Spirited Cards make a game of it

Brian Caffarey
9:06am, Wed 20th Apr 2016
Woking 1 Grimsby Town 3
Vanarama National League
19 April 2016

Any hopes that the Cards had of building on their win at Forest Green Rovers at the weekend were dashed by the expert finishing of the Mariners’ star striker, Padraig Amond, who netted a hat-trick to restore his place at the top of the league’s goalscoring charts. After Amond had put Grimsby 2-0 ahead in the 60th minute it looked like ‘game over’ but the Cards responded well to give the visitors an uncomfortable twenty minutes or so as Bruno Andrade pulled a goal back in the 71st minute. However, Amond restored order in the 85th minute with his third strike and the Mariners sealed a deserved win to consolidate their play-off place.

On a bright, clear spring evening the Cards lined up with an unchanged side, kicking towards the KRE. But it was the visitors who started quickest, making progress down the Cards’ right flank, as they were to do most of the first half. It wasn’t long before Jake Cole was called into action, palming away a vicious effort from the lively Omar Bogle at the foot of his post.

The Cards, though much more intermittently, showed some attacking promise, with Jake Caprice, whose pace troubled Grimsby, especially in the second half, firing in a low effort from distance, while Andrade broke at speed out of defence but was unable to find Daniel Carr, who, in contrast to the support which Bogle and Amond provided for each other, looked an isolated figure most of the time up front.

Grimsby continued to play patiently, moving the ball well as they stretched the Woking defence from side to side and then making quick, incisive darting moves at the heart of the Cards’ defence. But when the opening goal came in the 16th minute it resulted not from a flowing move but a moment of individual brilliance from Amond, seizing on a loose ball and rifling an unstoppable shot from 25 yards into the far corner.

The Cards nearly conceded again straightaway as Bogle broke clear, only to be foiled by Cole. The Cards then went close themselves. At the end of a promising move Carr was fouled a few yards outside the box. Cameron Norman’s excellent free-kick cannoned off the post with keeper McKeown well beaten.

Amond was less clinical with his next effort skying it well over the bar from a few yards out before Mark Ricketts and Matt Robinson combined to block another Bogle strike.

The Cards sprung into life again as an attacking force when Andrade spread a fine ball out of defence to Caprice on the opposite flank, whose well-directed cross found Carr at the far post but, under pressure, the on-loan striker could not hit the target.

Grimsby continued to look comfortable, keeping possession well and patiently looking for openings but the Cards’ defence did not come under particular threat leading up to half-time, with only a Bogle effort, swept over the bar, causing any real anxiety. But the Cards fashioned another chance immediately before the break as Andrade’s low cross to the near post found Keiran Murtagh just in front of his marker but the Woking midfielder miskicked and the chance was gone.

Half-time: Woking 0 Grimsby Town 1

The Cards made a lively start to the second half, seeming to gain more possession in the middle of the park, from where Robinson was able to feed Andrade and Caprice more often. A Caprice cross was initially fumbled by McKeown. But Cole had more to do as he initially smothered a fierce Bogle snap shot before grabbing the ball before it crossed the line.

A Norman effort from distance was deflected for a corner, from which Brian Saah side-footed over the bar. Caprice shone again as he whipped in a dangerous cross which went right across the face of the Grimsby goal.

But in the 60th minute the Cards’ hopes of an equaliser were suddenly dashed by another piece of top-class finishing by Amond. The ball was slipped into him just outside the area; he surged forward and lashed the ball past Cole to make it 2-0 to the visitors.

The prospect loomed of a dull remaining 30 minutes with Grimsby comfortably playing out the game to claim an easy win. But Jones’s substitution for Matt Butcher, which followed Gez Sole’s replacement of Carr, gave the Cards added impetus in midfield and up front and, with Caprice’s and Andrade’s pace always a threat, the Cards began to look more dangerous.

On 71 minutes Woking pulled a goal back. Caprice’s cross was flicked on by Sole to Andrade at the far post and, from a couple of yards out, he crashed the ball past McKeown.

Grimsby began to look a little rattled as Murtagh and Caprice combined to present Robinson with a half chance, with his deflected effort winning a corner. Then some brilliant wing play from Andrade, nutmegging his marker, enabled him to get down the line and put in a cross which a Grimsby defender completely miskicked. Norman put the ball back in but McKeown was able to grab Sole’s header. Woking threatened again as McKeown took the ball off Caprice’s head from an Andrade corner.

But just as we thought we were in for an interesting finale Amond popped up again in the 85th minute to restore order. Saah and Bogle challenged for a high ball, which Amond then ran onto before crashing it past Cole to claim his hat-trick.

It was then easy enough for the Mariners to see the game out, making three substitutions as they wound the game down to a close.

So, the Cards’ miserable record against the Mariners continues but the side at least showed more intent than they had up at Blundell Park in the FA Trophy tie. Grimsby are a fine side from back to front and their wealth of attacking options is in stark contrast to Woking’s. But the Cards showed, especially in the second half, that they can play a bit too, with the crowd demonstrating their appreciation at the end for a spirited display.

Woking: Jake Cole, Cameron Norman (Godfrey Poku 86), Mark Ricketts, Brian Saah, Chris Arthur, Jake Caprice, Matt Robinson, Keiran Murtagh, Matt Butcher (Joey Jones 66), Bruno Andrade, Daniel Carr (Giuseppe Sole 56)

Unused subs: Nick Hamann, Andrew Mills

Goal: Bruno Andrade 71

Grimsby Town: James McKeown, Richard Tait, Josh Gowling, Craig Disley, Omar Bogle (Shaun Pearson 90), Padraig Amond (Jon Paul Pittman 90), Andy Monkhouse (Craig Clay 88), Aristote Nsiala, Danny East, Jon Nolan, Evan Horwood

Unused subs: Ryan Jennings, Patrick Hoban

Goals: Padraig Amond 15, 60 and 85

Sponsor (Curchod and Co) Man of the Match: Mark Ricketts (pictured)

Attendance: 1394

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