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08/10 Ipswich 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
AFTER all that excitement, youâ€™ll need a few calming moments to collect your thoughts and stabilise your heartbeat. Which is what the first 5 minutes of the second half were. It seems Ipswich made a change at half time, but no-one noticed.
Grimsby Town 3 Ipswich Town 0
08 Oct 2002, Nationwide League Division 1
They replaced Millar with someone who looked exactly like him, but didnâ€™t miss open goals. Mainly because he didnâ€™t get near enough to miss, which was fine by us. You see Wardâ€™s pocket? Itâ€™s bulging, thatâ€™s because their left winger was inside it.
After about 5 or 6 minutes Ipswich had a goal disallowed. It isnâ€™t worth describing in any detail, as the linesmanâ€™s flag had been up ages before it was whacked in. The Ipswich fans and players hadnâ€™t noticed, but we had, and so had the referee. At least it woke them up and gave them something to chunter about on the long and winding road back to Suffolk. Ipswich pressed, without much conviction and certainly without the incision and precision of the first half. Town were much tighter at the back, far more organised, with Ward and Raven having particularly fine games. Ipswich were adept at switching play from one side of the pitch to the other, seeking to send the wingers behind our full backs, with Ward seemingly the targeted weak spot. He wasnâ€™t. Ipswich had a few half scrambles in the Town area, a few headers softy lolloping to Coyne, a few shots from outside the area which went high and wide. So nothing worrying at all. There was some concern that Town were doing their old trick of sinking further and further back inviting a couple of sucker right hooks, but hey, the world is different now. The foot is in the other boot these days, well it was on Tuesday.
After about an hour Ipswich had another corner, another aimless cross into the middle of the penalty area, half cleared, returned and cleared again to Mansaram just outside the area in the middle. He turned and passed to Kabba in the centre near the half way line. He zipped forward, driving at the heart of the retreating Ipswich defence. A huge, huge gap opened up down the Ipswich left into which Santos, the hard nut who is Cape Verdeâ€™s finest export after soft fruit, loped.
From near the corner of the penalty area, about 20 yards out, he hit a superb, fast low cross in between the goalkeeper and the panicking defence. KABBA, about 7 yards out, almost level with the far post, sailed gracefully through the air to volley the low ball to the â€˜keeperâ€™s right. In Town terms it was magnificent - a fast counter attack, destroying, shredding and obliterating the opposition, and a great finish. It was exactly the sort of goal that is usually scored against Town. And the fans did sing and dance all night, those memories of March came flooding back. Irrepressible, passionate football that swept aside the unwary and complacent opponent. Town players were in full flow, finally looking like a decent first division team. Itâ€™s only taken two months. And, in celebrating the goal, the whole team ran over to hug Groves, led by Kabba, which was nice.
Almost immediately after the goal Mansaram was replaced by Livingstone, with both players receiving massive ovations. Livvo didnâ€™t so much sprint on as get on the pitch. Generally the ball was played to his feet, but once or twice, especially towards the end of the game he headed the ball, and we all winced. Livvoâ€™s physical contribution was, err, negligible. He did have one effort on goal, just after he came on. Set free down the Town left he tried the most delicate of lobs from 20 yards, which arced beautifully into Marshallâ€™s midriff
Kabba almost scored another with about 20 minutes left. Town played some nice one touch passing football down the right, with Ward twice dispossessing Ipswich players to maintain the pressure. Cooke, about 25 yards out, hovering just in front o the defensive line, played a brilliantly weighted pass between the left back and centre back. Kabba hared on and attempted to dink the ball over the sprawling Marshall, who just managed to block. The ball bounced loose, but into the path of the now rolling Marshall. A couple of minutes later, for the nth time, Kabba rolled around after a challenge holding his leg. This time it was serious as he pulled up limping, clutching his hamstring, immediately hobbling off the pitch and calling for the physio. So, with 15 minutes left, young Mr Robinson arrived as his replacement.
