Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
29/10 Burnley 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
I DONâ€™T think any changes were made at half time. Burnley came out and were even more direct, with two wingers hugging the touchlines, whipping in cross, after cross, after cross.
Grimsby Town 6 Burnley 5
29 Oct 2002, Nationwide League Division 1
After a couple of minutes an A Moore cross to the far post was headed back across goal to I Moore, standing alone four yards out.
He headed weakly down, straight at Coyne, who was transfixed on his goal-line, frozen. The linesmanâ€™s flag was up anyway. But it was an indicator of their method, which they replicated time after time. A deep cross to the far post, headed back across as a striker peels away to the other post. It took the Town defence a long while to counter it, with Ward, in particular, struggling to cope. Burnley seemed to target him, with virtually every attack being aimed, at some point, over his head. Ward played extremely conventionally, tucking in behind the centre back when the ball was on the left, and with Cooke also "tucking in" to midfield, it meant Alderman Moore had the freedom of Cleethorpes, for just one night.
Perversely, the next goal came down the Town left. A spell of intense pressure from Burnley saw the ball crossed into the heart of the penalty area and continually hacked away by some panicky Town defending. The ball was half cleared to a position about 30 yards out, level with the edge of the penalty area, whereupon their wing back surged forward and passed to some bloke (could have been a substitute), who spun past the invisible defender. Coldicott was near, Barnard in the same post code, and Gallimore vaguely around the same continent. The Burnley striker was thus free on the left of the Town area, behind the defence. He surged to the bye-line and, from about 10 yards wide of goal, crossed into the middle of the area, about 8 yards out. TAYLOR swept the ball through Fordâ€™s legs straight at Coyne, the ball slowly rolling past Coyneâ€™s right boot. So thatâ€™s 4-4 now, isnâ€™t it? Where is that calculator?
More Burnley pressure with Town barely able to get in their half. More crosses, with both Town full backs standing off the wingers, allowing them to dink in at will. Fortunately, they werenâ€™t terribly accurate crosses, with Ford and Gallimore often doing just enough to disturb the striker, bundling, rolling and occasionally blocking.
Burnley only managed one clear header when Taylor headed firmly over from the middle of the penalty area, being unmarked of course. Jump forward seven minutes, Town counter attacking down the left. Campbell fizzed a low, firm pass from near the touch-line in to Livingstone, who had made a "run" to the near post. Livingstone turned on the largest sixpence in the world, a diameter of approximately 12 yards, and knocked the ball from the centre towards the bottom right hand corner of the Burnley penalty area. Amazingly, Livvo beat the centre back to the ball, turned and crossed. The ball hit the Burnley defender and went out for a corner. No, make that penalty for handball. The ref did. POUTON strolled forward and smashed the penalty straight down the middle as Beresford dived to the left. The crowd? Shall we say happy?
By this stage the crowd had journeyed beyond the incredulous, open mouthed gawp, to the nonchalant expectation of a goal every five minutes. A whole ten minutes passed during which the ball didnâ€™t go near the goal. Just as a Pontoonite was gruffly complaining about "this continuing goal drought" Burnley contrived a fantastic, slapstick miss. The holey Town defence opened up yet again down the centre, with Gallimore (no not with Gallimore, that suggests some kind of connection and organisation) allowing Taylor to wander forward into the box as a midfielder almost walked forward up to the end of the area. The ball was gently lifted through to Taylor, who had just Coyne to beat. Fortunately, he waited for the ball to drop, which enabled Ford to race across and slide in, knocking the ball against Taylorâ€™s chest. The ball bounced over the now prostrate Coyne down the centre, and rolling, rolling, rolling, rawhide, towards the empty net. Taylor continued to trundle after the ball, Ford got up, again slid in, and both players ended up swooshing their boots at the bouncing ball, about a foot away from the goal-line. Somehow the ball went high in the air back towards Coyne, six yards out. Coyne ran back, tried to punch the ball away whilst under pressure, missed and the Keystone Cops arrived in the shape of Coldicott to eventually crazily hack the ball away.
