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Question of the Week
What should happen to the EFL Trophy next season?
23/11 Burnley 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NO CHANGES were made by either team at half time. Nothing happened for ages. Nothing at all.
Burnley 1 Grimsby Town 0
23 Nov 2001, Nationwide League Division 1
The most memorable event was when a Burnley defender wellied the ball high into the clouds. The ball landed at the back of the Bob Lord Stand, bounced down and settled behind an advertising board, the top of the ball just visible and glinting in the floodlights. "Look - itâ€™s Stacey!". Indeed sir, the spitting image. The warm-up routines of the substitutes began to fascinate strangely. You could set Burnett and Croudson to music for an "amusing" space filler on a rainy day. It was rainy, it was boring, so speculate away on which music to set them to.
Sometime during the first 20 minutes or so Burnley had a couple of breakaways which resulted in crosses fizzing through the middle of the Town goalmouth. None of their players got near the ball and Chapman managed to clear one of them. So bored were the Town crowd (I think we had a quorum) that that was enough to get a round of applause. I think both were down the Town right where Butterfield was in full jog mode, and Neilson turned like a not-so-supertanker. Those two together are like strangers on the right, two glances meeting, loafers on the night, their interest fleeting. Ah, Butterfield watching. Unbeknownst to him he had fancam on him during the game. I watched him during one attack where he started standing next to a Burnley player. For fully 30 seconds Butterfield watched the ball, never once looking for the man to mark. The ball was eventually played to the man he should have been marking who was, by now, 5 yards away and flying down the wing. Danny B looked surprised and trotted back as a cross went in to the box. Danny C was most unamused and gave an old fashioned look towards the right.
About half way through the half Town started to get towards the Burnley area. Pouton won the ball just outside the Town area, rolled and surged before hitting a 30 yard pass into space down the right wing to Rowan. He crossed into the crowd. If not the crowd, then nowhere near a Town player. A waste of a good Pouton that, a new addition to the Pouton repertoire of tricks - the Pouton roll. It was neat and we really loved his tiger feet.
Nothing seemed to be happening and a Town player simply knocked the ball towards the gaol, on the ground, from about 40 yards out. Allen (I think) missed the ball (even I couldnâ€™t claim it was a wondrous dummy) and it rolled into the penalty area near the penalty spot. Boulding ran behind the defence and the goalkeeper came out to block/collect. It was very difficult to see what happened exactly as there was a blur of bodies in the Burnley area. It seems that Boulding knocked the ball wide of the goalkeeper, to the right of goal, but a defender ran with Boulding so he that couldnâ€™t knock the ball into the empty net. Boulding stopped, turned, and ran back across goal towards the centre. He then hit a low shot through a bunch of bodies and the ball went low, straight to the goalkeeper.
Around the same time (probably just before) Allen was replaced by Jevons. Allen shook his head many times whilst trotting towards the bench. He hadnâ€™t done badly, making, as usual, some intelligent off the ball runs. He didnâ€™t appreciate having to chase balls over the top, as his marker was faster, stronger and higher than him. It was just plain daft to expect him to outpace and outmuscle the Burnley defence. Burnley had an excellent opportunity to score again when one of their strikers flicked on a header won the Town centre right. Neilson was slow to react, and badly positioned, allowing the Burnley left back to ran past him. Branch was unmarked and had a clear run on goal. When he was just outside the penalty area, level with the 6 yard box, he tried to hit a low shot across Coyne towards the bottom corner. It dribbled 8 yards wide. He never looked like scoring. Less branch, more like a twig.
Burnley had a penalty appeal turned down about this point of the game. They played possession football in front of the Town defence, about 25 yards out on the Town left. Eventually a one-two was played into the penalty area, with Ian Moore sprinting into a gap between Broomes and another Town defender (possibly Willems). About 10 yards out, just to the left of goal the two Town defenders slid in as Moore started to prepare himself for a fall. Rather than staying on his feet Moore decided to go for a penalty. Idiot. If heâ€™d stayed upright he would have been free one-on-one with Coyne. To the surprise of all inside Turf Moor the referee didnâ€™t give a penalty. The Town two hundred expected him to give the penalty, though we didnâ€™t think it was one. Whoâ€™d have thought a referee would make a correct decision, eh?
With about 15 minutes left, Willems was replaced by Burnett (who did virtually nothing right, miss-controlling, heading sideways, passing to the opposition). As he ran on the tannoy announced that "Willems was being replaced by number 8, David Smith". This prompted the Town support to shout "Get Smithy on, they wonâ€™t notice". Sadly, Lawrence again failed to take the advice of the fans. I have a vague recollection of a Burnley player, Grant, hitting a 25 yard shot just over the bar, but the pattern of the game didnâ€™t change much. Mostly midfield meanderings. There was a minor moment of low excitement (and potential humiliation) when Chapman sprinted back to stop a breakaway and knocked a very firm, high, pass back to Coyne, as a Burnley striker ran towards our reliable, midget keeper. The ball bounced high off Coyneâ€™s chest, so he turned his back and hooked the ball away, from inside his 6 yard box.
