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26/10 Barnsley 2nd Half

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 26/10/2003

NO changes were made by either team at half time and the only moment to report was Groves’ continuing obsession with clapping the Town fans, with a mutual love-fest as he made his way back to the bench.

Home > 2003-2004 Season > Reports > Barnsley (a)

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

Barnsley showed their experience by hoofing the ball out for a Town throw in, the ball staying in play for at least 2.65 seconds. Burns obviously has premiership class, having learned that after just a couple of weeks in this division. Clearly has a footballing brain, or maybe a football for a brain, I can’t decide. After a couple of minutes Barnsley had a shot, which was nice for them. Betsy surged down the Town right, passed inside to Rankin who shimmied and shakeyed before slicing a drive very wide of Davison’s left hand post. It probably looked close to the people in the terraced houses with green doors behind the old stand. The ones whose view is obscured by that old wooden horse of a stand.

The pattern of the first half was repeated, but without those Town attacks every five minutes. The Town supporters began to get a little bored, which encouraged some to indulge in the crasser depths of Yorkist baiting. Oddly enough, whenever a be-Benny hatted youth tried to start such chanting someone else shouted "give us a Geeeee", thus drowning them out with a song of support. And it wasn’t the yoghurt reading Guardian eaters either.

Town had an attack, which distracted many enough to abandon their pre-occupation with singing towards the distant anoraks and cagoules. The ball was dinked down the right towards the corner flag. Cas didn’t bother chasing it, Gallimore retreated, turned and chipped the ball 20 yards directly to Campbell. Now how often have we seen him do that. Not pass to Campbell, obviously, but pass to the opposition, normally underneath the Police Box. Campbell advanced, exchanged passes with McDermott (I think) then, near the corner flag nut-megged Galli. Cas roamed freely inside the area and got a little excited. Instead of looking up and crossing to the unmarked Onuora, Anderson or Boulding he let fly and pummelled a great big thumper an inch or two high and wide of the angle of post and bar from a narrow angle.

Back came Barnsley and, excuse me sir, that was any good. A subtle change of tactics and formation was starting to open the Town defence up a bit. Barnsley started to dribble at speed down the flanks, forcing the defenders to retreat or commit. Town mostly coped, or should I say Edwards was magnificent in timing his interceptions, backed up by the McDermott. But occasionally Barnsley slipped through. Ranking surged down their left, attracting defenders like some kind of minor celebrity at a Top Man sale. Further, further, closer, closer, into the area and Des diverted the ball to Betsy, stood unmarked 10 yards out in the centre. He took one touch and then... the wheelclampers arrived to whisk the ball away to the compound. That’ll be £75 please. A supreme, majestic block by McDermott, just about 6 yards out, with Crane and Edwards providing sentry duty. Now that’s defending. The resulting corner was headed over without any hint of concern down amongst the Town supporters. A little later another surge, a desperate rolling, throwing, hurling litany of blocks and shackles, but Town avoided the face/egg nexus after these particular scrambles.

Still, no saves for Davison to make. Oh sure he had to come off his line a few times to smother through balls, but the combination of Davison’s glower and the Edwards/Macca shepherding routine meant the tranquil waters of Town support was never stirred. Nor shaken. Whenever pressure mounted, a Town player helpfully fell after a challenge, usually Anderson, sometimes Barnard, occasionally Crane.

Campbellyellow card


Crowe77 mins


Alan Wiley


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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 didn’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 didn’t have to bother, so he didn’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 Boulding’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 Ilic’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 didn’t feel like catching it, that’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 referee‘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 wasn’t above being conned by Des Hamilton, whose one contribution to the government’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 you’ll see any side of the Humber. That was the end of that. And that was the end of Cas’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, don’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. Flippin’ Gallimore, that’s just rubbing it in, isn’t it. A hop, a skip and Gallimore thundered forward and smacked the ball low to Davison’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 - that’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 people’s misery. After two minutes of time added solely so that we could ask Galli to give us a wave (he didn’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 that’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 didn’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, it’s becoming rather enjoyable watching Town.

Nicko’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.

Markie’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 Rodger’s hair.

Official Warning

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 couldn’t count on Gallimore. So count up them points, 3.764, he didn’t earn his fee today.

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