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21/10 Notts County 2nd Half

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 22/10/2003

I think County made a secret substitution at half time, as Baldry, who was short and not called John, appeared. Either that or he was so rubbish in the first half I never noticed him.

Home > 2003-2004 Season > Reports > Notts Co (h)

Grimsby Town 2 Notts County 0
21 Oct 2003, Nationwide League Division 2

Town kicked off and spent five minutes trotting around whilst County attacked. A couple of minutes in, the defence parted as a little yellow man ran towards them, with unmarked team-mates either side. Eventually someone cut inside Barnard and shot straight at Davison from the right edge of the penalty area. A minute later they got even closer. Again Town dallied as County broke. Again unmarked players on either side of the penalty area. This time they chose to go to their left, with someone (hey, it’s dark down at the Osmond End, what with Town using 60 watt bulbs in the floodlights to save those extra pennies) cutting in well inside the penalty area and, from about 15yards out, to the right of Davison’s goal, smacking a low drive that ran along the side netting. It was sufficiently close for the County fans to acclaim a goal and some nervous Town fans to decry the concession.

Town were still unable to string any passes together, with the flanks closed down (I suppose we should acknowledge the opposition’s tactical change) and the punt upfield the favoured option in giving the ball away. It was not pleasant stuff, and mightily frustrating to watch given the start to the game. After 51 minutes a Town attack. Well, a punt upfield which squirmed off Barras’s head for a corner. It was played short to Anderson who tricked two defenders with a neat little pass inside for the dashing Dazzer who, swept imperiously forward. About 10 yards out and 12 yards wide of goal, Barnard lashed a shot across the face of goal. Onoura slid forward and the ball skipped off the grass and over Iffy’s flailing boot, just a couple of yards out. That’s better, passing, shooting, nearly scoring.

Back came County, with a dinked cross into the centre with Caskey heading firmly over the bar from about the penalty spot. More County pressure, more drossery from Town; dire, turgid nonsense, time ticking slowly, slowly. Is the scoreboard operator changing the time manually (ie once a year)? It seemed only a matter of time before County would actually mange to shoot on target. Crosses, twists and turns, Platt lay-offs, Heffernan’s Clare-like pestery. All little things that could have led to some danger. But didn’t. Just before the hour, Town had a throw in near the Police Box, and weren’t the crowd thrilled by that. Town players, near the Pontoon, we could almost see them. Daws chucked it long and Onoura flicked it on towards the near post. Boulding got in front of his marker and was clear, just 5 yards out. But he stopped, made a long, long lunge like he was playing a rather dull game of twister and Mildenhall brilliantly saved by walking off his line and holding the ball as it bounced up to his chest. Well, compared to the goal it was a fantastic piece of goalkeeping. Credit where credit’s due.

The Town fans in the Pontoon suddenly stood up and started to beat out a tempo of support, egged on by Groves, for no obvious reason. After about 63 minutes Town attacked again, in the sense that the ball went towards the Pontoon and Onuora was moving in the same direction, but the linesman flagged for offside. Mildenhall waltzed out of his area and tapped the free kick forward towards a dozing defender. Campbell sprinted up to the defender and nicked the ball off his little tootsies and chipped it forwards, being sent in a huge cartwheel for his troubles by the lunging leggy leftist. The ball arced into a massive space on the centre left into which Boulding was bounding. Onwards, goalwards and the ‘keeper came off his line as BOULDING curled the ball around Mildenhall and into the bottom right hand corner from near the edge of the penalty area.



Cas83 mins
Mansaram89 mins


Lee Mason


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This still wasn’t enough to get the electricity turned back on, for Notts County pressed again, and were even more dangerous. One touch Town-like football down their right saw the now wobbling Barnard flailed by a winger. The cross, from the bye-line, was volleyed 5 yards wide by Heffernan at the near post. Heffernan, this time on the left of the area, swished and swayed, cutting infield and thrashed a low drive towards the bottom right hand corner. Davison plunged to his right and diverted the ball away for a corner, as it slimed its way through a thicket of defenders legs. A couple of minutes later County again took a few strips of raw flesh from Barnard and Edwards, with an unknown striker turning near the edge of the 6 yard box and thrashing a shot across Davison, who flew sideways and parried the ball away and above a striker who ran in at the far post. Caskey was again allowed as much time as he wished to set himself for a long range shot, which Davison easily tipped away from under his crossbar. Davison dropped a cross and had to race off his line a few times to smother at Platt’s feet, Crane stood in the way as the busy little bees swarmed around a loose ball inside the area, Edwards slid, McDermott eased, Barnard bullied as the pressure increased.

