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Getting to know the opposition – Macclesfield Town

By Jacob Greenwood

Woking welcome Macclesfield Town to Kingfield on Saturday as they try and put a poor midweek result behind them.

Garry Hill was left disappointed as Woking stumbled to a 5-1 defeat to Dartford at Princes Park on Tuesday. The evening had started well for The Cards with Scott Rendell putting the visitors ahead but an immediate equaliser and a red card for Joe Jones put Woking on the back foot going into the break. Second half goals from Alex Wall, Max Cornhill and Lee Noble condemned Woking to a disappointing defeat.

Woking will be looking to get back on track as they take on Macclesfield on Saturday. The Silkmen travel to Kingfield in good form and since disappointing results earlier in the season find themselves mid-table with an eye on the race for the play offs.

We talked to Macclesfield fan Ian Stewart prior to the game:

When the two teams met earlier in the season it looked like they were both fighting to stay in the league, but Macclesfield have been on a great run since and are mid-table. What has changed at the club to bring this positive effect?

I’d say it was just a slow start to the season that put Macclesfield in serious threat of relegation. Virtually all of the squad had changed from last season. But early on, Macclesfield were having games

where they should’ve won, but couldn’t quite finish it, letting the opposition back in.

Funnily enough, it was against Woking where we got our first win, but even then it could have slipped away. 3-0 up with 10 minutes to go, and Woking got two back. There was relief around the home

support at the Moss Rose when the final whistle blew.

Sole fires home against away defeat at Macclesfield
Sole fires home against away defeat at Macclesfield

John Askey and Efe Sodje have had to work on such a tight budget, but they’ve brought in players who have worked together well on, and indeed, off the pitch. A few players have attracted the attentions

of clubs higher up, in the Football League, but right now the squad is well focused and hoping to carry on the run that has seen us close to the play-offs. We hadn’t lost at home since October, before

Luton came along the Tuesday before last. And that was a tough encounter for the league leaders, in which many felt Macclesfield were unfortunate to lose.

The goals of Connor Jennings certainly helped us climb away from danger. Jennings may have gone back to Scunthorpe now, but Chris Holroyd and Scott Boden are finding the net at the right time,

and new loan signings Waide Fairhurst and Akpo Sodje represent a strong presence up front, and competition for the starting line-up as well.

You find yourselves only 9 points off of the play-offs with games in hand. Is that a realistic target this season?

Yes. Of course it is very tight up there, and with Macclesfield 11th, it’s going to be a hectic battle to get one of those four places. The recent weather means it’s going to be a question of stamina as

the season draws to a close. With Conference matches happening twice in nearly every week up until April.

Also, with play-off challengers facing each other, a lot of points will be dropped. I certainly believe Macclesfield can take advantage of this, and when it comes to facing the challengers themselves,

home or away, we can put up a determined effort to take maximum points away from their play-off bid.

You have had an impressive FA Cup run this season beating Swindon and taking Sheffield Wednesday to a replay. Did this run bring a lot of fans back to the club and improve confidence within the squad?

Before Swindon and Sheffield Wednesday, the squad was certainly confident, being on a good run. But the manner in which they beat Swindon surprised and delighted many and sure boosted their confidence

to play like that in the Conference, there have been games where it hasn’t been the case, but after the slow start to the season, it’s a delight that defeats and poor performances are happening less.

Hopefully, many fans are coming back to watch the Silkmen, following the Cup run, and indeed the recent impressive form in the league. And especially at home. The financial woes have been well

publicised, and it’s all very well having a good FA Cup run, but no one relies solely on the money that brings in.

Revenue from the league games is key. Some Conference sides struggling financially, and the weather and postponements sure haven’t helped their plight, Hereford United are the most alarming

case in the league right now regarding their financial future. And for Macclesfield, there’s a lot more to be done to ease our financial troubles, the confidence and determined attitude of the squad under

Askey has shown people Macclesfield are worth watching. And worth watching for every game.

Scott Boden has 12 league goals so far this season. Will he be a player that Woking will have to look out for on Saturday?

The midfield, consisting of captain Paul Turnbull and the veteran Danny Whitaker will pose a threat in getting the ball to Boden. As well as threat from down the wing from Jack Mackreth. We’re full

of good pace, and with a positive passing style of play, I feel that the strike force, whoever it is will be dangerous going forward. Boden and Chris Holroyd will have to be watched if Askey selects them,

and so too will the wing.

