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Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
01/12 Man City 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
JEFFREY replaced Rowan at half time, to much ironic cheering for the iconic forward. Was this a tactical masterstroke form Lawrence? Stop sniggering at the back.
Grimsby Town 0 Manchester City 2
01 Dec 2001, Nationwide League Division 1
Yes, in a way, it was. Lean, pacy, determined, intelligent. Four words rarely used in conjunction with the name Jeffrey, but apt. Town started the second half at some pace, causing a few flutters in the Man City defence. Jeffrey must have been watching a few Teddy Sheringham masterclass videos during his long exile, for he stepped off his markers into deep positions to receive passes, then knocked weighted passes inside the wing backs. Boulding revelled in this (for a short time) and Man City were pegged back inside their own half for the first five or six minutes of the half. Jeffrey even slipped past his marker to chase a ball over the top (which the â€˜keeper managed to get to first, though only just). Mike Jeffrey, the electric eel, sparking Town into life and slithering across the pitch, a surreal sight for many.
The first shot on target in the second half came from Man City, on a rare breakaway, when Huckerby burst past his marker into the penalty area and his shot cannoned away off Coyneâ€™s legs. But still Town poured forward, roared on by the increasingly vocal home support, who had spent idle moments in the first half half-heartedly taunting the distant Mancunians. As Town rolled forward the roars rolled around the ground giving the occasion an old fashioned partisan atmosphere. The noise ratcheted up another notch when Boulding was tripped (for about the 4th time) by Dunne, when our little winger broke away down the left, under the Stones/Smiths/Findus stand. With only one Man City player behind him (and a considerable distance across the pitch) he was very fortunate to be "ticked off" only. How nice of the referee. A glance at the programme revealed it to be Rejer, an old lag in winding up the Town support. The free kick was flung beyond the far post where the goalkeeper tried to catch the ball as Broomes and Groves challenged. He missed but Broomes headed against his own arm and Groves, and the ball went out for a goal kick.
At about this time Man City had a goal disallowed for offside against Huckerby. He was always offside. A minute or so later, after a period of pressure Horlock, about 25 yards out right in the centre wellied a shot against Coldicottâ€™s backside. The ball bounced between the Destroyerâ€™s legs and Horlock skipped forward and tried again, sending a left foot shot a few inches wide of Coyneâ€™s left hand post. Town simply went up the other end and hit the post. The ball was worked up neatly to Iron Mike Jeffrey about 10 yards outside the Man City penalty area on the Town left. He drifted off his marker, turned and awaited movement up ahead. Boulding, who had drifted to the centre, ran behind his marker and across the back line. Jeffrey played a perfectly weighted pass into the penalty area. Boulding sprinted on to the ball and, from about 12 yards out, 8 yards wide of the goal, hit a first time shot which battered the inside of the goalkeeperâ€™s left hand post. The ball rebounded out into the centre of the penalty area missing Jevons by a yard or so.
And Man City ran up the other end with Bernabia, in space and alone on the Town left, curling in a teasing, tantalising cross into the middle of the penalty box. Goater dived in front of Broomes and glanced a header a few inches wide of Coyneâ€™s right hand post. End to end stuff, with Boulding constantly panicking them down our left, and Tiatto beginning to give Butterfield difficulties down the right. Crosses in, by both teams, but not to similarly clad sportsman. In fact, the most popular destination of the average cross was 2 foot above anyone. Except when Boulding beat three players and crossed straight into the goalkeeperâ€™s hand, of course. Man City had a nearish miss after about 67 minutes when Huckerby, on the right corner of the Town penalty area suddenly spun and crashed a right footed shot across the face of the goal and just high and wide of Coyneâ€™s left hand post. Townâ€™s response was, for them, a nearish miss. Jeffrey laid off a cushioned pass to Jevons, in space, 25 yards out. With a clear view of goal, no-one near him and with all the time in the world, he tried to volley the ball into the top left hand corner. It went high, wide and into the back row of the Pontoon. The unmarked Jeffrey held his hands high, as did the crowd (to catch the ball). I told you it was nearish for Town - it landed within the same county, didnâ€™t it?
And this is where our happy story ends. As several Pontoonites were distracted by a kestrel swooping in front of the stand, disaster struck at the far end. With about 16 or 17 minutes left Huckerby dribbled down the Town right, knocked the ball past Butterfield deep into the penalty area, about 10 yards wide of the goal. Huckerby seemed to knock Butterfield over, who stumbled, then tried to fall in front of Huckerby. Huckerby delayed a while then fell over close to Butterfieldâ€™s body. Given Huckerbyâ€™s propensity to dive (seen 5 minutes earlier when he suddenly hit the ground near Willems to "earn" a free kick) it is not unlikely that the Town playersâ€™ reactions (they went bananas) were fully justified. It was at the other end, in the dark, so a definitive opinion is impossible - watch on telly! HUCKERBY got up and rolled the ball just to Coyneâ€™s right as he bounced around and plunged to his left. As the Man City players rather over-celebrated in front of their supporters Broomes and Gallimore had a confrontation with some of them. Broomes, in particular, was furious and the referee had a long "chat" to calm him down. Perhaps Town should have a kestrel slayer on the payroll, a harbinger of ill fortune.
