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16/11 Preston 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NO CHANGES were made by either team at half time. Preston kicked off and didnâ€™t kick it out of play immediately. It must be that high level coaching they receive, for they gave away possession in a different way - straight to a Town player without passing go (or collecting Â£200 appearance money).
Grimsby Town 3 Preston North End 3
16 Nov 2002, Nationwide League Division 1
Town were much more lively, more of a unit and even passed to each other outside of their own penalty area. After a spot of defender worrying by Mansaram down the Town left, Preston should have scored from a break away. An attack down the centre was repulsed with a hacking clearance by Barnard, but the ball cannoned off Gavinâ€™s chest and spun away to two Preston players on the left. They tinkered and dummied, with the wider player being sent free inside the area, wide of goal. Coyne raced out, stood up, jumped up, and somehow managed to deflect the ball a few inches past his right hand post, possibly with his left boot. I canâ€™t remember Preston getting near Coyne again for a very long time. But more of that later.
Although chances were minimal, it was Town who were clearly in the ascendancy, with Mansaram and Livingstone receiving a much better quality of passes. Instead of hoofs over the top, or up to their heads, passes were played to feet or into space. And finally. Finally, the Pontoon realised who the Preston number 6 was. Broomes! Marlon the Mercenary returns again, to receive as much of a welcome as the referee, who was continuing to annoy with little decisions that never quite seemed to go for Town. Is it a FIFA regulation that Preston can shoulder charge? Perhaps in honour of Tom Finney they play by 1950sâ€™ rules. Letâ€™s not forgot the obligatory disadvantage rule to Town. The crowd started to rouse itself from disinterest to the fearsome, roaring monster of seething indignation that is the natural state of the residents of North East Lincolnshire. The noise levels rose and the Town attacks increased in direct proportion. Pouton woke up and started to fly into tackles, raging, roaming, rabble rousing. Some neat short passing and triangles between Coldicott and Campbell out on the Town left saw Campbell sneak into a bit of freedom 30 yards out. He scampered towards the penalty area and rolled a slow pass along the ground to Mansaram, who had his back to goal, right on the edge of the area, to the left of goal. Mansaram allowed the ball to roll past him and he, in turn, rolled around his marker, Mr Broomes, and burst forward.
The goalkeeper rushed out and, from about 8 yards out and wide of goal, Mansaram swept a left footed shot across the face of goal and just a few inches wide of the far post. The statutory "oohs" oozed from the Town supporters.
A couple of minutes later, after some Town interpassing in midfield was broken up by a flying tackle, Pouton retrieved the ball, surged forward down the centre and, from 20 yards, fizzed a hard right footed shot towards the bottom right hand corner of the goal. Moilanen plunged and plucked the ball from the turf. The pressure was building, the Preston defenders were looking very uncomfortable, starting to foul more, starting to push and shove off the ball. After 58 minutes, whilst the ball was out of play down the Town end Livvo and their big centre back, Michael Jackson, began to indulge in some manly posturing. The crowd started to chunter, then sing the praises of "Livvo, Livvo". The referee turned round just as Jackson lightly shoved Livvo, who gave him a considered bon mot in return. The referee looked at his linesman, who wasnâ€™t flagging, ran over to discuss what they both hadnâ€™t seen, then booked both players. The ball was whacked up field by Coyne towards Livvo, about 30 yards out and level with the edge of the penalty area. Jackson ran up behind Livvo and pushed him in the back, a premeditated act of schoolboy revenge. How wonderfully daft. Barnard lofted the free kick high beyond the far post towards Mansaram. The ball went over his head but remained in play. He chased it, kept it in and passed back to Oster, who delayed his cross, toyed with the defender, dragged the ball hither and thither before rolling the ball back to Mansaram, on the touchline, perhaps 15 yards out. Mansaram curled a cross into the middle of the penalty area, near the 6 yards box, where FORD threw himself in front of the dithering Finn in goal to head into the centre of the net. Ford was extremely happy, as were we. And it all started from Livingstone using his personality to good effect.
With the lead restored Town seemed to up a notch in pace and confidence, Pouton even found his old bag of tricks deep down in his trunk of torpor. He surged down the left, step-over, step-over, shake, shimmy, twist, and past Broomes up to the edge of the penalty area. The irate itinerant legged up Pouton, gesticulated wildly and received more encouragement from the crowd. He was rattled and we loved it. The free kick was clipped low to the edge of the area as a galaxy of stars descended on the goalâ€™s busy west end. Pouton lurked and lamped a thwacking great right footed volley towards the bottom left hand corner of the goal. Unfortunately, it hit a defender and ricocheted around and eventually to safety. Town continued to turn, turn, turn the Preston defence again, with their defenders forced to foul, foul and foul again. Eventually, a couple of yellow cards sneaked out of the refereeâ€™s top pocket, but they took a long time coming, and should (especially for Broomes) have resulted in a second yellow. Broomes kept pulling and pushing Mansaram inside the penalty area when awaiting free kicks. The referee studiously ignored Broomesâ€™ bullying, not to mention the trips and wrestles. But for all Townâ€™s improvement there werenâ€™t that many chances created, but quite a few promising moments of danger. Livingstone and Mansaram looked like a partnership, with an understanding. Mainly that Livvo couldnâ€™t be expected to run too far. Somewhere in this Campbell dragged a shot three yards wide from the edge of the area after an exciting bit of rollicking one touch passing and movement down the Town left.
