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Question of the Week
How long before new manager arrives?
By: Tony Butcher
A clear, bright and above all warm afternoon in grimble-grumble land. No ice, a breeze that swirled and rutted pitch with divots all over. The atmosphere beforehand was mute, resigned, unenthusiastic. The crowd was boosted by about 6 or 700 Wolves supporters who were also a little muted.
"Oh what a beautiful morning"
Grimsby Town 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2
10 Mar 2001, Nationwide League Division 1
Town lined up in a 4-4-Donovan-1 formation. Butterfield was, to everyone's dismay, playing as a right sided midfielder, with Donovan "floating" behind big Daryl Puppy.
Wolves lined up in a more conventional 4-4-2 formation in an all dirty amber kit. This seemed to be the cause of Coyne playing in a blue top, rather than bright yellow.
Town kicked off towards the Osmond Stand at a canter, and at 3:04pm. No explanation was given for this very late kick-off. It was as if no-one was particularly bothered. And the way the game started didn't challenge that perception. The Wolves 'keeper fluffed a fly-kick in the first couple of minutes straight to Willems, who mis-controlled the ball, and so lost an opportunity to whack in a shot from 35 yards. The ball went straight up the Town end and Wolves (lumbering Roussel) had a shot from the edge of the box, straight at Coyne. The shot lacked power and was never dangerous.
A couple of minutes after that Willems sliced a shot well wide from about 15 yards, just to the left of goal. This followed what I will charitably call a flowing move down the centre left involving Clare, Campbell, Donovan and Willems. It was more like a series of lucky rebounds and frenetic toe pokes. And a couple of minutes after that Handyside, about 8 yards out, just beyond the far post, headed a corner from the Town left straight into the 'keeper's midriff.
It all sounds interesting, doesn't it? It wasn't. Wolves were looking very, very average, with Town looking relatively solid at the back and, well, small and ineffective as an attacking force. Maybe force was the wrong word to associate with Town's attack. How about Town's theoretical attack.
McDermott was Town's principle threat with some surging thrusts down the right - Butterfield was so far infield that he was practically standing on Burnett's toes. McDermott ("more supe than superman") was sent free down the right after about 15 minutes, following a bit of old style Town interplay featuring Burnett and Donovan. He got to bye-line and whipped in a cross to the near post, where Clare and another Town player were steaming in.
Unfortunately, his cross was too high and went straight to the 'keeper. At least it was a bit of football, which had up to that point been conspicuous by its absence. And a few minutes later jogging Danny B whipped in a cross to the near post which Donovan only just missed.
It took 25 minutes for either side to get a decent shot on target (the Roussel one in the first couple of minutes was the sort that would have only gone in if no-one else was on the pitch). Campbell cut in from the left, ran at the Wolves defence and played a one-two with Burnett. From about 25 yards out, just left of centre, Campbell wellied a strong shot towards the top centre of the goal. Oakes leant back and tipped the ball over for a corner. The corner rebounded off Handyside's shins at the back post for a goal kick. Around the same time Wolves nearly sneaked a goal. The ball was bouncing around 25 yards out from Town's goal. There was a lot of rolling, barging and pulling. Roussel toe poked a shot as the ball zig-zagged about. The ball fizzed a foot wide of Coyne's right hand post.
Nothing happened for 5 minutes, apart from throw ins and midfield barging. Then, of all people, Gallimore played a one-two about 30 yards out and unleashed a first time curling right foot shot which drifted a foot or two wide of the 'keeper's left hand post.
And nothing happened for a further 10 minutes. It was totally rotten. With 5 minutes to go to half time an odd thing happened. Wolves were given a free kick about 25 yards out, just under the Stones/Findus/Smiths Stand. No that isn't the odd thing. It was curled away from goal, missed everyone and got stuck between Gallimore's legs at the back post. A Wolves striker tried to kick the ball as Gallimore sat on it, and the ball rolled to Coyne. The linesman vigorously waved his flag - no-one knew why (and still don't) it may have been for a back pass (physically impossible), or handball (how? Gallimore fell on the ball backside first) or a foul (a-tissue, a-tissue they all fell down). In the end the referee gave a drop ball and ordered Wolves to kick the ball out. We had two minutes of everyone screaming at the referee, which was cathartic.
And that, my friends, was the first half. All possible highlights and pieces of skill have been described. It was, above all, boring. Neither side looked like scoring this side of October. Journalists would call it a midfield scrap, supporters would use somewhat baser language to describe what they had paid to see. And there was more of it to come. Both sides thoroughly deserved to have avoided scoring.
Town had looked sporadically dangerous down the right, all through McDermott. Butterfield was nowhere to be seen. Clare and Donovan had moments when they almost looked like they might be on the verge of appearing to cause Wolves some minor discomfort. Possibly.
Half time: Grimsby Town 0 Wolves 0
Stu's half time toilet talk
"He'll have to bring Pouton and Allen on if we want to score".
The report continues in the second half
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