Woking v Boreham Wood
Saturday 11th February 2023, 3.00pm
Laithwaite Community Stadium, Vanarama National League

The Wood will be looking to continue their unbeaten league run since the turn of the year, and extend their winning streak to four games with a trip to fellow promotion hopefuls Woking.

IN FOCUS: WOKING

After spending their entire history in the non-league, Woking could finally get out of the National League at the right end and are on course for their first genuine promotion attempt from the fifth tier. Under the guidance of former Stevenage and Yeovil Town manager Darren Sarll, they made their best start to a National League season since their glory years in the 1990’s and have subsequently picked up more points at this stage than in any other campaign since their return to the National League South in 2018/19. The Cards currently sit third in the league with title rivals Notts County and Wrexham being the only teams to better the Surrey-based outfit this season, and aiding their rise up the league has been the decision to allow Sarll to stamp his own mark on the squad. He reunited with Luke Wilkinson and Dan Moss with whom he worked with at Yeovil along with Scott Cuthbert with whom he worked with at Stevenage, and has made sure they weren’t impacted by high profiles departures such as Inih Effiong, Max Kretzschmar, Jamar Loza, Moussa Diarra and Tom Champion. New signings Reece Grego-Cox, Pádraig Amond, Rhys Browne and James Daly all top the scoring charts this season, while January additions Marcus Dackers, Solomon Nwabuokei, Charlie O’Connell, Jake Hessenthaler and Bryant Bilongo offer Football League quality having dropped into the fifth tier on loan, contributing to the Cards’ vast improvement on the previous campaign having scored more and conceded less than they did at the same stage last season.

LAST TIME OUT

Chesterfield 1-3 Woking
Tuesday 7th February 2023
Vanarama National League

First half goals from Pádraig Amond, James Daly and Jim Kellerman sealed victory over play-off rivals Chesterfield, with the Cards increasing the gap between themselves and those below them.

Darren Sarll’s men started off the better of the two sides with Daly setting the tempo early on, and a one-two with Amond saw the latter fire the ball across the face of goal. It was the Irishman who would open the floodgates after just six minutes with a long ball seeing Rhys Browne tee up his man who slotted home, and they would net a second in as many minutes when some lax defending allowed Daly to round the keeper and finish into the bottom corner, sparking Woking jubilation as opposed to the boos swirling from around the home end. The Spireites sought an immediate response with Ryan Colclough testing Craig Ross, who would be called into action again to deny Armando Dobra before Rohan Ince threw his body in front of the ball to prevent another strike flying towards goal. Luke Wilkinson almost made it three when he forced Lucas Covolan into an important save, but it wouldn’t be long before they added their third with the hosts gave away possession to Daly, who’s pinpoint cross found Kellermann who produced bullet header to add gloss to the scoreline against his former club, and giving the Cards a comfortably advantage going into the break.

Despite having a mountain to climb in the second half, the Spireites showed signs of improvement and pulled a goal back just four minutes in with a sumptuous strike from Liam Mandeville which flew into the top corner. Chesterfield continued to push forward after this with several crosses having to be well defended by the Cards backline as well as Ross being forced into action. Woking continued to threaten at the other end though with Daly causing problems throughout, and Covolan would be called into action to parry away a couple of strikes from the forward. Chesterfield continued to push, with Ince needing to make an important intervention to send Jes Uchegbulam’s cross over the crossbar. Nine minutes of added time saw them ramp up the pressure, but the Cards were able to see out an important three points.

RECENT FORM

Chesterfield (A) W 1-3
Eastleigh (A) L1-0
Torquay United (H) D1-1
Scunthorpe United (A) W0-2
Dagenham & Redbridge (A) W1-2
Aldershot Town (H) W4-1

Although the Cards have been in excellent form throughout the season, they haven’t quite been able to string together an extended run of games without defeat and this has been no different over the last few weeks. Victories over Aldershot Town, Dagenham & Redbridge and Scunthorpe United saw them kick-off the new year in positive form, having lost twice in a row shortly before the festive period, and they remained unbeaten for a fourth successive game despite being held by relegation threatened Torquay United. This would precede defeat at the hands of Eastleigh though, with Vincent Harper condemning Woking to a second loss against the Spitfires in a little over a month, but three first half goals saw them bounce straight back to overcome play-off rivals Chesterfield in spectacular fashion last time out, standing them in good stead for the visit of another play-off hopeful in Boreham Wood.

