Goals from Scott Rendell and Josh Payne were enough to steer Woking to their first home win of the season against Nuneaton 10 days ago. This was followed up by an entertaining 1-1 draw on the road at Southport on Saturday.
Woking now face a tough task in Barnet, who were relegated into the Conference alongside Aldershot Town at the end of last season. With a new stadium and a fresh start they were many people’s choice to bounce straight back to the Football League but The Bees currently find themselves mid-table. We talked to Barnet fan and blogger Lucy Waldon to find out what is going on at The Hive.
It’s been quite a while since you played in the Conference and the league has changed quite a bit, how have Barnet found it so far?
It’s certainly a lot harder than when we were previously in the Conference and there’s definitely more competition for the top places – but we never thought it would be easy. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag so far: we started well and then dipped in form a bit – hopefully that was just an early blip as we find out feet in this division. Last season we managed three points from our opening 12 games; we’ve already surpassed that this campaign and are close to reaching half the amount of points we managed to accumulate during 2012/13. Whilst it’s difficult, I’d like to think we have adapted well – we just need to play consistently well for a whole game and not just 45 minutes.
It’s been an indifferent start for yourselves which has left you 10th after 13 games, are fans staying patient with the players and managerial staff?
I think so. We managed to keep most of our players from last season and they’re really not a bad bunch. Jake Hyde was our top scorer and to net 14 times for a relegated side is no mean feat. We kept the spine of the squad, with the likes of Stephens and Johnson in defence and Byrne in the midfield – a lot of our players can definitely play higher! I think we just need a bit of luck and concentration and we’ll start amassing points.
Talking of the managerial staff, what impact has Edgar Davids had and can you talk us through his role at the club?
When he joined us last season, there was instant success – but it couldn’t have been much worse because our start was so poor. Everything just fell into place: we were scoring, the defence was a lot more solid and I think the team started playing due to his stature. There was a stat that said we would have made the play-offs if Davids joined us at the start of the season. I’m not too sure what his role is – the fans don’t know and judging by the Non-League Paper interview, the chairman doesn’t know either (which is worrying!). Basically, his title is ‘head coach’ and there are two other Dutch coaches who work alongside him. Assistant Uli seems to be the one who picks the team – and he’s the one that travels to the away games as Edgar doesn’t travel up north (there has been no reason given for this – and we are just as much in the dark as everyone else! I find it bizarre though!).
Who will Woking have to look out for on Tuesday?
Keanu Marsh-Brown – an outstanding talent who was recently linked with a move to Ipswich Town. He’s scoring for fun and a tricky winger who has bundles of pace. Centre back David Stephens is also a giant in the back four – and was voted last year’s Player of the Season!
Finally, what is your score prediction?
I’m going to stick my neck out and say 3-1 Barnet. We were unlucky on Saturday and poor decisions cost us. I imagine we’ll go behind early on and then pull it back in the second half. KMB to score twice and Crawford to come off the bench and chip in with a late goal.
You can follow Lucy on Twitter – @Luuuce_x
Questions and article by Jacob Greenwood @JGreenwood91
Photo by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk
Woking lost twice over the bank holiday with ex-Cards Loick Pires and Brett Williams scoring and rubbing our faces in it with their celebrations.
Let’s not beat around the bush either, with the exception of Mike Cestor, we were pretty awful at Aldershot on Monday. We knew it was going to happen though, didn’t we? We always lose at The Rec, it’s as inevitable as England going out of a tournament on penalties.
Not many positives came out of yesterday’s game but in terms of moving forward there might just be light at the end of the tunnel. So here are the positives for you:
1) 1) Nobody got sent off – after our feisty start to the season this is good news and Jack Parkinson and Giuseppe Sole will return from suspension on Saturday.
2) 2) Garry is as happy as us – Many a Woking manager would have told us we are playing well and the team are still gelling. Luckily under the management of Garry Hill this isn’t happening. He made clear in his post-match interview that he was unhappy with the discipline, defence and attack and is looking to improve it.
3) 3) The close of the transfer window – The transfer window doesn’t really affect the Conference as much as the Football League and the Premier League. However, if teams can’t get rid of fringe players when the window has shut, the loan window is still open and I think we could benefit hugely from this.
4) 4) Gateshead on the rocks? – This, in itself, is a dangerous statement to make. Despite that I will stick by it and point to the fact they have lost four and drawn one game and currently have no manager. This is a great chance to bounce back and get some points on the board.
So that is all I have for now, hopefully that has cheered you up! If you find yourself in a situation with an Aldershot fan today, gently remind them they used to be in the Football League whilst we were in the Conference South and now we are above them in the table and this points to a clear power shift in Woking’s favour.