Late penalty heartache for in-form Cards
10:27am, Wed 9th Apr 2014
Grimsby Town 2 Woking 2
The Skrill Premier
8th April 2014
Itâ€™s a testimony to the way Woking have pushed on in the latter part of this season that their hosts were so pleased to grab a late, late equaliser against their part-time opposition on Tuesday night.
You would scarcely have credited the Cardinals of two months ago the ability to come to North Lincolnshire and hold out for 95 minutes before conceding a late equaliser.
It was the spirit of Kenilworth Road on show again, and while Garry Hillâ€™s heroes had to settle for one point this time, it stretched an amazing run and at least kept the team in the play-off picture.
Grimsby were out of the traps first, a pattern quickly emerging in which Sam Beasant was expertly covered by a determined defence.
Josh Payne was on hand to clear the best of those early three chances, and that cover continued at key times, Mark Ricketts and Joe McNerney nothing less than colossal in the centre.
Woking hadnâ€™t just come to defend, with Scott Rendell the main provider early on, although Jack Marriott seemed to have a frustrating night, more or less marked out of the game.
John Goddard went closest to unlocking the home defence, while as Grimsby threatened swift raids, Payne was twice called on to help out in the middle, acquitting himself superbly.
Adam Newton also played a crucial role, and kept main threat Lenell John-Lewis at bay, while Kevin Betsy proved sharp at the other end, at one stage cutting right across the area before testing home 'keeper James McKeown.
John-Lewis whipped up the home faithful with a mighty shot that flew just over, while as Woking countered, Marriott sliced wide after good work by Newton and Keiran Murtagh.
There were home appeals for a penalty as Craig Disley went to ground in the area, the ref signalling a corner instead, which Goddard cut out.
Payne was next to play Marriott in, while Ricketts and Rendell set up the next attack, Grimsby somehow clearing their lines.
Beasant saved well from a Disley long shot, while Payne tested the home defence from distance, then â€“ as play switched ends again â€“ Ricketts denied John-Lewis.
When Disley went down again in the box, the ref booked him, and as Woking countered, Goddardâ€™s pass was just a tad too strong for Rendell.
McNerney and Ricketts again stood up to the next raid, while Beasant caught Shaun Pearsonâ€™s header, although Newton was booked for stopping Alex Rodmanâ€™s left-wing raid.
Ex-Cardinal Aswad Thomas unleashed a mighty volley that just missed the target, and more chances followed before the break, Newton clearing a Scott Kerr free-kick, while McNerney and Ricketts took turns to thump away the next attacks and see the Cards to the interval on level terms.
Half-time: Grimsby Town 0 Woking 0
That pressure continued after the break with John-Lewis frustrated again, and after Ricketts tucked behind for a corner, Connor Jennings struck his effort wide with an overhead kick.
The hosts stepped it up, but still McNerney and Ricketts frustrated the Mariners, John Nutter also on hand to help calm the nerves.
Marriott and Betsy were still a threat on the break, but the visitors seemed to be living off scraps.
Beasant collected the next centre, while Rendell was desperately unlucky not to tuck home after a great run and cross from Newton, as the Cards got on top again.
From a deep Payne delivery, McNerney came close with a header, Marriott needing treatment in the aftermath, but John-Lewis might still have put Paul Hurstâ€™s side ahead, the striker inches away following another great Thomas delivery.
Beasant then made the save of the match, down to his right to push away, despite seeing Jenningsâ€™ shot late.
Again, Marriott was frustrated in the middle after great work on the flank by Betsy, while Jennings was just wide with another overhead flick.
Changes followed, with Giuseppe Sole soon in the thick of it in Marriottâ€™s place, while McNerney swept up at the other end.
The Mariners also stirred things up, subs Joe Colbeck and Oumare Tounkara soon making an impact.
But McNerney cut out from Colbeck, while Ricketts turned and cleared the next attack, with Payne, Murtagh then McNerney again on hand to clear as Grimsby came strong.
Pearson came even closer, his looping header striking the crossbar as Woking looked anxiously on, while Beasant punched away the next cross.
Then it all changed, Murtagh setting up Betsyâ€™s right-wing raid as Woking countered perfectly, the move taken on by Newton and Sole, with Grimsbyâ€™s defence confused and Betsy there to tuck away.
The small contingent of Cards fans in the top corner behind the goal went wild, but with at least six more minutes to go, the visitors knew they were still up against it.
There was a sign of that when Tounkara came close from distance, and then â€“ when Woking left a gap on the edge of their area - the Mariners sub fired home, right on the cusp of four added minutes.
Blundell Park came alive again, those whoâ€™d made their way to the exits early no doubt wondering when they got home just what theyâ€™d missed.
Within two minutes, Woking were back in front again, with the visitorsâ€™ bench erupting as Joey Jonesâ€™ power shot was parried by McKeown and Sole and Murtagh were first to react, the latter tucking home.
But it wasnâ€™t to be, and despite further stops from Newton and Beasant, a long ball upfield from the home keeper led to something of a confused mess in the Woking box, Disley going down again and the ref pointing to the spot this time.
Up stepped John-Lewis, striking beyond Beasantâ€™s right hand for the equaliser, or what Hill later described as Grimsby â€˜getting out of jail â€“ big timeâ€™.
Woking: Sam Beasant, Adam Newton, John Nutter, Mark Ricketts Â©, Joe McNerney, Kevin Betsy, Josh Payne, Scott Rendell, John Goddard (Joey Jones 89), Jack Marriott (Giuseppe Sole 71), Keiran Murtagh
Subs not used: Brett Johnson, Mike Cestor, Liam Allan
Goals: Betsy 84, Murtagh 90
Cautions: Newton 38, Nutter 90
Grimsby Town: James McKeown, Sam Hatton, Aswad Thomas (Jamal Fyfield 85), Scott Kerr, Shaun Pearson, Craig Disley, Scott Neilson (Joe Colbeck), Lenell John-Lewis, Alex Rodman, Connor Jennings (Oumare Tounkara 74), Andrew Boyce
Subs not used: Ross Hannah, Andi Thanoj
Goals: Tounkara 90, John-Lewis 90(pen)
Caution: Disley 28
MOTM: Mark Ricketts â€“ so many great performances, but the Cards skipper led by example from the back, proving equal to more or less everything that came his way from full-time opposition.