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22/03 Burnley 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
BURNLEY made a change at half time, the ineffective midgetman Blake was replaced by A Moore, and Burnley suddenly had two wingers. Oh bum.
Burnley 1 Grimsby Town 1
22 Mar 2003, Nationwide League Division 1
Burnley started off at a fair old lick, clearly fired up by their manager, they flew into tackles and generally played like a team who had a reason to live. For the first 10 or so minutes Town were just pegged back. Straight from the off, the ball was played behind Gallimore and Town never really managed to clear it. Whenever it went near Oster or Mansaram they fell over, or Mansaram ran off towards Todmorden. The pressure was incessant, the home crowd even made some noise, discernable, clear and it could even be described as support, rather than a low background hubbub. After about 48 minutes Burnley twisted and turned around Gallimore, the ball was pulled back and crossed immediately. The ball flew through the middle of the penalty area and ..Burnley kept possession, flicking the ball form right to left, from left to right, in, out, in, out they shook Town all about. It was coming, you knew it, I knew it, everyone knew it. And here it is. The ball was crossed in from the Burnley right with Santos scrambling the ball away with his shins. He chased the ball out and out, racing up to their left back, about 25 yards out, who crossed back into the centre of the penalty area. I Moore stretched forward and steered the ball into the top right hand corner of the net. Sit down, relax, it wasnâ€™t that moment. Play that funky music black and white boy, the linesman had his flag raised in the appropriate fashion, making the appropriate decision, for us.
Fall back on your chair, exhale and breathe slowly. Town were still leading, close, but theyâ€™re not right. Ah, rescind that statement. Inhale and breathe quickly. Burnley were still encamped in the Town half and managed to win a corner on the Town left. The ball was flung high to beyond the far post, where Davis rose like three Ben Chapmanâ€™s and firmly headed down back towards goal. The ball bounced through the 6 yards box and A Moore, with his back to goal, stooped and flicked the ball back into the right hand corner of the net as Coyne dived at him. Ah, I can see Burnley supporters now, they are they ones jumping up and down. As was Coyne, furious at his defence for leaving someone unmarked in front of him, and for allowing the ball to travel so far, so slowly.
This goal did force Town to change their mindset, and there were what you might call attacks. Always down the Town right, always on the counter attack, always promising, never delivering. Oster, the frilly knickers under Townâ€™s ball gown, kept drifting into space on the half way line and giving his marker a very difficult afternoon. So difficult that the Burnley supporters voted him man of the match. True. Funny how it seems from different angles. Anyway, Oster this, Oster that, inside, outside, where has he been? Behind you Mr Diallo. No, in front of you. Oster was forever autumn, a beautiful sight, the sadly ending evening of his Town career (again). Always probing, always seeking to flash a crossfield pass to Flash, Mansaram was almost there, but never quite. There was another long hold up when A Moore crumpled in a heap following a scramblette in the Town half. He never regained footballing consciousness and was immediately replaced by Grant, which was a boon to Town, as A Moore had caused no end of problems to McDermott. The fact of two wingers also stretched Town apart, the seams were bursting out all over, like June.
Another rubbish penalty appeal from Burnley was waved away with ill-concealed contempt by the referee, they just tried too hard to hit the ground when running, especially near the mobile Ziggurat, Santos. Pfft, these little people, will they not learn? The rest of the game was cut and thrust, puncturing longuer. They tried to cut through the Town back line, Town thrust forward down the right, and it was Town who created the chances. Burnley just crossed or fell over. Pedants would claim Burnley had some shots; only if you count low crosses, thwacks and slices as shots. Coyne had to catch a few dangerous low crosses at his near post, punch a couple of corners and, in one case, dummy a punch allowing Santos to knee the ball away for a corner. Well, who amongst you would say he missed that punch, eh? Oh, hang on, there was a good chance for Burnley, when they dinked the ball over the top sending I Moore free, who burst into the area, cut inside tow Town defenders and dribbled a miss-hit shot from about eight yards. The ball went under Santosâ€™s legs towards Coyne and another Burnley player nipped around the back and kicked the ball against Coyneâ€™s arms for a corner. And that was Burnley. They surged, swooped, sauntered, spun and put Town under some intense pressure, but nothing else got near Coyne. Just the usual moments of minor panic seeing an attacker briefly free inside the area, then falling down. But nothing to worry your pretty little head about.
