Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
23/08 Luton 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NO changes were made at half time by either team, as the second half kicked off around 4:10.
Luton Town 1 Grimsby Town 2
More Luton thrashings, more claims for penalties, it was getting rather tedious, and stretching credulity a little too far. Whatâ€™s this? A sliced shot from about 25 yards out on their left swung through the middle of the Town area and a striker flung himself towards the ball at the far post, missing. Corner? How do they work that one out? Well, nothing really happened, another scramble, but again no shot. It was all rather too easy for Davison, he hadnâ€™t been required to touch the ball in the second half. Oh, I smugged too soon. Foley tricked, danced and swirled his way through three tackles on the Town left, drifting infield and, from the edge of the area, hitting a surprising shot towards the near post. Davison made a plunging save to his left, plucking the ball away from danger with style and little fuss. A minute or so later Luton again surged down the Town left, cut infield and a little player miss-hit a shot straight to Davison from about 20 yards.
Town claimed a ridiculous penalty themselves when Boulding was sent free down the centre left. He took on one defender, who started to lunge, but stopped. The second defender turned towards the bye-line. Boulding then fell over the invisible leg. Ah, the leg that never was. Didnâ€™t Hitchock make that in 1954 starring James Stewart? And whilst weâ€™re on the topic of Town players falling , Crane, after a startling attempt at dribbling through the Luton defence, fell over. The ball wedged under his body and he tried to head the ball to Anderson, whilst still on the ground. A Luton player took the ball away and Crane lay down clutching his head. The referee, stood perhaps 5 yards away, very nicely decided not to book Crane for trying to con him.
With just over ten minutes left Town broke again, at speed, down the right. Some interplay involving Rowan and Anderson (I think) saw Cas bounding free. The rest is history, or rather a carbon copy of last weekâ€™s goal against Port Vale. Cas, near the corner flag, whipped in a vicious dipping, fizzing cross. BOULDING rose, unmarked at the far post and just seven yards out, guiding ball into the side of the goal. Three hundred exceedingly content people rose as one to acclaim the rejuvenated little scamp.
Game over? Groves brought himself on in place of Cas a few minutes later, with Campbell moving to the right wing. Groves simply stood five yards in front of the centre backs, winning virtually every header in midfield as Hamilton watched. He does a lot of that, Des the Peeping Tom of midfield. Luton still had a go, but it was very comfortable viewing, absurd penalty appeals apart. With five minutes left, Luton actually managed a decent one touch passing move which carved Town open down the right. Howard, flicked the ball infield and a substitute, their Crowe, zoomed into the penalty area. When about 10 yards out, Ford caught up and slid across, seemingly winning the ball. Sadly the referee eventually succumbed to the pressure of 5,000 baying Bedfordians and pointed to the penalty spot. NICHOLLS passed the ball into the centre right as Davison fell to his left.
As expected, Luton flew into Town, being even more direct, harrying, hassling and breaking forward through midfield. Only a couple of excellent covering tackles by Crowe stopped the centre forwards bursting through down the centre, but still Davison had no saves to make. The nearest they came was when Barnard calmly headed the ball back to Davison following a corner. At about 5 oâ€™clock Mansaram replaced Anderson and Town looked to be playing a 4-3-3- formation. For the last few minutes Town kept trying to waste time running the ball into the corners, but as usual that wasted about 3 seconds. Town are just useless at that sort of thing. They might as well have had wild shots, losing a couple of more balls. Time, what a strange concept, an abstract thing. Drifting, drifting, would the game ever end? Would we get home before the end of British Summer Time? What was the referee waiting for? Perhaps he was playing until the next bunch of middle aged men turned up, like you do at Sports Centres. Perhaps he was thinking of us paying supporters - more minutes for your pound, what value. Six minutes after the board had been lifted showing four minutes of added time, the game ended, at about 5:03.
But why quibble now, after victory these details of meaningless. We donâ€™t need a fig leaf this week, no perceived refereeing injustice to rage against. The Town defence was largely adequate, given that Luton didnâ€™t penetrate much, with Davison making only one save, his other stops were barely worthy of mention. And Luton didnâ€™t create much either, some scrambles and woeful shooting from outside the penalty area. They had a solid central midfield, and a couple of tricky wide men, but nothing more, or less, than what Port Vale produced. Town are now seeing what standard is required in the second division, and they are hitting it perfectly. You may think thatâ€™s a positive statement, but I couldnâ€™t possibly comment.
One thing is very noticeable about this season. Town donâ€™t have many shots, but they score from them. Anderson doesnâ€™t have many touches, but when he does it is worth it. The quality is there, letâ€™s up the quantity, eh?
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Quite a few individuals were fine, even if the team, collectively, still looked like it was pinned together with tacks and tape. Croweâ€™s speed averted danger, Davison was solid, if largely untested, Barnard rarely wasted possession and defended (and fell) well, but the late kick off helped just one man wake up and smell the roses. Step forward the curiously baited SIMON FORD. He did, and he played exceedingly well.
G Cain, Was he unable? Doing acceptably until that late penalty award, where only the appliance of some suspicious science resulted in Luton scoring. Such a shame as heâ€™d ignored the increasingly desperate pleas for penalties for so long. And just how long did we play in the second half? But Town won, letâ€™s be as magnanimous in victory as we are humble in defeat (stop sniggering at the back). He gets a decent 6.3401, after losing points for the penalty he gave.
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