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Question of the Week
How long before new manager arrives?
22/08 Lincoln 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NO CHANGES in personnel were made by either side, though Town did visibly up the pace, close down Lincoln players when they had the ball, and generally play like they wanted to avoid humiliating, pusillanimous defeat. We were so pusillanimous, oh yeah.
Grimsby Town 2 Lincoln City 1
22 Aug 2001, Worthington Cup 1st Round
Iâ€™ll get the boring bit out of the way first. Lincoln had two shots and two headers which they glanced well wide. The first shot was from outside the area and saved comfortably by Coyne, the second was deflected a couple of yards wide by Chapman, after some neat one-twos on the edge of the Town area sent Thorpe free to the left of goal.
The crowd had long, long called for Rowan, but he wasnâ€™t even off the bench warming up in the first 10 minutes of the half. Jeffrey still trundled on like a supertanker, except not super, of course, and the crowd were calling him a "tanker", of sorts. His play got worse and the legendary touch he hasnâ€™t got disappeared too. As the Lincoln full backs were thinking when Jeffrey has the ball "Itâ€™s outta control; and heading my way". But Town did improve and started to put pressure on the Lincoln defence, eventually even forcing their â€˜keeper to touch the ball. Gallimore wellied a free kick from 25 yards out a couple of yards over the bar, Pouton scooped a horrible effort wide from outside the area and Willems sliced a first time shot 22 yards wide. They all followed some high paced raiding down the wings followed by hard, low crosses to the edge of the area.
So a familiar pattern was emerging for a Buckley side, dominate play, scramble a goal and hold on. The opposition attempt to power their way back in to the game and the defence retreats back towards the goalkeeper. Only this time, of course, itâ€™s Town doing the power play.
After 55 minutes Pouton finally did something right. He bamboozled the left back with a triple step-over, then from near the corner flag, hit a low left footed cross to Jevons, about 12 yards out just beyond the penalty spot.
Jevons, though slightly falling away from goal, headed towards the left hand side of the goal and the goalkeeper leapt horizontally to snatch the ball before the net billowed. At last a moment to get the crowd excited. A few minutes later Gallimore scurried down the wing, linked with Campbell who stepped inside and clipped a firm low cross to somewhere near the penalty spot. Jevons swung a first time left foot shot straight down the middle of the goal. The â€˜keeper acrobatically tipped the ball over the bar for a corner.
The Town fans were becoming even more agitated, the occasional "Get into them" accompanied by more base comments directed towards the now emboldened Lincoln supporters. Jeffrey suffered some more, what can only be described as abuse, it went well beyond witty comment to verge on hatred. In Blundell Park, Jeffrey can hear everyoneâ€™s screams. I canâ€™t lie to you about his chances of survival, but he has my sympathy. With 20 or so minutes left Jeffrey was put out of his public misery when he was replaced by Rowan. The cheers for the introduction of wee Johnny were intermingled by one or two boos as Iron Mike trotted off.
Rowan transformed Town. He was lively, quick, strong, direct. Ah the power heâ€™s supplying, itâ€™s electrifying. From this moment Town overun Lincoln and, basically, flippinâ€™ murdered â€˜em. Jevons woke up and the interplay between him and Rowan was excellent. As a previous Town manager was fond of saying "I thought their passing and movement was exceptional". Jevons wasted a chance after McDermott had zipped a hard low ball to the edge of the area. Jevons controlled the ball superbly, sent the defender the wrong way and miss-hit a soft shot straight at the â€˜keeper. He then went on a strong run past 2 defenders to get to the bye-line, his cross being scrambled out for a corner. Things were looking a lot better, but still no goal.
With 17 or 18 minutes left Rowan won a throw in near the corner between the Main Stand and Osmond Stand, through sheer persistence. The throw in was knocked back to Gallimore, who looped in a big cross, high, to just beyond the far post. The goalkeeper came out and, under pressure, palmed the ball out towards the left hand corner of the penalty area. Willems strode manfully in to the space and placed a careful right footed pass across the face of the goal, where JEVONS lunged forward and diverted the ball into the net from about 10 yards out.
