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21/07 Dundee 2nd Half

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 23/07/2000

Grimsby Town 2 Dundee 2
21 July 2000, Friendly

2nd half

Burnett replaced Coldicott and Chapman replaced Gallimore (who hadn't had any wobbles in the first half, just one slight doze when he reacted slowly to an impending threat). Within 2 minutes Burnett kicked Bonetti from behind with a terrible sliding tackle on his ankle. The game increased in pace in the second half, with both sides starting to tackle fiercely. Town's more obvious fouling was counteracted by those fiendish foreign fouls. The game got a little heated and even had a minor mass shoving incident after Pouton was cynically hacked down from behind. Pouton got up an attacked his attacker.

After 10 to 15 minutes Town scored again. Donovan was hauled back by the neck after dribbling through a couple of tackles. Black curled in a free kick (from a similar position to the goal in the first half) to GROVES (in a similar position to the first half goal) who headed firmly into the centre of the goal. There now followed a good spell of attacking football from Town, principally down the right with Donovan and, especially, McDermott very prominent. McDermott did three or four attacking surges from right back which caused Dundee great difficulty (he had done a couple in the first half where he had got into the penalty box, but the defence had scrambled the ball way). Town spread the ball across the field quite well, with Pouton and Burnett being bright and quick in the centre. Unfortunately, either D Smith or Black slowed the momentum with poor control or dithering.

Dundee had been very dangerous on the counterattack, and they had targeted Ben Chapman as a weak link, as every attack seemed to go down the Town left. Their right midfielder had Chapman in great difficulty, beating him for pace, strength and skill. The nearest they came to scoring was when the Dundee player surged past Chapman, got to the bye line and crossed hard and low. Fortunately for Town it went across the face of the gaol with no Dundee player anywhere near. Coyne dropped a couple of corners and had to make a super save at his left hand post when Dundee attacked down the Town right, sucked the Town defenders across and had two player free beyond Chapman. They also should have scored when, after a very similar move, they passed the ball to a wide right midfielder who dinked a shot with his right boot just over the angle of Coyne's right hand post and bar, from the edge of the area.

Just after the hour, Dundee deservedly equalised with a goal that had the Town supporters clapping. Their no 10 (another of their South Americans) jinked past three Town players on a mazy run across the (Town) left edge of the area and towards the penalty spot. Burnett was probably the most culpable defender, but blame would be churlish. It was a superb piece of skill, which gave the no 10 sufficient room to place a careful shot just inside Coyne's right hand post.

The game remained competitive and interesting after this, but the intensity dropped a little through the substitutions made. After 65 minutes Town took off Coyne, McDermott, Livingstone, D Smith, Donovan and Clare replacing them with Croudson, Butterfield, Bloomer, Buckley, A Smith and Rowan. This left Town looking like a youth team. In some ways it was a shame that Donovan was taken off as he was having a rather productive spell, even beating a player and looking very dangerous. It wasn't a shame that D Smith went off as he didn't do anything. He was neither good nor bad. Just in the way. Of the new players, Bloomer played well, being up against a tricky forward; Croudson missed one corner, but took another and made a brilliant double save in the last minute (I'll describe it in detail later); Butterfield was what we expect (and he was up against Bonetti too); A Smith looked like a thinner version of D Smith, though he linked well with Rowan. I was quite impressed with Rowan. He didn't have a shot, but his linking play was neat and precise, he showed strength when shielding the ball and poise in laying off short passes under pressure. He looked comfortable on the pitch and looked like a professional footballer rather than a good youngster. Buckley was what you've come to expect, never looking as though he had the ball under the control and generally ineffective.

After 80 minutes Coldicott came back on for Pouton and Livvo replaced Black up front. The first and only thing Livvo did was foul someone. Bonetti showed off in front of the Pontoon by doing a flying bicycle kick to cross the ball from the corner flag, and a few rolling step overs. He got a very warm reception, not a totally rapturous one. The crowd chanted his name a few times, but it was rather a three quarter effort. It was, after all, a pre-season friendly. No-one (in the crowd) could get too bothered about it.

The Croudson double save. Pressure down the Town right eventually saw the ball played in to the near post (after a couple of rather fortunate rebound and ricochets). From point blank range, at his left hand post, he saved (rather than smothered or blocked) a firm low shot. The ball rebounded to his left (ie across goal) about 7 yards out. A Dundee player stepped up to whack the ball in, but the Kitten flung himself across the goal to save, again at point blank range.

And then the game ended. Quite a few positives to take out of it. The players looked fitter than I'd expected. The game was played at an intensity of a league match (and at times a needle match) and as there are still 3 weeks to the start of the season it augurs well for a less lacklustre start than usual. The team was organised and there were very few long or high balls. Clare played with more intelligence than for a long time, Donovan was starting to look dangerous (though still produced nothing except an ability to run into the opposition and one weak cross shot), and McDermott defended intelligently and attacked with brio. Gallimore didn't fall over and Groves looked very comfortable in the centre of defence. Most of the youngsters looked good, though I reserve judgement on A Smith and Chapman, who had a torrid time. Burnett didn't look that far off fitness and the centre of midfield looked very solid

The negatives? Well Coyne played like he did when he first arrived, we didn't threaten the goal very often and where were the first three choices at centre half, not to mention Bradley Allen.

One more thing, Black had perhaps the largest football shorts ever, he needed at least two inches taken off the bottom. Somehow I don't think he will grow into his new kit.

My man of the match. Groves - 2 goals and he stayed on for 90 minutes.

Tony Butcher

Two photos from the game including one of Ivano Bonetti can be seen below:

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