League Two Table
Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
18/03 Bolton 1st Half
By: Tony Butcher
Grimsby Town 0 Bolton Wanderers 1
18 Mar 2000, Nationwide League Division 1
A bright but cold day, with a surprisingly small turnout from the Bolton supporters - about 300, when they normally fill the entire Osmond Stand. There was a persistent, but swirling wind, mainly blowing across the pitch from Main Stand to Findus.
Town lined up in the usual 4-4-2 formation. Like last week, Groves was in central defence with Pouton in the centre of midfield.
Bolton played in dark blue with a faint diagonal white stripe, but it wasn't too much of a colour clash. The referee was Mr Uriah Rennie, so anything could have happened with Mr Mad in charge.
Town kicked off towards the Osmond Stand and started quite effectively. Within three minutes they had had a shot!. Some interplay down the right involving Clare and Pouton resulted in a cross being half cleared to McDermott, about 25 yards out to the right of the penalty box. McDermott hit a left footed volley low to the foot of the 'keeper's left hand post, whereupon it was pushed aside for a corner. The corner either hit a Bolton centre half's forehead, or went straight into the 'keeper's arms. Of the 4 or 5 corner's Town had in the first half Donovan hit them to one or the other. Within 10 minutes Town had another shot, when D Smith hit a left footed half volley a couple of feet high and wide from 20 yards.
Bolton seemed to be playing for counter attacks, packing the defence when Town had the ball, and they looked very dangerous when breaking. Around the time D Smith had his shot Bolton had a breakaway which resulted in the centre forward (Hansen) dragging a cross shot wide of Coyne's right hand post from a position 10 yards out, 10 or so yards to the left of the goal. He had been released by Gudjohnssen with a flick between Gallimore and Lever.
The game had settled in to a pattern of Town possession, with attacks breaking down 20 yards from goal and Bolton counter attacking at speed. So for most of the first half Town had the ball, but didn't do anything particularly threatening with it. Every 5 minutes or so Town had a shot at goal. Coldicott tried a volley from 30 yards which was saved easily by the 'keeper at the foot of his right hand post. After some concerted attacking down the left and centre involving D Smith, Clare and Pouton the ball was rolled to Donovan on the right edge of the penalty area. He shimmied and sent in a low right foot daisy cutter which the 'keeper again saved easily at the foot of his left hand post. Donovan's best moment of the game had come a few minutes earlier when he ran at two defenders from a position 20 yards out, getting past both but running the ball straight out of play. Yes I did say that was Donovan's "best" moment. D Smith had another attempt, this time with his right foot, when cutting across the area. However his shot was very, very weak and barely counted as an effort. There were several other moments when Town threatened, usually down the right, but nothing at all was produced to excite the crowd.
After about 30 minutes Bolton started to attack a little more often, and with increasing threat. Their players were obviously better than ours, stronger, faster, taller and more quick witted. Bolton played a lot a one touch give and goes with plenty of movement off the ball. All their players drifted in spaces, particularly the central midfielder Passi, who was always in 5 yards of space. They should have scored when Hansen was set free down Town's centre left with only Coyne to beat. Coyne stayed on his line a bit too long, hesitating twice before finally advancing. Fortunately, Hansen placed his shot a couple of feet wide of Coyne's right hand post. About 5 or 6 minutes later they should have scored again when their big midfielder Jensen won a tackle 5 yards outside the penalty area and strolled through three tackles, leaving him 15 yards out with just Coyne in front of him. He hit his shot low against Coyne's legs and the ball went out for a corner.
A minute later they finally did score. Bolton broke down the Town right and Groves, near the edge of the box, cleared the ball with a neat lay off to Coldicott, about 5 yards outside the Town area. Coldicott turned and shimmied past a tackle from Passi. However Passi dived in with a two footed scissor tackle, leaving Coldicott in a heap. The Town players appealed for a free kick and some of the less docile members of the crowd shouted and bayed at the referee. Being Uriah Rennie, he saw no wrong and waved play on. The ball rolled to a Bolton player (I think it may have been Bergsson) who advanced and played it back to a forward near the edge of Town's area. Bergsson ran forward and received a pass outside Gallimore (I think) who had moved across to the centre. BERGSSON was free on the centre left of Town's area, he waited for Coyne and placed a shot across Coyne into the right hand side netting. The Town crowd mostly sunk into silence, with only a few summoning up the energy to boo the referee and snarl at the failure to give a free kick. The only other attempt at goal was when Clare received a bouncing ball just inside the right corner of the Bolton box, he spun and hit a low drive towards the 'keeper's right hand post. The ball bounced just before the 'keeper and hit him on the chin, coming out to near the edge of the 6 yards box. A defender hoofed it away for a corner whilst Nicholls watched, moved a leg then slumped away in "disappointment". In other words, he wasn't watching. It's the first time I've mentioned Nicholls and will be the penultimate. He will be gone soon, so let's not dwell on his inadequacies too much. He'll be someone else's problem, not ours. I have yet to find a logical explanation for the him being (a) a Premiership footballer and (b) recorded as a scorer 3 goals in the Premiership. He is way out of his depth in Division One. Bring back Tony Daws!
Two minutes of extra time were played and nothing happened in them. The crowd booed at halftime, though it was half hearted and no-one was sure whether they were booing the team or the ref. No-one expected Town to score in the second and no-one was too critical of the team. Apart from the loan player no-one had played badly (Donovan had played his usual frustrating "almost" game). Bolton just looked better players.
Half time: Grimsby Town 0 Bolton Wanderers 1
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