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14/01 Burnley 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
UNSURPRISINGLY, Town were unable to keep up the high tempo sleepwalking of the first half, settling into a groggy, stumbling, barely conscious lethargy. Burnley plainly got a rollicking from Stan a Man, foregoing the tip-tap showbiz XI football until they got inside the Town penalty area.
Burnley 4 Grimsby Town 0
14 Jan 2003, FA Cup 3rd Round Replay
To save you the bother of searching high and low, hither and thither, for a chink of sunlight, Iâ€™ll flag it up now with bells and rings and things to make it look good. This was Townâ€™s attack - here, the following five sentences, thatâ€™s it, forget about the rest. Parker lobbed a long throw towards Groves, Michopoulos caught it, chucked it up field and Burnley strikers swarmed forward, virtually trampling the remnants of the Town defence in the process. To cut a long story short they nearly scored, through on Coyne, only a brave double block at Blakeâ€™s feet, or was it I Mooreâ€™s, or, well it could have been any one of a dozen Clarets, saved the moment. Coyne got up, rolled the ball out to Cooke, half way inside the town half, who turned and pinged a superb 60 yard pass over the defence to Mansaram on the left wing. Our Bobby Dazzler, cut infield, squared to Soames, who waited for the covering defender to arrive and then rolled the ball across the face of the area. Cooke sprinted forward and hit a swirling, curling shot a foot over and wide of the left hand post. This was about half way through the second half and briefly woke us up, an excuse for a few songs, some laughter, some jokes old and new. Masochists continue, good news johnnies may as well stop now.
Burnley players were intent on scoring the perfect goal, wishing to walk the ball in only after each player had touched the ball once. They swirled in dizzying patterns that confused the old and infirm, which was half the Town team, of course. Perhaps Groves should have asked Chettle to invent him a thingamabob, so as to stop those Burnley pigeons. Their first shot was from Blake, who teased, tantalised and twisted past three defenders on the Town left, finally cutting into the area and, from a dozen yards out, drove a shot straight into Coyneâ€™s stomach. A few minutes later, Little beguiled, bewitched and befuddled Gallimore, going back for seconds and thirds like a greedy child. He rolled the ball back to Grant, perhaps 10 yards out on the centre right, who swept a curling shot across Coyne towards the right hand corner.
Parker slipped in unnoticed and thighed the ball over the bar. Letâ€™s truncate the next 15 minutes - Burnley attacked, Town flapped, Burnley kept passing the ball to Coyne instead of shooting. The most glaring example being when a five man one touch passing move down the centre left Grant on the edge of the penalty area behind the defence. Instead of shooting, he looked sideways and rolled the ball across the area... to Coyne.
Blake, sent free down the right, behind the defence, sliced a shot four yards wide. Little dribbled past everyone in black and white, turned around and did it again, before falling over. Blake, I Moore, all through, past and beyond, before tripping themselves up, or crossing high and beyond. Burnley, Burnley, Burnley - all up the other end. If only they could shoot straight theyâ€™d have been seven up by the hour mark. The Town players got worse and worse, barely able to string half a pass together. Mansaram and Soames were forever scurrying into channels, making runs for passes that never came. They ran themselves to a standstill with about 20 minutes left so that any attacks Town did have foundered on lack of personnel. Parker was replaced after 70ish minutes, following what looked like a clash of heads when challenging for a throw in. Ward replaced him in a straight swap. Five minutes later Chettle was replaced by Thompson, with Town changing to the famously successful 3-4-3 formation. The back three consisted of Ward, Livvo and Gallimore. Now you know why the last few minutes were so calamitous.
With just over 10 minutes left, Blake received a pass about 25 yards out near the right corner of the penalty area. He sucked Ward towards him and rolled a pass across the face of the box to Little, somewhere near the centre. Little meandered through the area, with Gallimore a fleeting moment in his life, Livvo a spurned mistress and Groves a casual admirer. All three converged upon Little, but the gangly winger turn, turn turned again, leaving our defence in a state of mutual confusion. Several half challenges forced LITTLE away from goal, but he twizzled round and, from about eight yards out, curled a shot around Coyne and into the bottom left hand corner. At one point a defender was within yard of him, allegedly. Cue music, cue a dribble of Town fans to the exit. Perhaps that is the correct collective noun for Town supporters. Curiously, some of these were earlier claiming to be "Grimsby till they die".