Lastly, what is your score prediction?

Tempting fate again, I know Woking are a tough side, and over the last few weeks have had mixed results. Impressive win over Gateshead, followed by the 5-1 defeat to an improving Dartford squad.

It’s been mixed at Macclesfield too, but a lot more positive and in such a tight league, neither will want to drop any points. Away from home, Macc need to win to boost our play-off hopes.

My head says a draw, 2-2. My heart says otherwise… I’ll keep the result a secret until afterwards.

Questions by Jacob Greenwood @JGreenwood91

Answers by @ianthenoodle

Photo by David Holmes. A full set can be viewed at wokingfc.co.uk

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Hill praises Woking after ‘Great result’

By Jacob Greenwood

Garry Hill has paid credit to his Woking side after they kept a clean sheet and beat an in-form Gateshead side.

Woking took an early lead through defender John Nutter who grabbed his first goal of the season to set-up a good away win for The Cards.

Woking secured their win when Betsy provided an assist to John Goddard who doubled Woking’s lead and steered them 9 points clear of the relegation zone.

Reflecting on the game, Hill paid tribute to Nutter’s early goal and Woking’s attacking performance. He told the official website:

“It was a great lift for him and an ideal start for us. It was a great result for us.”

“We were very quick on the counter attack and we exploited them several times. It was a very good performance against a very, very good, hard side.”

Goddard celebrates scoring Woking's second
Goddard celebrates scoring Woking’s second

Woking take on Dartford at Princes Park on Tuesday evening, weather permitting, and the Cards’ boss knows it will be a difficult game despite their league position.

“All credit to Tony Burman and the players at Dartford they have turned it around recently. We are going to go there knowing it is tough. They haven’t had a game today so they are going to be fresh.”

“I’m sure we will go there with confidence after a good win at Gateshead.”

Photo by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk

Getting to know the opposition – Forest Green Rovers

By Jacob Greenwood

Woking welcome Forest Green Rovers to Kingfield tonight as they look to extend their winning run.

Goals from Scott Rendell and Joe Jones saw Woking claim their fourth league win in March making it a perfect month for The Cards as they beat Wrexham 2-1.

Tonight’s visitors find thmselves five places and four points ahead of Woking when they arrive at Kingfield tonight. However, this will be a tough game for Woking as FGR have invested heavily in their side for this season and will be aiming for the play-offs.

Forest Green Rovers’ last six results –

Southport 2-0 Forest Green

Rendell puts Woking ahead at Kingfield on Saturday.
Rendell puts Woking ahead at Kingfield on Saturday.

Forest Green 0-0 Welling

Forest Green 2-1 Grimsby

Tamworth 1-2 Forest Green

Forest Green 0-2 Braintree

Forest Green 4-0 Salisbury

We talked to Richard Joyce @RichardDJoyce to find out more about the Gloucestershire side before we were due to play them at Kingfield in Febuary.
Forest Green were among the favourites to get promoted this season but have struggled in the league, where has it gone wrong this season?
 Consistency has been a major issue. Going into this weekend’s game is the first time Rovers have recorded back-to-back wins since November and it is always hard to predict which way it is going to go while our away form has been poor too. The squad is very strong but was still suffering a hangover of the disappointment of last season in my opinion where we went from being in the top three to drastically dropping to tenth in the final couple of months of the campaign. Subsequently that hangover ultimately cost David Hockaday his job in late October when team morale was pretty low. The players say they were not feeling the pressure of the ‘favourites’ tag being put on them but given Rovers have been nicknamed ‘moneybags’ by some it has made life difficult sometimes.
 
