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How long before new manager arrives?
07/12 Wolves 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NO CHANGES were made by either team at half time. We were wondering what Wanderers had up their sleeve. Not much. Overhead the kestrel hung motionless upon the air, and deep beneath upon the pitch nothing much happened for 10 minutes.
Grimsby Town 1 Wolves 1
07 Dec 2001, Nationwide League Division 1
A lot of huffing and puffing, some niggling and barging, especially by Wolves. It took Wolves 76 minutes to have a shot on target, with only the occasional foray towards Coyne beforehand. Coyne was forced to race off his line a couple of times to smother at the feet of on-rushing strikers, and there were a couple of crosses which were easily cleared at the near post.
As the game wore on, Wolves got more and more crotchety until, finally, the referee had enough and started to book them. Between the 54th and 62nd minute Town got everything, with two or three Wolves players getting booked (Butler for hacking down Jevons in front of the Smiths/Stones/Findus stand, Rae for kicking the ball away and generally being a mouthy pain in the backside. So the referee did, finally, "get you Butler"). From the 63rd minute onwards normal service was resumed as Wolves got loads of free kicks because they wanted them. Coldicott launched a clearance onto the roof of the Main Stand. The ball got lodged in one of the advertising boards, joining the one from the Man City game in perfect isolation. Now why havenâ€™t Town bothered to get it down? Perhaps they are applying scientific principles, expecting the balls deflate as the temperatures drop and roll under the boards. That way they donâ€™t have to pay anyone to go up and get them. Or perhaps they are lazy.
Chances in the second half? Good play in the second half? Well, there was some, and mostly from Town. The rare memorable moments came from the striped warriors. Boulding had another couple of dribbles from the half way line. With the first he went from left to right, diagonally across the pitch , drifting past a couple of defenders. When he got about 20 yards out, to the right of goal, he skied a right footed shot high into the Pontoon. He did the same a few minutes later, this time drifting into the centre, rather than the right, and smacked a shot across goal, well wide, without much power or pace. He dribbled, then the ball dribbled.
And then there was the Town moment of the half. Town played some possession football down the right, with the ball eventually being played to Willems, behind the right back deep inside the area to the left of goal. He looked up and sent in a cross to Jeffrey, somewhere near the edge of the 6 yard box, level with the near post. The ball was slightly behind Jeffrey, who then tried an audacious flick with the inside of his left boot, between his legs. The ball crept across the face of goal and went out of play, a yard wide of the â€˜keeperâ€™s left hand post. As someone said "If that had gone in it would have been a goal". Quite, you canâ€™t argue with logic, can you.
Anymore to tell you about? Well Coldicott managed to totally miss-hit a shot from 25 yards high into the back of the Pontoon with his left foot. By far the most recurring image of the half is Town sending free kicks from about 35 yards out high beyond the far post for goal kicks. One after the other, no matter who took them. If we were lucky, a Wolves defender would head them out for a throw in. Town did have an exquisite counter attack, flowing from left to right, involving some determined ball winning from Willems, some intelligent passing and movement from Jevons and Jeffrey, with a fine pass out to Pouton, in space, 18 yards out just beyond the penalty area. With three players queuing up for the cross Pouton sliced it straight to seat L65.
More niggles from Wolves, more moaning from Wolves. They ganged up on the referee complaining about any decision that didnâ€™t go their way. When Pouton flew across into a tackle and scythed down their player, half their team ran up to Pouton to confront him and try to get him sent off. Pouton was booked and, surprisingly, didnâ€™t react to the provocation. A dislikeable bunch of moaners they have in their team - and that was without Muscat trying to break anyoneâ€™s bones.
As the game wore on, Town players visibly began to tire. Town had matched them physically for about an hour, then Wolvesâ€™ greater strength and pace began to produce holes into which they poured, principally on the break. Though it pains me to say this, Alex Rae took charge of the game, producing three or four fast breaks down the centre. But nothing came of these as there was always a own player around. And to Mr Willems huge thanks for two 60 yard runs back to cover. Kennedy was taken off after an hour, which was testament to Butterfieldâ€™s defending skills. Kennedy had produced a couple of anodyne crosses and that was it. Into Dannyâ€™s pocket he went, head first. The other winger, Newton, was largely anonymous, thanks to Gallimore, who did a quietly effective job neutralising his former nemesis. Gallimoreâ€™s magic moment was towards the end when a cross shot through the area to the far post, where there were two Wolves players unmarked. Galli sauntered over, eyed up the possibilities, then eased himself between them and the ball, casually knocking the ball against Newton for a goal kick. Level headed, calm, intelligent. Galli!