Pouton had a lobbed volley which dipped way over the bar into the third row of seats, Kabba rolled around, through and over the entire Burnley defence when chasing a pass caressed down the touchline by Cooke. Kabba cut inside, cut outside, drifted towards the goal-line and whacked a shot into the side netting from a narrow angle. With just less than twenty minutes left Town won their first, and only, corner of the game. Barnard took it from the left, curled it away from goal, but into the heart of the penalty area. FORD unmarked and about a dozen yards out, leant back and steered a header down into the ground, across the keeper and over the defender into the top left hand corner. The Pontoon contemplated asking Groves what the score was but thought better of it, as he would have trouble with his digit raising. "Stand up if youâ€™re 6-4 up" sang the teenagers. "Oh, you always sing that", came the response of the older, seated woolly hat wearers. An air of disbelieving joviality descended upon the Town fans, masking a deep, deep worry. For Townâ€™s defence had been completely ripped apart, with the honourable exception of Ford. As someone shouted "I think thereâ€™s goals in this game". A brave prediction.
Anything else happen? Yet again Kabba, Kabba, Kabba sprinting down the left, cut inside, across the area, back across the other way, with four defenders in tow. Finally, he shimmied and cracked a superb left foot shot which just dipped over the angle of the â€˜keeperâ€™s right hand post and bar. There was a clear deflection, but the ref gave a goal kick. Burnley went down the other end and had a series of corners, from which only panic ensued. They threw on another substitute and went for Town, as they were obviously confident of victory. The ball was seemingly stuck inside the Town half, with Livvo frequently seen trotting around inside the Town penalty area. Crosses, scrambles, crosses, scrambles, flying blocks, last ditch tackles, everything was happening in a ten yard radius of the Town penalty spot. Hanging on, just hanging on to a slender 6-4 lead.
With about five or so minutes left, one of the substitutes, Mr Papadopoulos, who doesnâ€™t own a laundrette despite rumours to the contrary, spun away from Coldicott on the left of the Town area, about 16 yards out. The ball squirmed out near Barnard who reached out with his left foot allowing the striker to accept the invitation to fall over. Contact was made, though Papadopoulos could have continued if heâ€™d wished. But why would he? Penalty, pandemonium, Town players moaning, crowd in uproar. BLAKE placed the ball on the spot, walked back four paces, waddled up and rolled the penalty to Coyneâ€™s right. Coyne went the right way but missed by a couple of inches. Burnley abandoned the caution they never had in the first place, chucking everyone forward. Did anything happen? Well, yes, lots, mostly fleeting moments when Burnley players were about to shoot but Ford, Coldicott or Gallimore just managed to save the day with the merest of touches, or a walloping great scythe.
In one of the four minutes of added time there was the final freaky bit of football fun. Barnard tried to edge down the touchline, right in front of the town dug-out. Two Burnley players mugged him, one with a hooking tackle from the side. Barnard and the Burnley player started to kick each other, then got up and squared off, as both dug-outs leapt up and started to run around. The whole ground leapt up with them, the referee ran over and manhandled both players (surely he should have been sent off for raising his hands!) and play continued. The ball was free down the Town left, with two Burnley players and no Town ones near. As the fight continued, Papadopoulos, swayed past a tackle and swooshed into the penalty area. He managed to get to about eight yards out and tried to pass to an unmarked midfielder. Several monochrome heroes came from all points west to save the day. Bedlam, absolute bedlam, with everyone up on their feet roaring away at, oooh, everything. Just noise, no discernible word, just a primeval scream. The added time was taken up with some time wasting down in the corners and, the first free kick of the night awarded for a foul on Kabba. Kabba took the mickey by rolling his foot across and over the ball down the touchline, sucking in tackles and brushing them aside with his huge biceps. Does he eat cow pie?
Eventually, eventually, after much imploring from the locals the referee ended this mad, mad, mad, mad, whirl. It was football, but not as we know it.
Thereâ€™s no need for analysis, for jokes to embroider the occasion. Let the facts speak for themselves. Unbelievable. Even for those who there. Seeing is sometimes not believing. Wow.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Raven! Ha, fooled you. STEVE KABBA an awesome, pumping, powerhouse of a footballer. Immense. What a guy!
Paul Danson. For someone who sends a player off every 69 minutes, he was remarkably lenient, booking no-one. Though apart from the Barnard fight, there wasnâ€™t much in this game for him to do wrong. He did invoke the secret FIFA directive of the disadvantage rule when Town broke away, but he was OK, 7. A straight 7.
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