Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
"Loadsaluck" Grimsby Town 1 Crewe 0
By: Tony Butcher
GREY, drizzly, and windy. Miserable, and not helped by the thought of Danny Butterfield in centre midfield. The mood was muted, though the three Town sides of the ground seemed relatively full, with Crewe bringing perhaps 150-200 supporters.
Grimsby Town 1 Crewe Alexandra 0
11 Aug 2001, Nationwide League Division 1
The pre-match kick about followed a reassuringly familiar pattern. Jeffrey was lethal, curling pinpoint accurate shots in to the top left and top right corners, and the rest ran about randomly. Willems peppered the Pontoon with wild shots from 30 yards and his final practice shot smashed one of the strip lights at the back of the Pontoon, leaving it dangling over seat M74 like the strip light of Damocles.|
Willems sprinted off the pitch with a "wasn't me" look on his face; perhaps the players get fined for damaging the property or losing balls? A steward wandered slowly towards the swaying light, considered the position and walked off again. Five minutes into the game 10 people were walked away from the dangerous dangler and a man on a ladder took it down. Cue same 10 people walking back two minutes later like a chain gang.
Oh, the game. Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Bit of a surprise to see Rowan up front and Willems in midfield. There was an audible groan when Butterfield was introduced. Someone should tell Jogging Danny B that it was nothing personal, this was only business.
Crewe lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with large centre forwards (especially Tait) and Jack on the right wing. That meant he was up against Gallimore. What a grey day, as Larry Grayson once said in similar circumstances.
Before kick off there was a minute's silence for the Portsmouth goalkeeper (which seemed to last well over a minute) which was impeccably observed.
Town kicked off away from the Pontoon and looked disorganised and hopeless for 10 minutes. The first action near either goalmouth came courtesy of a Gallimore error. He hacked a right-footed pass against the shins of the Crewe centre forward, Grant, and then tugged Grant's shirt as he ran through towards Coyne. The referee wagged his finger at Gallimore and gave Crewe a free kick 20 yards out, near the left corner of the penalty area. In the build up to the free kick Crewe had two unmarked players at the far post and it took some frantic shouts from Coyne and Groves to get someone to amble back towards them.
The free kick was headed out by Groves for a corner and exactly the same happened - a couple of big Crewe players were left unmarked until Coyne (and half the Pontoon) offered some encouragement. Fortunately, Butterfield cleared the corner at the near post. As was another one a couple of minutes later (and again there was disorganisation in the Town defence with players unsure who was marking who and where they should stand). Worrying.
Sometime in the first 10 minutes, Jack danced his way through the Town defence (well, Galli) and had a shot from 25 yards half blocked by one of the centre backs and the ball went comfortably to Coyne's left. Simple save for the Grey One. Didn't I mention that? His shirt was a simple dull grey colour. Jack then dribbled from the half way line across the pitch to the Town right and chipped a cross to the far post. Big Man Tait drifted away from Beharall and headed a couple of feet over from the left edge of the 6-yard box. A few minutes later Jack hit a drive, from 25 yards out on the centre left, a yard or so over the bar.
Town had done nothing at all going forward. Aimless punting and little movement. Then a spark of individualism. Campbell jinked his way past a couple of defenders and was hacked down as he cut in field. The free kick was taken short and quickly to Willems, who knocked it to Butterfield, about 30 yards out on the centre right. Butterfield hit a cross to the far post where Beharall or Groves (visibility is never good down the Osmond End, especially in our Viet Cong camouflage of all black) headed down towards the corner of the 6-yard box. Bankole raced out and Rowan raced forward and hit a spinning, twisting left foot volley that smacked the face of the 'keeper's right hand post and was scrambled clear.
After this Town perked up a bit, with flashes of football. Occasionally. McDermott was proving Town's most potent attacking force with some old style forays forward, cutting inside and rolling the ball forward for the strikers. A Macca cross was cut out at the near post, just before Jevons arrived, and twice he played passes up to Rowan, who swayed one way and allowed the ball to continue the other, thus creating space on the edge of the area.
The first time he was bundled off the ball by a couple of defenders, the second he was hacked down from behind by Sorvel, who was not even warned by the referee who was proving very lenient. Pouton did a couple of step-overs and nothing else, looking slow and, to be honest, tubby. Perhaps it was an ill-fitting shirt billowing in the breeze.
You'll have noticed that I haven't mentioned Crewe for a while. They didn't have any further shots on goal, just moments of danger, especially when Jack had the ball. Gallimore continually let Jack receive the ball 30-40 yards out and backed off and off and off, allowing Jack to build up momentum and suck Town players over towards him. And this meant someone, somewhere was totally unmarked near goal.
Town were lucky that Jack rarely looked up and none of his team mates were particularly quick-witted. In fact the only time they got near Coyne was towards the end of the half when Jack was allowed to run clear, shipped the ball towards the 6 yard box, near the left post and Tait chested the ball toward Grant, who had peeled away from Beharall. Coyne stepped forward and swept the ball into his midriff.
Town, on the other hand, had quite a few shots. Campbell zipped in from the left, drifting past three players and zapped a rising right foot shot from 20 yards, near the edge of the penalty area. It was hit 9 inches to the right of Bankole's nose, so was saved, but with a little discomfort. After Rowan was chopped down just to the right of centre 25 yards out, Willems thumped the resulting free kick straight into the wall, hit the rebound into the remains of the wall and Butterfield sliced the final rebound Poutonesquely wide into the wall at the back of the Osmond Stand.
Willems scooped a right foot shot softly high and wide from the edge of the penalty area and Rowan cut in from the left and scuffed his shot softly a yard wide of the 'keeper's right hand post. Jevons replicated this on the other side of the penalty area, though he mis-hit it even more and it dribbled and bobbled weakly straight to Bankole. The final Town chance came in added time when a deep cross from the Town left by the ubiquitous Danny B was headed firmly downwards by Pouton from just past the far post. Bankole was forced to scurry across and palm the ball away at the foot of the post. Well, it was enough to make us go "oooooh".
That's the goalmouth "action". With just less than 10 minutes left to half time, with Town playing very fitfully and without any discernible pattern, a rather fortunate thing happened. Gallimore, after racing back to cover and head the ball to Coyne, seemed to pull up and hold his left lower back. Rather than walk off the pitch Gallimore limped upfield, playing at least two Crewe forwards onside by 10 yards. Gallimore could hardly move and the Pontoon were screaming at him to get off the pitch, so he sat down. Luckily the ball was cleared out of play. Burnett came on and Butterfield was moved to left back.
Immediately things improved. Willems and Burnett worked as a team (whereas Willems and Butterfield had been two bloke standing near each other in identical shirts) and Butterfield closed down Jack, nullifying Crewe's only threat. Passes started to be made rather than hopeful whacks down into the channels (yes I am referring to Butterfield) and Town gained control of the game (rather than having slightly the better of a ramshackle Sunday league fixture). Ironically Butterfield was having a decent, if unadventurous, game in midfield. It was Willems and Pouton who looked poor. The enforced change saw these two visibly improve. And Butterfield was tigerish at left back. So Gallimore's replacement was here all along Lennie.
Half time: Grimsby Town 0 St Crewe 0
So half time 0-0, dull day, and quite frankly a dull game. There was hope that something would turn up in the second half as Town were slowly improving as the game wore on. Still, to be honest, neither side looked much cop.
Stu's Half Time Toilet Talk
"Pouton's wasted on the wing".
The report continues in the second half
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