Cards aiming for historic Wembley spot in Trophy semi-final

Glen Harrington
8:18am, Sat 27th Mar 2021
Hereford vs Woking
Buildbase FA Trophy
Saturday 27th March 2021

Woking will be looking to reach a Wembley final for the first time in 24 years as they travel to National League North side Hereford on Saturday in the FA Trophy semi-final.

The Cards, who last reached this stage in 2006, have enjoyed a stellar run in this year’s competition, knocking out National League sides Dover Athletic, Bromley, Sutton United and Torquay United, but now face the rare challenge of going into Saturday’s game as slight favourites. Alan Dowson’s side will be boosted by the positive momentum gained from Tuesday’s National League win over Wealdstone when Moussa Diarra’s late goal ended a run of four games without a win. They’ll now be hoping to move one step closer to a fourth FA Trophy win, as well as guaranteeing a first trip to Wembley since 1997.

Hereford FC were formed in 2014 as a phoenix club following the demise of Hereford United. Three straight promotions between 2015 and 2018 saw them reach National League North, where they have so far recorded finishes of 17th and 16th (on PPG). This season, before it was once again cut short, they sat in 12th place, with 20 points from their 13 games and a record of five wins, five draws, and three defeats. In the FA Trophy they have beaten St Neots Town (3-0), Nantwich Town (1-0), Stamford AFC (2-0), and in the quarter-final, Woking’s local rivals Aldershot Town (5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw). The original Hereford United were twice FA Trophy semi-finalists in 1971 and 2001, whilst the phoenix club were FA Vase runners-up at Wembley in 2016.

Woking – Team News

Dowse will be left to sweat on the fitness of a number of key players, including defender Jack Cook, winger Jamar Loza, and striker Sam Ashford, who all missed Tuesday’s trip to Wealdstone. Paul Hodges is also unavailable as he’s cup-tied. New loan signing Sam Dalby and Hampton & Richmond loanee Nico Muir are both available, however. Tommy Block, a surprise inclusion at right-back on Tuesday, also put his name in the frame for selection with a man-of-the-match performance. He’ll likely be battling Kyran Lofthouse for a place in the back four.

Hereford – The Boss

Hereford are coached by Josh Gowling, who was appointed on a permanent basis in June of last year, having previously served as interim manager since January. He’s the club’s fourth manager, following in the footsteps of Peter Beadle, Marc Richards, and Russell Slade. The 37-year-old started his playing career at West Bromwich Albion before enjoying a career spent predominately in the Football League with the likes of Bournemouth and Gillingham, as well as the National League with Lincoln City, Kidderminster Harriers, Grimsby Town, and Torquay United. He joined Hereford as a player in 2018 before stepping into management.

One to Watch

Hereford have plenty of experience in their squad, including the likes of former Forest Green pair Jared Hodgkiss and Yan Klukowski, and ex-Woking goalkeeper Brandon Hall, however the one to watch is young midfielder Tom Owen-Evans. The 23-year-old former Newport County and Falkirk player scored 10 goals in the 2018/19 season and has scored eight more across the last two shortened campaigns.

Last Time Out

Hereford United 0-2 Woking – National League (5th April 2014)

The Cards have, of course, never played the current incarnation of Hereford, but last played Hereford United in the 2013/14 season when they won all three meetings without conceding – winning 3-0 at Edgar Street in the FA Trophy in November, 3-0 at Kingfield in February, before completing the rout with a 2-0 away win in April. Scott Rendell and a rare Adam Newton goal gave the Cards all three points on the two side’s most recent meeting.

Next Up

The Cards travel to Torquay United on Good Friday, before hosting Notts County on Easter Monday.

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