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Question of the Week

Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?



08/02 Oldham 2nd Half

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 09/02/2004

ANDERSON and Ford replaced Groves and Jevons, with Town trying to play in a 3-4-2 formation. Crowe played in the centre of the back three, with Ford on the left.

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

Oldham Athletic 6 Grimsby Town 0
08 Feb 2004, Nationwide League Division 2

Barnard was supposed to be a left sided wing back type creature, though he seemed to spend most of his time not near the ball, somewhere closer to Ford than Boulding. And, guess what, Crowe man marked Johnson really well.

Oldham turned up for the party in the second half, showboating, grandstanding, showing off their little tricks and flicks. The game over, the points secure, they lacked the killer instinct after 4 o’clock, thank goodness. Half paced, half hearted, Town competed at last. Well, almost. Town were only over run, not overwhelmed, so there’s at least one positive to come out of the game. A couple of minutes or so into this tepid torture Oldham should have scored again. A zip and a zing down their right, a cross to the near post and Johnson glanced a firm header down across Davison, who parried the ball away into the centre of goal. There was a minor scramblette, with Davison appearing to flap the ball away from some blue stockinged raider, with Crane walking the ball out of the six yards box and hoofing upfield.

The second half. Nope, a period of all our lives that will be lost in the haze of alcohol soft middle age. A waste of everyone’s time, for the most part. Oh sure, Anderson scampered around, tried his little heart out, even sending in some crosses that weren’t caught by Poggie. Thorpe? Lee Thorpe, something of Neil Woods about him according to reports on Monday. So long ago, was it all a dream. What more can I say? He’s not our dream number nine, or dream number 33. He hasn’t even got something of the night about him. Ambles around, with a couple of decent flicks, but, what else? More like a young Livvonuora, a cumbersome beast roaming in the gloaming, he soon caught the apathy bug. He did do one good knock down in the box which would probably have resulted in a goal in the third division, but Boulding doesn’t do that sort of thing. And we aren’t in the third division. I can hear you shout back "yet", even from here.

The Town fans travelled further along that psychological road to perdition, stopping off at irony, with some gentle taunting of the quiet, distant Oldhamites, but only after a moment of clarity, when all Town’s hopelessness was admitted to the world. We know what we are, no need for anyone else to tell us. For 23 seconds Town toyed with Oldham, passing, moving the ball to the left, to the right, to the centre. "Olé, Olé, Olé" rang out from the Town fans with every completed pass. Daws and Anderson teasing, not really pleasing, but clipping the ball to Thorpe inside the penalty area. He turned delicately, precisely, fooling the defenders in to thinking the ball cannoned off his knee. In space, a dozen yards out, unmarked, the goal a-gaping, the ball a-blazing out towards Rochdale. It’d be cruel to contrast with Vernon. Go on, do so.

Oldham blazed away wildly too, all sorts of little scufflers letting rip from outside the area. Eyre sent a long range dipper onto the roof of the net, Davison parried another low skimmer around the post. Oldham tapped a free kick about 25 yards out near the right corner of the penalty area. The referee, in between striker and goal, fell over, the shot zoomed over the falling fool, with Crowe glancing the ball towards the top right hand corner. Davison hopped across and tapped the ball away from underneath the crossbar. Good save, but what difference does it make, it makes nothing.

Edwardsred card
Barnardyellow card
Jevonsyellow card


Anderson46 mins
Ford46 mins


Anthony Leake


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More Oldham raids, with Crowe outstanding in repelling the blanket of blue enveloping the area. Offside, indulgent passing and wild, wild shooting saved further humiliation. For the moment. Oops, hang on, here it comes. Pass, tap, flick, a player free inside the Town area on the right. Crossed, Murray unmarked seven yards out beyond the far post, half volleying over the stand. Are they embarrassed too?