You have appointed Adrian Pennock as your first team manager, what difference has he made?
 The changes which Ady has implemented since getting the job a few months ago are just about beginning to show right now. He has added a lot of personality to the role which I know has been welcomed by the squad, so what he has done off the pitch has been fantastic to raise the morale of the team which was pretty low following David Hockaday’s departure. On the pitch however he has made the team much more of a threat. We continue to keep possession brilliantly but we are more direct with our use of it unlike previously when we often provided little threat despite dominating the majority of games. He’s brought in a number of signings including Lee Hughes who is probably the stand out one but he is eager to cut down on the squad too which isn’t the biggest in the league but remains quite large.
Betsy scores the opener against FGR last season.
Betsy scores the opener against FGR last season.
James Norwood has got 16 goals for you so far this season, will he be a player to look out for on Tuesday?
 James is a very explosive player and he finished as our golden boot winner last year with 15 goals so he is well on his way to beating that record. The great thing about James is not only does he find the back of the net but he creates goals for his team mates too. He is one of the fastest players in the league and I would not fancy being a defender if he was running at me and powering towards goal. So yes he’ll definitely be a threat on Saturday – Forest Green fans will be just hoping he remembers his shooting boots like he has done in our last two matches.
What other players have you been impressed by this season?
 
Marcus Kelly has been an absolute gem. Signing a one-year deal in the summer after a fair few years at this level it is remarkable that he is not playing in League Two. From midfield he has averaged a goal every other game pretty much this season and is very lively. Al Bangura adds a lot of class that saw him burst into the Premier League as a youngster while the impact of Lee Hughes of late has been great too. If selected at centre back, because he has recently been suspended, Dale Bennett has been a class act as well.
Finally what is your score prediction?
 It’s ambitious because our away form this season hasn’t been great (only three wins on the road) but I am going to go for a 2-1 win for Forest Green with our goals coming from James Norwood and Danny Wright. I can see Kevin Betsy getting Woking’s goal as he did against us once last season.
Questions & article by Jacob Greenwood @JGreenwood91
Photo by David Holmes. The full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk

A relived Garry Hill praised the input of Giuseppe Sole and captain Mark Ricketts after Woking’s 1-0 victory against Braintree Town.

Woking went into the game having lost attacking trio Jack Marriott, Scott Rendell and Charles Banya back to their parent clubs after successful loan spells.

Hill started with Sole up front and was impressed that the striker took his opportunity

‘The players who came in today did very well and I thought Gez Sole down the middle lead the line very well.’ Hill told BBC Surrey after the game.

The Cards’ boss did confirm he was on the verge of signing a player on Friday night but gave fringe players a chance after the deal fell through.

‘I had an opportunity last night [to sign a player] and it wasn’t right. I felt like I would have been rushing to do something for the sake of doing it.’

Woking won the game after Joe McNerney scored the game’s only goal from close range on the hour mark.

Joe McNerney stabs home from close range
Joe McNerney stabs home from close range

Hill also praised captain Mark Ricketts after he overcame an illness to play a crucial role.

‘At 12 today and even at 3 wasn’t fit to play, he wasn’t very well at all, showed what a leader he is at this football club.

I thought that was a great example for anyone who plays at Woking to see the leader ship of your skipper.’

The win moved Woking up to 17th and onto 8 points separate the Surrey side from the relegation zone. Woking’s next game sees them travel to Welling United who currently sit 14th in the table.

Article by Jacob Greenwood @JGreenwood91

Photo by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk

Christmas competition

Being in the season of good will, Everything Woking fc wants to celebrate Christmas with our loyal followers.

Since launching our new website we are delighted to have hit 2,000 views just under halfway through the season.

It hasn’t been an easy season so far for The Cards but three wins in our last four games have made things look a lot nicer at the foot of the table and has seen us progress in the FA Trophy.

A Jack Marriott hat-rick fires Woking to three points against Halifax
A Jack Marriott hat-rick fires Woking to three points against Halifax

To celebrate this we will be giving away a Christmas-related gift to the winner of our latest competition.

To enter answer the following question –

Who was Woking’s top league goalscorer last season?

A) Kevin Betsy

B) Jayden Stockley

C) Bradley Bubb

Send your name and answer to everythingwokingfc@hotmail.co.uk or tweet us @EverythingWFC by midnight tomorrow to be in with a chance of winning.

Photo by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk

Getting to know the opposition – Hyde

Woking go in to this Saturday’s game with real optimism around the club following the loan signing of Jack Marriott.

