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6Notts County14121
7Accrington Stanley14120

9Crawley Town14-120
18Cambridge Utd14-516
19Leyton Orient14-215

24Newport County12-87

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Question of the Week

Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?



08/11 QPR 2nd Half

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 09/11/2003

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.

Home > 2003-2004 Season > Reports > QPR (h)

Grimsby Town 1 Queens Park Rangers 0
08 Nov 2003, FA Cup Round 1

Especially those with white boots. And it worked, for a few minutes, unlike the scoreboard, which started the second half at 50 minutes. It’s one way of ensuring Town don’t concede a 90th minute goal, I suppose.

After a couple of minutes of the half, Boulding was tripped right on the very, very, very edge of the penalty area, about 10 yards in from the bye-line. Anderson and Barnard stood together hand on hips, two roly-poly leftists like Town’s tweedledum and tweedledee. Anderson rolled the ball to Barnard who curled a shot high through the penalty area, over heads and hands. The ball arced gracefully goalwards, then suddenly jacknifed, having appeared to hit the angle of post and crossbar. A minor scramblette followed, along with a few raised eyebrows and huddled discussions in the Pontoon over what actually happened. QPR broke away quickly and three of their players ran into the Town half at one point. Yes, really. Town were not so dominant, with QPR reaching some kind of midfield parity. Their tactical change and the increased tempo resulted in them having a couple of almost, maybe, nearly moments. Final passes were miss hit and Edwards and Crane, mostly, read the play and did some McDermottian shepherding.

The scoreboard eventually returned from the future and in the real 50th minute Crowe surged forward and released Boulding, the little tinker, with a little dinker along the ground, through the middle. From a distance of 100 yards, and peering through the half light that is the Blundell Park on a winter afternoon, Boulding seemed free, but unable to get within a couple of yards of the ball, like an invisible forcefield was stopping his valiant efforts. Then he fell to earth, with a giant hooped figurine bestriding the fallen idol. A corner was given, and nothing happened of any consequence from this. A minute later QPR had their EFFORT ON GOAL. And from a bit of pressure too. They broke, they crossed, they buzzed around and crossed again, like they did last summer. The ball was worked back to Palmer, about 25 yards out on their left, who swung in a loopy, gloopy cross towards the near post. Sabin leapt up and, from about 8 yards out, firmly headed a few inches wide of Davison’s right hand post. Now was that really worth a 300 mile round trip? In the 55th minute there was the incident that dare not speak its name. QPR had another spellette of pressure, with a player free on their left. He crossed, the ball hit McDermott "somewhere" and plopped towards off behind the goal. The Town fans fell eerily silent, looks were looked, noses tapped, heads nodded, but utter silence. Not even a murmur. Then a few coughs and when the referee didn’t give a penalty someone switched the volume back on again. Well, Macca is an old hand, isn’t he.

The sight of the opposition actually shooting unnerved a few of the Town fans, who called for their messiah. There is a marketing opportunity for the club here, one that’ll help pay the wages of their chosen one, for surely the Seventh Day Jevontists would buy little black and white bracelets with "WWJD" inscribed upon them. Onwards and upwards, or rather up the pitch Town went. McDermott, Campbell and Crowe exchanging glances, though not strangers on the right, the hopeless hoopers ripped apart, with McDermott nicking behind the defence and crossing to the near post. Onuora toe-poked the ball very wide with an ungainly lunge. On the hour QPR thought they’d had another shot.

Craneyellow card
Barnardyellow card
Croweyellow card


Cas77 mins


Paul Danson


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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 everyone’s time: Thorpe, of course, was offside. He really should sign for Rushden, it’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 they’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. Cas’s first contribution was a brave block from a Crane header, ensuring that Tony Tight Trousers’ (have you seen his shorts?) goalbound nod failed to concern Day, who many have come to regard as the Liberace of goalkeeping. It’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 ‘keeper’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.

Nicko’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.

Official Warning

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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