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Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
14/12 WBA 1st Half
By: David Peasgood
Grimsby Town 1 West Brom 1
14 Dec 1999, Nationwide League Division 1
A cold and windy night with a biting easterly blowing in off the sea and threatening snow and sleet. One brief sleet shower at 6.45 drenched me after I'd parked the car and was walking down blundell avenue. Fortunately I had a spare jumper. Unfortunately I left it on the back seat of the car. Anyone in the lower findus last night I pitied. 2 memorable hail showers in the first half came blowing into the findus, horizontally at about 60 mph and minus 20 deg C. Not an easy night to play football though in fact the players did quite well. By the second half the weather had settled and the wind dropped a fair bit.
The build up
Nothing spectacular for a change. (ha ha) WBA were out by 7 pm and had their coach take them through 20 minutes of routine jogs and exercises. Town appeared in dribs and drabs and kicked the ball in haphazard groups. The salvation army band played through the hail and reminded me of the small band on the 'titanic' playing gallantly as the hail and sleet lashed down. At least by half time, the weather dropped and the tiny kids playing 6 a side didn't freeze to death.
A crappy 4,036. about 250 to 300 from WBA who kept warm with a lot more singing than we did. Such classics as 'when the brom go marching in' and 'come on you albion' were favourites, though they also managed 'Buckley is a wa*ker' to which we privately giggled. The town crowd were as quiet as ever. Not that it wasn't exciting, just that we are boring I guess. There were a few 'there's only one Bradley Allen' chants ie when he scored, when he got several other shots on target, and notably when he was subbed. At this point the pontoon sang 'you don't know what you're doing' to AB followed by a small group singing 'Buckley is a wan*er' and 'you're just a bald headed ba**ard' which was met with disdain by a bigger section of the pontoon shouting these 'rebels' down. AB was notably unamused and said on radio afterwards that when you hear that sort of thing you wonder if you really do need all this. Mind you he also said 'fair do's the lads behind the goal turned up and paid their money in bad weather so they have a right to an opinion, but they had no idea Bradley was injured and It would have helped if they'd thought of that'. Thankfully no drums or other orchestral excitement disturbed us either.
On 31 mins Bradley Allen received a throughball from Macca, cut into the box on the right and was drifting out further right when he suddenly turned and lashed in a shot which bounced up off the ground in front of Miller, at an angle, hit the goalies shoulder and thence went into the roof of the Osmond end net.
On 42 mins a cutting throughball from Quinn caught towns defence very square. Macca and Smith sort of looked at the ball as did Croudson. They were all about equidistant from it. By the time Macca decided to leave it to Croudson and the goalie started his charge out to clear the ball, ginger whinger Hughes had sped in. On the edge of the box, Croudson knew he couldn't use his hands and tried a despairing body-smothering dive but Hughes was a yard quicker and chipped the ball over the goalie and made it 1-1. Dead easy. He then went right up to the pontoon and raised his hands in an intimidatory gesture. he should have been booked. Perhaps if we tell the police we can get him banned !!!
This guy was a real nerd. He was very biased in his decisions, which went 70-30 wba. I wouldn't mind but town were not that dirty. 2 blatant corners for town were given as goal kicks, and an absurd piece from 60-64 mins as town prepared to take a corner saw Traves for wba, treated on the pitch having a bandage put on his head, after which he leapt up to take up a defensive position and clear the corner. Poor old Mark Lever after tweaking a groin (it looked like) had to hobble 20 yards to the touchline and then ask permission to come back on.
The 1st half
About 65% town with good attacks by macca/donovan pairing well down the right wing. Livvo stood up well and his height won some good loose ball which Allen picked up frequently. He makes space for himself well, knows were the goal is and shoots on target. Unusual! Croudson never had any difficult saves (the goal apart) and town won the corner count easily, but we really should have gone in at half time on top. We made 4 or 5 chances with Stacy picking up most of the loose midfield ball and town using their width more than usual. Livvo, Allen and Donovan all had shots on target, Donovan forced two excellent saves with first time shots running in from the edge of the box, and the wba goal was just a bit of a freak. Defensively R Smith was not at his best and in the 1st half Macca looked a little slower than Butterfield is. Gally was OK and Lever played well though. My only other disappointment was Groves who played square or backwards all the time when Caldicott by comparison was spraying balls to the wings and creating.
Half time: Grimsby Town 1 West Brom 1
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