With about 12 minutes left Preston had a bit of pressure, which at least woke their supporters up. Some desperate clearances by Town resulted in two players injured at the same time, Coldicott and Campbell. After treatment the referee made both players go off the pitch whilst Preston took a throw-in 15 yards out. Mild panic at the thought of a 9 man Town trying to defend an aerial bombardment turned to comic relief when Preston simply passed the ball straight to Campbell as he ran back on, thus setting up a Town counter attack. A minute later Coldicott was replaced by Groves, who got a big cheer, as Town defended a corner. The corner, from their right, was cleared at the near post and eventually made its way up to Mansaram inside the Town half. He fended off a defender, turned and surged down the middle. When about 35 yards out he looked up, saw the Livvosaurus Rex rampaging down the left and tapped a pass through the retreating defenders to our totemic titan. Livvo continued forward and, from just inside the penalty area, wide to the left of goal, side footed a pass back to the twisting Town tyro. MANSARAM, right in the middle, right on the edge of the penalty area, knocked the ball up with his left foot, then steered a superb volley into the bottom left hand corner with the same foot. He ran virtually into the Pontoon screaming with delight, and all the outfield Town players joined him. Game Over.
A minute later Mansaram, clearly buoyed by the goal, received a pass with his back to goal near the managersâ€™ dug out. He flipped the ball over his shoulder and ran off down the touchline, leaving Broomes sulking (a natural state) in his wake. Mansaram flew down the wing, drifted past the covering defender, sidestepped a third and pulled a cross back to the edge of the area. The ball was half cleared and Barnard steamed forward and unleashed an stoppable pile driver which was stopped by a young man in row F, around seat 41. Well wide. At least when Galli shoots itâ€™s either great or woeful, not just dull and wide. Itâ€™s a long way to Azerbaijan, itâ€™s a long way to go (to sit on the bench). It was all Town, all singing, all dancing, hats on the side of our heads, nothing to worry about. Errrrrrr.
With about 8 minutes left Livvo passed back to Ford half way inside the Town half. Ford turned back towards Coyne, fending off Fuller with an air of disdain. Ford then underhit a pass back and set off in pursuit of the ball as Fuller ran in from his left. Fuller appeared to run across and into Ford and down went the Preston forward. Penalty and Ford sent off. From 100 yards away it looked like a collision, but no-one expected anything other than a red card. Only careful analysis using the latest video technology may reveal "the truth", but thatâ€™s irrelevant. The penalty was given. Or for Town the potential double penalty. ALEXANDER hit the penalty down the centre right as Coyne went to his left. Groves went back to centre half, with Livvo somewhere between attack and defence in a sort of centre midfield positon.
A minute later another scramble, with a hubbub inside the Town penalty area, which followed a break down the Preston left. Parker was absent as Lewis zoomed forward, crossed and the rest is lost in the mists of time and the Osmond End. A minute later another Preston cross and scramble, then another, then another.
We knew theyâ€™d score again, it was just a matter of when, and how. Bookies refused to take any bets on "header from a corner, heart-breakingly late". With just a couple of minutes left Gavin conceded a corner when blocking an attempted cross from their left. Lewis swung a left footed corner away from goal to the far post, perhaps a dozen yards out. Jackson rose suspiciously high above Pouton for what seemed like seconds, and headed back across goal towards Coyneâ€™s right hand post. Bodies jumped, headed moved and ETUHU headed in from a few yards out. There were three minutes of added time, during which Town had a couple of free kicks and a corner. And from one of these, from the Town right, swung to the far post towards Groves, a Preston player handled. Not deliberately, but the ball went over his head and rolled off his arm to safety. If your luckâ€™s in you get â€˜em, but Town didnâ€™t have the rub of the man in green.
It ended. And they were happier then we. All in all, Town got less than they deserved, despite a ropey first half. Preston seemed incapable of scoring in open play and needed some fortune. This isnâ€™t to dismiss them as lucky Lancastrians, for they clearly have some skilful players, and the beginnings of a slick attacking machine, but they certainly arenâ€™t a cohesive team and were easily ruffled when pressurised. Yeah, I know, a bit like Town then.
Hey, the positives. Livingstoneâ€™s revival, Mansaramâ€™s flowering talent, Campbellâ€™s adequacy, Gallimoreâ€™s reliability (until injury), Fordâ€™s coolness (until his disaster). But above all Town look like theyâ€™ll score when they go forward, the passing and movement was purrable at times. Pity about that goals against tally though.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Step forward and take a bow, DARREN MANSARAM. An all action 90 minute performance, he was a constant threat, turning Broomes inside out at times. A deserved goal, a splendid goal. Splendid
C H Webster. Each of Prestonâ€™s goals had an element of doubt about them. On each one it would have been at least arguable to have made a contrary decision. Missed two handballs in the area, or rather he saw them both and declined to give a penalty (to each team), and generally seemed to have little comprehension of the dynamics of football. Never really grasped what was going off out there. A dangerous referee to have in a game involving physical teams and/or physical supporters. I am inclined to award 4.902. The Pouton booking incident was just ridiculous.
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