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Mr Pooter Comes to Town: Chesterfield Report
By: Tony Butcher
A WARM, still evening in Cleethorpes. Where better to see some outdoor Shakespearean tragedy than Blundell Park. Around 150 Chesterfieldians huddled together in small groups and grooved with a pict down at the Osmond End, little knowing what joys the evening would bring. They hoped, we knew.
Grimsby Town 0 Chesterfield 1 (AET)
10 Sep 2002, Worthington Cup 1st Round
The pre-match entertainment was count the crowd, followed by the Mighty Mariner, the fantabulous foam fool, running up and down the touchline publicly practising for some club mascot challenge trophy. Curiously it ran quicker with itâ€™s giant rubber shoes than when it changed into football boots. Perhaps it thought the pitch would take a stud?
The pre-match routine was the usual hops, steps and lacklustre jumps and the forwards shooting towards goal. Kabba managed to miss every time and Robinson peppered the seats in the Pontoon. By the law of averages he managed to make the ball hit a supporter, eventually.
Town lined up in the old, comfortable, 4-4-2 formation, as shown.
Chesterfield, clad in a stylishly simple all red kit, kicked off towards the Pontoon. For 10 minutes all was well in the world, as Town played simple ground based football, retaining possession and easily mopping up the Spireite whacks. No problem here then. Town created a couple of half chances which made the less somnolent break off from discussing the fluctuating price of hard cheese with their neighbour. A flowing passing movement down the right ended with a dangerous looping cross from Cooke, cleared urgently. A couple of minutes later a good move, a fine move, a first division move, again down the right.
Pouton spun in midfield and stroked a lovely pass out to Cooke (or it may have been McDermott) on the wing, who cut inside and passed across the face of the penalty area to Coldicott, who carefully steered a right foot drive through a thicket of red shirts, but straight at the â€˜keeper.
Well, at least it was a shot. We donâ€™t get many of them to the pound.
And that was it for great chunks of our lives. The game deteriorated pretty rapidly into mindless lumps upfield. For some inexplicable reason, Chettle and Coldicott had a self image not too far removed from Michel Platini in his prime. They both saw themselves as the playmaker, able to drop the ball within a few millimetres of an insurgent Town strikerâ€™s boot. Once or twice the ball almost went near a professional footballer, maybe even to a Town player. Ennui quickly drifted across Blundell Park and settled atop the turf. Sighs, rather than groans, reverberated around the ground. A dull lower division hackfest ground on and on and on.
Chesterfield had done, frankly, nothing at all, appearing to be an average team; organised, with a method, but without any hint of threat. After about 25 minutes that impression was rudely heckled. Bored, watching the boats go by, the ball in midfield, the Town defence (and crowd) suddenly noticed that Chesterfield had dinked the ball down their left hand side, with Cooke sprinting after a bloke in red. The bloke in red, who turned out to be Burt, not Ernie, got towards the bye line just outside the penalty area and hit a firm cross to the far post. We turned, we saw two Chesterfield players unmarked. Reeves, big, old, lumbering Reeves, slid forward 8 yards out, level with the far post, and volleyed the ball high and backwards to the penalty spot, where McDermott waited and cleared. Eyebrows were raised in unison, an open goal missed. Whoops.
This spurred Town on a bit, in that several passes were strung together at one point. There were isolated moments of promise, that teased the casual observer. Kabba did some excellent work out on the wings, especially the left. He tricked, turned and tumbled his way past a couple of defender to put in two really excellent cross. One a low, flat volley through the middle of the 6 yards box, the other a deep outswinging cross which forced a defender to dive forward and head out for a corner. Campbell (Remember him? We donâ€™t.) cut in from the left and slightly scuffed a right footed drive from the edge of the area which the â€˜keeper plopped on. A corner from the right caused a bit of a scramble about 8 yards out, with Groves swinging, missing , swinging again and the ball careering off crazily for another corner. There was one Town move worthy of recall, description and fondness. After 30 minutes a fine flowing move down the centre right, ended with Cooke cutting inside his marker, drifting across the face of the penalty area and, from 20 yards out to the right of centre, zinging a tremendous left footed shot across the face of goal, forcing the suddenly nimble Muggleton to fly, like a bird in the sky, to his right and tip the ball around the post for a corner. Excellent move, excellent shot, excellent save.
But these were infrequent moments of passing interest in a fog of trash. With a couple of minutes left in the half, Chesterfield should have scored, with only their second visit to the Town penalty area. Again nothing was happening to interest the paying public, thoughts meandering like an leaf in a gale, when we were aware of some red near us. A Chesterfield player was free on the Town left, behind the defence. He look up, clipped a cross to the far post to Reeves, unmarked about 10 yards out. He leant back and volleyed the ball against the face of the cross bar. The ball bounced down to Coyneâ€™s left and back towards the penalty spot, a scramble, a flash of boot and a shot scuffed across the grass through two defenders and straight to Coyne in the middle of his goal line.
Around the same time Gallimore lay down on the ground like a weary dromedary. He continued for a couple of minutes, but was replaced, in the added time, by Ward. The last event of the half was a Robinson surge down the left and toward the centre. He exchanged passes with Kabba and drove a firm, head high shot straight at the â€˜keeper.
Half time: Grimsby Town 0 Chesterfield 0
It was dull, it was poor stuff, with sporadic bursts of decent football. But they were very sporadic. Town did not look like a team, with many passes being lobbed for runs that never came. Robinson and Kabba were far, far too far away from each other. Each one dribbling towards the corner flag, so that when a cross came in, there was only one Town player in the area. And, of course, all the crosses were intercepted at the near post. And there was still at least 45 more minutes of this stuff to come.
Stu's Half Time Toilet Talk
"Iâ€™m wearing my lucky trousers, we never lose heavily when Iâ€™ve these on".
The report continues in the second half.
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