League Two Form Guide
Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
20/04 Sheff Wed 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NEITHER team made any changes at half time, which surprised no-one, but pleased few. In the first minute, Wednesday had a shot, which Coyne dived towards unnecessarily. A midfielder dragged a bumbling, bombling shot through Santosâ€™ legs from outside the area, the ball going a yard or so wide.
Sheffield Wednesday 0 Grimsby Town 0
19 Apr 2003, Nationwide League Division 1
The home fans "ooohed", perhaps to keep warm. And then we had the controversy. In the 47th minute Maddix, 40 yards out in the centre, received a pass from the right touchline. Boulding chased after him and Maddix decided that this was the perfect opportunity to show off all those skills he learned when ambling around in the Premiership. Look, this man has marked Cantona, Shearer, and Bergkamp, why would a little tennis players bother him? The self confessed two legged, former schoolboy tried to flick the ball over Boulding and, well, didnâ€™t. Boulding charged it down and haired off towards goal, right down the middle. Smith ran over and legged up Boulding as he approached the penalty area, with Maddix somewhere close and to the side. The Town fans and players beseeched the referee to send off Smith, but only the yellow card was flourished. Very fortunate was the ginger haired lump, for he should have been booked in the first half, which rendered consideration of whether he was the last man irrelevant. Campbell tried to take the free kick very quickly, but the referee wouldnâ€™t let him. Eventually Campbell curled the ball a foot over the bar, to Pressmanâ€™s left.
The next quarter of an hour was taken up with Wednesday hoofing it higher and longer. They didnâ€™t create anything worth telling you about, unless you are entranced by descriptions of Steve Chettle heading the ball. Thought not. Gallimore? On the pitch, just about standing in the way of Wednesday players. He hardly tackled, and was alarmingly absent at times, but Wednesday just werenâ€™t savvy enough to take the opportunities afforded them down the Town left. They were pre-occupied with lumping it up to Kuqi, or attacking McDermott, presumably on the basis that heâ€™s small. Huh, very subtle tactics, letâ€™s kick it in the air towards their smallest player. Sizist nonsense, and very dim. Town continued to tippy-tap through midfield, which was aesthetically pleasing for a while, if not particularly effective. If we are going to get relegated, weâ€™ll do it prettily. What was the point of using the word "if" there?
After about 55 minutes, Wednesday did cause a flutter when they whacked a long, high diagonal ball towards the centre left of the penalty area. Coyne half came out, stopped, then carried on as Reddy hurtled across and jumped in front of him. Both missed the ball and it bounced through the area, with Chettle walking back to pass the ball away. Worrying in a farcically freaky sort of way. It was nothing more than pub football, hoofâ€™nâ€™chase. The home fans began to build up a wall of sound behind their team, with a steady drum beat and rhythmic clapping, and the Town fans sank back into silence. Curiously, Wednesday throw ins in the Town half seemed to spark a couple of town fans into "come on Town". How strange. Ah yes, throw ins, they had a few long throw ins. The ball went into the area, the ball was headed away, you need to know nothing else. Wednesday probably had a couple of long shots during this period. Coyne was untroubled, we were untroubled. It was untroubling. Town could have hopped on the bus at any time after 3 oâ€™clock and Wednesday still wouldnâ€™t have scored. And the same goes for Town too.
Somewhere after the hour Turner made three changes, all at the same time. He took off Kuqi, Owusu and Barry-Murphy and they were replaced by.. I canâ€™t be bothered.. three other blokes. Oh go on them, one of them was tiny tot Leon Knight, who played as an out and out left winger. So Maccaâ€™s old and therefore slow? Grow up Turner, Macca had a gourmet dinner for one, with Knight as the dessert. Do these people know nothing? Time, ticking away the moments that made up a dull game, two teams walking towards Colchester in their own offhand ways. Groves lost his temper at one point, after a Wednesday player kicked him from behind, but thatâ€™s just about as much passion as was seen. There was a half hearted appeal for a penalty down at the Spion Kop end, presumably because a Wednesday player fell over his own feet. You never know, it might just work, for the referee did give them a free kick near the Town penalty area for just that. Desperate measures in desperate times, eh?
Are you twiddling your mental thumbs waiting for something to happen? Well so were we. With quarter of an hour left, as Livvo limbered up as a diversionary tactic, Mansaram replaced Bolder, with Town reverting to 4-4-2. Mansaram was effective for a couple of minutes, charging down a Maddix clearance on the right touchline and crossing to the near post, and a little later he received the ball with his back to goal, on the left side of the Wednesday box. Instead of laying the ball sideways to Keane or McDermott. Or Groves. Or Hughes. Or anyone. Mansaram decided to twist, spin and shoot all in one go. And the ball flew 10 yards wide and high, all in one go. Still Wednesday pumped the ball forward, running around a lot, which at least shows willing, I suppose. What can I say, they just didnâ€™t cause any problems, with Coyne only touching the ball to collect overhit clearances or crosses. The one time that he did drop the ball the referee gave Town a free kick for a foul on Coyne. How very tiresome, Mrs Minniver.
In the last 10 minutes Town had another attempt at goal. The ball was played through midfield and up to Boulding, about 25 yards out on the Town centre left. Boulding spun around and flicked a pass inside the full back fro Keane who clipped a low swinging cross into towards the near post. Hughes glided in, stooped and looped a glancing, flicking header that went over Pressman and a few inches over the bar. And for Town, it was over. It had long been over for our hosts with the posts. A few more long throws, corners, crosses and indeterminate meanderings, but not much to write home about. They appealed for a penalty when a striker missed a header at the far post. Well, Town should have three a game on that basis. One of the substitutes sliced a shot from the edge of the penalty area so badly it was going out for a throw in, but McDermott managed to catch up with the ball and whack it downfield.
There were two minutes of added time, which passed away peacefully in our sleep, which is a fitting epitaph for these two teamsâ€™ season. In the context of this match, Town were more than adequate, it was easy, very easy defensively, and the midfield four (Campbell was again the Invisible Man) exerted control In the context of the predicament, it was not quite enough. Maybe that should be the epitaph for Town, it sure sums them up in every respect.
Just a few more days and we can officially look forward to Hartlepool, and the return of Tommy Widdrington. Thereâ€™s positives in everything, if only you look for them. Next season may be a bit of a laugh after all.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
His passing flowed like his hair, itâ€™s Richard Hughes. Calm, intelligent play, he was what neutrals would call "good". Special mentions will be made of Steve Chettle and McDermott J, for their supreme adequacy.
P Dowd. Definitely the starman, in his own blown mind. Incredibly fussy, quite erratic and determined to make no big decisions. Itâ€™s always easier to say no. I find it very easy to say no to awarding a mark over 5.197. He gets extra marks for his fussiness which assisted Town. He should have sent Smith off though, for persistent fouls, if nothing else.
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