Cards cruelly denied by last gasp Grimsby

Glen Harrington
9:45am, Sun 3rd Nov 2013
Woking 1 Grimsby Town 2

The Skrill Premier

2nd November 2013

Woking were cruelly denied what would have been a deserved point, after Craig Disley’s stoppage time strike earned Grimsby Town a late victory at Kingfield.

The visitors had initially taken the lead within the opening minute of the match, when Ross Hannah headed in Scott Kerr’s corner. But the home side fought back bravely against their play-off chasing opponents, and deservedly levelled when Kevin Betsy coolly slotted the ball under the onrushing James McKeown and into the Mariners net.
An even second half ensued, with limited chances for both sides, and a draw seemed both a likely and fair result until Disley crashed his shot past Sam Beasant mere moments into the three minutes of added-on time.

Garry Hill and Steve Thompson made just two changes to the Woking team beaten 1-0 by Luton Town in the FA Cup last Saturday, with Scott Rendell (ineligible to play against his parent club) starting in place of John Goddard, and new loan signing Charles Banya replacing Gavin Williams. This meant that Giuseppe Sole dropped into a deeper role behind lone striker Rendell, with Banya – who has recently been catching the eye playing in Fulham’s youth set-up – and Betsy acting as the two wide players. There was no room for Craig Sutherland, who made his debut against the Hatters, or Will Salmon on the Woking bench – but promising academy prospect Reece Beckles retained his place alongside Goddard, Anthony McNamee, Mike Cestor and Aaron Howe.

It was a game which started in the worst possible fashion for the Cards. A slight slip by Joe McNerney allowed the Mariners to win themselves an early corner, and Hannah was duly on hand at the back post to give his side the lead before a Woking player had even had control of the ball.

Josh Payne and Giuseppe Sole each shot half-chances wide of the target, while at the other end Joe Colbeck fired over from range, but in truth it was an evenly fought encounter throughout, with few opportunities at either end. Grimsby’s attacking prowess was also not helped by the loss of Andy Cook, who limped off mid-way through the first period and was replaced by Liam Hearn.

Despite not creating many chances, the hosts were playing well, arguably edging the midfield battle, and deserved their equaliser when it came just shy of the half hour mark.
Josh Payne struck a long ball forward out of defence towards Rendell, who sold his marker a dummy and let the ball run through towards the Grimsby goal. It was a trick that fooled almost everyone as Betsy was allowed to take up possession in relative freedom, and slot the ball past the sprawling dive of the Mariner’s goalkeeper. The goal helped produce the home side’s best period of the game, as Payne went close with a curling effort from the edge of the area that had to be punched behind by McKeown and Jack Parkinson headed a corner wide.

Half-time: Woking 1 Grimsby Town 1

Woking introduced Goddard at the interval in the place of Sole, who had endured a quiet first-half, and the midfielder came close to making an immediate impact – shooting wide on the run directly from the kick-off, before seeing another effort blocked after a clever pull-back from Betsy.

Adam Newton clipped an ambitious effort with the outside of his foot narrowly over the bar soon after as the Cards continued to enjoy the better chances, although Hannah will think that he should have done better after finding himself free on the corner of the Woking six-yard box, his turn and shot only finding the side netting.

Goddard went close again after former Woking defender Aswad Thomas gave the ball away in midfield, Banya played Rendell into space down the right, and the midfielder only just fell short of latching onto his team-mate’s ball across the box. The young loanee Banya grew into the game steadily, and enjoyed his best moment with a neat left footed shot from the edge of the area, that needed to be pushed wide by McKeown. Outside of this, his speed was his most evident attribute. Indeed, he fell just short of beating the Mariners goalkeeper, and getting on the end of Payne’s hopeful long ball five minutes later.

But it was Grimsby who were to have the final say, as a minute into stoppage time the ball fell kindly for Disley on the edge of the Woking area, and the midfielder slammed his shot into the top left hand corner of the goal, giving Beasant no chance.

It was harsh on a Woking side for whom nothing seems to be going right of late. Despite impressing for long spells against a team which is now placed fourth in the Skrill Premier table, the Cards fell to a third successive defeat in all competitions: players in red and white were left crumpled on the ground in despair as their visitors gleefully celebrated their unlikely winner.

The result was particularly cruel on the home side’s back four and defensive midfield duo, particularly Joe McNerney and Mark Ricketts – the two long-serving stalwarts as reliable as ever whenever the Cards were on the back foot.

The problem still appears to be a lack of cutting edge up front. Rendell was kept relatively quiet by the giant Clayton McDonald, the six foot six former Manchester City youth player while, as has been seen often this season, Betsy invariably found himself surrounded by defenders within moments of taking up possession. Banya’s impact was restricted by his unfamiliarity with his new teammates, while the influence of the experienced Gavin Williams was perhaps missed at times.

In reality, a positive result from today’s game would have been a welcome bonus for Woking against their high-flying opponents. But defeat does place even more importance on two far more winnable home games, on paper at least, against Dartford a week on Tuesday, and then winless Hyde four days later.

Woking: Sam Beasant, Adam Newton, John Nutter, Jack Parkinson, Joe McNerney, Mark Ricketts, Josh Payne, Charles Banya, Giuseppe Sole (John Goddard 46), Kevin Betsy, Scott Rendell.

Unused Subs: Aaron Howe, Anthony McNamee, Mike Cestor, Reece Beckles.

Goal: Betsy 28.

Booked: None.
Grimsby Town: James McKeown, Sam Hatton, Scott Kerr, Shaun Pearson, Aswad Thomas, Clayton McDonald, Craig Disley, Joe Colbeck, Ritchie Jones, Andy Cook (Liam Hearn 26), Ross Hannah (Caine Winfarrah 88).

Unused Subs: Paul Bignot, Andi Thanoj, Paul Walker.

Goals: Hannah 1, Disley 90.

Booked: Hatton 32.

Sponsor's MOTM: Mark Ricketts – Solid and dependable in front of the back four, the captain worked tirelessly to keep Grimsby’s frontline quite until the final moments.

Attendance: 1,432

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