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01/09 Barnsley 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
BARNSLEY made a change at half time. A big midfielder (Tinkler) was replaced by a smaller, but more aggressive midfielder (Ward). The second half started and it eventually finished. Less happened than in the first and it was a far more relaxing 45 minutes.
Grimsby Town 1 Barnsley 0
01 Sep 2001, Nationwide League Division 1
Barnsley emerged on Mogadon, with Town defending better too. The result was calmness, almost serenity in the Pontoon, with thoughts straying to the England-Germany game, next weeks fixtures and the huge drilling platform that floated down the Humber in the second half. A new game was played "spot the invisible man". Much fun it was too.
Donovan actually started to run away from the ball. When I say run, I of course mean trot. He had his finest game at Blundell Park for several months, he ensured Barnsley's right hand side was ineffective and allowed Gallimore to have a little nap during play. Donovan touched the ball 11 times, making 4 successful passes. He made one "dribble" which Gallimore halted within 5 yards and then started to hide. He also started to do impressions of Widdrington (pointless pointing at no-one in particular) and then to shrink, almost crouching down when anyone went near. A case of Crouching Donovan, Hidden Talent. After 65 minutes he was taken off. Cheers mixed with sadness, as it meant Barnsley were now playing with 11 players. Donovan you're shirt was right. You were, indeed, soft.
Barnsley had a decent-ish opportunity within the first 10 minutes of the half. Dyer was played in behind the Town defence on the left, between Gallimore and Beharall. He turned and sliced a right foot shot hugely wide of Coyne's left hand post.
Students of Dyer will recognise this as standard issue shooting. Barnsley had a lot of possession around the Town area, and they frequently had unmarked players in the spaces between the Town full backs and centre backs, but they always chose to play crosses in to the other side of the penalty area. They had no-one with any vision. Except Gorre, but he was generally one of the men free. He lost his temper a couple of times with the rubbish he was watching.
Town were far better organised in the second half and they also tried to pass it too. Sometimes. This resulted in a couple of shots. Butterfield tried a spectacular 25 yarder which barely reached Miller, so miss-hit was the effort. Willems, after some one touch interplay and, shock-horror, passing and movement on the Town left, managed to volley onto the top of the scoreboard, Rowan placing the rebound in to the bottom left hand corner of the goal. Willems also, from about 40 yards out in the centre, hit a shot a couple of feet over the bar. There were a few crosses which resulted in a couple of corners, but nothing that forced their 'keeper to touch the ball. He had to kick it a lot which was probably the only way Town were going to score. He was extremely erratic, hitting many balls low to Town players, and two or three were almost charged down by Rowan.
A couple of minutes after Donovan slipped quietly to a watery grave Willems was replaced by Burnett. Willems had performed very solidly in the centre, making many solid challenges and occasionally supporting the strikers. He didn't deserve to be taken off, so I presume he received some kind of minor injury. Burnett was a little "off the pace" to start with and contributed to a slack period of play where town kept giving the ball back to Barnsley 30 yards from goal. The end result of a minute's pressure was three Town players backing off Dyer and allowing him to shoot from 20 yards. The ball deflected off Gallimore's chest for a corner.
In about the 70th minute the referee incensed the Town crowd again. Barnsley chipped the ball down their right flank over the top of the Town defence. A player was free, but the linesman put his flag up for offside (as Dyer was way offside and the ball went within a couple of yards of him). All the players stopped, with many beginning to turn around to prepare for the Town fee kick. However, the referee shook his head and waved play on. This allowed the Barnsley player to be completely free behind the Town defence and this resulted in some desperate hacking and blocks.
Play ended when a Barnsley midfielder totally miss-kicked and a shot from 20 yards hobbled across the sacred turf 6 yards wide of Coyne's right hand post. The crowd roared and the players complained bitterly. After this over-rule the linesman didn't give another offside. This was not the first time the referee overruled a linesman to Town disadvantage. In the first half the other linesman had given Town a goal kick when Gallimore blocked a Donovan cross. The linesman was within a few yards of the incident yet the referee, standing in the middle of the pitch, gave a corner.
Jeffrey replaced Rowan after 75 minutes, so Rowan at least got a bit longer on the pitch than usual. Again, he looked the livelier of the two strikers. At about this time Beharall received treatment after he fell badly when making an important, and excellent, last ditch header at the far post following a quick Barnsley break and deep cross from their left.
I think Jevons hit the post during this period. He twisted and turned on the left of the Barnsley penalty area after being released down the inside right channel. He cut inside and, from about 12 yards out just about level with the post, curled a right foot shot across the goalkeeper. The way the ball bounced out it appeared to strike the bottom of the 'keeper's right had post. Certainly no-one on the Pontoon was quite sure what happened. We gave a confused "Oooooo?"
