Grim scoreline belies brave performance

David Taylor
4:31pm, Sun 11th Nov 2012
Grimsby Town 5 Woking 1
Blue Square Bet Premier
10th November 2012

Despite taking a second minute lead, creating chances and never giving up, the Cards were overwhelmed by a promotion-contending Mariners' team with clinical finishing, and by having to play most of the second half with ten men.

Garry Hill made one change from the two-all home draw with Kidderminster, with Dean Sinclair coming in for Jack Parkinson. And as in that game, Woking took an early lead. After just two minutes, a fast, free-flowing move ended with former Mariner Dean Sinclair netting from a hard low cross from Gavin McCallum.

The Cards dominated the opening period with confident passing moves against a Grimsby side that didn’t seem to know what had hit them, with an increasingly frustrated home crowd turning on their team.

The equaliser came after 10 minutes when in Grimsby’s first dangerous attack Ross Hannah was fouled by Mike Cestor just outside the Cards’ area, 20 yards from goal. Sam Hatton’s free-kick went straight through the wall and past Aaron Howe, who was beaten diving to his left after seeing the ball late.

This galvanised the home team, who then had several back-to-back chances well defended by Joe McNerney, Mark Ricketts and Aaron Howe. Grimsby were now playing as a well-organised unit, channeling play through captain Craig Disley, who scored their second after 17 minutes, in a move that was worthy of any level of football. Andy Cook‘s long forward pass beat both the offside trap and the Woking defence, and Disley shot past Howe, in a one-on-one, with an unstoppable shot.

Woking carried on playing fast, passing football in the next period of the game, which saw both sides pressing, with the always hard working Kevin Betsy (pictured) having a shot that missed to the left side of goal after 20 minutes, and an excellent cross a few minutes later.

The Mariners' third came on 33 minutes. A free-kick from James McKeown was brilliantly saved by Howe, only for Ross Hannah to beat the Woking defence to the ball, to score from point-blank range.

And still the Cards continued to play. In the 12 minutes before half-time shots by Gavin McCallum and Bradley Budd were blocked, and even though they were trailing by two goals at half-time, Woking were still not out of this game.

Half-time: Grimsby Town 3 Woking 1

The big - and in some ways decisive - blow to the Cards' chances of salvaging something from this game came five minutes into the second half, when already-booked Lee Sawyer went in with a reckless tackle on ex-Card Aswad Thomas, although it is questionable whether any contact was made. The second booking, and sending off, stretched the hard-working Cards even more, as Grimsby played a wider game.

However, Woking enjoyed some of their best play and pressure with ten men. Ricketts, McCallum and Betsy were at the heart of excellent moves in midfield and attack.

Grimsby’s 4th came in the 75th minute, with a sublimely taken free-kick by Sam Hutton from just outside the box, to the top right corner of Howe’s net.

With the home crowd now singing “we only sing when we’re fishing", Woking refused to lie down. Bradley Bubb hit the post, and substitutes Jack Parkinson, Adam Doyle and Loick Pires joined the game and played in the same spirit.

The 5th and final goal came on the stroke of full-time from Andy Cook at close range.

What mixed feelings at the end – gutted to have lost by so many goals, and yet so proud of a Woking team that never gave up, and who were rewarded by loud applause from the 57 away fans who made the long journey.

Woking: Aaron Howe, Adam Newton, Mike Cestor, Mark Ricketts (Jack Parkinson 80), Joe McNerney, Brett Johnson (Adam Doyle 80), Bradley Bubb (Loick Pires 80), Kevin Betsy, Lee Sawyer, Dean Sinclair, Gavin McCallum
Unused subs: Brett Williams, Sam Beasant

Cautions: Mike Cestor 10, Lee Sawyer 16, Bradley Bubb 78, Jack Parkinson 89

Sent Off: Lee Sawyer 51

Grimsby Town: James McKeown, Sam Hatton, Aswad Thomas, Shaun Pearson, Joe Colbeck (Derek Niven 17), Craig Disley, Andy Cook, Andi Thanoj, Nathan Pond, Ross Hannah (Dayle Southwell 69), Marcus Marshall

Unused subs: Ian Miller, Frankie Artus, Greg Pearson

Cautions: Shaun Pearson 52

Ref: Seb Stockbridge

Attendance: 3,418

MOTM: Kevin Betsy - His hard work and never give-up attitude helped keep the ten part-time men playing right to the end.

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