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Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
23/11 QPR 1st Half
By: David Peasgood
Grimsby Town 2 Queens Park Rangers 1
23 Nov 1999, Nationwide League Division 1
It was quite a pleasant evening on the edge of the Humber last night for the annual thrashing of QPR. Sadly though a crowd of less than 5000 turned out. Perhaps it was all the euro soccer on SKY TV. Never mind. I sat with Anthony Woods, James Mileman and Jon Green at the back of the Pontoon and we shouted 'steps' and 'foul throw' on behalf of the absent Mr Butcher.
There was little wind but a chill in the air. QPR warmed up with a relaxed kick around. They didn't look very big. Town tried the old piggy in the middle of the circle warm up but kept missing their passes so gave up. Burnett decided to give the Rusedski lookalike Coyne some practice but sliced 4 consecutive shots wide of the post and gave up. It all looked strangely ominous. I liked the ball though, it was a creamy lime green with red arrows on it and stood out very well indeed.
We either lost the toss or captain Gally forgot which end he was in, but whatever, we kicked off towards the pontoon 1st half.
The first 20 minutes were all town in a succession of bright passing moves and good possession. We had 2 or 3 shots though no really good chances but at least by attacking we kept the ball away from our defence. Early to impress was young Buckley darting down the left wing and getting good crosses in, whilst Butterfield looked to have grown in stature and confidence since I last saw him and is clearly quite a classy little player now. Stacy was midfield general getting well stuck in though I can't say I especially recall Hamilton doing much.
and then........ we took our foot off the pedal? relaxed? got confidant? Whatever we suddenly let QPR come at us. Attacks came raining in and we never cleared properly, never thought to play the ball out from the defence, just flyhacked it away and allowed a siege on our goal for the next 5 minutes. It was only going to end one way, and did on 24 mins when poor old Dave Smith fell on his arse in a similar way to Livvo (v Barnsley last year) and the QPR right winger crossed into the box where the ball was swept across the face of goal to KIWOMYA 3 yards out unmarked on the left post and 0-1. Unbelievable really. Strangely town then picked up play again and proved they can attack when they want to. 2 minutes later it should have been all square when neat interplay from Coldicott and Donovan put Lester free in the box, 4 yards out, one on one with the goalie.... and he calmy spooned it 2 yards over the bar. The crowd at last broke into song. "There's only one Bradley Allen" they sang to Buckley. Fools! They should know it's the kiss of death to have the audacity to tell AB who to play. Needless to say Allen's trackie bottoms never came off for the rest of the game. I think young Lester's 'worth' is decreasing game on game and even his beloved pontoonites are losing faith.
Meantime the game progressed towards half time with town generally in possession. Ashcroft used his 'weight' to beat two defenders and get a shot in which the goalie nearly let slip under his arm, and other bits included a tame Stacy shot from 20 yards easily saved, and a frustrated Butterfield dribbling from his own half right to the edge of the box and shooting with power only to be deflected for one of many town corners. I guess they will each lose a team point from AB for shooting outside the box. The ref was a weird bugger. QPR handled the ball literally about 10 or 11 times and he never gave a handball decision to us. he also kept too distant from the play and never looked to his linesman enough. Often having to blow late for offside and the like. Defensively Lever was the pick for town with a statuesque performance nullifying all threats (what few there were) and amazingly he made telling passes out of defence in deference to his usual wild big-welly's upfield. as half time arrived the boo's from the crowd were not so much for the players who (apart from brain dead Lester) I thought played well and showed spirit, but for the sheer horror that we were losing against the run of play.
Half time entertainment was 3 men replacing loose turf, 6 QPR subs having a run about. and the mascot stood on the half way line gyrating his hips and looking a complete wuss. I could have been the superbowl and you wouldn't know the difference.
Half time: Grimsby Town 0 Queens Park Rangers 1
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