Lawrence was sat on the bench through this boredom and pain, occasionally glancing up through the rain, wondering which of the players to blame, when he decided to take off Rowan and replace him with Raven. A huge groan flew across the pitch from the Town "end" and an even bigger roar of pain when we realised that Raven was going to be playing up front as a centre forward. If thatâ€™s what heâ€™s reduced to, then Lawrence really must be bankrupt of ideas. Town went to a flabby 4-3-3 formation with Jevons on the right wing, Butterfield on the left of the midfield and Raven all alone up front. Predictably, Town lumped it up towards Raven. The last 10 minutes contained the majority of the goalmouth action, principally because there was so much space in the middle of the pitch, and Burnley started to get a bit edgy.
In no order (they happened towards the end, thatâ€™s the important thing to remember). Pouton surged forward down the inside right channel for Town and, from about 25 yards, drilled a low shot towards goal. It deflected off a defenderâ€™s bottom and spun a foot or so wide of the goalkeeperâ€™s right hand post. Pouton took a corner from the Town left, swung in towards goal at the back post. Broomes towered above everyone and headed down firmly towards the bottom left hand corner. The goalkeeper seemed to block it near the foot of the post, there was a little scramble and the ball was wellied clear. Burnley almost scored again when they played some fast possession football down the Town left; Little bamboozled Chapman once, then twice, played a one-two and, from the left hand corner of the box, chipped a curling shot over Coyne. The ball dipped late and bounced off the underside of the cross bar. A Burnley corner on their right was swung to the far post where the unmarked Arthur No Hair headed down firmly a foot wide of Coyneâ€™s right hand post. This may have been the moment when the referee decided to award another corner, despite no Town player being anywhere near the ball. He made so many mistakes itâ€™s easy to forget in all that confusion. The only other Burnley shot I can remember was around the same time when their substitute Alan Moore (he didnâ€™t even get as far as being a Grimsby reject) finished off a slick Burnley one touch passing move by trying to curl a shot into Coyneâ€™s top right hand corner from just outside the area in a central position. Coyne caught it comfortably in his midriff.
Anything else? As Columbo would say, "Just one more thing". In added time yet another "big ball" forward did manage to reach Ravenâ€™s head. The ball bumbled around just outside the Burnley penalty area, on the centre left and someone (Pouton I think) dinked a loopy pass over the top of the Burnley defence to the left of goal. Burnett ran forward and managed to hook the ball high over the goalkeeper with his right foot. The ball arced slowly towards the goal, but the goalkeeper ran back and caught it very close to the line, as Jevons ran in with a defender.
The game ended with a whimper and a shrug. Burnley were relieved at the end as they had allowed inferior opposition to have opportunities in the last 10 minutes. Town, no doubt, will be relieved that they only lost 1-0 to the leaders. A loss is a loss, no matter how big the defeat or who to. This was a game that Town should have stolen an undeserved point from. Town werenâ€™t awful, juts very, very average. The players stood in the right places, mostly, there were moments of danger created, but the spectre of defeat hangs far too easily around the shoulders of the Town squad and management. They expect it and it shows.
Individually no-one stood out, good or bad. Broomes again showed that he cannot concentrate - a telling moment in the second half was when a Burnley cross was cleared. He trotted out from the 6 yard box as the ball rolled on the edge of the Town area. He didnâ€™t bother looking to his right to see an unmarked player in the middle of the goal that he was keeping on side by trotting! He made some fine looking sliding tackles, but only because he was out of position in the first place. I canâ€™t remember Groves doing anything other than slice the ball out for throw -ins. Chapman was twisted like a lemon and Neilson was only slightly better than Beharall at right back. Willemsâ€™ contribution was to foul Burnley players and Pouton seemed to be doing the work of two in the centre. The strikers had no real chance to do anything, as the ball was often played high and early beyond them. Essentially Town have no style now.
Burnley were an example to Town. Simple football, an organised team, a willingness to run all night. They didnâ€™t turn up and hope for the best, hanging on in quiet desperation. It was easy to see the Burnley style, it is not possible to see what Town are trying to do. Are Townâ€™s methods unsound? One can only reply "I donâ€™t see any method at all, sir".
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Iâ€™m very tempted to say me, for turning up. Pouton had his usual tiger tenacity and surges, though he was didnâ€™t dominate midfield (that was their number 12, Grant, who swept up quietly, but effectively, when Town threatened to break). Broomes tried, perhaps too hard, but defenders have to be better than 85% good - if they make mistakes, the opposition can score. I suppose Boulding, as he was the only Town player to cause any concern in the Burnley defence. So a cut-price, pre-christmas sale. Boulding it is.
Mr Cain. Who wasnâ€™t able. Itâ€™s the little things that are important and every little thing he did was tragic. He made one good decision (the non-penalty) for which he gets 5 bonus points, and a hundred little howlers. So he gets 5.2
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