By Jacob Greenwood
Woking travel to Cheshire this afternoon in search of their first league win since early October.
Garry Hill’s side have struggled to pick up points since a 3-0 win at Halifax Town and were soundly beaten against Macclesfield Town last weekend. A hat-trick from Kristian Dennis contributed to a 5-2 victory for The Silkmen on a difficult afternoon for The Cards. That was the second 5-2 at Kingfield this season. The other was a victory for Woking over Saturday’s opposition, Chester. A similar result against The Blues at the Deva Stadium would see The Cards pick up their first league double of the season.
We talked to Chester media man Chris Graham to find out the latest going ons in the north-west.
Chester face Woking for the second time this season (even though it is only November!) and the game is likely to tighter than the game at Kingfield. Woking ran out 5-2 winners that day but it was a close affair until the red card and penalty. Do you think that was the turning point?
Definitely, Chester had started fairly well and looked threatening as they went forward but to lose Ben Heneghan midway through the first half, after already having substituted Ross Hannah, and then immediately finding themselves a goal behind meant it was always going to be an uphill task. Despite playing with 10 men Chester still looked to attack, which allowed Woking that bit more space going forward and once Holman fired in the second at the start of the second half the floodgates opened. The game will always have at least one warm memory for Blues fans though as it was the game that saw Michael Kay score the 500th goal since Chester FC reformed in 2010.
Chester now sit in mid-table seven points off of the play-offs. How would you evaluate the season so far?
It’s been a rather strange start to the season, with the side being so inconsistent it’s difficult to work out where they truly sit in the table, and being mid-table at the moment is only fair. There have been multiple false dawns, and just as you think the side has finally clicked and is capable of going on a run it then throws up some surprising results, accompanied by poor performances and they seem back to square one. The home form has been very strong, winning five, drawing four and losing just twice but is hindered by just three wins and two draws away from home. If the team can start to pick up results away from home, whilst maintaining strong home form there is no reason they can’t climb the table and push the play-off teams.
Has the highlight been the 3-2 victory over Wrexham?
Most definitely, it is the first game Chester fans look for when the fixtures are released and the players really managed to capture the passion of the fan base and turned in their performance of the season so far. John Rooney’s free kick was a thing of beauty, a curling effort from 30 yards, to open the scoring before Wrexham equalised through a penalty that even the away fans seemed surprised by at the time. Rooney was involved in the second as he set up Tom Shaw to coolly slot home before Kane Richards was completely unmarked at the back post to add a third. As is often the case with Chester though it was never comfortable and despite being the better side for most of the game Wrexham pulled one back in stoppage time to set up a nervy ending.
Ross Hannah and John Rooney have ten league goals between them this season. How has that been working as a partnership?
Signing Ross Hannah in the summer was huge for the club, he appeared to be the proven marksman that they had lacked the previous season and could push the team towards the playoffs, so far he has done a good job of leading the line whilst playing as a lone striker, a role he was not too familiar with when he arrived at the club. It is starting to come together for him though, with two goals against Kidderminster (and a third ruled out for offside) and a goal against Forest Green in his past three matches. John Rooney is key to the team though, he’s key to the midfield and often looks the man to unlock an opposition defence, it’s clear that he and Ross enjoy playing together and against Kidderminster, in Rooney’s 100th appearance for the club, Ross set John up to give Chester the lead before capitalising himself off a parried Rooney effort to secure the third.
Who will Woking have to look out for on Saturday?
At the back Ben Heneghan will be one of the key defenders, and I’m sure will look to make amends for his sending off in the reverse fixture earlier this season, after a slower than expected start Heneghan is starting to find the form he showed last season that earned him an England C call up. In the midfield John Rooney will be the main threat, and if Woking are able to keep him quiet then they will go a long way to getting a positive result. Rooney is one of Chester’s top scorers as well as leading the team in assists, which shows how much of a danger he can pose. Up top Ross Hannah will do his best to keep Woking’s centre halves busy with his energy but James Roberts, who is on loan from Oxford United, is one who could cause some real danger. Roberts has impressed in his spell with the club, scoring an emotional goal in his return to action against Halifax after he tragically lost his brother following his debut in the victory against Wrexham.
Finally, what is your score prediction?
Looking at the two sides recent form I can only go for a Chester victory, as mentioned earlier they’ve been very solid at home while Woking have only won twice away from home all season. I expect it to be close and possibly only a goal in it so I’ll go 2-1 to Chester.
Photos by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk