Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
30/09 Barnsley 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
Barnsley 1 Grimsby Town 0
30 Sep 2000, Nationwide League Division 1
No changes were made by either team at half time, though it was noticeable that Barnsley played more quickly and hustled Town more. Nothing at all happened in the first 5 minutes, until the Barnsley keeper fly-kicked straight down the middle. Groves strode forward, alone with no challengers, and missed the ball. It bounced towards the edge of Town's penalty area, with Shipperley and Handyside running across from the Town right. Shipperley chested the ball and moved across to the Town left, Handyside slipped (that answered the question about the studs). From about 15 yards, SHIPPERLEY hit a low right foot shot across Coyne into the right hand corner of the net. We might as well have gone home then but, as it had started raining, we thought we'd stay and keep dry.
Lawrence's response was to take off our fastest and most effective central defender. Bloomer was replaced by Donovan and Town switched to 4-4-2. Butterfield played right wing with Donovan on the left wing. Brilliant Holmes, that'll fool 'em. Donovan put in one of his specialist away performances, summed up in an incident where his jellyfish and scarecrow tendencies combined. Set free on the left, he ambled forward until a Barnsley player got near him, when he looked up to pick out someone to cross to, swung at the ball, slipped over and sliced the cross not even into the stand - it barely reached the advertising boards.
Town actually played a bit better in this formation, as they gained more possession and looked dangerous until they reached the edge of the penalty. Are you getting a sense of dÃ©jÃ vu reading that sentence? After about 55 to 60 minutes, Clare was replaced by Rowan in a straight swap. This certainly perked Town's play up as Rowan was more direct and more aware of the position of his team-mates. You could say he was spatially aware - oh, I just did. He actually looked up and passed. He had a very good first 10 minutes on the pitch, linking well with Allen in particular. Unfortunately, although these links got the ball from defence to attacking positions, the crosses, mainly from Butterfield and Donovan, were poor. DÃ©jÃ vu again, eh. The best Town move of the match came from a series of one-touch passes, with movement, involving Allen, Rowan and McDermott. This resulted in Campbell, from the edge of the box and in the centre, volleying a yard over the bar. Rowan was particularly involved in this move. He's a hit!
After about 65 minutes, Butterfield was replaced by Jeffery. This enabled Donovan to stand idly on the right wing rather than the left. Of course, Jeffery, being a right-footed centre forward, played as a left winger. No criticism for Jeffery as he worked very hard, tracking back and doing all the things you'd expect someone to do in that position - defensively. He still can't cross or shoot though. He did have a shot, but it went wide. No-one showed any interest as it never looked like going anywhere near the goal.
Barnsley efforts. Or should that be the Dyer efforts. Or should that be the dire efforts. He really should have scored a hat trick. He headed a couple of yards wide when he was 8 yards out and unmarked following a cross from the Town left. Again, unmarked, and about 10 yards out right in the centre, he hooked a flying volley a couple of yards wide of Coyne's right hand post. His third miss was when he was set free down the Town centre right, he cut inside the centre half (Groves, I think) and sliced the ball wide of Coyne's left hand post. His fourth failure to score in the second half was really a good save by Coyne, rather than a miss (he only made two in the entire game). Town lost the ball on their right and it was quickly chipped into the space behind McDermott, who had gone forward to attack at this time. Dyer outpaced Groves (I think), cut inside and hit a low shot across Coyne to his left. Coyne parried the ball and it rolled slowly towards the goal. Gallimore jogged back and performed a Beardsley-esque stepover (not to be confused with a Pouton stepover) and chipped a clearance to Jeffery on the halfway line. Jeffery turned and ran at the fullback andâ€¦â€¦.well nothing happened as the ball eventually reached Donovan.
I have a vague recollection of Dyer skewing another shot wide from the edge of the penalty area - it's only a vague recollection. I just wanted the game to end by that point. The last Barnsley attempt was in the last few minutes when the substitute, Corbo (some kind of South American full back with the appropriate hair), drove a snap shot wide of Coyne's left hand post from about 25 yards.
In the last 5 or 6 minutes Town exerted some pressure and had a couple of shots from outside the area which didn't go anywhere near goal. Perhaps the worst of these was when Groves hit a superb 50 yard pass out of defence straight to Allen's toe. Allen turned inside the defender, ran into space about 20 yards out from goal and dragged his shot 10 yards wide. That moment summed up Town. Quite capable of getting there but not capable of doing anything positive when they do.
The very last action of the game, at the end of 3 minutes' stoppage time, was a Town corner on our right. It was hit to the far post, where Groves headed firmly towards the centre of the goal. The keeper parried and the ball fell loose, 4 or 5 yards out. As Allen and Rowan advanced, the referee blew for full time. At least we didn't waste a precious goal then.
A curious game played in a curious atmosphere - it was as if the result didn't matter to either team or set of fans. The Barnsley supporters created an atmosphere as soporific as Blundell Park on a particularly somnambulant afternoon. As for the two teams, one looked like a team that would finish 9th and the other looked like a decent 2nd division team - make your own mind up which was which.
Barnsley were not as good as they were last season, and they weren't even impressive then. Without Hignett they are nothing special. We should have got a 0-0 draw out of this, but two moments of pathetic defending literally gave Barnsley the game. Town were solid-ish for half an hour at 5-3-2, but once Barnsley scored they started to look a little disorganised, unsure whether to push up or not. The switch to 4-4-2 initially sparked Town into looking more dangerous but, as usual, it rather petered out.
Individually, I have to say that Campbell had a very poor game and didn't do anything to suggest he is better than Pouton with the ball and he is not as strong, physically. The rescue helicopters are still sweeping the Pennines looking for Donovan, who was missing in action. Butterfield had a tendency to hit first time balls forward without looking and this resulted in our "big" forwards failing to out-jump Barnsley's big things. His crossing was up to its usual standard and he was far too willing to shoot from 30 yards, wasting quite a few attacking possibilities by wildly whacking it into the stands. McDermott and Allen, in particular, took a dim view of his inability to look up. The introduction of Rowan raised interest and lowered the ball. The conclusion to draw from this game is - sell Clare, keep Rowan.
Handyside and Groves had inconsistent games as they both had moments where they lost concentration and could not recover through lack of speed. Handyside looked about two thirds of the way back to full effectiveness, but he had no pace and struggled in the last 15 minutes. However, his use of the ball is still good and he brought the ball out of defence well. It's a pity that no-one (except Allen) further up the pitch bothered to move so that he could pass to them.
Forgettable game, forgettable result in what is already a season we want to forget.
Man of the Match - John McDermott. Faultless.
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