Question of the Week
How long before new manager arrives?
26/10 Barnsley 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NO changes were made by either team at half time and the only moment to report was Grovesâ€™ continuing obsession with clapping the Town fans, with a mutual love-fest as he made his way back to the bench.
Grimsby Town 2 Notts County 0
Play was stopped, the moment lost for our huckster hosts. The second half was played out to a constant chant from the Town supporters, and with every minute the glee increased, for Barnsley didnâ€™t seem to have the nous to unlock the gate, nor the brawn to kick the garden fence down. They just stood outside shyly asking to come in and play. Around the hour mark Campbell excited the excitable by trying a spectacular standing scissorkick from about 30 yards. The ball looped wide of Ilic and a foot or two wide of goal. It looked good from afar, but close up, it was just one of those chip wrapper efforts, ten-a-penny in any game. Ilic didnâ€™t have to bother, so he didnâ€™t. Anderson, the cheeky pup, lined up a free kick from around 35 yards out. The crowd hummed in anticipation, the Barnsley defence started to sink back to Ilic, as Illic frantically flapped them forwards. Anderson trundled up and lamped a right foot shot goalwards. The ball hit Bouldingâ€™s backside and, after a minor scramblette, Barnsley cleared and counterattacked.
Around this time Barnsley brought on Fallon for a forgettable midfielder, and became a little more direct. Town were pegged back, in that most of the play was up the other end. Here, sitting in our tin can, far away from play, nothing terribly interesting happened. Town rather wasted another free kick, about 25 yards out in the centre right. As Ilic lined up his wall Barnard tried to curl the ball in from a standing position,. He ended up chipping a backpass straight into Ilicâ€™s arms. Perhaps he should have waited and just blasted it, you know, put all his weight behind it. Up the other end they had a free kick, blasted into the wall, no worries. What do I mean no worries, for the ball rebounded out to their left and was crossed in to Fallon, who headed goalwards, forcing Davison to tip the ball over for a corner. No worries because it was never going in, Davison was always underneath the ball and just didnâ€™t feel like catching it, thatâ€™s all. Only those who believe in pixies and fairies that live at the bottom of their garden would consider that a chance and almost a goal. The refereeâ€˜s trickle of silly decisions started to became a torrent. All they had to do was hit the floor and they got a free kick. Though, to be absolutely fair to the referee, he wasnâ€™t above being conned by Des Hamilton, whose one contribution to the governmentâ€™s anti-burglary campaign was to get Town a free kick simply by asking nicely. Good job too, as a striker was free. Oh Des, you were dreadful, with just two passes to a fellow stripey all afternoon.
With about quarter of an hour left, after a Town corner had been cleared, Carson hared off down the wing, going on, and on and on. And on, deep into the Town area, almost inside the 6 yard box. As he was about to shoot, Crane emerged from a swamp and terminated his command with extreme prejudice, sliding across the area sweeping man and ball away with the most manly challenge youâ€™ll see any side of the Humber. That was the end of that. And that was the end of Casâ€™s afternoon stroll. Off he went to be replaced by Crowe and Town changed formation, with Hamilton sitting between defence and midfield, with the three remaining midfielders forming a narrow wedge. What a great pity for us all that Cas never had the chance to run towards Gallimore; paradise postponed until February, methinks. Mehopes, youhopes, we allhopes. There we are, a fully conjugated verb.