All Town had to show for 30 minutes meanderings was a goal. Yep, that’s all, nothing important then. Campbell sliced a long range effort several yards wide just after the second goal, and Hamilton miss-hit a drive from the edge of the area after a corner was cleared, but other than that it was the odd, isolated raid using Boulding’s pace, Onuora’s erm and that was it. The crowd murmured for Marcel and, eventually, on he came, in the 82nd minute, replacing Anderson. As usual Campbell trotted off to the left. And the game did change, back to the happy go lucky, carefree bygone days of around 8 o’clock. Cas’s first intervention was the accidental use of his backside as a clearance bounced off his behind and across the face of the penalty area. Onuora flicked the ball on and Campbell was free, inside the penalty area, just a dozen yards out. He advanced, waited for the ‘keeper, opened up his body and from about 8 yards out side footed weakly against Mildenhall’s chest. Should have blasted it Mr McCampbell. A couple of minutes later Cas advanced down the right and flipped a low pass to Boulding, outside the penalty area on the centre left. Boulding took one touch and spun round, hitting a terrific low shot towards the bottom right hand corner. Mildenhall dived and diverted the ball away with his wrists for a corner. That was a rather good save. The Town chances were coming thick and fast, Boulding received a pass near the half way line under the Stones/Findus/Smith stand, turning and knocking the ball down the line. Barras stopped Boulding the old fashioned way, with an ice-hockey style block, but without the stick rammed across the windpipe. At least, I didn’t see the stick, though it was dark remember.

Any more? Yes, of course there is. Another minute, another chance. Boulding free, free as a bird inside the area on their left, defenders trailing way behind. Onwards, onwards, just 7 or 8 yards out and Boulding passed the ball against Mildenhall’s shins for another corner. And again a replica with Boulding outpacing the absent defence and thrashing a shot high into the Pontoon from a similar position. In the 87th minute Mansaram replaced Onuora, who received a warm standing ovation. Or perhaps the fans were just ready to go home. Onuora had played quite well, by far his best game for Town, even showing all those bustling, battling qualities he used to have when playing against us. Mansaram’s only contribution was to take the ball into the corner and give away a free kick, presumably for not losing possession or kicking it out of play.

Hey that’s it, game over, three points in the shopping bag courtesy of generous goalkeeping giveaways, hurry whilst stocks last. Town had been superb for the first 25 and last 10 minutes, the rest of the time extremely disjointed, ordinary and, frankly, looking bored. It was as if the players felt they only needed one goal, so why bother. At least we’d finally seen Town play some excellent free flowing football. The lesson was there if they cared to take notice. Play it short and fast and the opposition can’t cope, knock it long and slow and Town are mincemeat, relying on opposition failings to survive.

Oh, one more thing. Clive who?

Nicko’s Man of the Match

Town owed the victory to one man, so it must be Steve Mildenhall . Oh, sorry, he doesn’t officially play for Town. Mmm, Onuora was astonishingly mobile and Boulding did get two goals (though he was a bit weak throughout). It’s a toss up between the agile Aidan, who made some superb saves but, to be awkward, Nicko pulls a big ball out of the bag with the number 8 on it. Mr Stuart Campbell, it’s you, for mental alertness and physical omnipresence. It’s amazing what a bit of competition does.

Official Warning

L Mason. Extremely unwilling to book, which these days isn’t something we should complain too much about. He annoyed the away support with a few decisions, but strangely that didn’t worry us. He was extremely adequate, with nothing much to grumble about. Actually take the word grumble out of that sentence, he gets 7.291, despite giving a foul throw against Town. The cheek.

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