maidenhead man Ayo Obileye, the experienced Lawrie Wilson, best known for spells at Stevenage and Charlton Athletic, as well as AFC Bournemouth loanee Tyler Cordner. In midfield, Sutherland started alongside James Ball, a recent addition from Stevenage who also enjoyed a successful time in non-league with Stockport County, and veteran Myles Weston who has played for the likes of Brentford, Gillingham and Southend United. Up front was Josh Umerah, released by Charlton last summer after a year on loan at Boreham Wood, and Stevenage-loanee Alex Reid. Ugwu was on the bench.

Last Time Out

Ebbsfleet United 2-1 Woking – National League (20th February 2018)

A Woking team which would ultimately be doomed for relegation fell just short against an Ebbsfleet side which would go on to make the play-offs. The Cards did put up a fight, with Charlie Carter scoring for the visitors, but ultimately a brace from veteran striker Danny Kedwell proved decisive. Goalkeeper Nathan Baxter was chosen as Woking’s man-of-the-match which gives a better impression of the flow of the game. However, the Cards did taste victory the last time the two sides met at the Laithwaite Community Stadium, with Inih Effiong scoring the game’s only goal.

Admission Prices

• Adults £18
• Over 65s £13
• Disabled (Including carer) £13
• Students (Under 19) £5
• U16s £5

Tickets are available on the turnstiles or in advance online. Remember, our matchday programme will also be on sale for £3. Don’t forget to grab your copy on the way in! You’ll then be able to visit the club shop for more great offers.

Next Up

The Cards face consecutive away games against two teams at opposite ends of the table – starting at Chorley next Saturday before a trip to unbeaten Bromley the following Tuesday. Our next home game is on the last Saturday in September against Boreham Wood.

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