The Ipswich youngster played a crucial part in Tuesday’s 3-0 win against Dartford and claimed an assist and a goal on his debut. Marriott’s Impressive performance amongst goals from Scott Rendell and Joe McNerney gave the Cards their second home win of the season and a win on Saturday could see them leave the relegation zone.Loanee Marriott celebrates the opener

Garry Hill will be looking to do the double over a Hyde side who have failed to pick up a league win yet this season. Woking won the reverse fixture 2-0 in September with Kevin Betsy grabbing a brace to take the three points.

We caught up with Hyde fan @Jamie_McNamee ahead of Saturday’s crucial game at the bottom of the table to see if the Tigers fans are remaining positive –

With nineteen games played you have drawn three and lost sixteen, how has this season started so badly for yourselves?

The season in a whole has been dreadful so far and I think there are certain factors that have contributed to this. The first one is the phenomenon of ‘Second Season Syndrome’ mean that we do not have the element of surprise on a lot of teams in this league anymore. Without a doubt last season the end result as a team was much greater than the individuals placed within the team but on paper this season’s squad is stronger than last season’s. A second factor is our lack of goals, especially when we are on top in games. There have been several games this year where Hyde have started like a house on fire and in some matches have even taken the lead but then that inevitable opposition goal comes all the momentum in the team is lost. The Chester game last week was a perfect example of this. Take the lead early on with a tidy finish by Louis Almond and after near a full half of a barrage on the Chester goal the strike right near the end of the first half and Hyde never really got back into the game up until about five minutes to go being 2-1 down. One last factor is just general bad form by certain players. Our experienced pair of Will Haining and Danny Carlton have been dreadful, Tom Collins early season heroics have seen him demoted to the bench. I could go one but the only real high points this season is our performance against Nuneaton where we should have won that game comfortably but ended up with a 2-2 draw, the recent performance of Louis Almond and on loan goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux.

You were confident when we played you in the reverse fixture you would just about survive this season, do you think the squad are good enough and will pick up in confidence when they finally get a win?

Hard to tell if they will pick up in confidence when they finally get a win because reaching that elusivWoking celebrate their victory at Hydee first win seems so near but so far at the moment. We do play some good stuff at times but it is quite annoying at times when opposition fans of other clubs play you and say “I don’t understand how you are winless this year” I do think that when we win a match we will go on a little run of form but unfortunately I think Hyde’s fate in the Conference premier will all ready of been sealed by then.

In what positions have you particularly been struggling and can you see the squad being strengthened in January?

We have seen a chopping and changing at centre Half this season with a total of about 7 different players being played there whether through injury or poor form. The best of them being Glenn Belezika, who is on loan from Oldham. Up front we lack goals from Scott Spencer and Reece Gray who were massive in helping Hyde reach this level two years ago. Do I see us strengthening in January? Hard to tell, depends on who is out there but Hyde will not invest any real money to strengthen due to our tight player budget. I think we will have to get rid of some to bring others in is basically what I think may happen.

Who is likely to pose Woking the biggest threat on Saturday?

Louis Almond, he has been on a good run in the last couple of games. Tricky little winger who can chip in with between 10-12 goals a season at this level and could cause you back four and keeper a problem in the up and coming encounter. Reece Gray with his intelligent way of finding space and threading through balls could also be a real threat.

Finally, what is your score prediction?

Let’s be both bold and stupid here I’ll go with a 3-1 victory to Hyde to break our winless streak.

Questions and article by Jacob Greenwood @JGreenwood91

Photo by David Holmes & Andy Nunn. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk

Come on you Cards!

Getting to know the opposition – Grimsby Town

Saturday’s game at home to Grimsby Town marks the start of a new month for Garry Hill’s side after a torrid October.

The Cards only scored one league goal in a month which saw them go without a win (excl Surrey Senior Cup) and go crashing out of the FA Cup at the first attempt to Luton Town.

November promises to be another tough month for the Cards and they start with a big game against Grimsby Town who have got off to an impressive start this season and sit in fifth place.

Woking draw a blank at home to Barnet in October.
Woking draw a blank at home to Barnet in October.

We talked to Mariners fan @TooGoodToGoDown ahead of their trip to Kingfield.

You had a very successful campaign last season but just fell at the final hurdle losing in the play-off semi-final and FA Trophy final. Did fans see this as a success and something to build on?

