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Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
21/09 Forest 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NO CHANGES were made by either team at half time, though the sun went in, a slight haze appeared on the horizon and a hint of a chill began to seep through the old warhorse that is Blundell Park. Both physical and metaphorical.
Grimsby Town 0 Nottingham Forest 3
21 Sep 2002, Nationwide League Division 1
The first 15 minutes of the second half were quite exhilarating stuff. The Pontoon, that sullen child, was roused and roared on the Town team. Wave upon wave of attacks rolled forward. The Forest players began to get a bit rattled, with some desperate late challenges. They also started to argue amongst themselves. Kabba strong armed his way past his marker on the Town centre left, cut inside and miss-hit a shot straight at Ward from 20 yards. A few crosses were flung in, a lot a free kicks were won, especially by the theatrical Kabba, who falls in three acts. A particularly daft free kick by Town summed up the uncoordinated meanderings they served up as entertainment. Robinson was fouled near the left edge of the Forest penalty area. McDermott sauntered out wide unmarked, a Forest player saw that cunning ruse and drifted out towards him. McDermott ran infield and Campbell wandered out to the right. Barnard tapped the free kick towards Campbell, who had his back to play about 10 yards out on the edge of the penalty area. The free kick was way, way too weak and a Forest player ran off with the ball as Campbell still faced the outer limits of the Pontoon.
The most sustained period of pressure was after about 55 minutes. Town pressed and pressed down the right, with McDermott racing up in support as Kabba did a barn dance around the defenders near the corner flag. McDermott burst through three tackles and, from about 20 yards out near the corner of the penalty area, whacked a right foot shot, which was charged down. The bal rebounded to Kabba, whose low drive rebounded off a defender towards the managersâ€™ dug-outs. Groves lunged in at Harewood, who stepped over the ball and raced off down the touchline. Ford sprinted back and over, eventually dispossessing the pest inside the Town penalty area, as he set himself to shoot. Kabba had another shot, from the Town right about 20 yards out, following another breakaway down the left. He should have passed, rather than thwack a drive a foot or so wide of the â€˜keeperâ€™s left hand post, as two Town players were joining the attack and were unmarked.
Still Town flew into tackles and, quite significantly, Campbell hugged the right touchline. Forest were stretched, and, quite frankly, they didnâ€™t like it up â€˜em. They werenâ€™t overrun by any means, they counter attacked frequently and dangerously. McDermott was booked when he fell over the back of Johnsonâ€™s legs, as he sprinted through the Town defence about 30 yards out. The free kick was lofted and curled towards the back post, where several players converged. The ball was somehow scraped away from goal by what appeared to be Coyneâ€™s left hand and Groves left boot, with Harewoodâ€™s chest being involved in this footballing mÃ©nage a trios.
A minute later, on the hour, self inflicted disaster. Forest attacked down the Town left, with a quick one two about 25 yards out. Bopp played the ball inside and was laid out by Gallimore, who arrived on the delayed 11:07 from Stockport, A cynical, stupid kick from behind, with a hint of elbow. Pouton, stood just a few yards away, went absolutely bananas at Gallimore, I thought he was about to hit him. And fully justified he would have been. The referee took ages to send Gallimore off, and some people even stood up and clapped the idiot as he walked off. The use of the word idiot should not be viewed in a pejorative sense. It would stand up in a Court of Law as a factual statement. The momentum swung back to Forest, as Town initially played a 4-3-2 formation, with Barnard at left back. If itâ€™s one thing this Forest side can do it is pass in midfield. Now Town were outnumbered and chased the ball like a 6 year old playing with its dad.
There was initial sound and fury from Town, with a 5 minute spell where the players were in a frenzy, pumped up with adrenalin. Forest were a little rocky, but the lack of numbers counted when the ball was near the penalty area. I vaguely recall that the game swung slowly towards them, with not many shots by either side, just increased possession and the ball being down the Osmond end more than the Pontoon. There was a flutter when a corner was nodded down towards Coyne on his right. The ball disappeared inside the area, the Forest fans uttered a collective "Ooo" and it was wellied cleared. If I had to guess I would say it was cleared from near the line as a striker lurked.
A quarter of an hour from the end Barnard decided to take the opportunity to prove he really was Gallimoreâ€™s natural replacement by cynically, disgracefully, hacking Harewood down from behind, out on the left, near the bye-line, right in front of 2,500 howling Nottingham Forest supporters. The referee, bizarrely, decided to only book Barnard. The scoreboard celebrated this are moment of refereeing leniency towards Town by switching on, reading Grimsby 0 :!1 after 7% minutes. Was it a weird coded message?
