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22/11 Brentford 2nd Half

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 23/11/2003

NO changes were made by either team at half time, though there was much concern that the combination of man made fibres and water would cause shrinkage in the shorts, especially combined with the half time cup of tea.

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

Brentford 1 Grimsby Town 3
22 Nov 2003, Nationwide League Division 2

Then we really would be on a trip down memory lane. Tight shorts, tight grounds, tight games.

Brentford lobbed the ball straight out of play, laying their credentials on the table right away. The game continued as it had in much of the first half. Nothing happened near goal, with much midfield huffery and puffery leading to many deeply exciting throw ins. Five minutes passed behind us, as though no-one had told the players when to run. Suddenly action. If not lights, for the floodlighting was sub-Blundell Parkian in its lack of intensity. A weird glow surrounded the players, like they’d all had Readybrek at half time. Brentford fiddled around on the half way line, lulled into passivity and unnatural thoughts of passing the ball. Crowe nicked the ball off an opponent and hared off down the middle, drawing defenders to him like moths to a nightlight. Crowe flipped the ball sideways to Onoura who, 30 yards out, played a delightful weighted pass through the defence back to the flying burrito. He knocked the ball forward, pursued by two defenders, the goalkeeper raced off his line and, from about a dozen yards out Crowe clipped a shot across and above Smith as he dived. A goal surely.... Smith raised one hand and parried the ball to his left, the ball drifting towards Boulding about 6 yards from goal and at a narrow angle. The ball slipped off Boulding’s boot, he spun and laid the ball back to Crowe at the near post, who in turn knocked the ball back to Onuora, in the centre near the penalty spot. An open goal, surely....Onoura side footed towards goal and a defender and the ‘keeper flew across to block. The ball skated out of the area to Anderson, 25 yards out on the centre right, who hit a low shot skimming across the face of goal, just missing Campbell and going about 10 yards wide of the right hand post. This brought the Town fans to life, with the unwet ones starting up the Groves beat, in strict 4/4 time. They’re Grimsby when they’re dry.

Brentford were not threatening much, with a series of punts which only brought the occasional alarm. Hamilton lost possession in midfield, slightly jumping out of a tackle as a Brentfordian slid in from Heathrow. The ball squelched forward and May was off behind the defence on their left. He looked up, saw two similarly dressed men in the distance and rolled a cross through the penalty area several yards in front of them, with Barnard strolling back and passing up the line to Campbell. This happened a couple of times and shall be classed as moments when Brentford tip-toed towards a moment of danger. Whoops, spoke too soon. They pressed and they pressed down their left, the ball half cleared twice, but failing to roll out of play, being stuck in the mud by the touchline. Eventually Hunt , 30 yards out, swung in a deep curling cross and one of their tall, young players rose unmarked somewhere near the penalty spot and glanced the ball just over the bar. Another cross, another header sent way, way over the bar. The game was down at the other end, with Town defenders hacking and thwacking clear as the ball was pumped in and Brentford players streamed in. Edwards, then Barnard, then Crane all made last ditch clearances inside the 6 yards box. Hamilton briefly entertained us with his soft shoe shuffling through the middle, an echo of the Pouton step-over. A caricature rather than impression. Keep your dancing for Saturday night, Derrick, or at grandma’s party, whichever mild mannered 70s faux disco you prefer.

Onuoragoalyellow card


Groves79 mins
Cas77 mins


Phil Taylor


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The game descended into a farcical flip flop nightmare of stumbles and tumbles. Awful stuff, and the calls for abandonment were raised again. Certainly, if Brentford scored again there was a compelling case to end this water torture, the drip, drip, drip of dross. But lo, Boulding broke free down the right, drew the defence towards him and rolled the ball across the 6 yards box . Onoura got slightly ahead of the ball, tried to stop himself but fell over, in his now trademark fashion. He has to do it once a game, it’s a contractual obligation, I understand. Davison annoyed the home support with a marked reluctance to pluck the ball out of a deep puddle behind his goal. They did duck noises at him for the next five minutes, or rather that’s what it sounded like. Perhaps they were being more Anglo Saxon, but the acoustics aren’t great down there.

