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Grimsby Town 2-0 Woking

27 February 2016

GRIMSBY Town moved into the semi-finals of the FA Trophy by registering their second home victory over Woking in the space of less than a week.

A strong Mariners side rarely looked in any danger against the Cards, who had prioritised this tie over Tuesday’s league game between the two clubs.

Woking started brightly but Town took control after Nathan Arnold opened the scoring.

And after Arnold doubled the hosts’ advantage nine minutes before the break, the visitors showed few signs of getting back into the contest.

That meant Town comfortably saw out the remainder of the game to keep a clean sheet and seal their place in the last four of the competition.

Just one change was made to the Grimsby side that beat the same opponents 3-1 at Blundell Park in midweek, as captain Craig Disley returned from suspension to replace Craig Clay in midfield.

James McKeown started in goal, with Richard Tait, Shaun Pearson, Josh Gowling and Evan Horwood forming the defence.

Arnold, Disley, Jon Nolan and Andy Monkhouse were the midfielders and Padraig Amond and Jon-Paul Pittman formed the strike partnership.

Clay was named among the substitutes, along with Gregor Robertson, Omar Bogle, Toto Nsiala and Anthony Straker.

Woking boss Garry Hill, by contrast, made six alterations to his team, giving the starting XI a more familiar look.

Jake Cole, Chris Arthur, John Goddard and Cameron Norman were all restored to the starting line-up after beginning Tuesday’s clash on the bench, while Mark Ricketts and new signing Matt Butcher also came in.

Woking began brightly and had most of the early possession, although Town had the first attack of note on five minutes, when Arnold made progress through the middle before finding Pittman, whose low ball into the penalty area did not pick out a team-mate.

Goddard won the game’s first corner for the visitors on eight minutes and after the Mariners failed to fully clear it, the ball was worked back for Giuseppe Sole to shoot over the bar from 20 yards.

Town took the lead with their next attack, when a ball into the box from Horwood on the left found its way over Monkhouse to ARNOLD, whose shot from around 12 yards looked to take a deflection as it beat visiting keeper Jake Cole and went into the net.

Five minutes later, a Nolan cross from the right was headed out for a corner by Cameron Norman but Nolan’s delivery from the flag was eventually touched out for a goal kick by Gowling.

A free kick for a foul on Amond was headed away from danger by Kieran Murtagh, before Sole hammered a long-range free kick well over McKeown’s bar at the other end.

As the half-hour mark passed, the game was mostly being played between the two boxes, with neither goalkeeper called upon to make a save.

Amond did well to win a corner on the left on 31 minutes but they were unable to make the most of it, as Pearson headed wide from Nolan’s flag-kick.

Another forward move by the Mariners saw Nolan and Monkhouse combine well, with the central midfielder not quite getting the connection he would have wanted on his shot after the winger’s return pass into the box.

Town doubled their lead on 36 minutes and it was a brilliantly constructed goal, with Nolan again involved.  This time, he played ARNOLD in on the edge of the Woking box and the winger did the rest, placing a shot past Cole to make it 2-0.

After a positive opening to the game, Woking had not been able to create any serious problems for the Grimsby defence.

But after going two goals down, they looked to attack more in an attempt to pull one back before half-time and Disley recovered to block a shot after he had initially slipped inside his own penalty area.

Woking’s second corner of the game came to nothing, before a cross from Norman on the right led to an offside decision.

As one minute of added time was signalled, Murtagh rose to meet a high, looping cross from the left but he could only glance a header over the bar under pressure from McKeown.

That meant the Mariners went into the dressing rooms at the break with a commanding advantage.

No changes were made before the restart and Cole was able to make a comfortable catch from a Horwood cross as Town attacked for the first time in the second half.

Left-back Chris Arthur sent a deep cross out for a goal kick to end the away side’s first attack in front of their travelling fans in the Osmond Stand, before Arnold controlled the ball and unleashed a half-volley from 25 yards that Cole got down to stop.

A cross from Murtagh found Sole on 52 minutes but the striker could not get enough power on his header to worry McKeown, who claimed a catch.

A foul by Horwood on Bruno Andrade led to a Woking free kick on the right but it was blocked by Andrade.  The ball was worked back by the visitors and a cross for Joey Jones eventually resulted in a goal kick.

Joe Quigley replaced Murtagh as the away side switched to two strikers in a bid to get back into the game.

But it was the Mariners who were next to threaten, earning a corner on the left after a good build-up, although Pearson was then beaten to the ball from the flag.

Soon afterwards, Arthur set off on a powerful run down the Woking left but Arnold did well to get back, keep pace with the attacker and then earn a free kick after he was fouled inside his own penalty area.

A penalty appeal from the away fans came after Goddard cut into the box and went down under a challenge from Tait but the referee waved the claims away and instead, pointed for a goal kick.

Amond won a corner after running onto a good ball from Monkhouse on 62 minutes but Pearson was beaten to Nolan’s delivery.

A foul by Nolan on Andrade gave Woking a free kick midway inside the Town half three minutes later but Gowling got to the ball after Jones had headed it on, before Horwood completed the clearance.

Matt Robinson replaced Godfrey Poku in the centre of the visitors’ midfield soon afterwards, before Pittman was fouled by Butcher to give Town the opportunity to get the ball into the danger zone.

The game stopped for Ricketts to receive treatment on an injury and after he was replaced by Joe Robinson, Nolan was eventually able to take the free kick but his delivery was headed wide of the far post by Pittman.

As the clock ticked towards the 80-minute mark, it was beginning to look more and more unlikely that the visitors would be able to get back into the game, although a ball flashed across the six-yard line by Arthur that went just past the far post provided a brief moment of hope for the 69 travelling fans.

Town looked to put the result beyond all doubt with a third goal but Amond could only shoot wide on 84 minutes after Arnold had pulled the ball back.

Goddard and Arthur both took the ball into the penalty area for Woking soon afterwards but on both occasions, they were thwarted by the Town defence before they could get a shot at McKeown’s goal.

Robertson came on for Monkhouse with a minute to go, before five added minutes were signalled by the fourth official.

Goddard forced McKeown into a save after cutting in from the left and shooting but the Town keeper dived and made a routine catch.

The remainder of the added time passed without incident and as the full-time whistle blew, it was a job well done for the Mariners.

They now return to league action when they travel to Forest Green Rovers on Friday.

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