Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
26/12 Barnsley 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
Grimsby Town 0 Barnsley 3
26 Dec 1999, Nationwide League Division 1
Neither side made any changes for the second half. Town should have, as they played the same as they did in the first. Within 5 minutes Barnsley had hit the post. A break down the Town right saw their number 7 curl a right-footed shot against Coyne's left hand post from the edge of the area. I seem to recall this move started when one of the Town defenders gave the ball away. Forgive my inexactitude on this matter, but such were the number of times that Gallimore and R Smith fell over the ball, or passed it to directly to Barnsley within 30 yards of the goal, that they all seemed to blur into one. I'll get the Gallimore and R Smith performances out of the way first. Absolutely shocking. Smith in particular played like a startled rabbit. Gallimore was little better at times. His positional sense, in particular, was absent from the field of play.
After 10-15 minutes Town put Barnsley under some pressure, though no shots directly on goal. Town nearly pulled a goal back when Lester was brought down 20 yards out, on Town's right. Adam Buckley took a curling left foot free kick which bent around the wall and missed the 'keepers right hand post by 6 inches. The goalkeeper didn't wobble much so it was a "what if moment", but wasn't. The referee's strangeness continued at this free kick as he was adamant that the wall should go back 10 yards. He started to pace the yards out (with the Pontoon counting his steps). He took 8 little steps at an angle of 30 degrees and pronounced himself happy. The Pontoon bayed in righteous indignation, but to little effect.
From the resulting goal kick Barnsley scored again, through APPLEBY. R Smith failed to get much distance on a headed clearance, about 30 yards out on the Town left. He simply headed it gently over Groves to a Barnsley player, who controlled the ball and passed it forward, as Groves was stumbling back after trying to head the ball. I think the same player ran on; collected a wall pass and shot under Coyne, to his right, from just inside the area. It is so hard to tell their Barnsley midfielders apart when they are at the Osmond end - only one had a bad haircut. There was definitely a shortage of Town players on the right, leaving McDermott exposed.
Curiously, Barnsley did not force Coyne into any more saves until the last 5 minutes, though they broke dangerously, especially from Town corners. That is probably the moment of most danger for Town, one of their own corners! Shortly after the third goal A Buckley and Donovan were replaced by Allen and Coldicott, Town re-organised to a 4-3-3 , with Allen and Lester "buzzing" around Livingstone. Unfortunately Lester's "buzzing" was to run around leaving his foot high. He eventually got booked for a sliding tackle that resulted in Appleby getting stretchered off. It took ages for him to be taken off, and of course he got up again when the stretcher was off the pitch. Lester's other contribution to the afternoon's "entertainment" was to be suckered by their tubby 'keeper twice. As the ball was rolled back to Windy Miller Lester ran on to "harry" him. Twice Miller dummied Lester, leaving young Jack looking rather silly. Lester was taken off with a few minutes left, allowing Ashcroft 5-10 minutes during which time he got the ball twice, producing one weak cross.
In between the 60th and 80th minutes Town had the only two efforts on goal. Coldicott drove a right foot shot, from 20 yards, a few inches wide of the 'keepers right hand post after a move down the Town right; and Pouton curled a cross with the outside of his right foot, from the Town right, which was a foot in front of Livingstone at the far post, and went a couple of inches wide of the same post.
Barnsley made a few substitutions in the last quarter of an hour and their substitutes nearly scored in injury time. Firstly Dyer was played in on the Town left, Gallimore backed off, and backed off, and for good measure backed off again, allowing Dyer to get into the area at a narrow angle. The shot was driven in extremely hard and fast, but close to Coyne, who reacted well enough to tip it over. A free header from a corner bounced into Coyne's hands; and, as in the first half, Coyne had to race off his line at his near post to block after a one two on Town's left.
After a couple of minutes of injury time the referee ended our misery and boredom. By this time most of the Town crowd had left (quite a few left after the third goal) and Town got the reaction they deserved - apathetic booing.
Apart from Pouton's attempts at creativity (let's ignore his corner which dribbled into the near side netting and his cross from the right a minute later which nearly hit me in the back row of the Pontoon) there is nothing positive to say about Town collectively or individually. Two of the back four played like they were in a different time zone, the first choice wingers were quite dreadful, and the front two were immobile and clumsy. I am sure Lester did break sweat today, somewhere near the 67th minute when the 'keeper dummied him for the second time. Livvo played very poorly, he was very slow even by his own standards of swiftness. Groves was in midfield somewhere and, oddly, Lever was quite acceptable. That shows you how poor the others were.
Town's performance was a gift for lazy journalists, but not for the fans. Absolutely shocking, I hope this is the nadir of the season, but it probably won't be. Man City - double figures ?
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