Somewhere in the middle of the half, as the Thames barrier was raised, Town counterattacked down the left. Campbell clipped in a cross to the centre of the penalty box where Boulding, leaning backwards, hooked a shot a few inches over the bar. There were a couple of long stoppages after Brentford players were injured, Kitamirike downed by a full blooded Hamilton challenge and Hutchinson, crucially, felled by a stout northern boot. Hutchinson was forced to limp off and Brentford lost everything, for he was the beating heart of their team, their man who would be kingpin. Without him they were disorganised and leaderless. Whoever kicked him won the game for Town. And then there was the usual Cas cameo, his weekly 15 minutes of fame, replacing Anderson as per the rules of Association Football (as amended July 2003).

But Brentford still did press and there was the occasional wibble by Town, most alarmingly when Crane decided to play total football on the edge of the penalty area, passing behind McDermott , forcing our totemic legend to scamper back and hook the ball off the toe of a winger. The ball drifted towards the touchline and stopped dead. An attacker retrieved the ball, knocked it infield and a cross was swung high to the back post, with Onuora stopping to glance away for a corner A minute later McDermott was replaced by Groves, with Crowe reverting to full back. Just over 10 minutes left and there was the faint sound of a groan when Groves ran on, for the assumption was made that Town were going to sit back. How wrong you were Mr Groaner.

Brentford attacked down their right, but the cross was easily hustled away to Cas, on the edge of the Town penalty area. The express train left Brentford station and zoomed off in a straight line down the pitch, he can penetrate any place he goes. Mesmerising, tantalising, attracting the boys from Brentford across he arrived on time, down near the edge of their area on the right. He looked up, saw Onuora moving and then he caught a fleeting glimpse out of the corner of his eye. BOULDING surfed into the box and steered the cross with his left foot low across the ‘keeper and into the bottom left hand corner. The silver surfer ran into the corner and belly flopped into the pond near the floodlight. The terrace supporters surged across the concrete leaping, whelping, bouncing and swaying to the music. C’est magnifique, c’est Boulding.

Town were riding along on the crest of a wave, unstoppable, momentum with them, flowing inexorably towards Smith in the Brentford goal. A minute after the goal Groves caressed a long ball into the puddles on the right. Smith came out of his goal, Boulding chased. The ball rolled, then stopped. Smith and Boulding splashed around like 5 years old in a paddling pool, with Boulding emerging with the ball at a very, very narrow angle near the corner flag. As the defence sprinted back Boulding rolled a shot goalwards. On and on it went, closer, closer, closer and an inch the wrong side of the post, nestling against the outside of the near post for a goalkick.

Brentford attempted to pressurise Town, to harry with hit and hope football, but that proved their undoing again. With a couple of minutes left the ball was half cleared to Cas, who turned round and lobbed the ball over the top of the defence, on the centre left. BOULDING scurried free, took two touches into the penalty area, awaited the ‘keeper and rolled the ball under him and in off the near post. Boulding led a parade of champions before the delighted Town fans, jigging their way towards Brentford high street in a conga. The last few minutes were just a celebration, the game won, the fans singing in the rain. What a glorious feeling, we were happy again. The game finally ended after about four minutes of added time and the players, to a man, ran towards the poor huddled masses to receive the damp claps and roars.

Now that really was a feast of fun, like a museum piece. Long ball opponents, concrete open terraces, and Town battle back to win away, jumpers for goalposts and change from a one pound note too, no doubt. Who said the pitch was unfit?

This was a real team performance against a side whose style has traditionally been our undoing. The facts are pretty stark - Davison only had one save to make all game. They were quite easily repulsed by the stoic back four, tireless midfield and determined strikers. It wasn’t great, but it was what was required. What’s more, even the substitutions worked.

Rain. We didn’t mind, the weather’s fine.

Nicko’s Man of the Match

No-one was head and shoulders above the rest. Crane and Edwards were impassive, impassable monoliths, but given the circumstances, perhaps Michael Boulding should get the nod for scoring the winning goals. Ah those images of broken light that danced before us as Boulding scored a goal.

Official Warning

P Taylor. Pee Diddy morelike. A cretinous penalty decision, some daft interpreting of challenges, being unable to differentiate between intent and the conditions causing a foul. Inconsistent towards both sides (eventually). He’d be lucky to get 1.02. So he doesn’t. He get’s 0.34.

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