Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
08/11 QPR 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NEITHER team made any changes at half time, though QPR did make a tactical change, pushing Ainsworth up front with Thorpe, and Gallen seemed to be playing in that infamous hole into which players of indeterminate abilities always fall.
Grimsby Town 1 Queens Park Rangers 0
Sabin ran 40 yards down the centre, exchanged passes with Thorpe and, whoops, suddenly he was free inside the area, with a phalanx of stripes in hot pursuit. As he was about to shoot, just eight yards out and to the left of goal, a hawk swooped and plucked the little field mouse from the grass, a tasty aperitif for Crane. A he-man of a tackle, rippling fear through the opposition as he ripped the ball away from the slight and slender Sabin. A few minutes later QPR did have another shot, after a fast breakaway, when Thorpe went one-on-one with Davison, who brilliantly, magnificently tipped the ball away low to his left. But what a waste of everyoneâ€™s time: Thorpe, of course, was offside. He really should sign for Rushden, itâ€™s his destiny.
The game was a bit devoid of action, with QPR defending better, not allowing Town so much space into which they could sweep, or Boulding run. Town kept battering against these firmer walls, but nothing was happening inside their area. The plucky little Londoners were holding on to what theyâ€™d got. The wind swirled and curled, sending the ball in cruel and unusual flights of fancy, allowing Hamilton to spend minutes on end avoiding the ball through "dummies". There was a purple haze in the sky, apposite given that it was neither day nor night, a few fireworks twinkled in the distance, a helicopter circled in the Humber, something was about to happen, but what? Ahh, that old Cas for Anderson trick. With just less than 20 minutes left Cas came on and played as a left winger. Weird. Casâ€™s first contribution was a brave block from a Crane header, ensuring that Tony Tight Trousersâ€™ (have you seen his shorts?) goalbound nod failed to concern Day, who many have come to regard as the Liberace of goalkeeping. Itâ€™s that blue wiggle on his head, derision is de riguer for shocking topiary. Cas then dribbled the ball out of play and finally did something, when he hurled a long throw in from the Town right. The ball was half cleared back out towards the chucker and Cambpell, on the edge of the area, beat the defender to the ball, chesting it down and hitting a dipping volley across the face of goal. Day, at his near post, saved low to his right as unfriendly feet wafted around his nose.
All very well, all very good, but still Town had failed to score. There was a horrible, nagging feeling abroad that history was about to repeat itself, with the undeserving poor sauntering back home having conned the old lady into parting with her milk money. With about 10 minutes left a long ball from QPR was variously headed inside the Town half. The ball bounced up and Barnard thwacked a thumping great welly forward and very high. The ball disappeared from view, returning after an orbit of the earth somewhere near the edge of the QPR penalty area, on the centre left. Onoura leapt and glanced the ball sideways to Boulding, about 25yards out in the centre. BOULDING chested the ball to his left and, in an instant, twisted and hit a left foot shot across Day and into the â€˜keeperâ€™s left hand side netting, leaving him standing like a guilty schoolboy. Half a second later the Town fans reacted. Wahey, what a nice day, or something similar.
The last 10 minutes were a comparative cakewalk, with QPR still unable to shoot, nor even apply any concerted pressure. They had a couple of breakaways which foundered on the Crane/Edwards double act, and a couple of corners which floundered on their own incompetence. Town spent the last few minutes time-wasting in the open corner between Osmond and Stones/Smiths/Findus, and doing it well. Onuora teased and pleased, rolling the ball this way and that, winning a couple of corners. It all looked almost professional. The three minutes of added time just flew by, with not a hint of catastrophe.
And there you are, a simple, easy stroll through a November afternoon. Outclassing, outhinking, outfighting and outknocking insipid infidels from the south. And that with a strangely constructed team too. There was nothing negative to say about anybody or anything in stripes today, it was a Town performance of old: passion, purpose and poise. We know they can do it, they just did it. Now do it again.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Who could it be? Everyone was at least OK, with Edwards Mr Supercool, gliding and sliding danger away, before it was even danger. But Crowe and Crane, Crane and Crowe, heads or tails? Mmm, tails. Best of three? So very difficult to choose between the two, with Crowe surprisingly effective in the centre of midfield and Crane at last justifying the glowing epithets. Tails again. It is the man from Department S: Jason Crowe.
P Danson. Rubbish. Was he in control? Of his own bowels, yes, of the game, hardly. Spent the first 40 minutes infuriating every monochromer within a 12 mile radius of the centre circle, and the next 50 being equally baffling, but somewhat more pro-Town. Rather than make judgements, it was far easier to allocate periods of time during which decisions would be given to one team. Hey, these things even themselves out over the course of the game anyway, so why not take the arbitrary out of the arbiter. Do I hear 6.023? No. Do I hear 5.476? Do I hear 4.981? No, the wind whispers a faint 4.0000001.
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