Within a minute or so he should have scored. A simple ball over the top was missed by one of the ageing rockers in the Ipswich defence and Robinson was away, free behind the defence and in the centre. He bumbled the ball goalwards, chased it and, from about 15 yards out, to the right of centre, wellied an awful slicing right footed shot just underneath the roof of the Pontoon, way wide of goal. This boyâ€™s a natural for Town! About 5 minutes later he was off again, sent free down the Town left he took a while to compose himself before cutting inside and trying a deft chip from 20 yards. He got more elevation on it and I am sure that if Marshall hadnâ€™t caught it the ball would have spun back to within a foot or so of the hole. It was such a lovely sand iron from the middle of the fairway. A gimme, and Marshall took it. Woah, thereâ€™s more where that came from. Somewhere in the last few minutes Robinson was sent free down the Town right, he drove into the penalty area like a man with a C reg Nissan Cherry. Drifted wide of goal and, from a narrow angle 6 or 7 yards wide of the goal, dragged a shot across goal, the ball rumbling and tumbling a yard wide of the â€˜keeperâ€™s right hand post. He fits in so well, doesnâ€™t he. Like a smaller, faster Livvo, with echoes of a distant time, ole tirelessly Nogan. Cooke got in on the act of "chipping badly" when he chipped badly straight at the â€˜keeper from 20 yards, when a pass to Big Georgie would have been a better option. Oh, and Cooke tried one of those Ipswich specialities, a low scuffler, which, like their shots, was untroubling to a sentient being. Campbell had a super little dribble down the left and fell down in the area. No penalty given, not surprisingly as it wasnâ€™t a very good fall.
Ipswich didnâ€™t give up and continued to play the same passing game that looks so nice. It was like watching a superior version of Alan Buckleyâ€™s Grimsby teams. But still they couldnâ€™t shoot. A couple of long shots wafted on to the Osmond Stand roof, another couple of weak headers, straight at Coyne and finally Cyril, isnâ€™t this here we came in? A fast break down their left, a low, fast cross and a midfielder slid in, unmarked about 10 yards out, carefully placing a volley over the scoreboard to a land far, far away where Noggin the Nog lived with his friends, ie the Memorial Hall car park. There were 4 minutes of added time, which meant that Coldicott had 10 minutes on the pitch, having replaced Ward and gone straight to right back. Ward got the applause he deserved.
So there we are then, another win, two in three games, which is a statistical improvement. More importantly the team, individually and collectively, is starting to look like itâ€™s "any good" again. Not wonderful, but certainly competent. Thatâ€™s a huge step forward for man, a giant leap forward for Barnard kind.
But what have they done? Just as weâ€™d given up, the finger tips get a slightly firmer grip on that ledge. Why do they give us hope? Itâ€™s cruel.
Another dozen games like that and weâ€™d just about be safe. Simple, isnâ€™t it.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
I wonâ€™t fall for Poutonâ€™s last minute double step-over and cross, but he was much, much better than has become the norm. Santos seems to have "presence", and what a wonderful cross. Ooo, I could go in about them all, but, to make up for Saturdayâ€™s lack of MoM there is a double nomination today, for vastly different reasons. KABBA and WARD. Kabba virtually crushed them on his own, becoming what we thought he was, but hadnâ€™t been yet. The highest compliment to be paid to Ward is that we did not miss McDermott at all. Cool and composed in both defence and attack, have we got McDâ€™s long term successor here? Careful nurturing required. He looked very good.
G Salisbury.Seemed to only want to book players for not retreating at free kicks, yet didnâ€™t bother to book two Ipswich players who wouldnâ€™t go when he marched through Georgia to get them back. Turning to look at him and contemptuously shuffling two inches, it was farcical, given that the referee was about 5 yards behind them. He gave the penalty so no points taken away for being kind to us. Mmm, overall a bit anonymous. I digress, you just want to know the scores on the doors Isla. 6.27.
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