9:48am, Sat 10th Apr 2021
Eastleigh vs Woking
Vanarama National League
Saturday 10th April 2021
The Woking management team will be looking to celebrate their new contracts, officially signed on Friday, by masterminding a return to form as the Cards travel to take on Eastleigh in the National League.
Itâ€™s been a challenging start to the year for Woking, who have won just three of their last 18 league matches in a run stretching back to mid-December, in addition to last monthâ€™s FA Trophy disappointment at Hereford. Dowse and co will at least have been encouraged by aspects the teamâ€™s performance against promotion-chasing Notts County last time out where, aided by the fit-again Sam Ashford and Jamar Loza, the Cards scored twice for the first time in eight games, and led at half-time, before defensive mistakes allowed Countyâ€™s attacking quality to shine through. The Cards have dropped to 19th in the table, just four points clear of the bottom two, and will no doubt want a run of positive results to end the season on a high.
Eastleigh are one of a number of teams still with play-off aspirations. The Spitfires, who finished 16th last season, have enjoyed a much-improved campaign, and currently sit in eighth place with 46 points from their 31 games, a point adrift of the final play-off place. Last time out they won 1-0 at Maidenhead United, ending a run of three straight defeats, which saw them lose at home to Chesterfield and away at Kingâ€™s Lynn Town and Stockport County. In fact, theyâ€™ve only won two of their last 10 games in all, with their only other three points since the end of February coming in a 1-0 home win over FC Halifax Town.
Woking â€“ Team News
Dowse was able to welcome back Jack Cook, as well as Loza and Ashford last time out, so should be able to name a near full-strength squad, with Matt Jarvis and goalkeeper Craig Ross the only other notable absentees over the Easter weekend. The biggest decision will likely be who starts up front out of Ashford, JontÃ© Smith and Sam Dalby, with the latter pair still waiting for their first Woking goal.
Eastleigh â€“ The Boss
The Spitfires are managed by their former player, striker Ben Strevens. The 40-year-old, who played almost 700 professional games, predominately in League Two and the National League, also spent time with Barnet, Dagenham & Redbridge, Brentford, Wycombe Wanderers and Gillingham, spent five seasons with Eastleigh, helping them earn promotion to the National League in 2014. In 2016 he combined his playing duties with the role of assistant manager, before getting the top job two years later, replacing Andy Hessenthaler. He finished seventh in his first season, losing a play-off semi-final to Salford City on penalties, before coming 16th in last yearâ€™s shortened campaign.
One to Watch
Eastleigh could hand a debut to former Kingâ€™s Lynn Town striker Adam Marriott who was signed on Friday. The former Cambridge United, Stevenage, and Lincoln City man was the star man for the Linnets, firing them to promotion to the National League last season, and had netted six times for them this campaign, including in the win over Woking back in October. Heâ€™s been out of action since the end of February having been placed on furlough but could be a real danger if available.
Last Time Out
Woking 0-0 Eastleigh â€“ National League (28th December 2020)
The highlight of another miserable Christmas for the Cards, sandwiched between back-to-back defeats to rivals Aldershot Town. The home side held their own, in a fixture broadcast live on BT Sport, but offered little in the way of attacking threat and were ultimately grateful to take home the point. In a game of few chances for either side, Cav Mileyâ€™s ambitious overhead kick was one of the gameâ€™s few memorable moments, forcing an acrobatic save out of goalkeeper Craig Ross.
Woking have three consecutive home matches to look forward to, starting on Tuesday evening against Bromley, followed by games with play-off chasing Wrexham and Torquay United.
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