Question of the Week
How long before new manager arrives?
10/01 Plymouth Part 2
By: Tony Butcher
THE Town fans roared, this was what we expect, this was what we were getting. Deep inside the main stand there was a Buckley-shaped shadow hanging over Groves, so he put his belief in Town's yesterday: Pouton and Groves; passing and movement; tackling and commitment. The comfort of the past.
Grimsby Town 0 Plymouth Argyle 0
And still Town drove forward. Corner after corner, all curled into the middle of the area, with Plymouth heads only just managing to flick clear. The closest to a goal came when Coughlin steamed in just before Groves and headed a few inches wide of the left hand post. So nearly a clanking great own goal. Scrambles, pressure, flapping of wings inside the pasty boysâ€™ shirts. And finally, Cyril, Plymouth managed to have an effort on goal. I have the vaguest of vague recollections that one of their full backs had some kind of shot from the edge of the area, that may have even caused Davison to wake up and smell the coffee-centred chocolates heâ€™d been bought for Christmas. In the 22nd minute, they broke away down their right, after a Town attack floundered for once, with Barnard stranded upfield. The ball was smuggled out to Phillips who cut infield and clipped a cross into the penalty area. Evans, somewhere close to the penalty spot, flicked a header across goal. The ball looped lazily, with Davison concerned, the Pontoon worried, and finally the Argyle fans saddened, as it drifted just wide of the right hand post. Whoops, so thatâ€™s why they are doing so well. From nothing, they suddenly looked a little tasty. A couple of minutes later another cross, Lowndes glanced very wide as Edwards challenged. . A huge Devonian burr of "Penalty" rose from the Osmond Stand as Evans backed into Groves and tumbled a little too easily. Pah, Mr Evans, all sideburns and girth, to the mirth of the Town fans. Yes, heâ€™s the man who ate all their complimentary Ginsters pasties.
A period of relative flatness followed in that Plymouth had the ball more, and the game was more even. It was competitive, of a relatively decent standard, but not much was happening in front of goal. A lot of almost and nearly moments from both teams, invariably foundering on some determined mass defending. It certainly wasnâ€™t dull, the nervous tension was palpable. Back again, Groves flipped the ball over the top, Boulding harried off down the inside left and cut back inside the area, smacking a low drive across the goalkeeper from a wide angle, perhaps 15 yards out. McCormick half stopped the ball, with it squirming away into a vast unpopulated area. As Town players eventually arrived to fill the void, the â€˜keeper, still grounded, managed to fly-hack the ball to a team mate, just outside the area. As tight as a tourniquet, as dry as a funeral drum, the pressure returned. Another series of Town corners pummelled Plymouth, with the final one being hurled from the left to way beyond the far post. Mansaram turned and retrieved the ball out on the touchline, right underneath the Police Box. Brilliant, marvellous, wonderful, teasing and taunting the defender with the mastery of his control, Mansaram revolved twice, sending his marker into a nether world between the conscious and unconscious mind, colours blurred, sounds amplified yet slowed down too. Mansaram left him in cloud cuckoo land and pinged in a superb cross, right in to the heart of the area. Groves, about 10 yards out, towards the far post, leant back and powered a header across the face of goal. The ball zoomed towards the left hand corner as the â€˜keeper prayed. Was this the bittersweet moment for the Groves baiters? Ah, no, the ball crawled across the face of the post, missing by inches.
Wait, thereâ€™s more. Mansaram, again, a whirligig of whizzing worry for the Argylites, a carousel of delights for the Pontoonites, laid the ball back from the bye-line on the left of the Plymouth area. Groves steamed in and hit a first time shot from the edge of the area which rose into the Pontoon, a couple of feet wide of the post. In added time Town should probably have scored the goal they certainly deserved. Pinned back inside their area, Argyle couldnâ€™t clear the ball. To the left, to the right, crosses, movement, passes, blocks. Finally Pouton advanced, a shimmy and shout, a shot scuffed straight to Boulding, level with the post on the right side of the area, a dozen yards out. Boulding took one touch, turned and miss-hit a shot into the ground. The ball took a slight deflection off a despairing diving defender and the ball slowly, slowly arced towards the top right hand corner of the goal, dipping, drifting and disappointing as it just managed to avoid going in by a couple of inches.
Half time: Grimsby Town 0 Plymouth Argyle 0
Off they trouped to an ovation richly deserved, pride restored, Plymouth pounded, a return to old ways. Plymouth were not poor, they were very strong physically and organisationally. They knew what they were doing, but Town stopped them playing how they wanted to, with Groves particularly doing a very important job by simply standing in the right place at the right time. He marked Friio almost out of the game, especially with that first minute challenge.
But it was still 0-0, the squid of despair usually lurks around the corner. They probably serve it in the local McDonalds, with "fries".
Stu's Half Time Toilet Talk
"A kick from that horse would break a swanâ€™s arm."
The report continues in the Second Half.
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