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Five Card Trick
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY brushed aside an early Woking goal at Blundell Park to record an emphatic 5-1 win over the Cards. Sam Hatton was the unlikely hero of the day - not expected to start the game against the Surrey side, Hatton began the match, and scored two spectacular free kicks - one in each half.
The game seem to hinge upon the exit of Joe Colbeck early in the first half when score was 1-1 but Woking had looked the better side. On came Derek Niven, who had been dropped in place of Andi Thanoj, and Grimsby reverted to a 4-3-3 formation. Town soon equalised, and the 3-man midfield ripped apart Woking's defence time after time.
For all their problems at the back Woking were still a threat offensively. The dismissal in the second half of Woking midfielder Lee Sawyer for a second bookable offence when the scored was 3-1 helped Town, but it was only when the fourth and fifth goals went in late in the second half that Grimsby's fans were really able to relax secure in the knowledge of the first home win for four games was on its way.
Town unexpectedly "rested" Bradley Wood at right back and brought Hatton into the side. The only other change was Thanoj who was brought in in midfield for Niven, a change that had been widely predicted. Anthony Elding was also absent from the squad, and it has subsequently emerged that want-away Elding has been told the striker is free to leave.
Woking strung together a flowing move for the first chance of the game on 2 minutes. Bubb and McCallum combined, and the Canadian crossed to former Town midfielder Dean Sinclair, who had completely escaped Sam Hatton on the left side of the box, and Sinclair scored with a simple tap in.
On 10 minutes Ricketts hauled down Hannah on the edge of the box and was booked. Sam Hatton stepped up for the free kick and found a gap in the wall, drilling it low past Howe for a spectacular equaliser.
Shortly afterward Colbeck limped off and Niven came on to try and make a case for his inclusion in the starting line-up. Town changed their formation to 4-3-3 to accommodate three central midfielders and Marshall pushed up to join the two strikers.
Town were soon ahead with another stunning goal. Hatton was the hero again, making an incisive pass to Cook, whose first time ball to Disley split the Woking defence, Disley was some distance out, but chose to hit the ball first time, something which surprised the Woking 'keeper who was well beaten. It was an excellent team goal straight from the training ground.
Both sides had chances to score the game's fourth goal, but it was Town who struck next again. Woking's defence was again caught square and Marshall pulled the ball back to Hannah. Hannah looked certain to score but Howe got something on it, and it came out to Thanoj, who had time to steer it into the net to put Town 3-1 up.
The first half ended 3-1 but Woking's chances of improving in the second half soon took a nosedive when Sawyer foolishly fouled Thomas in Grimsby's half having already been booked, and was shown a red card.
The red card didn't seem to especially change the game, with Woking still looking threatening going forward on the break. Betsy had a good chance to make the score 3-2 but his effort went over the bar when he should have at least found the target.
Woking were left to rue their miss when Hatton scored an even more spectacular free kick than his effort in the first half. This one was an effort that Ronald Kooman in his prime would have been proud of, flying over the wall and into the top corner.
Woking almost pulled one back when McKeown appeared to leave a McCallum shot, thinking it was going wide, but it came back and bounced off the post.
There was still time for a further home goal when Marshall's effort was saved and Cook scored from the ricochet to send Town fans home happy with a fifth.
The way Woking play, this game always looked like it was going to have goals. Woking's open style suited Town, especially playing 4-3-3. The win lifts Town into second place, with other results going their way, although the teams below them have games in hand. With another home game coming up with Braintree, Grimsby have another chance to clock up three more home points and if other results go their way the summit is in sight for Grimsby.
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