League Two Table
Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
My Mate Graham!
By: John Pakey
MY mate Graham supports Crystal Palace. He had ribbed me earlier in the season about the demolition of Town at Selhurst Park. Little did I know how sweet the taste of revenge would be.
"Graham, Palace are playing up at Town this weekend, fancy coming along, it's only Â£8 for a student ticket in the Pontoon End"
"Pontoon, that the home end fella?"
"Yeah, but it's a good friendly atmosphere, we won't lynch you"
"Well not going to snuff a ticket at Â£8"
I didn't expect that small conversation in the Atrium at Lincoln University to be the start of an amazing day for me.
We boarded the Train at Lincoln station and I noticed I was surrounded by Palace fans. Graham felt at home. I was very uneasy. Still it was all good-natured. I just buttoned up my jacket when we got off and switched trains for Cleethorpes.
A brisk walk down to get our tickets we visited a chip shop, ah Londoners, cue Graham's stupid question in the Chippie "Err, you got any Cod?" I think you could hear a penny drop; I leaned over and informed him they had Haddock. Fish and Chips
Happily consumed we wandered into the Pontoon and got our seats. Ford was taking pot shots at Croudson and most of the Pontoon. In between ducking from Ford's shots I explained to Graham how since 1998 I hadn't seen Grimsby win and that the last time I was in the Pontoon we lost four nil (I think, I gave up count) against Watford and that the last time I was at Grimsby I watched them get beaten on Boxing Day against Coventry.
Still today things felt a bit different, there was a more positive atmosphere in the Pontoon, the crowd was full of cheer after the Stockport match midweek and Mighty Mariner was performing his somewhat questionable act against the goal post getting everyone cheering (Wonder if he'd ever run for Mayor like the Hartlepool Monkey did).
The game kicked off and the Pontoon started singing, Graham was reluctant to join in "Sing When We're Fishing", then we were soon on our feet, A scramble down at the other end, a ball out of the box, I stretched to see the back of the net flutter, BOOM! The Pontoon exploded in shouts and cheers! Graham sat there.
Palace looked to counter, and were soon on us, and injury in our box and Coyne took a quick goal kick while the Palace player received treatment. The ball went up to Boulding who went round one, then another, everyone stands, just this defender, is he going to lay it off? NO! HE SHOOTS! YES! GET IN THERE! Graham fell back into his seat I was jumping up and down, cheering like it was 1998 all over again.
"It's alright John, just you wait, Dougie will sort Palace out, he'll get......" Graham couldn't finish the sentence as I was on my feet again, another scramble, this time Allen seemed to be involved, again the distance made things difficult to tell, but the ball hitting the back of the net was un mistakable, THREE NIL!
A despondent Graham sat and wondered what was happening to his beloved Palace, I sat elated and wondered what was happening to my beloved Grimsby. I was expecting a dull second half, how wrong I was.
"Stevie what's the score, Stevie Stevie what's the.... oh, they've scored, never mind." Our attention was drawn momentarily away from cheering at Croudson. Graham was able to clap a little, we didn't care.
A bit of bad luck and Palace had scored an own goal, Campbell stood at the far post looking astonished as the ball came off the Palace defenders arm and fell in the back of the net.
The Pontoon was going mad, I'd never been in a crowd like this, and it was fantastic. Graham wasn't sulking, but he wasn't happy. A corner kick and Bradley Allen stood in the goalmouth screaming at the Pontoon, revving it up. We responded and cheered our hearts out for the lads.
It was coming towards what had been some of the best most exciting football I'd ever watched at Blundell Park and I couldn't see it getting any better, then a cross from Pouton, three players dived and stretched to get on the end of it. Who got it? Once his team mates had got off him after celebrating, it was revealed to be none other than good old David Smith.
At this point I was nothing short of ecstatic, voice going, hands sore, shaking Graham's shoulder shouting in a horse voice "SMITH, BLOODY SMITH SCORED!" Graham didn't seem that amused, "shut up John".
In what was a truly amazing day for me on the bus back to the station, Graham, despite being down was happy to admit Town had played well.
Feeling bad that I had dragged him into the Pontoon to watch his team be humiliated by "Little Grimsby" as he calls them sometimes I brought the beers later that day.
It goes above Wimbledon match on the sheer atmosphere made by the Pontoon, an unforgettable experience at Blundell Park and sweet, sweet revenge on Palace!
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