League Two Table
Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
By: David Wilkinson
It doesn't get a lot colder than this - a biting wind, albeit dry on the day. The pitch is starting to look a bit heavy and seemed to cut up a bit - much better than many of the premier league pitches we see on TV though!
Grimsby Town 1 Stockport County 1
I thought Town lined up far too cautiously with only Neilsen and Donovan up front. Donovan is no striker, so this meant one up front with Donovan behind him. Campbell was injured, therefore the midfield was Fostervold, Willems, Burnett and Coldicott with a back 4 of Gallimore, Groves, Zhang and Butterfield - Coyne in goal.
Stockport completely dominated the first half, playing three up front and attacking us to great effect down either side. Butterfield looked particularly vulnerable throughout. Town attacked the Pontoon stand in the first half (if attacked is the right word - they didn't spend much time in front of goal!!). As the weather got colder, Stockport seemed to get stronger. In one bizarre incident, during a Stockport attack a Town player clearly back passed to Coyne who picked it up and stood holding it on the line. The whole crowd breathed a sigh of relief that the ref didn't blow - but why he didn't god alone knows!
We paid the price for being timid and Stockport took a deserved half time lead. Butterfield was beaten and the resulting cross/shot went in. (Scorer Rob Mathhews) 1-0 to Stockport and something had to be changed.
Predictably (and too late) Livvo came on for the second half, with Gallimore going off and Fosterveld dropping to left back. This seemed to work and we had a good spell for 20 minutes or so. We achieved during that time what we singularly failed to do at any time in the first half - put together a move of more than 3 passes. It is true that Stockport made that difficult by their play, but you can't help wondering how a team of strangers are supposed to communicate and settle in together. The tactics appear to change game by game and there is little consistency in the line-up.
Why be bold and play 3 up front away from home (eg Crystal Palace/Watford) and then only (effectively) one at home??
Town's goal, when it came, was a cracker! There was a difficult-to-see piece of interplay and action in front of the Osmond Stand goal. Allegedly Livvo fouled someone but suddenly Burnett hit a rising volley from about 20 yards out and it was in the back of the net. A peach of a goal - Burnett was one of the few having a good game and thoroughly deserved it. He was the only midfielder making an impression and tackled back far more than he used to - making one or two headed clearances!
We all thought more would follow but, quite the contrary. Stockport resumed their attacking and, towards the end, looked most likely to get the winner. In fact, when the 4th official allowed 3 more minutes most of the crowd would have settled for the final whistle.
I think this performance and result is a real shame for us because, if we are to avoid relegation, we HAVE to beat the teams below us. We can't rely on lucky away results like Preston because those are going to be few and far between.
Lawrence has to introduce more consistency and continuity. Constant changes and experimentation won't work. I think we have made some good progress in the last couple of months and at least we saved a point - but the real danger in this result is that Stockport will be going home feeling like they have lost 2 points.
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