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Crucial test for Cards on Saturday

Brian Caffarey - 5th March 2015

Crucial test for Cards on Saturday Woking v Grimsby Town
3pm on Saturday 7 March 2015

Two superb away wins have just about put the Cards back into contention for the final play-off spot but they need many more three-point hauls in their remaining ten fixtures to give themselves a realistic chance of coming out on top against the other competing teams. Can Garry Hill’s side make it three wins in a row against the high-flying Mariners? A big crowd is expected at Kingfield on Saturday for what should be a great contest. Come and join them!

WOKING

Following their victories at Lincoln City and Dartford the Cards now lie in 7th place, six points behind Forest Green Rovers, who come to Kingfield in a fortnight’s time, but with a game in hand. Eastleigh, one point ahead of the Cards, have two more games in hand, whilst FC Halifax and Gateshead, respectively one and three points behind the Cards, have three more games in hand on Rovers. Interestingly, both Halifax and Gateshead have also to visit Kingfield before the season ends.

For the moment Garry Hill’s side have just got to concentrate on the very difficult task of gaining three points at the expense of Grimsby, whilst hoping that their rivals drop points. Given that Rovers are away at Barnet and Eastleigh travel to Bristol Rovers, there must be a good chance of the latter happening.

There must be doubts about whether Joe McNerney, who hobbled off on Tuesday night, will be fit for Saturday’s clash but, otherwise, it’s hard to see Garry starting with anything other than the line-up which played so well at Lincoln and Dartford. Cards fans will be hoping that Yemi Odubade can add to his goal tally of three goals in five games since his loan began from Eastleigh.

Aswad Thomas, who recently returned to the Cards from Grimsby, is apparently suffering from a knee injury, which kept him out of Woking’s last two games, so will presumably miss Saturday’s game too.

GRIMSBY TOWN

Grimsby, who lost to Gateshead in the play-off semi-finals last year, look firm favourites to secure another play-off place, currently sitting in 4th spot, three points ahead of Forest Green Rovers and with a game in hand. But they seem very unlikely to secure the automatic promotion place, lying eight points behind Bristol Rovers, though with a game in hand.

They started the season with three draws, followed by two eye-catching wins: 6-1 at Gateshead and 7-0 at home to Altrincham. After mixed results in September they’ve been pretty consistent in picking up points. Early February saw two significant defeats – 1-0 at home to Bristol Rovers and 2-1 away to Forest Green Rovers – but they have since notched three straight wins: 3-1 away at Barnet and two 1-0 home wins over AFC Telford and Braintree. The Mariners have a very mean defence, having conceded only 30 goals in 36 games, eight fewer than the Cards, and with the same number of goals scored (56). Another measure of Woking’s task on Saturday is that the Mariners have lost only three league games on their travels this season.

As you’d expect, the Mariners have a strong squad, including ex-Card Ollie Palmer, on loan from Mansfield Town till the end of the season. Ollie recently suffered a hamstring injury but is expected to be included in Town’s 16 on Saturday. Midfielder Craig Disley has always played well against us, and other notable names include top scorer Lenell John-Lewis (“the Shop”), fellow strikers Jon-Paul Pittman and Ross Hannah, midfielder Jack Mackreth and defenders Paul Bignot and Aristote Nsiala. Recent signings include ex-Don Christian Jolley and defender Gregor Robertson, whilst Scott Neilson has left the club.

ADMISSION

Adults: £15
Over 65s and Students with a valid NUS card: £10
U16s: £3

The game will be segregated, with Grimsby fans allocated the open Chris Lane Terrace and part of the seated Leslie Gosden Stand.

MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

The Club’s stylish matchday programme is the same price as last season (£3) but now has 64 pages, with a soft laminate cover, a high quality ‘finish’ and improved design. Saturday’s edition highlights the ‘Dutch Cards’, a group of Dutch fans who frequently travel to England to see Woking play. If you can’t get to the game, you can pre-order a copy from the Club Shop on shop@wokingfc.co.uk With a big crowd expected on Saturday, copies are likely to be in short supply.

ONLINE COMMENTARY

If you can’t get to the game BBC Radio Surrey will be providing an online commentary at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/13629210

LAST TIME OUT

Grimsby Town 3 Woking 1
25 November 2014

Two calamitous errors presented the Mariners with the points in a game in which the Cards had spells of dominance.

Joey Jones replaced Joe McNerney in central defence after the latter had been awarded a retrospective red card from the home game against Barnet. After only seven minutes Aaron Howe had to come on to replace the injured Jake Cole in goal. Grimsby had started brightly and Howe soon had to pick the ball out of the net after Craig Disley met a deep cross at the far post and headed home.

Woking began to get back in the game, with Josh Payne orchestrating the midfield. But they were disrupted again on the half-hour mark when Scott Rendell injured his foot and had to be replaced by Dean Morgan. Grimsby finished the half strongly but still led by only a single goal.

Woking created some good chances immediately after the break but gave away a dreadful goal on 54 minutes when Howe unsuccessfully tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick, with Pittman then presenting John-Lewis with an unguarded net.

The Cards reduced the deficit in the 67th minute with a strike from Dean Morgan and then put Grimsby under pressure, with Josh Payne’s magnificent effort slamming against the post and Theo Lewis firing over. But it was the latter who was responsible for making the game safe for the Mariners, under-hitting a back pass in the 89th minute, with Ross Hannah stealing in to present John-Lewis with another gift-wrapped goal.

Grimsby Town: James McKeown, Scott Brown (Ross Hannah 79), Sean Pearson, Carl Magnay, Jack Mackreth, Craig Disley, Lenell John-Lewis (Hamish Watson 90), Jon-Paul Pittman (Craig Clay 79), Daniel Parslow, Nathan Arnold, Aristote Nsiala

Unused subs: Paul Bignot, Scott Neilson

Cautions: None

Goals: Disley (14), John-Lewis (54, 89)

Woking: Jake Cole (Aaron Howe 7), Adam Newton, Mike Cestor, James Clarke, Josh Payne, Scott Rendell (Dean Morgan 35), Kevin Betsy, Theo Lewis, Jack Marriott (Giuseppe Sole 75), Joey Jones, Chris Arthur

Unused subs: Keiran Murtagh, John Goddard

Cautions: Clarke (62), Newton (81)

Goals: Morgan (67)

Attendance: 2,663

COMING UP

The Cards travel to bottom-of-the-table AFC Telford on Saturday 14 March. Their next home game is on Saturday 21 March when Forest Green Rovers come to Kingfield. The re-arranged home game against Torquay United will now be played on Tuesday 24 March. Make sure you add this to your diary!

Come on, you Cards!

P.S. Don’t forget on Saturday to buy your raffle tickets for the Mike Cestor fundraising evening. They will be available from the Club Shop, priced at £5 a strip or three strips for £10. The money being raised will help to defray the cost of Mike’s operation, following the injury he received shortly before Christmas.

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