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Question of the Week
How much would you accept for Omar Bogle?
06/04 Norwich 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NO MCDERMOTT. Oh my god, no McDermott. Ford replaced him, so how would Town line up?? Butterfield to right back? Three at the back? No, a straight swap. Ford played at right back, and jolly excellent he was too. The boy has style.
Norwich City 1 Grimsby Town 1
06 Apr 2002, Nationwide League Division 1
And the second half was like the end of the first. Town, Town, Town, with very occasional attacks from the twittering yellows. Town controlled the tempo, which meant they controlled the game, and they were helped by the huge acres of space afforded to Cooke, and the huge gaps between the Norwich defence and midfield, which enabled Pouton to surge and step-over to his heartâ€™s content. The first chance of the second half came after 50 minutes. Town were awarded a free kick 20 yards out, on the right, after Robinson was tripped from behind. Cooke lined up a shot, which careered off the wall into a space somewhere beyond the far post. Coldicott awoke and, from about eight yards out and six or seven wide of the goal, slashed a left foot drive which rippled along the side netting. Half the Town fans leapt up to celebrate, then sat down very quickly. Immobile Willie was still unseen by humans but, despite this, Town forced Norwich further and further back, again Cooke and Robinson being the main agents of change, turning and chasing everything. Town were most threatening from free kicks and corners, actually looking dangerous and likely to score from every one. Now thereâ€™s a turn up. Another free kick to Town, again on the Town right, was swung away from goal by Cooke. Groves and Todd sidled around the back of the Norwich defence and Groves, from about eight yards out, just beyond the far post, rose above all and headed powerfully against the face of the crossbar.
Just after this, Norwich had an attack, and a shot, which was very nice for them. Mulryne was given a lot of room about 25 yards out in the middle and he smacked a rising drive a couple of yards over the centre of the goal. Nothing scary, nothing too interesting. And then it was Town again, tipping, tapping and making their way upfield at will, with a return to the old triangles down the right routine. Ford played a full part in Townâ€™s relentless surges, making some hazy, crazy, mazy dribbles through the Norwich midfield to the edge of their area.
Ford was extremely confident and skilful too, a very able and pleasing substitute for McD.
A move set up by Ford intercepting a noddy Norwich pass almost brought reward. He passed to Pouton, who drove forward in typical fashion, through a couple of challenges, and passed the ball out to Robinson on the right. Robinson drifted past his marker, looked up and curled a right foot cross into the edge of the six yard box. The ball sailed majestically towards Falconer, who was unmarked in front of goal. Falconer got to the ball before the goalkeeper, but they both missed it. The ball continued across the face of goal, bounced once and was controlled four yards out by the right back. Thatâ€™s controlled with his upper arm, somewhere just below his shoulder. Penalty shouted the Town fans, silence in the stadium, play on said the referee.
A few minutes later and it should have been 1-1. Town got a free kick about 25 yards out on the left. Gallimore swung the ball towards the far post, but slightly away from goal. Groves skipped around the back and was totally and utterly unmarked, free, unencumbered by beast or fowl. The goalkeeper froze on his line and Groves, about five yards out, near the far post, leapt, looked and steered his header past the goalkeeper. And a foot past the right hand post. He, like us, sank down with head in hands With about 20-ish minutes left, it was the annual Return of the Conquering Hero. Our Lord and Saviour, Sir Livvo, bounded out onto the pitch, replacing his Scottish doppleganger. Falconer is like a Livvo-lite, no thatâ€™s not fair, heâ€™s not lighter than Livvo. Falconer is bottom heavy, like a weeble, he wobbles but he doesnâ€™t fall down. Nor move. Hopefully, we wonâ€™t see Falconer again now that the real thing is back.
Did he make a difference? What do you think? Of course he did. The mere fact that he was on the pitch seemed to galvanise the Town players to a higher level of intensity, and unsettle the Norwich defenders. A Butterfield jink on the left touchline, followed by a cut inside and flat right foot cross, brought all those true Livvo memories flooding back. The ones where we remember that he doesnâ€™t actually score many goals. Livvo, unmarked 10 yards out, in the centre, headed softly down and straight at the â€˜keeper. Still, thatâ€™s oodles closer than Groundskeeper Willie ever managed. Or will ever. A few minutes later Robinson, again after a macho Pouton surge down the centre, drifted wide on the right and crossed into the gap between the goalkeeper and defenders. Unfortunately it was a yard in front of Livvo, who bowed his head forward like a horse refusing to jump a small fence.
All Town, but no goals; chances created, but chances wasted. Seen this time and time again. Norwich were bound to have one chance and score from it. And here is that moment. Norwich had a spell of pressure (which for them, in the context of the second half was five consecutive passes) down the Town right. They worked the ball over to the centre right to Holt about 25 yards out, who had no Town player near. He remembered that nature abhors a vacuum and so filled the void. He ran forward, into the Town area and, from about 16 yards, hit a low right footed shot across Coyne. The ball bounced in front of Coyneâ€™s outstretched right glove, and over, then a few inches past the right hand post.
