Blundell Park forms the next mind blowing excursion for Wood in their inaugural season at National League level. A potential 5000 fish waving members of the Cleethorpes/Grimsby collective will be sure to give Luke Garrard’s men a real afternoon to remember.
The two sides historically are poles apart, given that The Mariners were proud members of the Football League for 117 years right up until 2010. That year marked Wood’s fantastic promotion to the heady heights of the Conference South for the first time in their history, until last season’s promotion play off party set up this tie rather nicely.
With both sides having completely different agenda’s coming into the last three months of the season, the view from the Blundell Park dugouts this Saturday will be in complete contrast.
Mariners Boss Paul Hurst, began his tenure towards the end of a disappointing first season in the top tier of Non League football. Since then he has seen his side improve to lose out in the Play Off Semi Finals in two consecutive season’s before last May’s heartbreaking loss at Wembley in the Play Off Finals to Bristol Rovers on penalties. It was the second time that Non League Grimsby had suffered the same fate. At the end of the 2012-13 season Wrexham won a penalty shoot out under the Wembley arch to deny Town a chance of lifting the F A Trophy.
However, the odds of The Mariners making that trip again this season are short. A place in the last eight of the F A Trophy plus their current comfortable position of 3rd in the League standings make the prospect of another mass exodus from the Lincolnshire coast a real possibility.
Their most recent trip to north London back in September saw the Sat Nav re-tweeked for a stop off at Meadow Park and on the day those present saw Wood humbled for the first time this season, the Mariners running out confident 3-1 winners. In fact it was not until last Saturday’s mesmerising display by basement side Kidderminster Harriers that Wood have again been comprehensively outplayed in this Division.
Town have just lost once in eleven League outings and there have been some real hammerings given out during the season. The Mariners took full advantage of both Halifax (7-0) and Southport’s (0-4) dismal early season form, whilst more recently hitting five past Altrincham without reply .
Were it not for Forest Green Rover’s injury time heroics in their last three matches, the gap between second and third (ten points) would be considerably smaller. That said The Mariners currently have two games in hand.
The leading scorer is Padraig Amond, an Irishman with Primeira League experience in Portugal, who has twenty one League goals to his name. Recent signings include midfielder Jon Nolan from Lincoln City, who celebrated the move by scoring in Tuesday night victory at Bromley. Defender Evan Horwood also joins The Mariners on loan from Northampton Town.
From a Wood perspective the only aim is survival. A run of just one win in ten matches, along with the recent resurgence of both Southport and Halifax, leaves Luke Garrard’s men in the bottom four, two points from safety with sixteen games left to put sufficient wins on the board to stay afloat. The recent return of loan signing Jamie Lucas from Bristol Rovers, who top scores at the club with five goals may well be the key to survival come April.
Grimsby Town v Boreham Wood.
Saturday February 13th, kick off 3pm.