The Town fans went potty and celebrated like theyâ€™d just beaten a Premiership team. It was all a little silly, they started baiting Lincoln fans, which made some Pontoonites muse allowed that "weâ€™re only drawing with a 3rd division team". However the mood of the match changed, and the players really went for Lincolnâ€™s throat. It felt inevitable that Town would win, the force was with them.
From now on the game was permanently encamped within Lincolnâ€™s half. They started to defend narrowly, as well as deeply, giving a lot of room for McDermott and, especially, Gallimore to gallop down the wings at will. Town players looked bigger, stronger and fitter than Lincoln and we did unto them what has been done a thousand times to us under Buckley. Pace and strength won over guile and organisation. With 10 or so minutes left Chapman was replaced by Ford. Chapman was given a standing ovation by part of the crowd and Lawrence was again urged to sign him up.
Ford played at centre half and was very quick, if a little prone to errors. His first touch was Lever-esque and a couple of clearances/passes came off very sharp angles on his boot. But his pace will allow him to rescue some calamities of his own making. He looked at ease in a Town shirt and nearly scored when, from a Campbell corner on the left, swung high beyond the far post, he rose hugely and headed firmly across goal.
The ball was headed off the line to Butterfield, about 20 yards out. Butterfieldâ€™s shot cannoned off a defenders shins, sending the â€˜keeper the wrong way. The ball was then kicked off the line. A few minutes later Gallimore powered forward and smacked a drive (with a little deflection to make it loop) against the top of the bar, a corner resulting. Willems then curled the corner against the face of the near post.
It seemed only a matter of time before Town scored, but what time was there left? Six minutes of added time. The whole ground, in unison said "Six!". There had been a couple of longish stoppages, for an injury to Campbell (scythed down by the full back, who was booked), and a knock on the head to Willems. This delay was the longest (and was very near the end) several players trouped off the pitch to the bench and Gallimore walked off with the ball. At least one Pontoonite thought that the players were preparing for extra time, such was the delay. Possibly the referee knew Town were going to score, and didnâ€™t want extra time.
Six minutes will be enough, he reckoned. He reckoned right. After less than 2 minutes of added time Willems won the ball with a typically strong challenge about 25 yards out from the Lincoln goal, to the Town right. He then played a short pass forward into a huge space on the right of the area, with only Rowan near. ROWAN spun around, set himself, then whacked a low right footed drive across goal, towards the â€˜keepers bottom right hand corner. A defender slid across and deflected the ball over the â€˜keeper. Game over.
Once more the Town fans erupted, with some prancing on the pitch in front of the Pontoon. Enquiries were made of Mr Buckley as to the present score-line. He did not reply. Mr Coyne did respond, and accurately too. Mr Lawrence waved on demand and Pouton tried to waste time in the right hand corner flag. He neednâ€™t have bothered because he rubbish at it and Lincoln were never going to score another.
So another win, another ropey performance. Dreadful shapeless tosh in the first 45 minutes. Lincoln were superior and didnâ€™t that hurt the crowd. You could feel the bile rising, and Jeffrey caught it full face. When Town did eventually score the taunting started - at one all, talk about setting your sights low! There were a few very poor performances from the men in black. Pouton and Butterfield did not look 1st division standard players, Willems was largely ineffective (though he did set up both goals). Groves did everything immaculately, apart from an horrendous slip for the Lincoln goal, Campbell ran around to little effect, and Jevons was not interested until Rowan came on. And the world changed.
So in summary Chapman, good, Rowan very good, Jevons good for 20 minutes. Forget the rest. In the end the result matters more than the performance, and I suppose the manner of the Lincoln defeat makes victory sweeter for those who have a lingering dislike of Alan Buckley. Ah, the bravery of being out of range. The bottom line is the result, but how we got there is worrying and annoying for those who paid.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match - can only be between two players, Rowan changed the game by being on the pitch, but Little Ben Chapman (the tiniest footballer in Christendom) played with great authority at centre back. Give that man a contract, he deserves it. How very Grimsby, our best player last night was sacked last May, but is still here.
Mr Webster - hardly noticed him, not too fussy, not a card freak, competent. Seven out of ten on Nickoâ€™s Richter scale
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