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3:00pm - SaturdaySat 7th MarchMar 2015
The Laithwaite Community Stadium | Att: 2653

Woking
Woking
1 - 2

Grimsby
Grimsby Town

Crucial test for Cards on Saturday

Brian Caffarey
7:31pm, Thu 5th Mar 2015
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.

Woking's play-off hopes battered by Grimsby Town

Haydn Cobb
8:54pm, Sat 7th Mar 2015
Woking 1 Grimsby Town 2
Vanarama Conference
7th March 2015

Woking’s play-off ambitions suffered a blow at the hands of promotion-chasing Grimsby Town, with goals from ex-Card Ollie Palmer and Jon-Paul Pittman clinching the game despite John Goddard’s late effort.

The Cards came into the game off back-to-back away wins at Lincoln City and Dartford but gifted two goals to their opponents, which gave them just too much to do to claw back an unlikely point.

Woking remain seventh in the Vanarama Conference on 56 points but their play-off hopes have been severely dented after Forest Green Rovers in fifth and Eastleigh in sixth both won, widening the points gap. Garry Hill’s men are now four points behind Eastleigh, who have two games in hand, and nine points off Forest Green, although Woking have a game in hand on them.

Palmer, on loan at the Mariners from Mansfield Town, came back to haunt Woking after graduating from the Cards' academy and put the visitors ahead on 41 minutes, slamming home into an empty net after Craig Disley’s effort rebounded off a combination of Jake Cole and the post.

Pittman gave Grimsby a two-goal cushion in the 65th minute with a header after the home side switched off after conceding a free-kick. Woking rallied through Goddard’s late strike, who finished after Scott Rendell's header across goal found the midfielder unmarked, but the Cards failed to find an equaliser in the dying minutes.

Woking welcomed loan signing Brian Saah into the starting line-up to provide cover for injured centre backs Joe McNerney and Mike Cestor. Saah has joined the club on a 28-day loan from Dagenham and Redbridge. The rest of the team remained unchanged from the victory at Dartford on Tuesday night.

Both sides eased into the game with the teams full of confidence coming off the back of consecutive wins. Garry Hill knew the Cards needed to maintain their recent good form if they were to overcome a stubborn Grimsby team who had only lost three away league games all season.

The Mariners had the best of the early chances, with Nathan Arnold latching on to a Pittman flick-on. The forward raced through on goal but Cole stayed on his feet, which forced the early shot from Arnold who lashed it wide of the target.

Woking began to get into their stride after 20 minutes with some slick one-touch passing in the Grimsby half but were struggling to find the final ball to cause the visitors' defence any real problems. Joey Jones advanced from right-back with an early low cross to the edge of the box which was cleverly dummied by Kevin Betsy for Josh Payne to arrive late, but the midfielder’s shot was deflected over.

Debutant Saah, who had only had one training session with the Cards, marshalled the Grimsby forwards superbly, showing the class which has earned him over 200 Football League appearances.

On the half-hour mark, Goddard volleyed over a good opportunity in the centre of the box as chances for both sides started arriving.

At the other end, Grimsby winger Jack Mackreth fired a cross-shot from the right flank but it eluded Palmer at the far post.

As the game approached half-time Woking fell behind after Palmer poked home. A long ball forward was only partially cleared by Chris Arthur, whose header fell kindly to Disley on the edge of the box. His half-volley bounced just in front of Cole who palmed it onto the post and back into the danger zone. Palmer was quickest to react to slam home over the floored goalkeeper.

Half-time: Woking 0 Grimsby Town 1

The home side continued to battle against the former Football League side after the break and Yemi Odubade had the first chance of the half. Beating the offside trap, the Woking forward attempted a scooped shot over the goalkeeper but his effort narrowly missed the left-hand post.

Woking started to chase the game with captain Mark Ricketts being substituted for Keiran Murtagh and changing to a 4-3-3 with Kevin Betsy pushing further forward.

However, minutes later the Cards fell two behind after Pittman beat Cole to a cross and headed in from close range. Woking were complaining about a dubious free-kick decision against them and were not alert to the quick re-start, which gave Pittman the opportunity to steal in and provide the Mariners with a two-goal cushion.

The home side continued to fight back, throwing on Giuseppe Sole and Charles Banya into attack. Sole’s first touch was a trademark free-kick, which was parried by James McKeown back into the penalty area. Rendell was first to the rebound but couldn’t provide enough power in the header and Grimsby cleared their lines.

Rendell then had another decent opportunity from a deep Payne cross, with the Woking top scorer getting ahead of his marker but his headed effort whistled wide.

Time started to run out for the home side but they did give themselves a lifeline through Goddard’s third goal in two games. Murtagh’s deep cross picked out Rendell at the far post, who nodded back across goal to Goddard, who smashed home from five yards out.

Despite Woking’s best efforts to find an equaliser, the Mariners saw the game out to take all three points and keep alive their chances of the automatic promotion spot. As for the Cards, this defeat will come as a bitter blow to their own promotion hopes as they see the gap widen above them.

Next up, the Cards travel to the New Bucks Head Stadium this coming Saturday to take on bottom of the table AFC Telford United.

Woking: Jake Cole, Chris Arthur, Brain Saah, James Clarke, Joey Jones, John Goddard, Mark Ricketts (Keiran Murtagh 57), Josh Payne, Kevin Betsy (Charles Banya 75), Scott Rendell, Yemi Obubade (Giuseppe Sole 75)

Unused subs: Andy Little, Adam Newton

Goals: Goddard (83)

Booked: Clarke (88)

Grimsby Town: James McKeown, Gregor Robertson, Shaun Pearson, Carl Magnay, Aristote Nsiala, Craig Clay, Nathan Arnold, Craig Disley, Jack Mackreth, Ollie Palmer (Danny Parslow 81), Jon-Paul Pittman (Ross Hannah 72)

Unused subs: Scott Brown, Christian Jolley, Paul Bignot

Goals: Palmer (41), Pittman (65)

Booked: Hannah (85)

Sponsors' MOTM: Brian Saah

Attendance: 2,653
WOKING LINEUP
23Jake Cole
21Joey Jones
32Chris Arthur
6James Clarke
24Brian Saah
4Mark Ricketts ('58)
7Josh Payne
22John Goddard
11Kevin Betsy ('75)
17Yemi Odubade ('75)
9Scott Rendell
BENCH
31Andy Little
2Adam Newton
8Keiran Murtagh ('58)
12Charles Banya ('75)
10Giuseppe Sole ('75)
Grimsby Town LINEUP

Woking 1 - 2 Grimsby Town (Garry Hill Interview)

Woking 1 - 2 Grimsby Town (Brian Saah Interview)

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