Ah, the 76th minute - they had a shot, which woke up their slumbering supporters. Straight at Coyne from about 25 yards, no problems. But then there was 10 minutes of Wolves pressure as they attempted to overpower Town with longer balls for their fast players to chase, and deep crosses for their big players to fight for. A deep cross from their right, into the centre of the area was headed a few inches wide of Coyneâ€™s right hand post by Roussel (I think. It was someone big, anyway). With five or so minutes left, Camara was released on the right edge of the Town area about a dozen yards wide of goal. He hit a low shot across Coyne, who parried out past the far post. Two Wolves players raced in and Newton swept the ball into the net. Hey, stay calm, nothing to get excited about, the linesman (who had been Town friendly all game) had his flag up for offside. I canâ€™t remember any other Wolves attacks that went near Coyne, as the defence was very solid, very organised and very good.
Towards the end of the game, Town had a few attacks, usually wasted through Jevons and Jeffrey being, well, knackered, and being too far apart. There was one more close call though. Coldicott received a pass on the left edge of the Wolves area and knocked a short pass forward to Jeffery, about 12 yards out, to the (Town) right of goal. He spun and hooked a cross shot between the goalkeeper and the 6 yard box. The ball drifted wide, equidistant from the goal and Boulding. Ah, Boulding, just one more shot from him, and comical it was. Ho-di-ho, it was awful He received the ball on the left, drifted infield and, from about 25 yards out, with Jevons starting to make a run behind him, he tried to blast a left foot shot into the top right hand corner. It started out going 5 yards wide and high, then it ballooned even further wide and higher still. Worse than a Pouton slicer, worse than a Willems dribbler, terrible.
In the last minute or so Town had a fast break down the right. Pouton ran forward with the ball, on the touchline and, when he was next to the Town dug out, a Wolves player threw himself across Pouton , sending him flying into the dug out. The referee didnâ€™t give Town a free kick and Pouton remained prostrate at Lawrenceâ€™s feet, immediately being replaced by Neilson (a straight swap, Butterfield remained at right back). Three minutes of injury time that ended with some boos, as Butterfield and Jeffrey failed to launch the ball into the Wolves area, preferring to play keep ball on the half way line. An unfortunate aural ending for a fine Town display. Some Town fans are very superficial. The players walked off to a smattering of applause and some groaning, with Broomes noticeably NOT making a farewell gesture.
And thatâ€™s another point, though on the day there were three there for the taking. Wolves were very average, with only hints of the reasons for their ascendancy. Yet another "top team" that is no better than decent. In days of yonder (like last year), this Wolves team would have been good enough to challenge for the play-offs. Or perhaps they just werenâ€™t bothered tonight, playing "the likes of Grimsby". Apart from Boulding, there were no weak links, everyone performed most adequately. Coldicott battled well, harrying the opposition into mistakes and even showing some, what can only be described as, skill. Pouton was his usual whirlwind self, some flashy tricks and no left foot. Broomes and Groves looked very good together, like a unit. The full backs played very well, especially Butterfield after a very shaky start. Weâ€™d come to the ground expecting to be threatened by wingers at night, and exposed on the right. But that didnâ€™t happen. Town didnâ€™t play, or look, like a struggling team, more like a lower mid-table team. Oh for those heady days of lower mid-table.
So all in all Town are getting better all the time; the next step is a win. It doesnâ€™t look as though itâ€™s far off now.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
They all did very well (ignoring Boulding) though there was one rock around which the team revolved. A calm presence, a perceptive reader of the game, quietly efficient, making some important tackles at important times. Step forward Willems and accept the garland.
Mr Hill. 8 minutes of Townphilia do not make up for 82 minutes of weakness. A big team referee, who only gave Town a decision if it was so flippinâ€™ obvious he couldnâ€™t do anything but. Blind to Wolves shoves and pushes (they eventually didnâ€™t even bother to disguise their fouls), he saw Town fouls that Wolves didnâ€™t even appeal for. Letâ€™s hope we donâ€™t get him at any away ground. I thought he was pathetic in lots of small way, so he gets 2.1 out of 10. And he should think himself lucky to get that.
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