After a 12-month absence, Woking returned to non-league's top tier in May 2019 after coming out on top in the National League South play-offs under manager Alan Dowson.
Name: Woking Football Club
Nickname: The Cards
Stadium: Kingfield Stadium
Manager: Alan Dowson
2018/19 League Position: 2nd (Vanarama National League South)
Notable Honours: Conference South Champions (2011/12), FA Trophy Winners (1994, 1995, 1997).
How they got here
The Cardinals found themselves relegated in 2018 and began re-building ready to successfully mount an immediate promotion challenge. The Cards began the season on a roll, eventually challenging eventual champions Torquay United until April where Woking appearaed to dramatically fall off, losing three of their five games that month, and only winning the once. In the playoffs they eliminated Wealdstone in the semi-final 3-2 before hosting Welling United in the showpiece. Just a goal decided the finale with Armani Little's strike sending his side towards promotion.
Gateshead-born Alan Dowson began his career unexpectedly with Millwall, signing professional terms in 1988. He made just a single appearance for the Lions - as well as a brief loan spell with Fulham - before his departure. His playing career went on to list the likes of Bradford City, Darlington, Slough and Gateshead before becoming player-manager with Walton & Hersham in 2004. He spent three years with the Surrey-based side before taking charge at Kingstonian and Hampton & Richmond. Woking was his next stop in the summer of 2018, earning his side promotion in his first season.
Ones to Watch
Striker Dave Tarpey spent a period on loan with Woking last season scoring three goals in seven appearances, leading to Dowson bringing in the Reading-born forward on a permanent deal. Tarpey bagged 87 goals in just shy of 125 matches for Maidenhead United between 2014 and 2017, leading to a move to Barnet. However, he would sustain a serious injury which hampered his time in the EFL, and now the striker is aiming to get back to hitting the net on a regular basis once more.
Haven't we met before?
We've met on a number of occasions in the National League with the last of those coming in March 2018. Josh Staunton's goal gave Woking the lead before Staunton levelled via an own goal. Marcus Kelly gave Wrexham the lead before a late Joey Jones effort ended the game at 2-2. Our last meeting at the Racecourse finished 1-0 to the Dragons via James Jennings' cross dipping the keeper and finding the top corner.
Built in 1921 Kingfield Stadium has been Woking's home for almost a century, with non-league football being played in its entirety. The ground has changed over the years, with the main stand rising high above all others behind the goal, as opposed to along the touchline. With a capacity of 6,036, the record attendance came in 1958 in the FA Amateur Cup recording over 7,000 against Finchley.