IN THE DUGOUT: DARREN SARLL

Darren Sarll enjoyed a short playing career before transitioning into coaching, turning out for Hitchin Town, Berkhamsted Town, Bedford Town, St Albans City, Chelmsford City, Dunstable Town, Hemel Hempstead Town, Chesham United and Biggleswade United, after starting in the Ipswich Town academy. His first professional coaching job saw him take over the reins at Stevenage Borough before joining Brentford as youth team manager ahead of the 2008/09 season, but Sarll would return to Stevenage initially as caretaker manager before taking over the role full time. He spent two seasons at Broadhall Way before departing and he would return to youth football with a brief role in charge of Watford’s academy, before later coming back to senior football when recently-relegated Yeovil Town opted to make him their manager. Having signed a three-year deal at Huish Park, Sarll almost made it to the end of his contract before choosing to leave in March 2022, with Woking announcing him as their new manager on the same day. He has taken the Cards to new heights since his arrival, guiding them to their best points tally at this stage of a season since their return to the fifth tier in 2018/19 with title rivals Notts County and Wrexham the only teams to better the Cards this season.

ONE TO WATCH: PÁDRAIG AMOND

Republic of Ireland youth international Pádraig Amond has racked up almost 200 goals in over 650 career appearances having turned out for 11 different clubs, and the prolific forward is still going strong at the age of 34 after adding Woking to his list of employers in the summer of 2022. The former National League Golden Boot and promotion winner became renowned for his goalscoring abilities in both league and cup football throughout his career, after beginning his career with his native Shamrock Rovers where he spent a decade after joining the club in 1999. He would rack up 75 times for the Hoops’ first team before joining rivals Sligo Rovers, enjoying a breakout season which saw him notch 23 goals in all competitions and subsequently earn a move to Portuguese Premier League club Pacos de Ferreira. His opportunities would prove to be limited at Estadio da Mata Real though, moving to England after just two years in Portugal when he made the switch to League Two club Accrington Stanley on an initial loan.

He would enjoy spells at Morecambe, Grimsby Town and Hartlepool United, with his most prolific stint coming with the Mariners which saw him fire home 37 goals in all competitions as they secured promotion to the Football League via the play-offs. The forward later moved to fellow League Two side Newport County where he became a firm fan favourite, scoring 59 times in 203 appearances including exploits in the FA Cup with goals against the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, Middlesbrough and Manchester City putting him in the top 50 highest goalscorers in the cup’s 152-year history. He would spend the 2021/22 campaign on loan at Exeter City where he contributed to the Grecian’s successful promotion campaign, before departing South Wales permanently after five years. He would return to the National League with a move to Woking, and he has played more games than any other outfield player along with scoring eight goals, something which is bettered only be Reece Grego-Cox.

LAST TIME WE MET

Boreham Wood 0-1 Woking
Saturday 12th November 2022
Vanarama National League

Reece Grego-Cox’s early opener was enough to seal all three points against the Wood, who were punished after a disappointing display at the LV BET Stadium Meadow Park.

Despite what was to follow, it was the Wood who had the better of the opening exchanges and looked bright and lively early on. A pinpoint Zak Brunt free kick needed a last ditch clearance from Joe McNerney to prevent Jamal Fyfield got on the end of it, shortly before an excellent run and pass from Brunt picked out Cameron Coxe whose well struck shot was well gathered by Craig Ross. The visitors quickly turned the game on its head when the usually reliable Nathan Ashmore was caught napping and ended up being dispossessed by James Daly who played it back to Grego-Cox who put the ball into an empty net from just outside the penalty area to give Woking an early lead. The goal knocked the stuffing out of the hosts who struggled to regain control, and they nearly conceded another when Daly dispossessed Femi Ilesanmi before seeing his cross deflected just over. The Cards’ forward later shot over the bar before Grego-Cox had another chance himself, but only succeeded in hitting his own player when it looked to be heading goalward.

The Wood started the second half on the front foot and there was some good combination play between Danny Newton and Lee Ndlovu but ultimately, they were no match for the outstanding Scott Cuthbert and Joe McNerney at the heart of the Cardinals defence. Grego-Cox shot wide at the other end just after the hour-mark shortly before a long-range effort from Jim Kellerman was easily gathered by Ashmore. Daly tested the Wood keeper again soon after, but chances remained at a premium for much of the half with the visitors maintaining control. The Wood finally put together a good move in the final minute of normal time, with Coxe sending a cross went well over the bar after some good combination play from Tyrone Marsh and Jack Payne, before the referee signalled for full time as the visitors held on comfortably for the victory.

OUR TOWN. OUR CLUB. OUR COMMUNITY.

Loading

Share This