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22/11 Brentford 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
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.
Brentford 1 Grimsby Town 3
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, itâ€™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 thatâ€™s what it sounded like. Perhaps they were being more Anglo Saxon, but the acoustics arenâ€™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 â€˜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. Câ€™est magnifique, câ€™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 â€˜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 wasnâ€™t great, but it was what was required. Whatâ€™s more, even the substitutions worked.
Rain. We didnâ€™t mind, the weatherâ€™s fine.
Nickoâ€™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.
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). Heâ€™d be lucky to get 1.02. So he doesnâ€™t. He getâ€™s 0.34.
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