With about six or seven minutes left Town broke down the left, after intercepting a weak clearance/pass from a Norwich defender. If you think Town are bad at "clearing their lines" you should have seen Norwich in the second half. Lovely it was to see the opposition visibly wilt and crumble at the sight of a rampaging Town. Butterfield (maybe, anyway it was someone on the left) clipped a high pass towards the centre, about 30 yards out. Livvo rose like a graceful dolphin to glance a header over the defence and into the gap behind the non-existent left back. The ball bounced once, maybe twice, and Cooke sprinted forward. Whack, slap, roar. From just inside the left corner of the penalty area, COOKE hit a running volley with his right foot, the ball a blur as it rocketed past the goalkeeper into his left hand corner, about half way up. Now that was a goal, a fantastic strike, fully deserved by team and individual. Could we hear Norwich fans sing? No-o, no-o.
And the next five minutes were all Town too, as they searched for a winner, rolling forward at every opportunity, sensing that the brittle Norfolkians were there to be salted and dry roasted. Pouton had a couple more direct runs at the heart of the Norwich defence, Ford too sallied forward and Jevons. Jevons? Yes, he came on with about five minutes left, replacing Robinson. Jevons managed two turns and dribbles through three defenders, each one foundering inside the area with a fall. As usual, they werenâ€™t very convincing falls. A couple of Town breakaways were stymied by some off the ball fouls on Jevons, neither of which resulted in free kicks to Town. Mackay, both times, hauled Jevons to the floor behind the refereeâ€™s back, to stop him sprinting into a big space in front of goal. Norwich had brought Iwan Roberts on for the last 10 minutes or so and he was his usual gawky, awkward and basically dirty self. But he was clearly unfit and so caused little concern to Groves and Todd. He fitted into their pockets snugly.
There were three minutes of added time, during which Norwich did peg Town back and won a couple of corners. They almost had an effort on goal when Roberts, about 10 yards out in the centre, glanced a cross from their right across goal. Ford stopped the ball three or four yards from the post and calmly walked the ball away. The last action was a Norwich corner, cleared at the far post. Game over, point won, Town jubilant, Nielsen sulky, as he stripped off his shirt and threw it onto the penalty spot. The Town players walked over to the Town fans and applauded, thankfully not in that "Weâ€™re safe" way they have done sometimes before. A small step for Town, letâ€™s hope itâ€™s a giant step for Townkind.
What a strange game. The first 20 minutes were appalling really, as Town were run ragged, being unable to cope with players running around, supporting at speed, with Nielsen having almost free rein to do as he wished. Norwich could, and should, have been three up after 15 minutes. Then Nielsen tired, Town re-organised and ran the game. In the end Norwich were glad of the end, the momentum was with Town. Individually no-one (except Falconer, who isnâ€™t a "Town" player, merely someone who plays for Town) can be criticised. Robinson again looked like a workhorse up front, always turning, competing and causing problems. A right pest he was to them. Cooke looked superb, with a "quick" footballing mind, always looking to release the ball early (after having looked up first), willing to cross first time (and succeeding). An old fashioned winger who will be a big, big favourite if carries on like this, and signs full time. Todd was again muscular intelligence at the back. In the second half there never seemed any danger as he and Groves defended strongly and intelligently. And three cheers for Mister Ford too, showing hitherto unseen skills as an attacking full back. Pouton and Coldicott started badly, looking half paced, but strangled the game after a subtle tactical change (with Coldicott sitting back to provide a comfort blanket and Pouton surging forward). Hey, even Butterfield looked OK, eventually getting around to tracking back and almost running.
All in all, there were many positives to take from this, and not just the result. And Livvo is back - has our talismanic â€˜keeper-killer returned to save us, like the 7th cavalry, in the last reel? That is a bugle I hear, isnâ€™t it?
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
There were many solid performances, from Groves (Oops, that missed header) to Todd (letâ€™s ignore the first 20 minutes) to Pouton (eventually) and Robinson. But for consistency, throughout the game, Cooke was faultless down the right, He tricked, he swayed, he turned, he crossed, he was everything youâ€™d want a winger to be. And he scored a cracker. A debut to savour. We liked him a lot.
Mr Jordan. Absolutely rubbish. Extremely one-eyed and a "homer" in the first half. He looked intent on sending a Town player off. Inconsistent in his flashings of yellow, he took a tolerant view of Norwichâ€™s tackles form behind, a couple of two footed jump tackles and a kick in the head to Coldicott. In the second he seemed to be more Town-phyllic. So he swung both ways. Indeed. He gets 3.1, his linesman with the yellow and red flag gets minus 12 for being the worst one I have ever seen.
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