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04/10 QPR 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NEITHER team made any changes at half time, though it suddenly became much windier, with a strong bluster billowing down the pitch from Pontoon to Osmond. Or was that just the crowd?
Grimsby Town 0 Queens Park Rangers 1
Just where was Onuora? After 63 minutes Boulding fluffed his lines at the audition. Shame really. Suddenly he was free behind Forbes on the centre left, haring down on goal. Out came Day and Boulding looked up, saw Onuora unmarked in the centre of goal. He decided that heâ€™d use Onuora as a dummy and did a little Generation Game twirl, showing off his new frock, before turning infield across Day and straight into Palmer, who swiped the ball clear just outside the 6 yards box. A minute later, another almost moment. Boulding was sent free down the right, he outpaced the defender who wasnâ€™t there, looked up, and decided to pass the ball. His low trundling cross went behind Hamilton and reached Onuora, about 10 yards out at the far post. Onuora sidefooted the ball against Rowlands and then hooked the rebound from behind his left ear (or so it seemed) over Rowlands and Day just managed to tip the ball over the bar as it arced over him. At the height of the Town pressure Bircham went off the pitch, injured, whilst play continued. As Town won another corner he stumbled, tumbled and fumbled back on, then fell, demanding treatment. To Edwards great chagrin the referee allowed this cheeky chappy to halt play and get some TCP on his grazed knee. You canâ€™t blame him for trying, but can blame the referee for being pusillanimous. Bircham indulged in a discussion about hairstyle aesthetics with some squares in the crowd daddio. Oh, and the Pontoon surely already knew the answer to the question regarding Padulaâ€™s mobile home. Somewhere near Freshney Way, if I read the GET correctly.
More Town pressure. An Onoura header, Macca surging sweeping, breaking down the right forcing Day to hack clear near the Police Box. Forbes weirdly chesting a cross out for a corner, almost trapping the ball in the process. Perceptible signs of minor panic in the QPR defence. Crowe was replaced by Anderson, who initially played on the right, but later moved to the left. He looked unfit. What a surprise. His first touch was when a corner was pulled back to him 40 yards out. Gallen dispossessed him, but the scampering Scot chased and retrieved. Boulding, on the Town centre left, received a short pass inside the penalty area, 10 yards out at the near post. In one move he turned Forbes and swiped a firm low drive towards the foot of the post. Day reacted superbly and just managed to palm the ball away from the near post. QPR made a couple of change, replacing a striker (Thorpe) with a defender (Barton) and a little later Ainsworth riffed his last, replaced by Sabin. Unfortunately, this seemed to work, as QPR were less ropey defensively, and Town lost some of the momentum. The attacks started to crash against firmer rocks, pressure remained but there were more hooped shirts in and around the goal.
And QPR had another attack. Wasnâ€™t it nice of them to visit their fans now and again. Rowlands zoomed upfield, cut infield past McDermott and, from just inside the penalty area, curled a shot towards the top left hand corner. Davison took off and hung like an albatross, clutching the ball spectacularly, if a little ostentatiously. Maybe he was bored and wanted something to do. But still Town poured forward, another minute, another corner, half cleared to the edge of the penalty area. Crane tried to curl a shot towards the right hand corner, but a desperate hooped sock arrived, diverting the ball up, up and away, over Day. The ground fell silent, awaiting fortuneâ€™s fickle finger to fall. Which way did the ball fall? Onto, not into, the roof of the net. Boulding again, fighting his way past Palmer, and into the penalty area on the right. His cross shot bombled through the area as four defenders shepherded the ball away, no Town players near. Iâ€™d love to say Onuora zipped or zoomed his way towards goal, but it would be more accurate to say he zimmered forward. It isnâ€™t his fault heâ€™s old, itâ€™s nature.
The game entered the last few minutes and both sides appeared to have exhausted themselves in slugging it out toe to toe. With just a couple of minutes left QPR launched a clearance up field. The ball was caught in the wind and Edwards set off after it with Furlong in pursuit. The ball bounced up with Edwards underneath it and Furlong managed to finagle himself in front of the hitherto immaculate Michael and he was free on goal. Edwards bundled, barged, wrestled then launched himself at the exiting striker. Both fell over and the crowd waited...and waited...and waited. Referee looked at linesman. Linesman looked at referee, then they both ran off upfield shaking their heads. A perfectly reasonable atrocious decision from where I was sitting. So, definitely a draw then, Townâ€™s luck was holding. Maybe even a flukey win. Come on lads one more go, we can still do it! Forward Town piled, in the third minute of added time Barnard floated a cross toward goal, but it hung and dropped into Dayâ€™s hands with no Town players near. Day walloped it forward and Edwards, just outside the town area headed high, but sideways. McDermott stepped forward and miss-hit a volleyed clearance straight to a QPR player. Rowlands and Gallen interchanged pass (with a nifty back-heel setting Gallen free where McDermott had been, but Campbell wasnâ€™t). Danger, danger. Gallen cut back across Campbell and dragged a low shot from a dozen yards out past Davison. The ball hit the near post and bounced back across goal straight to the unmarked SABIN, who appeared to be almost standing on the goal-line. Goal, of course. Scene of great joy and merriment from the Osmond Stand, the likes of which havenâ€™t been seen for several years. The Town fans silent, gut wrenchingly silent, drained of feelings, numbed and shocked. Ten seconds later the game ended.
Despite the loss, and particularly the lateness of the goal, the crowd were not in a seething rage of indignation. It was "one of those things". Annoyed rather than angry. The team had roared its way through the second half, recovering from a bit of a lesson in football tactics in the first 45 minutes. It felt like a first division game, not the usual comedy capers weâ€™ve seen so far this season. If we canâ€™t take the opposition seriously how can the players. Today we did, and they did.
This last week has been a bit like the old Morecombe and Wise sketch, they were all the right results, but not necessarily in the right order.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
No-one was totally blemish free, but Michael Edwards has least spots on his face, having carried forward some bonus points from Blackpool. Tenacity, positioning, perception, luck, the four riders of the Town storm. And yes, that is ignoring the non-sending off incident that Arsene Wenger, disgracefully, claims he didnâ€™t see.
A Kaye Did we celebrate Mr Kaye, performing feats on Saturday at Blundell Park? There were feats of a kind. A weak, weak man, who muffed the controversial decisions, like the rest of his "team". Should have sent Edwards off and probably given a penalty too. He spent the first 20 minutes being extra lenient to the snapping Southerners, then he flipped when Thorpe had the cheek to answer back. Then flipped again, like he did last summer, no doubt. Both sets of supporters had legitimate gripes and he is fortunate to get 3.012.
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