Absolutely. Historically Grimsby Town have spent more time in the Championship and League 1 than any other division. There’s an expectation – whether realistic or not – that we should be competing at the top end of the Conference. Last year saw us improve on the previous two and although we eventually ran out of steam and lost to Newport in the Play Offs, we looked like a team that would compete at the right end of the table. We’ve made some key additions, got a decent squad of players and it’s up to the players on the pitch to build on last year’s experiences.

 Being one of the ‘bigger’ clubs in the league and an impressive show last year, has your target been automatic promotion from the start?

Definitely. We have one of the biggest budgets and, in my opinion, some of the league’s best players. Anything other than promotion – whether automatic or through the Play Offs – would be a failure this year.

You took six points off of Woking last year scoring six and only conceding one. Has your squad changed much over the summer and who will we have to look out for?

Kevin Betsy in Woking's defeat to Grimsby last season
Kevin Betsy in Woking’s defeat to Grimsby last season

There have been some key additions, particularly in midfield. Scott Kerr and Paddy McLaughlin signed from York although only Kerr is likely to play. Scott Neilson is a fantastic winger who is likely to play on the left, fellow new signing Alex Rodman on the right. Ross Hannah has scored in his last four games and is probably our ‘danger man’. Liam Hearn, who scored 29 goals in 2011/12 before missing last season with a serious ankle injury, will likely start on the bench but is a seriously class act at this level.

Woking fans will be familiar with Aswad Thomas after his spell with the club, what kind of impact has he made at the club?

Aswad started like a train and was brilliant for the first half of last season, but ran out of steam and looked a shadow of the player. He started this season in a similar vein and things came to a head when he was sent off for violent conduct against Nuneaton. He missed a month’s worth of football and he’s come back in and been a completely different player. He’s attacked and pushed forward and defended well too. If he plays like that he’s a huge asset and will give Woking’s right hand side a tough afternoon.

 Finally, what is your score prediction?

We’re a little inconsistent and have a massive FA Cup game against Scunthorpe next Saturday which I suspect may be a distraction. Head says 1-0 to Woking, heart says 1-1 draw.

Questions and article by Jacob Greenwood @JGreenwood91

Photo by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk

Come on you Cards!

Getting to know the opposition – Luton Town

Woking take a break from league action this weekend as them come up against Luton Town in the FA Cup 4th qualifying round.

The Cards have failed to make the first round of the FA Cup since the 2010/11 season when a goalless draw at Brighton & Hove Albion saw a lucrative cup replay at Kingfield.

Garry Hill’s men will have to produce a spirited and much improved performance from their recent 4-0 defeat at home to Luton which saw a brace from Luke Cullen.

Luton brush Woking away earlier this season
Luton brush Woking aside earlier this season

Luton have made an impressive start to their league campaign after failing to reach a play-off spot last season and currently sit third in the table. We talked to @LordLuton to find out the latest from Kenilworth Road.

After missing out in previous seasons promotion looks like a real possibility for you this season. How have the club changed under John Still?

After an excellent pre-season, we started this season fairly poorly with just two wins in our first eight games. The big difference this season is that the fans can see progress and logic behind decisions like team selection, formation, substitutions etc. and since the first few games, we’ve started turning draws into wins and begun to look a threat. Still takes a refreshingly honest approach to communications and when we’ve been poor, he hasn’t made excuses but has recognised what we’ve all seen. Not every manager we’ve had recently has been quite so skilled in dealing with the press and that can cause extra pressure in what is already an incredibly high-pressure job. That said, Still also has the benefit of reduced expectations from the Luton crowd: we no longer believe we should be beating every team 5 or 6 nil and accept that this is an incredibly tough league to succeed in.

You had a great run in the FA Cup last season which saw you knock out both Wolves and Norwich. Do you think having had this run the majority of fans would trade an early FA Cup exit for a title challenge?

Some would happily see us exit the FA Cup as soon as possible so we can concentrate on the league but others realise that progress in the Cup and a big third round tie and/or a TV appearance can bring in money that can be used to strengthen a team that can compete to one that can aspire to win the league. I think the Trophy is possibly a different matter although if you look at teams that have been promoted from the Conference, many have been successful in both the FA Cup and Trophy too.

Scott Rendell scored the winner at Norwich in the cup and has been on a short term loan at Kingfield in the last month. Can you see him getting back into your squad on his return?

