League Two Table
Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
By: Miles Moss
My friend Greig's a Norwich fan - he went to the McAlpine last Saturday, and saw Huddersfield beat Norwich 2-0. However, he reported back that Norwich had played ultra-badly. Huddersfield were an appalling team, and were there for the taking.
Huddersfield 0 Grimsby Town 0
06 Mar 2001, Nationwide League Division 1
The omens were good - it was my birthday, Cath and I made good time to Huddersfield, and found a prime parking space immediately.
We were just getting our money out at the turnstiles when a kindly man thrust two tickets in our direction - complimentary tickets excess to his requirements which we gladly took [after a moment or two of suspicion - sorry about that, Mr Kindman!]. So, it was all going swimmingly leading up to kick off - we were bound to win, weren't we?
The subs were Irrelevant, Why Bother Bringing Them, You're Allowed To Replace Players Whenever You Like You Know, and There's Only One Bradley Allen. Oh, but really, Croooooooodsen, Pooooooton, Allen, Livingston, and..... um, er... Zccc Thh Zch Cha-a-ang Enhu..mumble mumble. These tannoy geezers are great, aren't they.
Huddersfield's line-up included striker Delroy Facey, who looks like Martin Offiah's bigger big brother. He scared the bejesus out of me every time he thundered forward. Luckily, Handyside is not such a scaredy cat, and snuffed him out constantly.
Pre-match entertainment was the McAlpine cheerleaders. 8 young girls in short skirts which turned me into my Dad. "They must be freezing". I'm sure I would have been leering when I was still 32...
Anyway - the football.... oh, do I *have* to talk about this bit? The Mariners kicked off away from us, and it was perfectly obvious that they had no plan. Individually at times, they would create danger - Donovan made a couple of weaving runs out wide, Clare created moments of danger in the box, and Campbell had a few of his trademark surges through the middle. But at these times, the other players in the team had a look of surprise about them. "ooh - what's Daryl doing?"; "Hey - look where Kev is..." Attacks were obviously not expected, and there was no contingency plan for them. The prime example of this was in the second half. Clare executed a superb piece of passing and movement which culminated in him holding the ball up on the corner of the area, waiting for a run. Far too late, Butterfield twigged, and ran into the area. Clare passed him the ball. Excitement! We're going to score! 6 yards from goal, Danny didn't seem to know what to do... How does an attack peter out *6 yards* from goal? HOW?
Grimsby attacks were few and far between, and only in a couple of five minute periods did the team actually look like a team, passing the ball around the half way line, awaiting... god knows what. Clive to suddenly materialise upfield and call for the ball? Huddersfield aren't very good, but they created 4 times the amount of chances. Why? Because when they haven't got the ball, they tackle to try and get it. And when they get it, they surge forward strongly, cross into the box, where there are one or two strikers waiting to try and score. Am I being too simplistic here? Luckily for us, offerings to the God of Accuracy have been scant, and most of their shots were woefully wide, or dealt with easily by Coyne.
I haven't got the memory capacity for a chronological match report, so i'll keep tapping out the occurrences as, well, as they occur to me. Our best chance came in the second half, again from Clare. A run directly into the box and towards the goal brought a dive at his feet from their keeper. How it happened, I don't know, but Clare kept the ball, and squirmed goalside of the keeper. Struggling past the keeper had knocked him over, but he quickly regained his feet some one yard from goal and fired a shot in.... and a bloody defender cleared it off the line. Unbelievable. A goal deserved, but denied. Willems also played pretty well, and had a couple of chances. One free kick brought a good low diving save out of their keeper. Also, he and Campbell have worked out an alternative to their two-man corner routine: Willems taps it, Campbell receives, and passes it back to Willems who has run to the corner of the area. Menno then winds up his bionic leg and twats the ball goalward. And hey - it nearly worked!
There were many, many times in both halves, when the match frustratingly deteriorated into aimless punting and head tennis. Yes - again. Generally, Town seemed to have zero ideas, no plans as a team, instead relying on their strengths as individuals. So let's look at the individuals:
It was pretty obvious that Butterfield should have been replaced (probably by Pouton), and that with half an hour to go, Clare was totally knackered, so Allen should have played the final half-hour in his place. Blatantly, patently obvious to everyone. Except Lennie. A point is better than nothing. But with a bit more nous, we could have won that one. How frustrating.
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