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The opening day – Friend or foe for the Cards?

Jacob Greenwood

August 10th has been a date in the diary for all conference football fans since the league came to a climax in late April. The opening day of the season is one of the most eagerly anticipated days of the season, but how have Woking fared in recent history on the first day of new campaigns.

Wrexham 3 Woking 1 (Bubb)

With Wrexham spending heavily on their squad and one of the favourites for promotion it was always going to be a difficult trip for the Cards. First-half goals from Rob Ogleby and Dean Keates brought Woking down to earth with a bump after a very successful 2011/12 season. Despite a goal from loan signing Bradley Bubb, Mark Creighton headed in late in the game to seal a 3-1 victory.

Sutton United 0 Woking 5 (Binns,Hammond,Sole,Sole,Cowan-Hall)

Many Woking fans thought that this year could be the season they finally saw their side win the Conference South and real belief was installed after a faultless performance at Gander Green Lane. With new signing Dale Binns slotting home in to an empty net after only two minutes the fuse was lit as the Cards fan riot in front of 1,200 fans. This performance set a standard for the reason as Woking went on to win the league title.

Binns scores the opener Vs Sutton
Binns scores the opener Vs Sutton

Woking 0 Dover Athletic 1

After losing the play-off final the season before to Bath City many Woking fans were positive that this could be the season they win automatic promotion. Dover were also strong favourites for the league and this was seen as a massive opening game. The game was ultimately decided when Woking ‘keeper, Lenny Pidgeley, tried to shield the ball out for a goal kick and failed miserably as Adam Birchall powered past him and set-up Elliot Charles to seal a 1-0 win for Dover.

Lenny Pidgeley loses the ball
Lenny Pidgeley loses the ball

Welling United 1 Woking 2 (Thomas, Sole)

After our relegation from the Conference National the season before, this was season as a new start for the football club and a chance to be a ‘big fish in a small pond’.

Woking went behind after conceding an early penalty but fought back with goals from Aswad Thomas and a late penalty from Giuseppe Sole stole all three points for the Cards, who after a slow start made the play-off final in their debut season in the Conference South.

Aswad scores the equaliser at Welling
Aswad scores the equaliser at Welling

All photos by David Holmes and can be found at http://www.wokingfc.co.uk/gallery/

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Everything Woking FC needs you and your opinions!

With the new season now only days away we are looking for your pre-season thoughts and predictions.

We are looking to do an audio interview with one (or more!) Woking fans before the start of the season to go on our website.

If you would be able to help us then please email everythingwokingfc@hotmail.co.uk

or contact us on twitter @EverythingWFC

Thank you.

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What we can expect from Gavin Williams

By Jacob Greenwood

Woking today confirmed that they have re-signed forward Gavin McCallum after an impressive pre-season and Gavin Williams who was a free agent after leaving newly promoted Yeovil Town at the end of last season.

Cards fans will know all about McCallum after he spent last season at Kingfield but what can we expect from the new signing? Williams signed for Bristol City in 2008 and

Williams featuring for Woking vs Bournemouth last Saturdayspent two and a half years at Ashton Gate, so we talked to Robins fan Liam Horler (@Liam_Horler) to find out more on Woking’s new forward.

Q. What position/positions did he play for Bristol City?

Gavin was often deployed on the right hand side of midfield for Bristol City, this was one of the reasons why he didn’t have perhaps the impact on the team that he could have had he been played in a different position. The times that he played as a central-attacking midfielder in a midfield of five was when he was at his best. But because then manager, Gary Johnson was keen to play two strikers and a midfield four, Gavin would often find himself on the bench, rather than played as one of the two central midfielders, mainly because Johnson didn’t trust his tackling ability, which is crucial in a midfield two the Championship.

Q. What are his strengths and weaknesses?

Williams’ main strengths are his dribbling ability and ball control. He often used to skip through two or three players in a central position in the opposition half with what seemed like ease. He’s also known to like a shot on goal. Don’t be disheartened by the fact he only scored three goals for City (most of his 52 appearances came as a substitute). A 30 yard volley against Derby County at Pride Park right in front of the City fans sticks in my mind but if you’d ask most Robins fans “Which Gavin Williams goal do you remember the most?” They would no doubt say his last minute equaliser against Cardiff City in the FA Cup (for different reasons!) He is also a terrific passer of the ball.

I’d say Williams had two weaknesses during his time that I watched him at Ashton Gate. Firstly his lack of pace hindered him a little bit in a very quick league but this might not be as much of an issue making the step down to the conference. Secondly he is a little bit ‘light weight’ and used to get shrugged off of the ball sometimes but when in a free role between the midfield and strikers this wasn’t too much of a problem. Another thing which stuck out for me whilst watching Williams was that he is very much a confidence player. When he’s happy with his game and the team are winning he was a joy to watch (he linked up very well with Lee Trundle whilst the two were together at the club) but when the team are on the back foot he does have the tendency to go missing somewhat.

Q. Will he be remembered as a player who never fulfilled his potential with yourselves due to injuries?

Yes, I couldn’t have put it better myself! His injuries along with Gary Johnson not really being able to put him in his best position were the only thing that stopped him fulfilling his potential with City, he no doubt had the talent.

Q. Bearing in mind he has dropped down into non-league, do you think he could be a stand out player?

I’ll be honest in saying I haven’t watched too much Conference football and I obviously haven’t seen Williams play since 2010, when he was 29 years of age. But I wouldn’t have thought he would have lost too much of his ‘spark’ in three years. If Gavin stays injury-free and keeps his confidence high I have no doubt that he will be one of the stand out players not just for Woking but in the whole league.

Q. Not many players go from City to Rovers, was this a move that disappointed you and other fans?

Not many players swap Bristol allegiances without playing for a few clubs before but Gavin was one that did that. This didn’t disappoint me as much as it would have if Bristol Rovers were in the same division as City and if he’d left us for what he thought was a better challenge. He was released by us, because Gary Johnson decided to spend some money to bring in what he thought were better players, this left Gavin surplus to requirements and the fact that he was released rather than officially transferred from us to them made the blow a little softer. Gavin is also a nice man and very professional player who works hard for the team, bear in mind that he’s a Cardiff City fan and obviously joined Bristol Rovers so for Bristol City fans to respect him shows he put in a lot of effort for the shirt. If Gavin Williams came back to Ashton Gate in an opposition shirt (Woking against Bristol City in the FA Cup first round this season? You never know), he would certainly not be jeered; in fact he’d probably get a very good reception.

I shall look out for how Gavin gets on this season; you’ve got yourselves a very talented player.

Liam Horler, Bristol City season ticket holder

Twitter: @Liam_Horler

Photo by David Holmes

Full set of photos can be found at – http://www.wokingfc.co.uk/gallery/woking_2013_14/woking_2_-_bmouth_1