With 12 minutes left the crowd got its wish and Mansaram ran on, but he replaced Coldicott, which was not part of that wish. Both Campbell and Pouton were extremely fortunate to remain on the pitch, having done virtually nothing of note. Coldicott had been the only protection for the defence, making several excellent tackles as midfielders burst forward to support the gruesome twosome upfront. The formation. There were definitely three standing up front, and 4 at the back, so I suppose it was 4-2-3. The rest of the game was a river of red, raining shots on Coyne. The ball was lifted over the top, down a centre right channel into the middle of the penalty area. Johnson outpaced Groves and lifted the ball over Coyne as he raced out. The ball dropped just over the bar, and a little bit wide of Coyneâ€™s right hand post. As for Town, Robinson had one last effort, breaking down the left, cutting inside and curling a right footed shot into Wardâ€™s midriff as Kabba and Mansaram waved their arms around out on the right.
With 5 minutes left, and the game long since dead as a contest, the ball was knocked through the Town defence, on the centre right. Suddenly, Johnson was beyond Groves, on the edge of the area. Groves fell, Johnson fell, the referee gave a penalty, the referee waved Groves away and didnâ€™t even book him. JOHNSON hit the penalty at hip height powerfully to Coyneâ€™s left. Coyne dived left, but just couldnâ€™t reach the ball as it rolled along the left side netting. Cue a flood of Town fans pouring out of the ground, for they are "Grimsby till they cry". Many of those remaining started to grizzle, with the odd "sack the board" chant. A couple of minutes later it was almost 3, when Coyne raced off his line to punch clear a dink over the top, as Harewood challenged. The ball went straight to Prutton, about 30 yards out on their left. He immediately volleyed the ball back, over the defence, over the retreating Coyne, and just over the bar.
As more individuals who had sat in the seats set aside for Grimsby supporters left the ground, the tannoy world wearily, and apologetically, announced an additional 4 minutes of play. Thatâ€™s four more minutes for them to score another, which they did. The ball was knocked down the Forest right, JOHNSON ran after it, collected, turned inside, cut across the penalty area, stopped, turned again Dick Whittington, ignored the two unmarked players to his left, and dragged a low shot from about 10 yards across Coyne and into the bottom left hand corner. Just enough to time to kick off again and the referee ended the farcical farrago of fumbling failure.
I have missed out a lot of moments in the last 20 minutes where Forest oozed through the Town defence, but failed to shoot on target. Why bother telling you the minor gory details. Town started poorly, rallied briefly, subsided gradually and ended up a messy shambles. The turning point was almost certainly the moment Gallimore was sent off, for Town had built up a head of steam, managing to get the home crowd back to those March levels of intensity and passion. Gallimore simply "lost it", and ensured that Town had too. There werenâ€™t many players who performed adequately, with Pouton the most disruptively poor. He neither tackled nor surged (except in that 15 minute period after half time when he even did a couple of step-overs), and was neither a goose nor a gander. Campbell? That should be on his shirt, the question mark mandatory. Kabba played in bursts and was most effective when barnstorming down the flanks. Poor old Groves again - old and poor, again. Yet again Town folded when they changed to three strikers, and they imploded when Coldicott was taken off.
It wasnâ€™t totally a disgrace, the scoreline was a little skewed in the final few minutes. It could have been a brave, narrow defeat following the sending off. But thatâ€™s as much use as a goldfish in a sieve.
I canâ€™t lie to you about our chances, but you have my sympathy. Itâ€™s almost at the point where Town prepare for next season. And it isnâ€™t even October.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Coldicott did his best in trying circumstances but clearly, and without any doubt, PAUL ROBINSON earned his wages, and those of several others too. Not only was he tireless, but he was effective and skilful.
Markâ€™s UnMan of the Match
Several candidates. Campbell always gets away with it because he doesnâ€™t do anything terrible, his just doesnâ€™t do anything. Today, Townâ€™s worst performer was Paul Groves. He just couldnâ€™t cope.
G Laws. Unusually he was very kind to Town, as he should have sent off at least three, with Pouton lucky when he shoved Harewood. The referee annoyed both sets of supporters for his leniency when ankles were thwacked, knees scythed and backs shoved. So, a relatively Townphyllic referee gets a terribly low score, 3.7.
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