Fans return as Woking take on Hartlepool

Glen Harrington
12:00am, Sat 12th Dec 2020
Woking vs Hartlepool United
Vanarama National League
Saturday 12th December 2020

Fans will be welcomed back to the Laithwaite Community Stadium for the first time in nine months this afternoon as Woking take on Hartlepool United in the National League.

The Cards will be hoping that the support of a home crowd can power them to a first win this month after back-to-back 1-0 defeats against Sutton United and Notts County were followed by last Tuesday night’s postponement at Altrincham. Alan Dowson’s side will be buoyed by a strong home record which has seen them win three and draw two of their six game at the Laithwaite so far this season.

Hartlepool currently sit four places and one point above the Cards, in seventh place, with a near identical record – with the same number of games played, the same number of wins, and the same number of goals conceded. They have managed one additional draw but have scored two goals less. They started the season in excellent form, winning their first three league games and taking 11 points out of a possible 15, before a shock 5-0 home defeat against Torquay United halted their momentum. They’ve since managed just two wins out of six but did pick up all three points last time out, defeating King’s Lynn Town 2-0 at home. Their last away win came at Yeovil Town in mid-November.

All of the relevant ticketing information for the game can be found here on the club website and, for those of you unable to make the game, you can continue to watch via the #CardsLive stream.

Woking – Team News

Dowse will be hoping that the bonus recovery time following Tuesday’s postponement will have given top scorer Kane Ferdinand time to recover from the injury he sustained against Notts County. Elsewhere, both Kyran Lofthouse and Slavi Spasov have had their loans from Oxford United extended for another month, so are both available for selection again this afternoon.

Hartlepool United – The Boss

The Monkey Hangers are coached by former Tranmere Rovers, Stockport County and Bury defender Dave Challinor, who is perhaps best known for his eight years managing AFC Fylde between 2011 and 2019. Challinor took Fylde from the Northern Premier League Division One North to the National League, winning three promotions in six seasons, before consecutive National League play-off appearances – including defeat to Salford City in the 2019 final – and an FA Trophy win. The 45-year-old left the Coasters last October and joined Pools a month later, guiding them to a 12th place finish last season.

One to Watch

Hartlepool boast one of the National League’s most highly-rated goalkeepers in the form of England C international Ben Killip. The former Chelsea and Norwich City youth team player moved to Grimsby Town and played 10 times for the League 2 outfit during the 2017/18 season. From there, he joined Braintree Town, and was one of the shining lights in a side relegated from the National League. He was signed by Hartlepool before the start of last season and has now played more than 75 times in the fifth tier. Both Killip and opposite number Craig Ross could be key today.

Last Time Out

Woking 2-1 Hartlepool United – National League (7th December 2020)

Hartlepool will be relieved not to see Paul Hodges lining up against them later today after the winger tormented them in both games last season. After scoring a late equaliser in the reverse fixture he came of the bench to make a huge impact for the home side here, setting up Jake Hyde for the leveller inside a minute, cancelling out Gime Toure’s first-half opener. Ten minutes later, Dave Tarpey scored what would prove to be both the winner and the club’s goal of the season, with a stunning strike into the left-hand top corner.

Next Up

The Cards make the short trip to Raynes Park Vale on Tuesday evening in the Surrey Senior Cup. Next Saturday we’re back at home, this time in the FA Trophy, when Dover Athletic will be the visitors.

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