Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
By: Tony Butcher
A gloriously clear sunny windless day in olde Cleethorpes town. The away end was packed, with some overspill into the open corners, giving a certain vibrancy to the occasion. Well noise, anyway. The Town supporters even managed a couple of songs before the game
Grimsby Town 1 Burnley 0
17 Feb 2001, Nationwide League Division 1
Oddly there was a hint of a band over on the left of the Pontoon. It sounded like someone had a tape recorder turned down to a low volume. It might have been, I suppose, as I saw no musical instruments.
Town lined up in the old, and yet at the same time, new 4-4-2 formation. Donovan was wide right, with Campbell wide left and everyone else in their normal positions (if you believe Groves at centre back is normal, that is).
Oh yes, there was a fascinating hat in the Pontoon. Green, Alpine style with a little grey feather. High in the Pontoon sat a lonely goatee beard.
Town kicked off away from the Pontoon in languid style. The pace of the match was quite sedate, with no sign of the furious pace that characterised the start against Portsmouth. It was also quite obvious that the game would be no classic footballing occasion. Burnley were not organised to play sweet passing football, nor did they have the inclination. A big team who liked to put it forward quickly and chase after it. Neither did they shirk a tackle, even if a tackle wasn't there.
The first thing of any interest to happen was a Town corner, from the left, after a couple of minutes. It was swung into the centre of the goal, around the edge of the 6 yard box, after being missed by 4 or 5 players at the near post.
The ball hit Enhua and rolled towards the goal, being fly kicked away before any Town player reacted. A few seconds later Burnley wellied the ball over the top of the Town defence behind McDermott. Groves ran over, collided with McDermott as they both attempted to head it back to Coyne. Groves kept on his feet and, just inside the penalty area, on the right, headed back to Coyne.
Unfortunately he didn't head it hard enough and Mullin nipped around to challenge Coyne. The ball rebounded off the custard clad 'keeper, rolling out towards the other striker, Moore, about 10 yards out, to the right of the penalty spot.
Enhau impersonated a mysterious shopkeeper and, as if by magic, appeared from nowhere, throwing his body at man and ball to block.
Town went up the other end, attacking down the right with a cross going way over everyone. Campbell ran after it and crossed it back to the far post where Burnett went up for a header, remaining prostrate after the challenge from the defender. Burnett was taken off down the tunnel clutching his face and never re-appeared. This was in the 5th minute and it may sound relatively interesting and exciting. It wasn't.
I really can't remember anything happening for the next 15 minutes, apart from Coldicott eventually coming on for Burnett. It was a rotten midfield scrap, with Town having difficulty stringing more than a couple of passes together, and Burnley having no wish to make more than two passes. Burnley had a few corners and I have a vague recollection of a couple of headers which were totally unthreatening. These may have been in this Bermuda triangle between the 5th and 20th minute. The crowd were settling into comfortable groaning by this stage, with no expectation of Town doing anything. Poor old Jeffrey was looking slower than Livvo and that's saying sommat.
Then Jeffrey jinked past a couple of players and fired in a drive from the left edge of the penalty area. It went a few yards high and wide, but seemed to spark a bit of life into Town, and him. For the next few minutes Town got a bit more possession (helped by Conan flying wholeheartedly into some challenges) and exerted some pressure.
Ironically, given Burnley's propensity to "launch it", Town's got their first goalscoring opportunity from a long ball straight into the middle of the penalty area. Their goalkeeper, Michopoulos (what's a Greek earn?) flapped when faced with the possibility of colliding with Livingstone, knocking the ball straight to Campbell, 25 yards out. Instead of lifting the ball over the now stranded 'keeper, Campbell decide to place a gentle low shot through the centre of Michopoulos's body. He caught it, about 15 yards out, with no-one behind him. A wasted opportunity. It should have been a goal.
A minute later Willems whacked a low left footed hooked shot straight at the goalkeeper from about 15 yards, just to the left of the penalty area. This followed a three man passing move involving the now sprightly Jeffrey. The game then got a bit fruity. Just in front of the away manager's dug-out Campbell and Mitchell Thomas (left) slid in to challenge for a loose rolling ball. Campbell was at 90 degrees to the touchline, with Thomas arriving a little later, parallel with the touchline. Thomas went in with two feet. Campbell was left in a crumpled heap.
The Town fans went potty. The referee, Mr Nutty (officially known as Uriah Rennie, pictured right) ran over, putting his hand to his back pocket. When he got to Thomas he had a long chat and, er, that was it. A long chat. To say the Town players and supporters were displeased would be an understatement. A couple of minutes later Thomas left D Smith in a heap with a heavy challenge. No card. A minute later Thomas stopped a Town breakaway by handballing. Finally, a yellow card.
And then we had another 10 minute spell of tosh, during which Burnley should have scored. A long clearance down the Town left was chased by Moore, who outpaced Groves and D Smith. He raced into the penalty area and, about 10 yards out, 8 or so yards to the left of goal, let fly with a blistering miss hit shot which ended up hitting the roof of the Pontoon. Five minutes or so later a spell of Burnley pressure (also known as hitting hopeful crosses into the box which were half cleared) resulted in the ball breaking loose for them on Town's left. A short dinky cross was played into the unmarked Moore about 8 yards out and 4 or 5 yards to the left of the post. He headed it 10 yards wide and 8 yards high. The Pontoon began to warm to young Mr Moore. He was our type of away striker. In his case, Moore is less.
The Nutty Professor riled the Town supporters even more just before half time. The tricky Burnley right winger, Little (who isn't), fell with purest ham when D Smith tackled him. Rennie was suckered into giving a free kick. Enhua stood next to the ball to stop the kick being taken quickly. So Rennie booked him. Everyone ambled off towards the edge of the Town area. As the free kick was about to be taken. Rennie blew his whistle, raised his hand and walked the distance between the ball and the Town "wall", Jeffrey. He then order the Burnley player to bring the ball forward to that spot. Further comments were made by many in the ground, in unison, on the subject of Mr Rennie's competency.
But the last thing to happen in the half was typical Town. Or should that be typical Livvo. Town cleared down the right. Jeffrey and Donovan challenged the left wing back. He passed to his centre backs, about 25 yards out. Somehow he failed to see Livingstone, who took the ball on into the area, to the right of goal and drilled a low right foot a shot across the 'keeper and a foot past the right hand post. Bad miss, reminiscent of the Bolton blunder.
Things happened, but not often. The bits between the "things" were really, really poor. Town played like a bad First Division team and Burnley like a slightly better than average Second Division team - all huff and puff and directness. Both teams deserved the nil. It was awful and no-one could see Town scoring. Donovan was hardly used at all, in fact it was difficult to work out what Town were doing; the ball seemed to disappear into the middle of the pitch and be buried under a mass of heaving humanity. At least three balls were used (the first one was replaced before Burnett was taken off through lack of air and one of the linesman called for a replacement flag!) Defensively, apart from the Groves/McDermott collision, nothing had gone too wrong, with Enhua making some excellent recovery tackles and not once waving for offside.
Half time: Grimsby Town 0 Burnley 0
Stu's half time toilet talk
"They're rotten -who?- both teams" Livvo's on Mogodon again. Is Pleasure Island open yet? Rennie's a total plonker.
The report continues in the second half
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