Preview by Dom Bleackley
With just three points separating the two sides heading into the weekend, a win for either team would sizeably alter the National League standings – the congested nature of mid-table is highlighted by a five point difference separating 12th and the relegation places. Arriving in a notable rut of seven straight defeats, The Cards will be hoping to turn the tide against a side they have enjoyed recent success over; under Darren Sarll’s reign last season, they took four points from the two meetings. By contrast, Wanderers extended their unbeaten run to three after booking their place in the Fourth Round of the Isuzu FA Trophy last Saturday afternoon, beating Maidenhead United 3-0. Marc White hailed the performance as “fantastic”, after watching his side score three goals in under 35 minutes to put the game beyond The Magpies before half-time, consigning Alan Devonshire’s side to their first defeat in over a month.
Continuing their trend of starting quickly, Wanderers found the opening goal inside seven minutes, following a sweeping move which resulted in Bobby-Joe Taylor’s cross inadvertently deflect off Casey Petit into the net. Despite it going down as an own goal, much of the plaudits should go to the roaming full-back, his raw ability to beat his man and deliver a cross with quality cannot be understated – nor can much of his first half performance, he was vital in much of Dorking’s fine attacking play. Following the own-goal, The Magpies tried to assert a foot into the game, and tested Harrison Male with some efforts, Zico Asare in particular seemed to be Maidenhead’s biggest threat. However their struggles to contain Bobby-Joe continued mid-way into the half, as the full-back found possession for himself in a similar position to which led to the first goal, but this time sharply cut in-field, onto his stronger left-foot, unleashing a fierce effort beyond Craig Ross to double Dorking’s lead. James McShane found his third goal in two appearances just shy of half-time, finishing off another well-crafted Wanderers attack after being found by George Francomb. The Wanderers boss was notably impressed with his teams ability to “win the half-battles” in midfield, singling out the strong displays of Josh Taylor and MOTM Niall McManus. While at the back the returning Tony Craig next to Haydn Hollis added steel to the Dorking stalwart, who picked up their first clean sheet at Meadowbank in over three months.
Wanderers control over proceedings was perhaps typified as academy product Joel Brown made his first competitive appearance for the first team, replacing James McShane and slotting into midfield. White stated the 16-year-old’s debut was a pleasing depiction of “the gap closing” between the academy and first team.
Eager to translate last weeks performance into Saturday’s Surrey derby, White’s men have the opportunity to record three home wins in a row for the first time this season, in what is expected to be a packed out Meadowbank.
Whilst Jimmy Muitt and Alfie Rutherford will both be available for selection again after missing out last weekend through being cup-tied, several players will remain side-lined with injury going into Saturday’s match. Dan Pybus (shoulder), Matt Briggs (hamstring), Tom Blair (ankle), Jason Prior (leg) and Harry Ottaway (knee) are ruled out, and despite featuring recently as a substitute for both the first team and B team, Seb Bowerman also joins the list of absentees as he recovers from an injection for his recent hernia operation.
Marc White confirmed one really positive piece of team news in his weekly update broadcast on Friday, that midfielder Charlie Carter, signed in October but ruled out since the week after with a broken wrist, will be included in the matchday squad to potentially face his former club this weekend.
Opposition Focus | The Cards
Woking head to Meadowbank one place above the relegation zone, only goal difference separates them and Ebbsfleet United in what has been a dramatic contrast to their voyage last season which saw them enter the play-offs. The club and Darren Sarll parted ways just over a month ago following a run of performances which left them with six points from a possible 27. Sarll led the team to their highest finish last campaign since returning to the division in 2019. Ian Dyer has since taken charge on a caretaker basis, the club announced last week that the search for their new permanent manager is ongoing.
Unlike Dorking, Woking crashed out of the FA Trophy on Tuesday, losing 3-2 at Weston-super-Mare, however Dyer may take some salvation in key players such as Manny Oyeleke and Dennon Lewis returning to the starting lineup.
Their loss on Tuesday was the second time in as many games Dyer’s side have surrendered a two goal lead. They led 2-0 at Boreham Wood inside just 16 minutes a fortnight ago in their last league outing, only to lose 4-2.
Despite their run of form making for displeasing viewing, Cards fans may travel with optimism as their last three wins have all come away from the Laithwaite Community Stadium.
The Cards announced the signing of forward Paul Osew last Friday, arriving following spells at Northampton Town and AFC Wimbledon in which he amounted 63 EFL appearances. The pacy winger provides some much needed cover on the flanks for Woking, who are without the injured Nana Boateng and Ricky Korboa. Greg Taylor, who signed for The Cards in the summer from Cambridge United, has also arrived with a wealth of EFL experience and has been featured regularly this campaign.
Padraig Amond and Reece Grego-Cox share the Cards top scorer title at present, with five goals each for the pair.
Last Time We Met
Two goals inside four minutes from Rohan Ince turned it around at Meadowbank back in April of this year to earn play-off chasing Cards all three points. The affair remained goalless for over an hour before Jason Prior converted a penalty won by James McShane, who was hauled down by the Cards ‘keeper after latching onto a loose ball. Determined to keep the automatic promotion dream alive, Woking responded well and found themselves level thanks to a goal of the season contender from Ince, who struck a half volley from long distance which looped over Dan Lincoln. Perhaps still stunned by the goal, Wanderers failed to deal with a Cards corner which was bundled in by Ince to put Woking in front. The win moved Woking up to third, beyond Chesterfield.
Priced at Adults £18, Cons £16, U18s £9 & U8s £5, secure your tickets online now:
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REMINDER – NO TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE TURNSTILES FOR THIS FIXTURE – PLEASE BOOK ONLINE!
The printed programme remains in place for 23/24, available at the merchandise and food outlets on Saturday priced at £3!
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Visiting Fans Information
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