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Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
23/11 QPR 2nd Half
By: David Peasgood
Grimsby Town 2 Queens Park Rangers 1
23 Nov 1999, Nationwide League Division 1
As the gladiators took the field for the second half I felt quietly confidant. Town had looked like scoring and there was no reason not to, apart from the fact that I can't recall the last game we won from being a goal down. Anyway.. kicking and shouting the game kicked off and straight from the off it was all town again. Donovan magicked an extra yard of pace during the interval (it must be the bovril) and with a combination of him on the right and Buckley on the left we were getting the ball wide and passing into the centre well. I'd rather we crossed into the centre but the AB way these days is more than ever to 'pass' your way into the box which is all very well except it also gets very predictable and needless to say the QPR defence didn't struggle. We needed a surprise. Something unexpected. It came on 56 minutes as Donovan on the inside right picked up the ball 40 yards out and ran straight for the box, he was forced left, left again and all across the box before he shimmied inside his man and was tapped on the leg just inside the left corner of the box and went down. Penalty to town, ASHCROFT placed the ball to the goalies right as he dived to his left and 1-1. Totally deserved. Now we were getting there.
I expected an immediate QPR counter but it never came. Stacy was winning most of the loose ball in midfield and linking well with Donovan and Ashcroft. 2 further chances for town came in the next five minutes but unfortunately they fell to Lester. For the best chance he did well to make space, turn his marker and approach the goal from wide on the left. If he'd looked up he'd have seen Donovan and Ashcroft running in for a cross on the right, but inevitable he tried to float the ball into the top corner and missed with ease. This enigma that is Lester is a strange thing. yes he is tricky and has some pace, can harry defenders and cause errors, but he is so lightweight and has his back to goal so much so that he can be totally ineffective and easily marked out the game. He has genuine value as a 'novelty' attacker for any team but I wish AB would stop trying to use him as his lead striker.
The next 20 mins were unspectacular. Town gave as good as they got and QPR came more into the game but showed no great flair or individuality. A few QPR crosses into the box saw Coyne flapping at the ball or staying back on his line as Lever and Butterfield played head tennis with the QPR attack, within the 6 yard box. Dave Smith cleared off the line twice in goal mouth scrambles and on one occasion Donovan headed a ball out for a corner and then gave Coyne a right rollicking for not calling for the ball. This Coyne is a bit too 'Whilmot-ty' for my liking, and indeed one pontoonite raised a laugh later on when Coyne did collect a cross by shouting "Hey look he's out of his 6 yard box". With about 15 mins left Burnett and Black came on for Buckley and Hamilton. They never made any difference really. Gally got booked for a handbags at 6 paces tussle with someone or other. By 80 mins it looked like a draw was favourite or a late QPR winner as they piled on some pressure with a series of corners. QPR showed no urgency though and on one occasion Kiwomya took so long collecting the ball and passing it to the corner taker that he got some stick from the pontoon. He turned to the pontoon, swaggered his shoulders and gave a smarmy 'I've got all day pal' look to the crowd. If only he knew what was coming.
On 85 mins Town decided attack was the best form of defence and an excellent move started with Coldicott picking the ball up in midfield and charging at the defence. He slipped the ball to Ashcroft (i think) who played Lester clear inside the box. Lester's first touch took it past the goalie, but the goalie was committed to a dive and Lester did what he is best at and fell over the goalies arms. Just as well the ball was going for a goal kick which is probably why the ref never sent the goalie off. Penalty. ASHCROFT placed this to the goalies left as he dived right. 2-1 and at last some noise from the home crowd, who until then had been generally outvoiced by the 300 or so londoners whose only chant was "come on you arse" (or so it sounded). It was effectively game over. A late corner to QPR went nowhere and the final whistle came in due course after 4 mins extra time. A fine win. A good spirited team performance.
Sun marks out of ten: Coyne 6, D Smith 7, Lever 9, Gally 7, Butterfield 8, Donovan 8, Hamilton 5, Coldicott 9, Buckley 8, Ashcroft 7, Lester 6, subs Burnett 5, Black 5. referee 4
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