FOOTBALL: DESPITE their latest festive ad – featuring the little boy and his penguin pal – melting hearts across the country, Cards fans will be diving for the remote control at the sight of any John Lewis reminders after this Grim loss.
The fittingly named Lenell John-Lewis may well find himself removed from the Cards’ Christmas list as he checked out two goals in a smash and grab 3-1 win for the Mariners.
A total of 22 committed Cards fans clocked up the midweek
miles to Cleethorpes, and they were greeted with a surprise omission from the visiting team sheet after stand-in skipper Joe McNerney was slapped with a three-game suspension following Saturday’s match with Barnet; the ban believed to have been meted out for an incident included in the match official’s report.
There were more enforced changes to come for boss Garry Hill, however, as he lost both his goalkeeper and leading scorer – Jake Cole and Scott Rendell – through injuries, and went a goal behind in a catastrophic opening 20-minute spell.
Sub keeper Aaron Howe was no doubt wishing he could pull on a bobble hat to go with his gloves as he stepped in between the sticks for the crocked Cole – who fell foul to the occupational hazard of a muscle strain on a brisk night by the North Sea coast.
Howe barely had a chance to get his hands warm before he was picking midfielder Craig Disley’s well dispatched header out of his net with a quarter of an hour gone. Howe is only jst making a return from serious injury himself in what is proving something of a problem position for the Cards this season. Unfortunately, that rustiness showed as the young stopper was punished for two moments of indecision in the second half.
While trying to see a routine punt forward over the byline, Howe saw the ball shop-lifted off his toes by forward Jon-Paul Pittman, who set up strike partner John-Lewis to roll the ball into the vacant net. Indecision was evident again as the final whistle approached, with John-Lewis wrapping things up from close range after some more Howe hesitation.
A dominant second-half display had seen Woking pull the game back to 2-1; Dean Morgan coming off the bench to sweep home a delightful drive from distance which found the net via the inside of Town keeper James McKeown’s post.
But boss Hill was left to lament the loss, as the Cards’ clangers ultimately gift-wrapped all three points to who he saw as a ‘beatable’ promotion rival.
“That’s the poorest Grimsby team that I’ve ever seen up here, and I’m not just saying that; they were there for the taking tonight,” said Hill. “There was an opportunity to get a result but it wasn’t to be and they have punished us.”