8:20pm, Thu 15th Oct 2020
Woking vs FC Halifax Town
Vanarama National League
Saturday 17th October 2020
Woking will be aiming to maintain their one hundred percent home record on Saturday, when FC Halifax Town will be the visitors to the Laithwaite Community Stadium, with the Shaymen looking to get their first win since the opening day.
The Cards were excellent on Tuesday evening as they bounced back in style from defeat at Chesterfield, securing a comfortable 2-0 win against Dagenham & Redbridge, with Jack Cook and Malachi Napa both scoring their first goals of the season. The result took Alan Dowsonâ€™s side to nine points from four games, level with the same stage of last season, and sees them in sixth place in the early National League table. Tuesdayâ€™s game also saw a second Woking debut for midfielder Ben Dempsey, who starts a second loan spell from Charlton Athletic, and offers the Cards another exciting option in midfield. However, it was Dempseyâ€™s fellow midfielder Charlie Cooper who was arguably the star of the show in mid-week, providing the cross for Cookâ€™s opener and turning in another all action display in the centre of the park.
Cooperâ€™s former side Halifax have had a challenging start to the new season. After matching the Cards with a 2-0 victory over Dagenham on the opening day, they have followed that with up with a narrow 2-1 defeat at Stockport County, before draws away to Boreham Wood and at home to Yeovil Town, admittedly all tough opponents on paper. They currently sit in 11th place with five points. Last season they finished in a hugely respectable sixth place, after consecutive 16th place finishes in the previous two seasons, losing out in a play-off eliminator to Boreham Wood when the season resumed in July. Manager Pete Wild has added to his already impressive squad over the summer as he looks to launch another play-off challenge this year, with his additions including former Woking striker Jake Hyde, who of course top scored for the Cards in each of the last two seasons. Hyde is yet to make his competitive debut for the Shaymen due to injury but Wild is reportedly hopeful of having his new number nine available to play some part on Saturday.
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Woking â€“ Team News
Dowse will be sweating on the fitness of Malachi Napa, who limped off shortly after his goal on Tuesday, but will be reassured by the fact that both Dave Tarpey, who impressed on his first start of the season on Tuesday, and Matt Jarvis, who continued his return to fitness with another cameo against the Daggers, should be available. Tarpey was one of two changes for the Cards on Tuesday, as he replaced John Goddard, whilst Ben Dempsey replaced Tommy Block in midfield. The boss has only made limited changes for each game so far and it will be interesting to see whether he chooses to freshen his side up with more widespread alterations on Saturday â€“ in what will be a fifth game in just 15 days.
FC Halifax Town â€“ The Boss
Pete Wild took over at Halifax in July of last year, replacing Jamie Fullarton, and enjoyed an excellent first season with the club. Still only his 30s, Wild has always been a coach rather than being a former professional footballer like so many of his counterparts. He coached at Oldham Athletic in a number of positions, remaining with his boyhood club for more than a decade, before twice being appointed as caretaker manager and eventually the permanent boss for a brief spell in 2019. He left the club that summer before joining the Shaymen two months later.
One to Watch
Woking fans will already be very familiar with Jake Hyde, but another player to look out for is veteran midfielder Luke Summerfield. The 32-year-old, who netted a penalty in his sideâ€™s opening day win over Dagenham, arrived in the summer from Wrexham. His former clubs include Plymouth Argyle, Cheltenham Town, Shrewsbury Town, York City and Grimsby Town in a career which has predominately seen him play at Football League level, including in the Championship. His experience could be vital for the Shaymen over the year ahead.
Last Time Out
Halifax 0-2 Woking â€“ National League (7th March 2020)
In what proved to the Cards penultimate game before the lockdown, a Max Kretzschmar penalty and a Jake Hyde goal gave Woking all three points at the Shay in a fantastic team performance. Ben Gerring was credited as the visitorsâ€™ man-of-the-match. In the reverse fixture the two sides played out a goalless draw at the Laithwaite Community Stadium. In fact, the Cards have only tasted defeat once in their last 10 matches against Saturdayâ€™s visitors.
The Cards face the prospect of three consecutive away games starting with a trip to local rivals Aldershot Town in the FA Cup next Saturday, followed by games at Boreham Wood and newly promoted Kingâ€™s Lynn Town. Our next home game in the National League is against Yeovil Town on the 14th November.
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