Aldershot Town picked up four points on the road last week, thanks to Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Eastleigh and the midweek 5-0 away win (a new club record) at Dover.
However, Shots’ could and probably should have picked up all six points, given their dominating second half performance at the Silverlake Stadium, in which Alfy Whittingham added to Craig Tanner’s first half strike and both Tanner and Bettamer saw efforts rebound off the woodwork, prior to Alex Wynter’s 92nd minute equaliser for the Spitfires.
On Saturday, Town take a break from National League action to host neighbours Woking in the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. The two sides have met just once before in the FA Cup – at this same stage, in 1998! 6,870 packed into the Recreation Ground only for the game to end 0-0. In the replay at Kingfield, the Cards prevailed 2-1, thanks to a late winner. They have also met twice in the FA Trophy with one win apiece from the ties played in 2000 (Woking) and 2008 (Aldershot). They also met in the Conference Shield in 2008, when Shots progressed in a penalty shoot-out, following a 2-2 draw.
In association with LV BET, Rob Worrall previews the game:
With the exception of Lewis Kinsella’s MCL injury, which will keep him side-lined until Spring 2021, Danny Searle’s other injury worries are all ‘hamstring’ related. Whilst Chike Kandi has been back in full training again following almost 4 weeks out, the FA Cup tie could come a little too soon for Alex Finney, who tweaked his at Dover, whilst Harry Panayiotou limped off with a tight hamstring at Eastleigh. Ross McCormack had 26 minutes at Eastleigh and continues to build towards full match fitness.
Nickname: The Cardinals
Cards Manager: Alan Dowson
Stadium: Kingfield, aka The Laithwaite Community Stadium
2019/20 National League Final Position: 10th (when season ended). Awarded 10th positions on Points Per Game (1.44)
The Gaffer: 50-year-old Gateshead born Alan Dowson, is now in his third season in charge of The Cards. He was a defender in his playing days, who made 55 Football League appearances for the likes of Bradford City and Darlington, before moving into Non-League, with Slough, Gateshead and Walton & Hersham. He spent 11 years with The Swans, the last three of which he also managed them, before switching to another management role with Kingstonian. In his second full season with The K’s, they won the Isthmian Division One South. They made a couple of play-off appearances in the Isthmian Premier but after the second of those in 2014, Dowson resigned. He was soon back in management, with Kingstonian and in 2015-16, he led them to the Isthmian Premier League title, scoring 105 goals. In 2018, he was appointed Woking manager and they finished runners-up in the National League South, came from behind late on to beat Welling in the Play-Off final and secured promotion to the National League. Last season Dowson steered the Cards to a highly creditable 10th place finish in their first season back at National League level.
Key departures from Kingfield over the summer included Godfrey Poku and Moussa Diarra to Havant & Waterlooville, Shaun Donnellan (Maidenhead United) and top scorer Jake Hyde, who signed for FC Halifax Town.
Dowson oversaw a fair amount of player movement in the close season, as just 10 Cardinals from last season remain. They include, Keeper Craig Ross, Defenders Jack Cook, Josh Casey & Ben Gerring, plus long serving midfielder Kane Ferdinand and former Premiership midfielder Matt Jarvis. He also kept forwards Max Kretzschmar and Dave Tarpey.
Including loanees, the Cards have 16 new first-teamers this season, bringing their squad to 26 players – one of the largest in the National League. However, that total does include four youngsters that have stepped up from their Academy side. Their most eye-catching signings have been the return of ex-Shot John Goddard, for a second spell at Kingfield, Midfielder Charlie Cooper (FC Halifax Town) and striker Connor Hall.
Much like last season, Woking have started the season in excellent form, beating Solihull Moors, Weymouth and Dagenham & Redbridge. They currently sit 4th in the fledgling National League table with 10 points from their first 5 matches. Their only defeat to date came away at Chesterfield.
Saturday’s referee is James Durkin who refereed 10 National League matches last season, showing 36 Yellow Cards and 2 Red Cards.
The match will be streamed and available on ‘Shots TV Live’ with Presenter Mark Butler, Match Commentator Rob Worrall and they will be joined by Special Guests; Colin Fielder, Grant Payne & Scott Steele in the studio at The EBB Stadium. BBC Radio Surrey will also be covering the match live with a four-hour Radio Special, covering the tie, with live online commentary from Gavin Dennison & Ian Nicholson.