Which leads me on to the big incident of the second half, and again it was topped and tailed with comedy. With 8 or 9 minutes left Pouton, about 25 yards from the Town goal on the right, missed his attempt to control a high clearance. The ball bounced over the advancing Barnsley defender to Jevons. "Great dummy" shouted a Pontoonite in jest. Pouton sprinted forward down the middle into a massive space untouched by Yorkshire feet. Jevons turned round and clipped a perfect 40 yard pass through the remaining, retreating Barnsley defenders for Pouton to run on to. Miller ran (or waddled) out of his area and Pouton, in the centre of the Barnsley half about 35 yards out, nudged the ball to his right, past the stranded Miller. Miller made a very half hearted attempt to divert the ball, but succeeded in lightly brushing Pouton as he passed.
The ball ran free behind Miller and a Barnsley defender ran across. Several aeons afterwards, Pouton failed to stop himself falling. The referee gave Town a free kick and sent Miller off, to Lincolnshire joy and Yorkshire despair. Miller was displeased and waved his arms around a lot before striding off, taking his shirt off in the process. He then ran off down the tunnel. The reserve goalkeeper came on wearing a green top. He got to the edge of the area and the referee sent him back to get a different colour top. He came back with a black top, so he was sent back to get another one.
Someone ran down the tunnel and retrieved Miller's shirt and finally Marriott was let on to the pitch wearing Miller's sweaty Town shirt. As some one joked in the Pontoon during this farcical shirt swapping, "He'll be putting a red one on next".
The semi-farce was not over as, after a long, long, long delay Town prepared for the free kick. A really awful wall was set (3 players covering the centre of the goal only) and whilst everyone else on the pitch stood still, hands on hip, Gallimore sprinted towards the ball then past it, ending up standing next to Groves. No-one moved, but all the players stared at him as if he was mad and the crowd cheered. Jevons hit the free kick into the wall.
Barnsley pressed for an equaliser, but never, ever looked like scoring, or as if they wanted to. They wasted so many opportunities when they outnumbered Town players in the box. They had a couple of corners where Town allowed them to have a player unmarked 5 yards outside the box on the side the corner was being taken. In other words, exactly the same routine they had used against Town for the last 2 years.
Town played keep-ball for the majority of the last 5 minutes, with Burnett tapping out a rhythm. This led to the only other Town shot on target. For perhaps a minute Town played one touch "triangles" down the left hand touch-line. Eventually it was worked up to Campbell who passed inside to a big space into which Burnett had glided. Burnett advanced into the left hand side of the area, swayed his hips left, then right, then left again, stepping past the defender and towards goal. The goalkeeper rushed out and Burnett placed a low shot, from an angle 8 yards out, low to the 'keepers left. The ball rebounded off the goalkeepers legs, hit Burnett and was cleared.
And then Town were top. Official. Cheers, songs and warm glow, with an undercurrent of laughter. Barnsley had the better of this game (even though they never really looked like scoring), with Town barely a threat for an hour. So what, we won. We'll enjoy the table while we can and the fact that Town are that much near safety. If we're winning when we aren't playing well, what'll happen when we string 3 passes together?
Butterfield played better in the second half, which isn't that much of a compliment. No-one was impressive going forward as this was another Town performance which was very fitful, lacking in attacking shape. Defensively, Town were quite loose when the ball went in the air during the first half, but the second half was much, much better. The ball seemed to be attracted to Groves' head for the last half an hour and the second half was characterised by Town players hunting in packs, closing down any danger with committed blocks, tackles and harrying.
Not a game to purchase on video, but a result to stick up on the noticeboard at work. Life's a hoot at the moment. Gerbil ate Jellyfish. Town happy.
Nicko's Man of the Match - another difficult one. No-one was outstanding throughout. McDermott made a couple of extremely vital headed clearances, as did Beharall. Willems was a rock in the centre and Pouton did what he always does - try and try and try. Overall I'd say Groves for organisation skills, two excellent last ditch tackles and his snuffing out of danger throughout the second half. Yes, an unflashy captain's performance nets Nicko's thumbs up.
Official Warning: Mr Brandwood - 4.9. Failed to spot the goalkeeper's kit clash. Twice. Two outrageous overrulings of his linesman (which resulted in one linesman not bothering to give offside decision afterwards), one free kick given against Gallimore when he was the one obstructed; and a generous interpretation of Pouton's fall. Seemed to fancy himself too much with a silver mop-top hairstyle.
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