Question of the Week
How much would you accept for Omar Bogle?
08/04 Wolves 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NEITHER team made any changes at half time, much to the surprise of many a fleece wearing Town fan, not to mention those with gloves, hats, trousers and shoes. I have no information regarding those wrapped inside cagoules.
Grimsby Town 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
08 Apr 2003, Nationwide League Division 1
Ah, well then, the second half. Like watching a movie youâ€™d seen a dozen times. You know whatâ€™s going to happen, it wonâ€™t particularly satisfy you, but you might as well carry on watching to the end. Youâ€™ve nothing better to do at the moment. I can only recall Wolves having a couple of shots in the second half, though they always seemed in control of matters. After about 50 or so minutes Blake, on the centre right edge of the Town penalty area, spun around Santos as though he was a mere mortal and was free inside the box with Coyne advancing anxiously. Blake tried to place the ball high into the net to Coyneâ€™s left, but the grey man didnâ€™t have a totally grey day, for he superbly tipped the ball over the bar with an instinctive parry. Towards the end of the game the Wolves substitute Cooper messed up a lightning breakaway down their right by stumbling when trying to poke a shot towards goal. The ball went way, way wide of Coyneâ€™s left hand post. They might have had other shots, but I am afraid my brain, much like Fordâ€™s, had long since disengaged from this "contest". They had a goal disallowed for offside. Interested in that? Thought not. They had a couple of free kicks too, equally dull conclusions though. Your life would have been more enhanced by cutting your toenails rather than knowing that, eh?
Town had the ball most of the time and did have some moments when the crowd was forced to stand up in anticipation of something potentially happening near the Wolves goal. After about 10 minutes Santos won a tackle using all his wit and ingenuity (he brushed a littler man aside) on the Town left. He surged forward and curled a low pass out to Keane with the outside of his right boot. Zoot alors! Keane scurried free down the bye-line, looked up and crossed right into the centre of the penalty area. Mansaram, unmarked, rose on the wings of a dove near the penalty spot, soaring skywards with grace. He guided a glancing header across the â€˜keeper towards the top right hand corner as the Town fans rose up to salute Flash. They turned away in sorrow, not anger, as it drifted a few inches wide with the goalkeeper well beaten. A few minutes later Keane showed why he is a Preston reserve, for a long diagonal pass whistled over the top of the left back straight onto Keaneâ€™s foot.
His clodhopping control volleyed the ball out for a goalkick. Just after the hour Boulding replaced Boulder and Town finally reverted to the old comfort blanket of 4-4-2, with Mansaram no longer a lonely soul, tired of waiting for help. As a result, Hughes and Groves anchored the centre as Keane played on the right, and Campbell the left. There was a bit more fizz about Town, with only the linesman thwarting Boulding on three occasions, all within a couple of minutes of each other. On only of these occasions was Boulding one step beyond the defence. One of the decisions was so rotten the Pontoonâ€™s view of Boulding was obscured by not one but, count them, two gold shirts. Boulding was free but overran the ball anyway. But why let that stop a good old fashioned rant.
Town poured forward, except on the left where Gallimore was berated for his lack of adventure, first by Groves, then by Santos. Oh what a contrast to the right side, where McDermott kept trying to set up the old one-twos in the area. Unfortunately, Mansaram has only been given the video for part one of "Tony Rees - his part in our victory, how to win games by influencing people". Mansaram received, but didnâ€™t realise he was supposed to pass the ball back. Now the bits that managers describe as "the positives" to take out of a game. You know the sort of thing - shooting in the vague direction of the opponentsâ€™ goal. Boulding was sent free down the left hand touchline, he stepped inside Irwin and made his was along the bye line. About eight yards wide of goal he pulled the ball back to Mansaram, being clattered by Irwin just as he released the ball. Mansaram, unmarked and about 10 yards out, eschewed passing to his team mates closer to goal, awaited two tackles, spun and tricked his way free, then leant back and flailed wildly with his right boot, sending the ball way over the bar towards the back left of the Pontoon. A couple of minutes later he did the same trick inside the penalty area, wasting a breakaway by trying to spin and shoot in one movement when surrounded by a wall of Wolves.
Still more pressure, but nothing to get near Murray, the increasingly jovial dawdler, who couldnâ€™t take a goal kick slow enough. A Town corner from the left was well flighted, dipping into the middle of the area, seven yards out. Ford momentarily appeared to be about to volley into an open net, but he was pulled back by his marker and the goalkeeper caught the ball unchallenged. Ford just stopped and shrugged his shoulders when he was impeded, which is yet more evidence to show that sometimes one can be too cool, calm and collected. At some point in the second half a cross hit Irwinâ€™s arm, with only a muted appeal for a penalty coming up from players and crowd. Whatâ€™s the point? There seems to be a collective tiredness at all this first division malarkey. The dog is dead, put us out of our constant misery please.
There isnâ€™t much else to describe. Wolves were most pleased to stand and watch Town players run around in blindfolds. To add some fun Livvo, the Pachyderm Prince of Perambulation, was sent on with about five minutes left, replacing Keane. This meant another re-jig, to 4-3-3, a formation that has brought countless goals and entertainment. Literally. You canâ€™t count them can you. Perhaps we shouldnâ€™t be too hard on Livvo for he did move his legs, and won a header. Oh, go on then, be hard on him. Heâ€™s scored his couple of goals this season, we canâ€™t expect anything else from him. Town threw men forward, launched their version of the long throw (Galli managed to get it into the penalty area) and the only moment which brought a soupcon of hope was when Hughes attempted to sprint through the defence, chesting a pass from McDermott towards goal, but it bounced out for a goal kick.
Then we went home. The players sheepishly acknowledged the crowd, who just stared back at them and shuffled off with heads bowed. There was little anger, and despair was by-passed a couple of weeks ago, when Oster failed to sign. Perhaps Town are yesterdayâ€™s men as far as this division is concerned. It feels like it. The players are doing their best, but that isnâ€™t good enough to win games. Running around a lot and hoping isnâ€™t much of a strategy for success.
Get the maps out. Where is Irthlingborough?
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
After much thought there is one player who was consistently adequate, and sometimes good - John McDermott. He showed the defenders how to defend and the attackers how to attack. Up and down the pitch all night he shamed some with his efforts.
E Wolstenholme. A little inconsistent with bookings and free kicks, and with an odd view of what constitutes handball. Nothing to rage about, nor to eulogise. He canâ€™t get any more, or less, than 5.5097
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