To be honest I can’t but that’s no reflection on his ability and attitude which I think are both top quality at this level. The fact is that right now there are several players who fit into the way we currently line up a little better than Scott would.

You handed out somewhat of a battering to Woking when you visited Kingfield earlier this month, do you think a similar squad will feature or will we have new players to look out for?

We’re unbeaten in eight games, including six wins, so I don’t expect to see major changes this Saturday from the team that won 4-3 away at Tamworth last Saturday. Possibly Alex Lawless, who

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scored the winner against Wolves last season, might come in for Sean Whalley. We’ve signed an under-19 Portuguese international player called David Viana, who had a spell at Atletico Madrid, who has yet to feature. If he comes off the bench and makes an appearance, he’s one to look out for.

Finally, what is your score prediction?

We’ve scored three or more in seven out of our last eight games so a solitary goal will probably settle it. I’ll go 1-0 to Luton but I’d prefer a 3-3 draw and a replay at Kenilworth Road.

Questions and article by Jacob Greenwood @JGreenwood91

Photo by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk

Come on you Cards!

Getting to know the opposition – Wrexham

After three clean sheets in three as many games Woking travel to North Wales on Saturday with reasons to be positive as they take on a strong Wrexham side.

After narrowly losing the play-off final to Newport County and winning the FA Trophy many fans believed that this would be the season The Dragons returned to the Football League. However, it has been a disappointing start and Wrexham now sit in 19th place after 15 games with only four wins to their name.

Wrexham grabbed a point with a late equaliser at Barnet last week, but the draw came at a cost as both Steven Wright and Johnny Hunt received straight red cards and will miss the game on Saturday.

We talked to Dragons fan Ryan Denoven to find out what has been going wrong at the Racecourse ground and what The Cards can expect on Saturday.

Q: You had a very good season last year which saw you make two trips to Wembley and saw you pick up the FA Trophy and narrowly miss out on promotion. Do you think this has put a lot of pressure on the team/manager and has been a reason for your somewhat poor start?

A: Last season was one of the most memorable seasons in our history, from joy in the FA trophy final to heartbreak in the playoff final. I suppose fans look to that as the benchmark of what we should be aiming for this season, perhaps losing in the final did get to the players a bit but there have been many reasons why we have had a bad start, injuries galore, individual errors especially from our keeper Mayebi and also we haven’t had much luck with refs either..

Q: After the Barnet game your manager, Andy Morrell, said you weren’t far away from picking up victories and had been unlucky, do you, and other fans agree?

A: It has been frustrating and there has been some fans calling for Morrell’s head, but but we are finally getting key players back from injury and starting to gel again, all about confidence at the moment as soon as we get that and get some form then we should start climbing the table!

Q: We had two very exciting games with yourselves last season (WREX 3-1 WOK) (WOK 2-0 WREX) , have you managed to keep hold of the majority of this squad?

Stockley stabs the ball in from close range as Woking beat Wrexham 2-0
Stockley stabs the ball in from close range as Woking beat Wrexham 2-0

A: Yes the games against you last season were great, I was impressed with your victory over us last season! Well, we have kept nearly all our players but the 3 players we did lose were Danny Wright, Chris Maxwell and Martin Riley and they were quality players for us, our defence doesn’t look the same without Riley at the heart of the defence and Maxwell between the sticks(he’s at Cambridge now) and Wright was a big powerful striker who we miss, we have brought in Joe Anyinsah, Dave Artell, Andy Bishop and Bailey-Jones, but the jury is still out on Bishop as he doesn’t get enough goals for us!

Q: Who will Woking have to look out for on Saturday?

A: Our captain Dean Keates, absolute quality for this level chases everything down, great at passing, great at set-pieces he’s just a proper skipper! If you watched the game on Sunday against Barnet you would’ve seen his free kick goal, great strike!

Q: And finally, what’s your prediction?

A: I say a hard-fought 2-1 victory for us, Joe Anyinsah and Jay Harris with the goals for us, I can see you scoring though. Good luck anyway and safe trip to any travelling fans!

Questions and article by Jacob Greenwood @JGreenwood91

Photo by David Holmes. A full set can be found at wokingfc.co.uk

Come on you Cards!

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