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Cards go down on Humberside

Andy Turner - 26th November 2014

Cards go down on Humberside
Grimsby Town 3 Woking 1
Vanarama Conference
25th November 2014

Woking eventually succumbed to a lively Grimsby side despite long spells of dominance but were ultimately the architects of their own downfall, conceding two poor goals.

Woking arrived at Blundell Park with the news that influential centre back Joe McNerney had received a retrospective red card and three match ban for an incident during the Barnet match. Joey Jones therefore partnered James Clarke in the centre of the defence, the other change being Jack Marriott starting in place of Giuseppe Sole.

Grimsby kicked off but it was the Woking trainer who was quickly into action as after just 6 minutes Jake Cole went down clutching his leg. It soon became clear that he could not carry on and Aaron Howe replaced him between the sticks.

Grimsby were soon into their stride with Carl Magnay, Lenell John-Lewis and Jon-Paul Pittman all looking lively as the latter whipped in an early cross to test the Woking defence. Then, after 14 minutes Grimsby took the lead, Carl Magnay was fed out on the left and his deep cross to the far post was met by Craig Disley, whose header looped over the stretching Howe and into the net.

Woking were in trouble again straight from the kick off as John-Lewis surged through the Woking ranks only for a last-ditch block by Clarke to save Woking going further behind. The visitors then created their first serious attempt on the Grimsby goal after 17 minutes when Betsy released Adam Newton down the right. He crossed in to Rendell who headed down to Marriott but the Grimsby defence cleared the danger.

Woking were getting into their stride now and moving the ball around nicely with Josh Payne orchestrating everything from midfield. One such move allowed Rendell to shoot on goal but his effort was diverted for a corner. Another Payne pass found the Cards' target man at the far post and he headed down to Marriott. The Ipswich youngster's effort was blocked but the rebound gave him a second opportunity which went sailing over the bar.

On 32 minutes, there was more bad news for Woking as Rendell went down clutching his foot. After lengthy treatment, he was forced off and replaced by Dean Morgan.

This second enforced change disrupted Woking’s play just as they were beginning to gain a grip of the match and Grimsby hit back. Firstly, Pittman released Nathan Arnold whose cross led to a shot which was well blocked by Jones. Grimsby then almost increased their lead having gained a corner. The kick was taken and with the Woking defence asleep, Craig Disley had a free header which thankfully he directed straight at Howe who made a comfortable save. The pressure still wasn’t over as Grimsby came straight back at Woking. An Arnold cross was cleared for a corner which was played to the edge of the box and Carl Magnay rifled in a vicious shot, luckily straight at Howe who gathered well.

The half ended with Woking gaining a couple of corners which were dealt with comfortably by the Grimsby defence.

Half-time: Grimsby Town 1 Woking 0

Woking kicked off playing towards the small band of Woking supporters who had been in good voice throughout the first half. However, it was Grimsby who had the first effort of the half as Pittman headed a Scott Brown cross straight at Howe. Woking hit back with Marriott’s neat footwork releasing Kevin Betsy, who surges forward and released Marriott whose shot whistled just past the post. Woking came back again with Marriott again who, from out on the right, whipped in a great cross to Morgan who was unable to make the most of the chance and the danger was cleared by the Grimsby defence.

On 54 minutes, a calamitous moment for Woking led to the second goal for the home side. Grimsby played the ball down their right and Howe came out to try to usher it out for a goal kick despite being under pressure from Pittman. Unfortunately, the ball died on the Woking 'keeper and Pittman was able to steal in and cross for John-Lewis to head home into an unguarded net. A real body blow for the Cards.

Needless to say this shook Woking but they came back with Betsy breaking through the Grimsby defence only to shoot weakly at the keeper while under pressure from the defence. Grimsby hit back and Pittman headed just over.

Then, on 67 minutes Woking reduced the arrears. From 20 yards out, Dean Morgan hit a speculative shot which, much to the joy of the travelling contingent, went past the 'keeper, clipping a post on its' way into the goal. This galvanised the visitors, who began to dominate proceedings. Firstly, Payne unleashed a glorious effort from distance which slammed against the post with the 'keeper well beaten. Betsy then raced into the area and crossed only for the Grimsby defence to clear the danger but only as far as Theo Lewis who shot agonisingly past the post.

Grimsby were struggling to cope with a Woking side playing at their best and the locals were starting to get restless. However, with time running out, the visitors shot themselves in the foot again. Grimsby were running down time by taking the ball into the corner. Woking regained possession but Lewis' attempted back-pass to Howe was under-hit, allowing Ross Hannah to nip in and pass to the unmarked John-Lewis who slammed home Grimsby’s third to seal the match for the home side.

This was a frustrating night for the Cards who played some attractive football at times and showed why they are up there towards the top of the league table. However, they gifted their opponents a couple of goals which, in the end, was probably the difference between the two teams.

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

My MOTM: Josh Payne. Had a commanding performance in the Woking midfield, everything good for the team came through him and he was unlucky not to score.
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