Question of the Week
How long before new manager arrives?
24/02 Luton 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NO changes were made by either team at half time. And off with an oomph. Within a minute Town nearly, then should, have scored. A corner from the left, half cleared to Campbell in the centre on the edge of the area.
Grimsby Town 3 Luton Town 2
The ball was played back to Daws, who tippled the ball forward to Ranking, just outside the area. Rankin turned and realised there was a massive space into which he could run. So he did, hurtling in to the area with several defenders converging. The ball dribbled away so Rankin decided to have a little lie down, to rest after his exertions. Penalty! Wahey! I suppose Rankin is only a loanee, so he doesnâ€™t count as a Town player. Thatâ€™s why we got it!! Who would take it? Barnard? No, Rosemary the telephone operator? No, heâ€™s stepping out, heâ€™s Phil Jevons. The referee took an age to sort out some non-existent encroaching, standing in Jevonsâ€™ way. Up he strolled and JEVONS rolled the ball into the very right side of the goal, as Greenock Morten plunged to the right. Twenty minutes left, plenty of time to throw a collective wobbler.
With this, Town decided to put their feet up a bit, the switch was turned off and Luton began to get the ball, began to pass it, began to threaten. Uuuurgh. Two men free inside the area as Enoch rumbled his way down the left. Thanks, lad, for shooting straight at Davison. Uuuuuuurrrgghh, again. Two more players totally unmarked in the middle of the area. Phew, crossed into Craneâ€™s big bad boots. Wibble - Showumni wriggled past a couple of challenges and only Craneâ€™s sliding manliness hoofed the ball out of the 6 yards box. Wobble - Ford dragged across to the centre after a Crane mistake, the ball played out to Robinson, on the edge of the area, unmarked, free as a bird, alone with his thoughts. Here it comes, here comes the fright. Robinson carefully placed a shot 3 yards wide of Davisonâ€™s right hand post. It was far easier to score, it takes great skill to miss by that much from so close with Hopalong Cassidy in goal.
Rock and roll, Luton camped out on the Town land trying to their soul free. With Townâ€™s defence thatâ€™s a given. Oooh, a header at the far post, Davison tipping the ball over the bar as it threatened to crawl over his hop, skip and jump. Itâ€™s coming, itâ€™s coming. We knew it, they knew, everybody knew it. And here it is. With 10 minutes left Town had a throw in on the right, deep inside their own half. Mansaram and a defender had a bit of a shoving match, the referee had words. Luton very slowly made their final two substitutions, which confused the tannoy announcer, who never did work out who the third man was. The referee appeared to bring the throw in forward a few yards. It was flung up, headed back by Luton as Howard turned his marker on the right edge of the penalty area Thaddump! HOWARD hit an instant half volley which dipped at Davisonâ€™s feet at the near post and went in off some part of the injured, immobile â€˜keeperâ€™s body. Down to injury that one.
I forgot to tell you one vital bit of information here. Coldicott, the awesome pumping powerhouse, was replaced by Soames after 75 minutes. Soames scurried around ineffectively on the right wing as Campbell moved to the centre. Apparently. I think I require video evidence before I am prepared to believe that Campbell played the last 15 minutes in the middle of the pitch. Or even on the pitch. Luton were able to swarm around the Town nest at will, only their own incompetencies stopped them scoring. They could be relied upon to make the wrong decision. And with five minutes left Thorpe replaced the court jester, Mansaram. Deep into the three minutes of added time, Thorpe won two headers and was fouled twenty five or so yards out, on the centre left; a perfect position for a right-footed curler. Jevons hovered (for he doesnâ€™t merely walk upon turf) whilst Barnard waddled. Jevons ran over the ball, Barnard curled the free kick into the tantalising space between goalkeeper and defenders. Hilda came off his line, a big bunch of players jumped at him. Bounce, bounce, bounce, onto his space hopper leapt the startled SIMON FORD, who just managed to glance the ball over the goalkeeper and into the top right hand corner of the goal. Ford soaked up the adoration of his long standing admirers in the Pontoon, the crowd couldnâ€™t stop laughing, and ten seconds later the game ended.
So this is where all that luck went, hiding away ready for us in the last few weeks of the season. A win is a win. Letâ€™s look at the package, not the contents, eh? Jevons, the novelty toy, may keep you amused for a few moments, but the goods are stale, almost inedible. The good news was that Daws and Coldicott managed to exert some control for about half an hour before their legs turned to mush. Rankin, in little bursts, is a handful and Armstrong looked a very assured playmaking defender (well against Luton anyway). And of course Jevons applied that little bit of magic needed to blind the evil goblins. But the rest of it was appalling really. What got Town through was good fortune and some determination by over half the team. That wallpaper is still very thin though, you can still see the cracks.
Whoâ€™d have thought Pacy Stacy would be Townâ€™s talisman, the most important cog in the wheel.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Jevons gave a little masterclass in conjuring, but overall Craig Armstrong was invaluable at the back. He was surprisingly good.
Markieâ€™s UnMan of the Match
Several contenders, the official missing person that is Stuart Campbell, for one. The chuckle brothers, Ford and Crane, for two. The Donny Dreamer, Darren Mansaram, just couldnâ€™t do anything right. How he lasted for 85 minutes is the eighth wonder of the ancient world.
Mr C Boyeson. Ah, payback time for the Doncaster disaster. What a penalty decision! Can we have him for every home game, for a homester he is. A little pedantic with a strong desire to confuse. He managed to book just one player all night, for kicking the ball away at a throw in. Most incredibly the booked player wasnâ€™t Tony Crane. He gets a disgracefully high score of 7.863, purely because Town finally got a rubbish decision in our favour.
Two fascinating linesmen, one always gave offside, but never flagged for the ball being out of play. He missed at least three clear dribbles out of play by Town players, infuriating the Bedfordshire battlers. Strange days indeed.
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