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Match Reports

Match report: Woking 0-1 Grimsby Town

Late goal earns another impressive win for Mariners

9 October 2021

A late winner from Harry Clifton earned Grimsby Town all three points against Woking at the Laithwaite Community Stadium.

A high-energy, end-to-end contest had looked like it was set to end goalless, despite both sides pushing forward and creating chances.

But when the breakthrough finally came three minutes from time, it was Clifton who grabbed the vital goal to ensure Town took six points out of six from two tough away games this week and maintained their two-point advantage at the top of the National League.

Just one enforced change was made to the Grimsby starting XI after Tuesday's win at Altrincham, with Erico Sousa coming in for the suspended Will Bapaga.

James McKeown made his 500th appearance for the club as he lined up in goal, with Ryan Sears, Luke Waterfall, Ryley Towler and Adam Crookes in front of him in defence. Sousa, Ben Fox, Alex Hunt and Clifton were the midfielders, with John McAtee behind Ryan Taylor in attack.

Max Wright made a return to the matchday squad as he was named on the bench, along with Shaun Pearson, Lenell John-Lewis, Giles Coke and Seb Revan.

Woking also came into the game in good form and were looking to make it four wins in a row, after a midweek victory over Dagenham and Redbridge took them to within a point of the play-off places.

McAtee cleared the bar with an early attempt to lob home keeper Craig Ross, then the home side won the first corner but it was cleared by Waterfall.

Clifton combined with Taylor soon afterwards after a break by Sousa, although the midfielder fired wide.

Towler then had to concede a second Woking corner as the game moved from end to end at pace in its early stages. It led to another one on the opposite flank and this time, Moussa Diarra headed wide from Josh Casey's delivery.

Good defending by Sousa stopped a home attack on 12 minutes, before a shot from Diarra was blocked two minutes later as Woking continued to press.

Striker Inih Effiong had an opportunity to shoot on the quarter-hour but Sears got back to block the effort and the ball went through to McKeown.

A chance came at the other end came moments later when McAtee crossed for Taylor but the striker narrowly failed to connect with the ball to direct it into an empty net and it was eventually put out for a corner, which was cleared.

The hosts almost took the lead soon afterwards when a break led Effiong combining with Tarryn Allarakhia. An initial shot was blocked but Effiong followed it up and Towler did well to get back and clear off the line.

A foul on Crookes by Kyran Lofthouse gave the Mariners a free kick and led to a stoppage while the Mariners defender received treatment, although he was eventully passed fit to continue.

Town won a corner on 28 minutes after a cross from Sousa was put behind by Tom Champion at the near post before McAtee could get to it. The ball from the flag was cleared.

McAtee let fly from distance soon afterwards but his shot was stopped by Ross, then the attacker combined with Clifton in a move which led to a corner. Hunt's delivery found Waterfall but the centre-back could not get enough power on the ball to trouble the keeper.

Another quick break by the Mariners on 33 minutes ended when the ball was cleared after a defender got to it ahead of Taylor, then Sousa shot over the bar at the end of a further counter-attack.

The first yellow card of the game was shown to Effiong after a foul on Waterfall, before a Town attack led to Sousa pulling the ball back across goal for Clifton but the midfielder was unable to turn it into the net.

Another Sousa cross was blocked as the Mariners pressure continued, then a quickly-taken free kick led to a cross which was cleared before it could reach Taylor.

A cross from Lofthouse at the other end was caught by McKeown, before a shot by Clifton was blocked after a run into the box by McAtee.

Three added minutes were played at the end of the first half and a free kick gave Woking an opportunity to put pressure on the Town goal but they were unable to make it count as the ball was headed wide.

Another free kick inside the away half casued no problems and with no further chances coming before the referee's half-time whistle, a fast-paced opening 45 minutes ended goalless.

No changes were made before the restart and Town had the first opening of the second half as McAtee linked up with Taylor on the edge of the box but the striker was unable to get a shot away.

A shot was spilled by Ross soon afterwards but cleared before Taylor could get to the rebound, then Sears was booked for a foul on Allarakhia as he looked to break down the Woking left.

A cross from Fox was put out for a corner on 51 minutes but Hunt's ball from the flag was cleared.

Waterfall did well to read a flick-on by Allarakhia after a through-ball from Lofthouse and get across to clear the danger as Woking looked to cause problems.

A Town corner then came after a good ball from Sousa to McAtee but it did not lead to a chance in front of goal.

Fox forced a good save from Ross on the hour, as the keeper dived to tip the midfielder's powerful 20-yard drive away from goal.

At the other end, Tahvon Campbell dragged a shot wide of McKeown's target, before Clifton fired wide for Town as both sides looked for a breakthrough.

A ball from Clifton went all the way across goal wihout anybody getting on the end of it, before Allarakhia was replaced by Kane Thompson Sommers as Woking made the first substitution of the game.

Effiong went down on the edge of the box after creting an opening for the hosts but there was no foul and the ball ran out for a goal kick.

John-Lewis came on for Taylor in Town's first change on 72 minutes, before a Woking free kick was swung into the visitors' penalty area by Casey but headed clear by Towler.

Another foul by Clifton in a similar position soon afterwards saw Champion head wide from the free kick.

A late challenge on Sousa by Thompson-Sommers gave Town a free kick on 81 minutes but Hunt's chip into the box from it was cleared. The home side broke and created a chance for Effiong, who fired wide after cutting inside.

Crookes headed behind for a Woking corner with seven minutes to go but McKeown claimed the ball from the flag at the second attempt.

Hunt saw a shot blocked soon afterwards, before a cross at the other end was cleared by Fox as the game was getting stretched in its closing stages.

Wright replaced Hunt with five minutes to go as the Mariners looked to push for all three points, with Clifton moving to cover Hunt's central midfield position.

A cross from McAtee on 87 minutes was cleared, as was a follow-up ball from Sears, but Town kept possession and this time, found their breakthrough as Wright played in CLIFTON and he took a touch before rifling past Ross, to the delight of the 800-plus travelling supporters.

Pearson replaced McAtee as Town looked to hold onto their precious advantage, with Jamar Loza coming on for Roha Ince as the hosts looked to an extra attacker in a bid to rescue a point.

Three added minutes were played at the end of the game and despite Woking continuing to push forward, the Mariners saw out the remainder of the match to seal another impressive win.

Town now take a break from league action as they head to Bromsgrove Sporting next Saturday in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup.

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