League Two Form Guide
Question of the Week
How long before new manager arrives?
By: Tony Butcher
In the town where it is permanently 1975 the weather was temperate and vaguely autumnal, with grey broken clouds. Town warmed up in the usual way with Lennie Lawrence beaming benignly from a corner flag. At least we were spared the open toilet and pigeon droppings this time.
Barnsley 1 Grimsby Town 0
30 Sep 2000, Nationwide League Division 1
There were about 300 Town supporters in the left hand corner of the big stand behind the goal on the left as viewed on TV.
There was a very curious tannoy announcement which informed the crowd that the Barnsley Juniors had won Liverpool that morning. We presumed that they beat Liverpool Juniors at football, not won the city in a hoop-la.
Town lined up in what is rapidly becoming the usual away formation: 5-3-2. Bloomer played as the left centre back with Groves in the middle. Coldicott appeared to be the most central of the midfielders, with Butterfield to his right.
Barnsley appeared to be playing 4-4-2, with Big Thing Dyer and even Bigger Thing Shipperley up front. Appropriate, as the Barnsley shirt sponsor is, hilariously, Big Thing. That's nearly as bad as Chuppa Chups.
Town kicked off away from the Town supporters. As a variation on the usual theme, the ball was eventually passed to Handyside who carefully chipped it out of play for a goal kick, rather than a throw in. The game started in an extremely low key atmosphere, with the only crowd noise emanating from a small knot of Town supporters singing a "witty ditty" about hating Yorkies (and Donovan wasn't yet on the pitch). No atmosphere and no intensity on the pitch. It started like an end of season kick about and rarely raised itself thereafter.
Town had the better of the first ten minutes, playing occasional neat tidy football through midfield. There were a couple of shots from Allen (weak, straight at the keeper from 20 yards) and Campbell (firmer, but straight at the keeper from 20 yards from the right hand edge of the penalty area. It was parried for a corner.).
The first chance of any note to either side came in about the eighth minute after Town kept possession on their right in the centre of the pitch. Butterfield chipped a first time, curling pass over the top of the Barnsley defence in between their left back and centre half. Coldicott ran on from midfield with a defender, who missed the ball as it bounced over him, leaving our bullet-headed hero alone on the corner of the 6 yard box. Coldicott tried to dink the ball over the keeper, who parried it back. The ball got trapped between Coldicott's legs, which in turn got trapped between the keeper's arms. They all fell over and they couldn't put Humpty together again. The ball was cleared. If you want to read anything positive about Town's performance, don't bother to read on.
At around the same time, Barnsley had their first opportunity. A cross from the Town right was headed a yard past Coyne's left hand post by Shipperley. Handyside had leant into Shipperley to knock him off balance, rather than challenging for the ball and the cross had resulted from some very slack play by Town in their own penalty area. Usual story, no-one taking responsibility to clear.
The next 20 minutes were really quite dull. There were incidents and accidents, but neither side looked like scoring. Campbell and Butterfield tried long range efforts which would have gone in if they'd been on target and the keeper had popped into BHS for a cup of delicious hot chocolate. Town won a few corners after some typical Town interplay, but you know what that means...all together now "We never....."
Barnsley kept trundling forward or rather, in the case of Dyer, sprinting in their usual way. Either whack it to Shipperley's head for Dyer to run on to, or whack it over the top for Dyer to run on to. Their favoured route was down the Town left as it was clear to anyone watching that Gallimore was not at all comfortable as a wing back. Barnsley had loads of corners, but nothing much came of them, just a couple of long range efforts which didn't go close. Their number 17 was especially Pounton-esque in his ability to slice high and wide from 20 yards.
One effort was only a couple of feet away from being a throw in. The nearest they came to scoring was when a player took on Gallimore and pulled the cross back to about 15 yards out at the near post. The resulting shot was sliced and the ball ballooned up and over Groves at the far post to Dyer, about a yard out. Groves turned and, with Coyne, they forced Dyer to run away from goal. Danger over. For a couple of minutes anyway.
Barnsley resurrected their corner routine of six months ago - have someone standing alone on the edge of the Town box and pass it to them. Town fell for it yet again. From a corner on Town's left, the ball was indeed tapped to an unmarked player, who chipped it towards a bunch of players about 5 or 6 yards beyond the far post. From a very, very narrow angle, CHETTLE, unmarked, headed firmly and high over Coyne, who scrambled across his line. The ball ended in the net along with Coyne and Dyer, who had been standing on the goal line unmarked. It was all very messy, but the ball appeared to cross the line before it hit Dyer.
A pathetic goal to concede. Not for the first time, Town players had "switched off" at a set piece and seemed amazed that Barnsley had not taken 5 minutes to get ready. The very next attack almost brought another Barnsley goal. I cannot remember which incident it was as I, like most of the Town fans, lost some interest in the game - 'cos we'd lost, right?
The rest of the half was a little tedious, Barnsley breakaways after Town possession. Dyer should have scored a couple before half time. Firstly, he tried to curl a right footed chip over Coyne into the top right hand corner. Coyne easily tipped the ball over the bar. It was a good save, but not difficult. Dyer then produced a fine turn in the area after Shipperley had headed on another long punt. Dyer, with his back to goal, turned inside Handyside (who fell over) and, from around the penalty spot, hooked a volley a few inches past Coyne's right hand post. As Trevor Brooking would say "He's done all the hard work..." But I wasn't a little disappointed with it.
Clare produced a couple of superb turns just before half time. The first resulted in a throw in and the second in a cross to the near post, just behind Allen. The ball rolled out to Campbell, who sliced a shot wide. The only other danger that Town created was when a deep cross from the left bounced beyond Barnsley's far post. McDermott sprinted into the area and headed across goal towards the other post. There was a bit of a scramble and the ball ended up in Row V, after Butterfield tried a shot from the edge of the area. A high spot for any Town supporter was a quite brilliant recovery tackle by McDermott after Dyer was set free inside the Town half. This followed a terrible pass from Campbell which set up a Barnsley counter attack.
It was tediously predictable stuff from both teams. Town eventually conceded a goal to dull, organised opponents in a typical away performance. Neat and tidy, but never getting anywhere near goal. The lack of width, especially on the left, hindered the attacking momentum. Allen was constantly making darting runs up front, but either the pass was poor, not made, late, or he was eased away by bigger, faster defenders. Bloomer was the only Town defender to match Dyer for pace and distinguished himself with some tenacious tackling and tracking.
Three questions puzzled the Town supporters at half time - where was Campbell on the pitch? why was Clare on the pitch? and would Town players put longer studs in their boots? (as they were constantly slipping over).
Half time: Barnsley 1 Grimsby Town 0
The report continues in the 2nd half
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