Ah, the dream has gone, Cardiff in May is for television viewing only. The next five minutes were plain sailing for Burnley, more Hollywood football, with party tricks brought out form the closet. Was I mistaken or did Glen Little whip out a pair of spoons and play "My Old Man" whilst drifting past Mr Gallimore? They probably nearly scored again, but they carved Town apart so often that it all blended into one thick soup of disappointment. For the purposes of kidding ourselves, the turning point of the game was in the 86th minute. Soames received a pass out on the right wing and dribbled into the area, with three defenders back-tracking. One clipped his ankles as Soames cut inside. Down he went, penalty claimed, none given. It was much more obvious than the one given at Blundell Park.
Burnley whacked the ball upfield and Blake received it on his chest in the middle of the Town half. He turned infield and drifted towards the centre of the Town defence, about 25 yards out, before slipping a pass between Groves and Livvo. Their substitute Mr Pap, ran behind Livingstone and fell somewhere close to the edge of the penalty area. The referee shook his head, told Mr Pap to get up and indicated it was a dive. Play continued for three seconds before the referee was made aware of the linesman, motionless with his flag across his chest. After a long discussion, a penalty was given. Livingstone wasnâ€™t even booked. BLAKE placed the ball near the penalty spot and drilled it into the bottom right hand corner, Coyne only just failing to tip it aside. More of the "die hard" Town fans trudged off muttering in basic Anglo-Saxon.
Before the restart, Groves replaced himself with Bolder and Payton came on for Blake. There was a very brief flurry of activity near the Burnley goal as Bolder headed a free kick onto the roof of the net and Thompson managed to twist away from his marker before dragging a rubbish shot seven yards wide as Soames and Mansaram ran into space and pleaded for a pass. Fat chance. Thompson does sexy sways, falls and optimistic Jevons-like punts. Passing is for wimps. Payton fluffed his opportunity to score his standard issue goal against Town, after being set free inside the box, on the right, with only Coyne to beat. A combination of foot and hand briefly kept the score down to embarrassing rather than humiliating levels. In injury time the coup de grace. I Moore broke down the middle, past Campbell, past the flapping Ward, and he was free. Coyne advanced and I MOORE carefully and coolly opened up his body and curled the ball low around the grey mass and into the bottom left hand corner.
If you are still reading, well done, such fortitude. And you havenâ€™t found any of those positives we like to take from even the thrashyingest thrashing. Well, I suppose, it proves what we all know: that Townâ€™s squad isnâ€™t big enough to cope with having Macca, Santos, Ford, Pouton, Boulding and, yes, even Coldicott absent at the same time. Groves looks physically incapable of much more exercise, Barnard has truly taken on the mantle of Jogging Danny B and is more hindrance than help to the fading Gallimore, the youngsters are, well, young. Town didnâ€™t deserve to get close to a draw as Burnley were superior, but so what, we big teams can afford to eschew the FA Cup these days.
Itâ€™s not something to lose sleep over, the only things lost were a bit of pride and some hard earned cash by the 250 supporters bonkers enough to travel. All in all, itâ€™s best to draw a veil over this game and get on with the rest of our lives. Starting with Millwall on Saturday. Now that is important.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Mansaram ran around a lot, Livvo did his best, but really, DANNY COYNE was the only one who was entirely blameless. Despite conceding four goals, there was no hint of culpability. He kept the score down.
G Laws. Refereed like the first game, no bookings, just two "big" decisions, both of which were highly debatable. He should have awarded Town a penalty when Soames was tripped, albeit inadvertently, and he weasled out on the Burnley penalty. If Livvo fouled, then Livvo should have been sent off. The feeling was that Mr G Laws forgot who "brought down" Mr Pap. I am inclined to award the same score as last time, minus one point for being a homer. So 5.00000. Once a homer always a homer.
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