Cards face tough trip
1:36pm, Sun 21st Feb 2016
Grimsby Town v Woking
Vanarama National League
7.45pm on Tuesday 23 February 2016
On Tuesday the Cards make the first of their consecutive trips to Cleethorpes to take on high-flying Grimsby Town, who will be very keen to grab all three points as they seek to cement their place in the play-offs. The Cards, well beaten by Bromley on Saturday, will have to discover some improved form if they are to get anything out of this game.
The Cardsâ€™ defeat at Bromley stretched their winless run in the league to five games, with a haul of only two points out of fifteen effectively ending any hope of making the play-offs. A reshuffled defence looked porous, not helped by a midfield that failed too often to get the tackles in. But for the excellent Jake Cole the scoreline would have been more emphatic.
To add to Garryâ€™s woes, striker Sam Smith, brought in to replace the injured Shaun Jeffers, was himself injured early on his debut and, towards the end, Brian Saah limped off. More reshuffling of the defence will no doubt be needed on Tuesday.
The Mariners are now in their sixth season in the non-Leagueâ€™s top tier. Theyâ€™ve reached the play-offs in the last three seasons, losing out to Newport County and Gateshead in the semi-final play-offs before, last season, losing on penalties to Bristol Rovers in the Final. They currently sit in 3rd place in the table, five points clear of Tranmere Rovers and Gateshead, and look odds-on to make the play-offs once more. At home they have won ten, drawn five and lost two, scoring 38 goals and conceding 13. Just over a week ago they were held to a 0-0 draw at Blundell Park by Boreham Wood. Yesterday they were on the end of a 4-2 away defeat by FC Halifax Town.
Not surprisingly, Grimsby have a strong squad. Familiar names include keeper James McKeown, defenders Josh Gowling (ex-Kidderminster) and Toto Nsiala; midfielders Craig Disley and Nathan Arnold; and strikers Padraig Amond, Omar Bogle and Jon-Paul Pittman. Amond has already plundered 22 goals this season in the league.
Craig Disley will be suspended for this game but will be able to return for the Trophy tie.
Recent signings are 20 year-old winger Ryan Jennings, on loan from Wigan Athletic; midfielder Anthony Straker, part of the Shotsâ€™ Conference-winning side, subsequently with Southend and York City; Evan Horwood, an experienced left back, joining on loan from Northampton Town; Jon Nolan, the former Lincoln City midfielder; and Conor Henderson, signing from Crawley Town after a previous loan spell. Jack Mackreth and Scott Brown both left by mutual consent.
Official website: www.grimsby-townfc.co.uk
The Cards Trust is not running a coach to this game but is running a coach to the FA Trophy Quarter-Final tie.
Follow the signs for Grimsby on the M180. Continue on this road when it becomes the A180 towards Cleethorpes. This road runs right past the ground, which is next to the McDonalds Drive-thru.
Nearest station: Cleethorpes. Itâ€™s not possible to get a train back to London after the game. On the way there, the best train would be the 16.03 from Kings Cross which, with a change at Doncaster, would get you to Cleethorpes station at 19.01. A cheaper alternative, and also giving you a bit more time, would be the 15.08, with changes at Newark North Gate and Habrough, arriving at 18.47
The station is just over 1 mile away from the stadium. Walking would take about 20 minutes. Public transport is available.
Over 65s & Young Adults (15-18): Â£12
Under 14s: Â£6
Away fans sit in the Osmond Stand in the south side of the ground. Entry to this stand is in Constitutional Avenue, turnstiles 7-10.
LAST TIME OUT
Woking 1 Grimsby Town 2
7 March 2015
Wokingâ€™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 Goddardâ€™s late effort. The defeat left Woking in seventh position, four points behind Eastleigh.
The Cards, with Brian Saah making his debut, 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.
Palmer, on loan at the Mariners from Mansfield Town, put the visitors ahead on 41 minutes, slamming home into an empty net after Craig Disleyâ€™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 Goddardâ€™s late strike, as he latched onto a Scott Rendell header, but the Cards could not force an equaliser in the dying minutes.
Woking: Jake Cole, Chris Arthur, Brian 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)
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)
As already mentioned, the Cards travel to Grimsby Town again next Saturday in the quarter-final of the FA Trophy. The Cards are then away to Molesey on Tuesday 1 March in the Surrey Senior Cup before entertaining Dover Athletic on Saturday 5 March in the Vanarama National League.
Come on, you Cards!
P.S. Donâ€™t forget the Sportsmanâ€™s Dinner with Paul Merson on Friday 26 February: see details on the home page of the website.