With about 25 minutes left the Pouton Posse walked out to their waiting cavalcade with police outriders, following a steady drip, drip, drip of Town fans out of the stand, out of the ground, out of their minds with rage. Like an egg timer, the grains inexorably emptied, time running out, in the game, in the season, for the leader. Leadership? None apparent, the players silent (ignoring Crane’s regular rant at the referee), no-one visibly in charge, the bench was not animated. Characterless, rudderless, soulless, a bland shape without form, shade without colour, a paralysed force.

Ooh, a Town shot, oh the ironic cheers. "You’re supposed to be at home". Barnard got all his wobbling mass behind a low shot from 25 yards out, which Pogliacomi scurried aside from the left hand post using his chest and biceps. Barnard curled the corner toward goal, the Pogmeister general clutching the ball on the line, under the bar at the near post. No town player challenged. More Oldham raids, lost in music.

At some point Oldham took off Sheridan and Vernon, bringing on Eyres and Calvin Zola, About five minutes from the end they got a corner on their right. The ball swung into the middle of the six yards box and Davison punched clear. From the centre left edge of the box Boshell (probably) headed the ball back into the middle of the penalty area. ZOLA controlled the ball with his back to goal, spun and swung his tripods around, the ball zipping into the bottom right hand corner. Crane behind, Crane not defending. The remaining Town support demanded a seventh. It was like Walsall away in the dog days of Lawrence, the team unwilling to save him, the crowd demanding a quick death. Short term pain for long term gain. Or should that be a different kind of pain delayed?

The last few minutes were as interesting as the previous forty. Town had another couple of attacks, with Thorpe chasing down a defender, robbing him of the ball and curling a cross straight into the goalkeeper’s arms as Daws and Boulding shrugged their shoulders. And finally, the moment that summed town up. Barnard crossed, Daws sneaked around the back, heading across the face of goal. Boulding, six yards out, unmarked, an open goal, allowed the ball to flick off his shins and away for a goalkick. Town can’t even muster the will to give us some fleeting moment of false hope. Barnard and Murray had a kicking and scratching fest as they competed for a loose ball. Barney in a barney eh? How mature, and just what Town need, their only left back sent off for violent conduct. The referee gave both yellow cards. Weak.

The end, game over, perhaps something else over. An era ended? The team has no personality. There are no Town players anymore, just people who play for Town. They put on the shirt, for that’s who pays them, it is just a paycheque. They don’t live in the Town, haven’t Player Database, it’s just another job for the itinerant footballer. But they will be the Town players for another few months, how to inspire, who to inspire? There was more ego than ergo on display today. That moment of catharsis is near.

The Town players know a little song, they were singing it for us today. It goes like this. Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do, I’m..half....crra...zy.....allll....f...o.r....the....l....o......v......e....

Stop. Stop Paul. Stop.

So this is how Paul Groves’ Mariners World ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.

Nicko’s Man of the Match

If he been allowed to stay on the pitch it would have been Edwards, our only defender. However, for once the sponsors are right - ALAN POUTON, the only Town player to cheer the hearts of the miserable mariners, one last step over for the lads.

Markie’s UnMan of the Match

Aren’t there so many candidates? Crowe redeemed himself in the second half, but Tony Crane most definitely didn’t. He was a walking, talking, stumbling, fumbling disaster. Embarrassing in the extreme, he does get joined in the hell hole by Stuart Campbell, in a world first. Campbell was so invisible he has to be singled out, for it took 20 minutes to realise that it was Jevons who’d been substituted at half time, and not him. Captain Calamity.

Official Warning

Mr A Leake. A man ready to kick a fan when he’s down with a weedy sending off. What was the point? Town were already 4 down, and he decided to send off the only defender. Out of sheer spite he gets 3.763. Not that there was much else to complain about, though he probably should have sent Barnard off. Yeah, the ref was useless and cost Town the allowing it to go ahead in such atrocious weather conditions, I mean you could see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles. The Blackpool Tower and the Taj Mahal restaurant clear in the distance. How are we expected to enjoy football if we can actually see it? These people, they just don’t understand the game, do they.

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