Grimsby 5 Woking 1
BATTERED Woking were given a vote of confidence by Garry Hill after Lee Sawyer’s needless red card
resulted in a thumping defeat at Blundell Park.
Dean Sinclair netted his first goal for the Cards inside two minutes at his old stomping ground to give the visitors the lead.
But that was as good as it got for Hill’s weary travellers as two Sam Hatton free-kicks, Craig Disley’s curling effort, plus strikes from Andi Thanoj and Andy Cook sealed Grimsby’s first home win at the fourth attempt.
Woking trailed 3-1 when Sawyer picked up a second yellow for a late challenge on Aswad Thomas.
But reflecting on his side’s 10th defeat in 19 league games this term, Hill said the scoreline did not tell the full story.
The manager said: “We haven’t helped ourselves. Some of the situations we got into were self inflicted but it wasn’t a 5-1 game. We went 1-0 up and were in
command of the game for the first 10 minutes.
“They’ve cleared their lines and all of a sudden we switch off and they equalise from a good free-kick.
“Even at 3-1 at half time I didn’t think we were out of the game but a bit of indiscipline from one player set us back
“It’s hard in this league with 11 players but having a man sent off 10 minutes into the second half kills us.
“They took their chances in the end but after 75 minutes it was only 3-1
“We’ll have lessons both home and away this season but as I’ve always said we’ll be prepared to handle them and I’ll always be supportive of the players going forward.”
Woking’s second-minute opener was laden with class.
Bradley Bubb made the incisive move forward, threading in Gavin McCallum, whose close control allowed him to skip away from Thanoj in the area.
He generated half a yard of space for himself in the right channel before pulling back all the way across the penalty area for former Mariner
The midfielder, who scored seven goals in 37 appearances between 2009 and 2011, coolly stroked home from eight yards.
In keeping with the respect that epitomised Remembrance weekend, Sinclair’s celebrations were modest.
And his reserved show of emotion proved wise as within nine minutes of slipping behind Grimsby hit back.
Thomas’ lumped ball forward looked aimless until Ross Hannah gave chase.
And with Joe McNerney struggling to get across to block the shot, Mike Cestor was forced into a cynical tug that resulted in a yellow card and a free kick right on the edge of the Cards’ penalty area.
Hatton stepped up to hammer through the wall and past Aaron Howe.
Sawyer was operating well below his usual high standards and his frustration was evident as a rash challenge on Hannah landed him his ninth booking of a turbulent season.
With the game still less than 20 minutes old Grimsby landed themselves a second. And again it came via a route one ball.
Blundell Park skipper Disley latched on to Cook’s flick on before bending a shot round Howe from 18 yards.
Mark Ricketts fired a shot in anger while McCallum never looked like scoring with a volley from a tight angle.
The opening 10 minutes aside Woking were all at sea.
And their misery was compounded in the 34th minute when the Mariners made it 3-1.
Andy Cook eased himself away from McNerney to hook a ball over the top to Marcus Marshall.
His teasing ball flashed across the face of goal to Hannah and only the sprawling form of Howe kept out the shot.
But the preservation of the one-goal deficit was only temporary, as steaming in to give his side a two-goal advantage was Thanoj.
His low strike took a deflection past Howe, but with his side in free fall, Hill would have taken a 3-1 reverse at the interval.
What Hill found more difficult to accept was the reckless abandon of Sawyer, whose ill-timed challenge five minutes into the econd half saw Woking reduced to 10 men.
Sawyer barely raised his head after clipping Thomas down the left wing, trudging the entire width of Blundell Park and past his stern-faced gaffer who refused to
acknowledge his misbehaving star.
Hill said: “It was said at half time that we can’t afford in this league to play clubs, in front of their own fans, with 10 players.
“I’m disappointed in Lee Sawyer, he let himself down. Whether he’s unlucky or not he’s slid in, the crowd are baying the referee to take some action and he has.
“It’s five minutes into the second half and your team talk, about hanging in there and possibly getting a break, has gone out of the window. But we had to get on with it and coming up to 80 minutes it was still only 3-1.
“Not that we’d had too many chances but in that period of time we showed commitment.
“We played some good football, kept the ball well and we limited Grimsby’s opportunities.”
Despite being stitched up by their team-mate, Cards showed great character in the remaining 40 minutes.
And instead of slipping into damage limitaionmode, the 10 men worked hard to get themselves back into the game.
Kevin Betsy cut in from the left and blazed just over and McCallum watched a free-kick sail wide.
But it was Grimsby who harboured the most attacking
threat, and it was the man who launched the comeback that struck next to really twist the knife.
Brett Johnson poleaxed Marshall on the edge of the area and Hatton, with as much precision and power used to smash in Grimsby’s equaliser, curled around the wall and into the top corner.
Hill rued Woking’s luck and said: “Hatton won’t hit two free-kicks like he has today as long as he lives.”
Bubb’s speculative 25-yard effort beat McKeown but not the post and only a smart save by Howe low to his left stopped Cook making it 5-1.
Marshall should have capped a man-of-the- match performance with a goal but dwelled on the ball after being rolled in by sub Dayle Southwell.
But the winger played a key role when Grimsby did add a fifth in the final minute, skipping away from Adam Newton to fizz a low cross into the area. Mark Ricketts stopped the delivery, but his block fell in front of the unmarked Cook who thumped the ball home from close range.
Hill added: “We all know we are good going one way but we can’t keep a clean sheet.
“We can’t do our defensive duties and there’s no doubt about it we’re going to have to look at what we can change around now. We may be playing too open, we punish teams early but then we don’t know how to defend.
“Maybe it’s a case of shutting up shop once we are in that position but I think people have got used to how we are playing at the moment.
“Fifty points is the target and anything above that is a reward.
“We want a season where we give everything and it will make us stronger as a club – on and off the pitch.
“I’m sure that those players will learn out of that through the period if we are
successful. I’ve every confidence and belief they will be.”
But Hill said a reshuffle is on the cards to help Woking get back to winning ways.
And he hinted that a shake-up in tactics is also on the way to help breed more positive results.
“The time is right to get one or two in and that might mean one or two going out on loan.
“Do we change our style of play? That’s a question that needs to be answered by myself and Steve Thompson because we score as many as anyone in the league but we concede more than anyone in the league.”
WOKING: Howe, Newton, Cestor, McNerney, Johnson (Doyle, 80mins), Ricketts (Parkinson, 80mins), Sinclair, Sawyer, Betsy, McCallum, Bubb (Pires, 80mins).