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Birmingham Report Card
By: Dr Fishy
DR FISHY has compiled match statistics and a report card for the Grimsby Town side that won 3-1 at home to Birmingham. The doctor was most pleased with the dramatic improvements displayed by Lennie Lawrence's shuffled pack.
Coyne: A bit suspect on crosses all night but he did look comfortable with any long range shots that needed to be dealt with. His handling was good and his kicking was impressive but otherwise didn't have an awful lot to do. He was only seriously tested in the second half but fortunately the header hit the bar.
Neilson: Defensively the right back looks rather nervy but going forward he showed what he is capable of. Given space and time at the back he was able to team up with Butterfield and the two of them linked up well with Allen in the first half. Town had already taken a 2-0 lead by the time Neilsen had to leave through injury.
Gallimore: The left back became club captain in Groves' absence and showed great leadership. This was a game in which Gally did everything right and was a rock in the defence which must have given the rest of the team some much needed confidence. It was a real determined performance from Gally, one of the best.
Broomes: After a nightmare of a game on Tuesday, Marlon bounced back very well and was solid at the back. He limited Birmingham's striker force to just a couple of chances in the box but the majority of chances fell to the Blues' outside the area. Made some timely tackles but lost out in the air a bit.
Beharall: Moved back into the centre of defence, he paired up well with Broomes. He kept top scorer Geoff Horsfield very quiet all game and restricted him to just one chance. He didn't make as many tackles as Broomes but he had more success in the air. The back two complemented each other very well.
Butterfield: He probably made the pass of the season to set up the third goal with a ball through the Birmingham defence that was inch perfect. He pushed forward on many occasions and brought both strikers into play. It made a change to see a natural winger on the right, which gave the team width. The Leicester scouts were probably there.
Boulding: No, he wasn't up front, he started and finished the game on the left wing but pushed up so far that he almost made it three up front. But where 4-3-3 has been Town's downfall in the past, he got back to help Gally out as well as scoring two goals. From the start he gave Nicky Eaden all sorts of problems and continued to do so throughout the match. Unlucky not to hit a hat-trick.
Pouton: Absolutely immense in midfield. He looked so much more at home in the centre and was always in the thick of the action. It was pleasing to see the defence play the ball through midfield and not over them. That gave Pouton the chance to push forward with the ball and bring the strikers into play. Top performance.
Coldicott: This was his first start at Blundell Park this season and showed just what we had been lacking in midfield. He won the ball so many times I lost count and made more tackles than any of the defenders. He provided the defensive cover for the back line while Pouton was assisting the strikers. They're another central pair who complemented each other very well and I still believe Stace is one of our most underrated players.
Jevons: Worked tirelessly up front and got his first goal since the strike at Anfield. He did drop back well whereas before he has looked cut off from the rest of the team. Despite scoring he didn't really get into the thick of the action and didn't see much of the ball. Most of the play went through Allen.
Allen: He may not have got a goal but he deserved one for all his hard work. He simply ran his socks off and looked like he wanted the ball at his feet at every opportunity. His movement off the ball was first class and a striker Birmingham simply failed to control. He brought the midfielders into attacks and was a real thorn in the Blues' defence.
Chapman: Came into the side unexpectedly and had to play in a position totally alien to the youngster but he slotted in there without trouble. It looked as though he'd played there all his life and didn't let Lazaridis get a sight of goal. Another very impressive performance by Chapman who is now surely worthy of a new contract and his adaptability is proving very valuable.
Rowan: I wish I could give him a grade but 10 minutes wasn't long enough. He was another to cause Birmingham's defence problems and was a nuisance to contain, as Darren Purse found out. He yielded the biggest cheer of the night when he flattened Purse in injury time.
Best part of Town's performance: Where do I start? The fact that Grimsby PASSED the ball through MIDFIELD for once, and restrained themselves from hoofing it to the small strikers made a refreshing change. Both Allen and Jevons brought the midfield into the attacks meaning Town could keep up more sustained pressure going forward. Pouton got behind the strikers and Coldicott relieved the recently shaky defence of even more pressure. Natural width meant Town could stroke the ball about a bit more freely and it meant all four across midfield could put pressure on the Birmingham midfield when they had possession. This was so much better.
Areas to improve: Coyne could do better at crosses and we could do better at defending set pieces. Birmingham's crosses gave us the most trouble at the back and the defence and Coyne have to sort out who's going for what.
Entertainment scale: Well, compared to the past three home league games this was worthy of a 10. But I'm not going to get carried away and we could have kept a clean sheet, which would have sent everyone home happy. Although it was a much-improved performance at the back (and the first time Town didn't concede two goals since the Forest match) we were kept on the edge of our seats until we entered the last 10 minutes. 9
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