This sort of thing usually knocks the stuffing out of the payers and crowd. But it didnâ€™t. Town poured forward, the crowd were on their feet for fully 8 minutes - only sitting down when the substitution was made (after about 77 minutes). Coldicott was replaced by Neilson with Butterfield moving into central midfield. This was greeted with some derision and much anger. Most couldnâ€™t believe that Neilson was on, thinking it was Raven, which would have been just as bad. But Town did have a long period of intense pressure during which they were most unfortunate not to score. Pouton swung in a low, hard free kick from the Town right, level with the edge of the penalty area. The ball flew into the middle of the penalty area, with the goalkeeper motionless and flat footed in the middle of his goal. Several players flung themselves at the ball and it eventually hit Groves on the shin, about 8 yards out, nearly level with the right hand post. The ball bobbed slowly across the grass towards the bottom corner. Slowly, slowly it drifted away from the inside of the post and kissed the outside as everyone in the ground froze silently. Then a huge, frustrated sigh welled up. Followed by a huge, angry, determined yell of support. The referee gave a corner, despite it coming off Grovesâ€™ shin. Town had a series of corners which the goalkeeper barely dealt with, the pressure mounted and half chances kept cropping up.
Another free kick, taken by Pouton on the Town right, was swung beyond the far post to Groves, who outjumped the goalkeeper and headed back across goal. Broomes jumped forward and tried to sweep the ball in from 7 or 8 yards out. A City defender threw himself across and just managed to get his big toe in the way, with the ball ballooning up and curling a few inches wide of the right hand post. It just wasnâ€™t Townâ€™s day. A minute or so later Boulding had a half chance when he drifted into space on the edge of the 6 yard box to receive a deep cross. He miss-kicked , controlled the ball and his shot was deflected wide for another corner. Broomes put the corner a few feet wide with a glancing header at the near post. By this time many throats had fallen silent through over use. Anything that would make a noise was hit in support. We willed, but it would not come.
In added time, as many were starting to trudge away (and that flippinâ€™ kestrel re-appeared) Goater scored again. Man City played the ball around using the space that had opened up with Town pouring forward in search of the deserved equaliser. The ball eventually was played into Goater on the edge of the area, on the centre right. GOATER turned inside Broomes and seemed to knock the ball over Coyne with his ankle, into the left hand corner of the goal. Deflation complete, game over, Town fans go home.
A dispiriting conclusion, but a performance full of esprit de corps. Overall a draw would have been justified as Town really hammered them back at times in the second half. But oh that luck has long, long gone. All used up in August and September. Can we spend next yearâ€™s luck now please, like the TV money?
There were quite a few positives to take out of this; the defence coped well, mostly, with tricky opponents - this Man City team was far superior to the last one to set foot inside the (decommissioned) Fortress Blundell Park. Willems and Jeffrey both looked lively, committed, mobile and "any good". Gallimore was fine, even displaying pace at one point. To go with the determination and (relative) organisation there was the hint of a method again. Players passed, other moved, especially in the second half when the mini-Teddy came on. The performances are getting better. Eventually the results will, if they continue to play like this. Thatâ€™s a big if though
And for all you tourists out, there was a big orange moon over the Main Stand. Which was nice.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Well Coyne made two or three important saves, though each one was hit at his legs. He couldnâ€™t have got out of the way even if heâ€™d wanted to. Broomes had a sterling game, though he was at fault for the irrelevant second goal. Willems again played well, moving quickly, passing well and blocking superbly at times. But he did become a tad invisible towards the end of the game. Jeffrey was a revelation in his cameo. So where is all this leading? All roads lead to Pouton. Some cracking tackles, three crowd pleasing step-overs, a shimmy, a shammy and a couple of showy long passes. I particularly liked the tackles.
P Rejer. Started off alright, and was reluctant to book anyone. Ah, but the penalty. I donâ€™t feel inclined to award high marks as it was a challenge that one instantly knew would enable a referee to give the big team a penalty. His delay in pointing to the spot also indicates that he was weighing up many factors in his mind - and he was, after all, staring at 2,000 baying Mancunians. Apart from the penalty, he was quite good. But I donâ€™t feel charitable, and I canâ€™t forgive him for Port Vale three years ago! 4.64 (it would have been 8 without "it")
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