Mmm, let me think, did anything else happen? With a couple of minutes left, Betsy received a pass on their left, cutting in with a chested lay off to himself. Rankin ran across Crane and the ball was played into the penalty area. Rankin moved towards ball, Crane moved towards Rankin, Rankin bounced off, Crane and fell over. Davison picked the ball up, the crowed bayed, the referee, surprising all, waved play on. Ah-ha, got away with it. Thirty seconds later and the ball was back in the Town penalty area, deep on the right near the bye-line. Crane lunged to clear as a striker tried to get past him and sliced a huge, steepling, spiralling miss hit towards the left corner of the box. Barnard stood underneath the ball and it bounced once. On its way down, Rankin rubbed himself against Barnard and flung himself dirtwards. Of course the crowd roared. Yeah, yeah, donâ€™t blame you for trying. Hang on! The referee, weak, silly man, took an age to theatrically point to the penalty spot very, very slowly. Dark mutterings from the Town faithful. We waited and waited as detritus was cleared from the pitch. Well, not all, just the plastic bags. Gallimore remained and prepared to inflict a very painful dagger into the kidneys. Gallimore. Flippinâ€™ Gallimore, thatâ€™s just rubbing it in, isnâ€™t it. A hop, a skip and Gallimore thundered forward and smacked the ball low to Davisonâ€™s left. Davison followed the ball, but not all the way as the ball sailed wide of the post. GALLIMORE HAD MISSED. Down below their seats went the Barnsleyites; up, up and away went the Town support. It felt even better than a goal, the Town fans were delirious, spending the remaining minutes in full voice, probably raising the roof at Meadowhall, enunciating words clearly, reporting their undying respect for the Barnsley left back. Curiously something not sung during his eight years at Town. Galli crumbled, hiding away from the ball, refusing to turn and face his new admirers. The sheer gusto and beauty of the moment cannot be even hinted at, you really had to be there. You may think you can feel it, but to be there was to be on top of the highest mountain, breathing in pure oxygen. The giddiness of a 0-0 draw.
But lo, the game continued, with Barnsley continuing to fall when breathed upon. In added time they got one right on the edge of the area, just to the left of centre. Usually, Gallimore waddles up, but oh no, he was behind the sofa. Haywood, a substitute who had hitherto been Campbellian in his invisibility, curled the ball way over the bar. Game over, a draw that felt like a crushing victory - thatâ€™s the crushing victory it should have been. Who cares, there are very few moments like this. It transcended football, it was more than a mere game, this is what football is all about; joy in other peopleâ€™s misery. After two minutes of time added solely so that we could ask Galli to give us a wave (he didnâ€™t, by the way) the game ended with the Town support almost apoplectic with joy, again cheering the players back to the tunnel. Handyside had a little hug with Groves and the Town players and management sought out Gallimore to offer him a consoling shoulder to cry on. Galli was ignored by his team-mates.
Now thatâ€™s how to leave on a high. We should have won, we should have lost, we went away happy. For all their possession Barnsley forced Davison to make just a couple of very routine saves, and they didnâ€™t create any full on chances. They had to resort to falling around near the penalty box. Town were more incisive, but lacking in ruthlessness. Overall, the team is melding together nicely, with a balance of brain and brawn in defence, with subtlety and pace further upfield. There was a tigerishness in midfield exemplified by Campbell, who twice tackled Hamilton before he could set up a Barnsley attack.
Stay calm, that early season storm is almost past, itâ€™s becoming rather enjoyable watching Town.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Three little bears to choose from, the irrepressible human dynamo that was Stuart Campbell, Mr McDermott, soon to be knighted for services to the art of defending, and Edwards, the surprisingly cool Hull reject. The jury was locked in heated argument for hours overnight before burning the ballot papers. We have a new Pope - Mike Edwards, understated and underrated.
Markieâ€™s UnMan of the Match
Leaving aside Gallimore, who had one of his finest hours in a Town game, it has to be dismal Des, an embarrassing series of panic stricken clearances towards the end topped off an afternoon of ambling and shambling. Buck yer ideas up laddie, patience can wear as thin as Rodgerâ€™s hair.
A Wiley. Ah, a Premiership referee, with Premiership prejudices. Seemed to think that home teams in red should get all the decisions. A petty, weak, infuriating man who put in a tawdry performance. The early mutterings amongst the Mariner masses were that he was itching to give them a penalty. He timed it to comic perfection, though he couldnâ€™t count on Gallimore. So count up them points, 3.764, he didnâ€™t earn his fee today.
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