Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
24/04 WBA 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
West Brom 2 Grimsby Town 1
24 Apr 2000, Nationwide League Division 1
No changes were made by either side at half time, with Town coming back on to the pitch a couple of minutes early. It was difficult to see who had the reddest ears from the half time "talk". Town started the second half lackadaisically, failing to clear several crosses. After 3 minutes of the half, again after failing to properly clear, another calamity befell Gallimore. West Brom whacked in a deep cross from the Town right, which went over their attacker to Gallimore, all alone inside the penalty area. He controlled it poorly and allowed the ball to run back to the West Brom player. Black ran back and rugby tackled the West Brom player to the ground about 3 yards outside the area, near the edge of box. It was in almost an identical position to the one from which they scored in the first half. Sneekes clipped in a low cross towards TAYLOR, who was stood about 8 yards out, slightly to the right of centre. His first attempt was blocked and as he fell he hooked the ball into the goal. In some ways it was fortunate (as the ball fell to where he had fallen as Coldicott went the other way), but again it was very slack defending.
Town did put some pressure on West Brom after they scored, but I don't recall any shots. I do, though, recall a break away and period of concerted pressure during which Ashcroft stood in the same spot 25 yards out for about 20 seconds. It was almost as if he was deliberately avoiding the ball and/or penalty box.
About 5 minutes after they scored their second, Town got a free kick about 25 yards out on the (Town) right of their penalty area, near the corner of the box. It would be more accurate to say Ashcroft won the free kick - all those weeks of stumbling pathetically asking for a free kick finally paid off, Mr Podgy. BLACK curled the free kick into the 'keeper's top left hand corner. Shocked and stunned were we, Black curling a free kick just under the bar. The goalie hurt himself in missing the ball - it was his leg, not his pride, apparently.
West Brom shriveled a bit after Town's goal, though it would be wildly inaccurate to say Town dominated and pressed hard. The game was still very poor. Neither 'keeper had a save to make until the 74th minute, when Coyne beat away (literally so) a powerful drive from a central position, 25 yards out. It was almost straight at him, but he had very little time to react. Before that West Brom had had a couple of long shots (wide and very wide) and a couple of uninteresting headers.
Pouton started to pick the ball up more and did a couple more surges, both of which were stopped by fouls. After about 10ish minutes of the half Gallimore was finally replaced by Butterfield. He had played miserably and his substitution had arguably been 10 minutes too late - we wouldn't have conceded the second goal if Butterfield had been at left back. After about 20 or so minutes Allen was replaced by Clare. Allen received an appreciative round of applause as he hadn't done anything wrong, and had visibly tried. Town appeared to change formation with Donovan playing on the left of a three man forward line. At least that's what it looked like, he may be described elsewhere as playing in the hole (as opposed to supporters wishing he was in a hole), but he was always on the left. It meant Town were strangely lopsided with three players on the left, two of which were right footed, whereas there was virtually nothing down the right. McDermott and Pouton did try and attack down there, but it meant they had a double workload. West Brom eventually twigged that we were undermanned on the right and started to whack the ball down that channel.
And that resulted in their only other shot on target. With about 15 minutes left a couple of ricochets resulted in McDermott being turned on the right of the area, about 10 yards wide of the goal. The substitute (Evans) was through but Coyne came out quickly to block with his legs. Around this point the referee finally lost control. He had been weak, some say pusillanimous, all afternoon, taking the easy option all the time (which rarely favoured Town). A whole series of little decisions infuriated the Town players and Coldicott snapped with about 5 minutes left. McDermott tried to play the ball up the right hand touchline, but a West Brom player stopped it with his hand. The town players stopped for the free kick, but the referee just flapped his arms. West Brom ran up the touchline and put in a dangerous cross which was cleared in front of goal, the ball eventually going out for a throw in on the half way line. Pouton and Coldicott ran after the referee complaining and the yellow card was waved at Coldicott, who walked off. Pouton ran after Coldicott and kept him on the pitch. Play continued and the ball went out for another throw. The town supporters were singing "you don't know what your doing", and so were the Baggies. The referee then realised that he had already booked Coldicott and got the red card out. A couple of minutes later Pouton surged down the right and was cynically hacked by Sneekes. Just a free kick given and, as it was the third time he done it, this further incensed the Town players and crowd.
A couple of minutes later Sneekes ran with the ball across the middle of the pitch pursued by Clare, who knocked him down. It was almost like a helping nudge as he passed, though with his shoulder. Sneekes fell down as if shot by several snipers and a hullabaloo ensued. The players congregated around Sneekes, with Pouton bestowing knowledge and wisdom freely upon all. The West Brom full back (Clements, who is only on loan) ran 20 yards at full speed and pushed Pouton in the chest. More tussling amongst the players, with Lever spending an awfully long time "discussing" the incident with Sneekes, who, incidentally, looks like Michael Bolton. The result was a yellow card to Clare only. Frankly, Mr Frankland you were a weasel. Sneekes should have been booked for his hair alone.
With a minute or two left (it was hard to keep track of time in the last 10 minutes as the game went a bit potty) Town won a free kick in an almost identical position to that from which Black had scored. Again Black lined up the free kick. As he did so the referee took an interminable time to arrange the wall to his liking. At the same time Clement and Donovan were running backwards and forwards between the wall and the left hand post. Black curled the free kick to just under the angle of post and bar. Unfortunately Clement had gone back and headed the ball off the line as the 'keeper flapped his hands either side of his head. The ball went sideways across the goal and an almighty scramble ensued. Lever steamed in and won a challenge, pushing the ball forward towards a thicket of players. The Town players jumped up claiming hand ball, a West Brom player lay on the ground and the referee stopped play for ages whilst he received treatment. At the same time as this Butterfield had been off the pitch having his hamstring sprayed. He then limped back. Lever took this break in play as an opportunity to wind up the West Brom 'keeper, reminding him of his flap at the free kick by crossing his arms and flapping.
The linesman's yellow flag was substituted in the last minute to much amusement. It fell apart when he waggled it too much.
Town had played the last 5 minutes with two at the back, even Lever went up front, with the usual effect. No further chances fell to either side and West Brom got the victory they wanted, but didn't deserve. Town certainly didn't perform well, and a couple of the team barely tried. There was very little football played, with far too many aimless punts to our "big men" up front. Ashcroft didn't even challenge - is he a closet Baggieboy? We really have a problem with our left back. My mother saw a picture of him in a programme and observed that he looked a bit like Norman Wisdom. He doesn't have to play like him. I felt like shouting "Mr Grimsdale" at him today. The Walsall result was announced at the end and there wasn't much celebrating going on in the Town end. There was anger that we had performed so timidly and, once again, performed a service to a team in trouble. Do we have to be so charitable every year?
Some Town supporters couldn't even bring themselves to cheer the goal, it had been such an anger inducing display. It was reminiscent of the Tranmere away game in that respect. The overwhelming feeling "why are we losing to this dross?"
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