Back to Town. Oster, always Oster, turned on the half way line, beat his marker, did a step over, looked up and saw Mansaram free just outside the penalty area in the centre. As one would expect from a man of distinction, he passed directly to Mansaram who cut back across the box and briefly had a huge gaping wide and an extremely inviting goal in front of him. From the edge of the area, right footed, Mansaram curled a shot a couple of feet over the angle of the â€˜keeperâ€™s left hand post. Campbell, Hughes and Oster raised arms and looked disgruntled. An extremely good chance spurned. Wait, another minute, another chance and even better. Lovely old style passing and movement down the right involving Oster, McDermott and finally Mansaram, saw Doncasterâ€™s finest export since Dame Diana Rigg. twist and cut infield. He made a bee-line for the bye-line and then did something unusual. He looked up. Then he did something even more unusual. He passed to Groves, unmarked, 12 yards out, right on the centre. Groves swung his right foot and managed to spoon a delightful chip out of the bunker and into a safe position to the right of the hole. The ball ballooned up, curled way past the right hand post and bounced 8 yards wide of goal, Beresford clutching the ball as it eventually returned to earth. Perhaps it was the gloopy pitch that caused this horrendous miss-kick? Letâ€™s be nice and blame Groundskeeper Willie.
There were more Town attacks in similar vein, Oster seeking to send Mansaram behind the defence, almost succeeding. But not. There was a curious moment when Campbell burst down the centre right chasing a through ball. Beresford sprinted out to the edge of his area and stopped right on the line. He caught the ball and Campbell leapt up and down claiming it was clutched outside the area. Perhaps a little note of criticism to Oster should be smuggled in here. Chasing a long ball over the top, Beresford raced out of his area and whacked the ball clear for a throw-in. Oster had looked favourite to win the ball, but slowed down as Beresford approached, stopping and turning his back. Now, if heâ€™d carried on he would have won the ball, but letâ€™s not get injured, eh little Johnnie boy. Who knows what tomorrow brings. Oh, another penalty appeal down the other end. Excuse me while I complete a rather stagey yawn will you? Burnely had brought on Mr Pap, the Greek man with an inner ear imbalance, who canâ€™t stand up for falling down. It got to the stage where he fell over in the box and the crowd and his team-mates didnâ€™t even bother appealing, theyâ€™d long since given up on the referee. Oster! Groan, go on, his final game for us (this season) wouldnâ€™t be an airy fairy tale, for he dribbled down the right, cut inside and miss-hit a low shot extremely wide from the edge of the area. The Town fans got a little bored as the game wore on and started to heckle the Burnley mascot - "Thereâ€™s only one Mighty Mariner". Err, yes, thatâ€™s right. Is that good?
Itâ€™s 4:52, the game going (Arthur) Gnohere, and five minutes of added time. Would Town do it? Again? Ooh. Maybe. For in the added time, during which Livingstone was brought on for Mansaram (who walked off so slowly he was in danger of being treated as a landing zone by the circling pigeons), Town dominated. Corners, free kicks. The game right underneath the hopeful Townites, trying their best to suck the ball in. Gallimore managed to get himself booked for prevaricating at a throw in, then having a silly little spit-spat with a Burnley player. A corner, on the right, flipped over, headed clear, to Groves eight yards out. Three defenders ran over, Groves pinged a ferocious left foot drive which lightly kissed at least two defenders on its way towards goal. Beresford instinctively held up his hand and caught the ball on the end of his nose. A new member of the self preservation society there, for it would have knocked his block off if he hadnâ€™t caught it. But itâ€™s not over yet. More corners, all taken very badly by Oster on the right, were cleared, retrieved, and more corners won. Pressure, pressure, will the Burnley well blow? A final corner, crossed, Ford, 12 yards out , swung his right foot, the ball skimmed of the underside of the bar and into the net...but the referee had blown his whistle as the ball entered the penalty area. Game over, Groves and players all delighted, jumping around in front of an equally delighted away support. Delighted, but soon dismayed by the Stoke result. Goodbye to the blue sky between us and them.
An odd game, with both teams happy and unhappy. Town could have won, but nearly lost, a linesmanâ€™s flag saved one moment, and a firm referee at least three others. Just think, if some of the clots weâ€™ve had recently had been refereering, theyâ€™d have caved in to the demands for a penalty. Drawing is better than losing, but losing midfielders by the bucketload isnâ€™t helping matters. There were several plusses, like the re-emergence of Campbell as a human being, and Hughesâ€™ solidity and tactical awareness. Mansaram is a pest to opponents, and the defence, mostly, looked fine. Pity that Galli had a bad day, lucky that they didnâ€™t capitalise upon it. What do we care about that?
Town didnâ€™t lose, so there you are. What did Brucey say? Points make prizes?.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Stacy gets a third of a Man of the Match, for his excellence and return to form, but overall the usual suspects (Santos and McDermott) are edged out by the quiet man of rock. Yep, he may look like he should be a keyboard player in soft rockers Air Supply, but Richard Hughes, was efficient, intelligent and overall more than just ok.
Mr F Stretton. Despite his ending of the game in controversial circumstances (at least in this household) he had a storming match, never buckling under when the baying Burnleyites brayed. He was firm, fair, and kept the game flowing nicely. He was quite good, so 8.32. Iâ€™m shocked and stunned at such a high mark. I shall go to the doctor first thing on Monday morning.
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