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08/02 Oldham Part 2
By: Tony Butcher
BUT letâ€™s leave that for a few moments. You want to hear about Town attacking, right? There was some, for the opening ten minutes were relatively even, by Town standards.
Oldham Athletic 6 Grimsby Town 0
Ah-ha, whoâ€™s this? The Town fans turned around and stood up to cheer a latecomer, for it was he, the once and future king, Mr Alan Pouton. How they pined for the return of their magnificent seven, who had to step over a bag to get to his seat. Ah, those old magic tricks. Not just Big Al, but the full Pouton Posse arrived en masse, tied by an umbilical chord. He scratched his nose, they scratched their nose. He sneezed, they sneezed.
Davison made a couple of routine saves, as Oldham looked into the Town eyes and saw straw. Why should they look a gift horse in the mouth? Any more clichÃ©s? The Town support had drifted past the silent stage through to outright rebellion. A rolling head was wanted, and wanted now, as Oldham poured forward, unimpeded by a nonexistent midfield, barely troubled by a ramshackle defence. Defence? Defence? Why use that word for a collective, there was one defender, Edwards, who three times kept out the blue hordes with marvellous blocks and tackles. At least he was trying.
Ten minutes of non-scoring was ended with another great/freak goal. Oldham punted the ball from right to left. Crane, dreadful Crane, at no point marked a man, nor approached the ball. No, I fib, he did spend three seconds closely marking Edwards. Crowe stood near, but not close to an Oldham player, perhaps 20 yards out near the edge of the penalty area. The ball was curled and looped to beyond the far post. Donâ€™t worry, itâ€™s going out for a goal kick. Worry. GRIFFIN, near the bye-line, just inside the six yard box, leapt, twisted, hooked and levered the ball over Davison, the ball dropping into the goal from an unfeasibly acute angle. Magnificent or lucky? Whatever, a goal, another flippinâ€™ freaky goal, another triple treat for opposition fans.
Ah, yes, but this is the week of the three goal comeback, isnâ€™t it. Now is the hour. Now is the time. A free kick to Town, 20 yards out, on the centre right. Barnard to curl, Jevons to twirl, who, which, now. A goal? Jevons caressed the ball around the wall and the Pogman flew to his left and brilliantly tipped it from the foot of the left hand post for a corner. Barnard passed the corner to the unmarked Daws, 25 yards out, right in the centre, who steered a right footed shot goal wards. The ball drifted past Poggy and rippled along the net. Up went a couple of dozen Town fans - a goal! No, a goalkick, the ball had curled around the post and hit the pole at the back of the net. Iâ€™ll let you into a little secret; all the Town fans thought itâ€™d gone in, but not many were interested in celebrating.
Where are we, oh yes, Town in the ascendancy. Sorry, you need a few one liners to keep you going, donâ€™t you. Campbell had a long shot, weakly rolling to the Pogster and Daws, again, smacked a terrific 25 yard drive which Aussie Les uncomfortably parried aside, straight to a fellow Oldhamite. With about 10 minutes to go to half time Jevons used all his Premiership cunning to fashion a fourth goal. A bit of head tennis by Town inside their own half ended with Jevons nodding the ball through a gap between Edwards and Crane. JOHNSON glided through, sidestepped Edwards and, from about 15 yards out on their right, hit a low shot across Davison. The ball wasnâ€™t hit venomously and it rolled underneath Davison and in. Ooooooh dear.
Could it get any worse. Of course it could, of course it will. Oldham missed a few sitters, with a ping pong match on the Town goal-line the highlight of this never ending series of offal defending. All down the right mind, all down the right. And then, in the last minute of the half, the referee decided to get out his silver hammer, like Town needed assistance in burying themselves. The ball was played over Edwards on the left, with Johnson about to sprint clear outside the box. Edwards put his hand across Johnson, who fell. The ball skipped through to Davison, with Crane covering. For once, for once in his life, Crane was covering. So the referee decided to send Edwards off, after some helpful advice from the residents in the Lookers Stand . I suppose they asked nicely. From our angle it looked like there was cover so it should have been a yellow card, but, hey, Town are the Streetcar Named Disaster. Do not expect kindness from strangers.
In the added time Townâ€™s right hand side was shredded again, with Crowe being slow to react as the Oldham wall game was played around him. Into the area, to the bye-line, panic. Vernon took a couple of steps back as Groves and Crane defended conventionally, guarding the six yard line. The ball was passed to VERNON, who shuffled to his left, then right, as Groves threw himself across, drilling a low shot from around the penalty spot that seemed to go through Davisonâ€™s legs.
Torture suspended for 15 minutes.
Half time: Oldham Athletic 5 Grimsby Town 0
Comment? Analysis? Redundant really, though that scoreline only tells you half the story. Individuals made very basic errors, and were not bothered enough to stop doing them. The two "full backs" had no interest in defending, whilst Crane played like a gibbering idiot. There was no midfield, apart from Daws during a 20minute period in the middle of the half, but heâ€™s nowhere near the man of he was in October. Town were constructed out of feathers and held together with delicate silk thread. The players played like they expected to lose, and some like they didnâ€™t care if we did. There did not seem a collective desire to keep Paul Groves in his job.
Town were stuffed men, leaning together, headpiece filled with straw.
Hey, itâ€™s only half time. Anything could happen in the second half. Couldnâ€™t it?
Stu's Half Time Toilet Talk
"Iâ€™m so depressed I canâ€™t eat my apple."
The report continues in the Second Half.
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