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20/03 Hartlepool 2nd Half

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 21/03/2004

EDWARDS and Rowan were replaced by Crowe and Antoine-Curier in straight positional swaps. And then they scored again, goodbye. There you are, the condensed milk version in just six easily understood words.

Home > 2003-2004 Season > Reports > Hartlepool (h)

Grimsby Town 0 Hartlepool United 2
20 Mar 2004, Nationwide League Division 2

Antoine-Curier not only looks Mansaramesque he plays like him too. A slightly more stylish, shoulder shrugging version, but exactly the same result. His arms are wicked and his legs are long, the whole body a whirl in several different directions at once, the gangly Gaul was, at best, ineffective. He won a header which in the context of this game turned out to be a golden opportunity. About 35 yards out he flicked the ball on straight to their goalkeeper. Nowhere near a Town player, of course. If Provett had decided to go digging for worms down near the Pier (he’d have been arrested, of course, being illegal) then the wind may have blown the ball in. Sigh if you wish, those Town fans still awake just shrugged their shoulders. We’re almost immune to this pain now.

In the first minute of the half Hartlepool had a chance of sorts. Getting behind Armstrong, they crossed the ball. It didn’t go in; it either hit Warhurst or went wide. Or maybe high. Something or other, you know, so what. The deceiving flattery which we get in every game lasted just about five minutes, with Crowe prominent in surging forward, by far the best Town attacker. What resulted from these electric storms down the right? Nothing. The wind started to blow again, prompting hopeful thoughts of some structural damage causing the game to be abandoned. Darn it, the screws were too tight.

We have to make our own entertainment and the Puddle manager provided it in a brief comedy cameo. He kept waving a white handkerchief around to attract the referee’s attention. It worked, just once, when the ref gave a free kick because he asked. But only once. "Tish and Pish sir, gadzooks. Methinks the bounders foul me champions". The ref sent him off for the fashion crime. Perhaps he should wear a ruff or a splendiferous powdered wig next time. He’s as bald as Law too, making the tunnel look like the entrance to the latest trendy "Nitescene".

Yeah, I know, this is just waffling around.

Jevons had a shot. It went wide.

I really wish that speaker would drop on someone’s head. I suppose we’ve never played Kidderminster, Cheltenham or Yeovil before, so there’s always something to look forward to. Was that another shot by Jevons? I’m sure I saw the ball boys walk in front of the Pontoon. We’ve lost balls and we’ve also lost the ballboys, have we lost everything? I wonder what my Mum will make for tea tonight? There’s never anything on TV either. The ball keeps catching the wind. Arhgh, don’t remind me of Donovan. That pint pot of nostalgia is half empty.

Hello Hartlepool. Nice to see you. It’s about 10 minutes since you last visited us. Ooh, they nearly scored. A cross from their left, right into the middle of the penalty area and big bruiser Nelson stooped about eight yards out. A free header and he managed to head it very high and very wide. Warhurst dillied after a long tip over the top. The ball eventually rolled out of play, long after the current employees in stripes had walked upfield. Fettis dallied in coming off his line and Young slid across to knock the ball out for a corner, sticking his studs into Fettis’ chest. Oooof. Coldicott had simply run himself into the ground, getting slower and slower, but still trying. As he wilted Town wilted. Jevons, bless him, was the other conspicuous trier, blocking covering, running back, running up, running sideways, tackling. An example to many, ignored by most. They nearly scored again. Corner from their left, Nelson fell near Fettis and a more hirsute colleague headed wide at the far post as the Saxon mother’s son impolitely asked for a penalty.

Youngyellow card
Barnardyellow card


Crowe45 mins
Mansaram81 mins
Antoine-Curier46 mins


Lee Mason


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Jevons again! I hesitate to describe the build up as interplay, let’s just assume that Town employees conspired, with intent, to manoeuvre the latest in a long line of footballs to the feet of Phillip Jevons. He shimmied several ways and carefully curled a shot from the Town left to somewhere over the rainbow. I believe, yes I believe, that on this occasion the ball remained inside Blundell Park.

The referee, bored as he was, decided to wake up the locals with some daft decisions. Warhust stood still underneath the ball and was barged sideways. Clearly a free kick to Hartlepool. Ten seconds later over on their right a clear, clean tackle was deemed a cynical hack, and I don’t mean Geoff Ford. The free kick was dinked into the centre of the penalty area and Williams dimpled a little back header which managed to wobble a couple of inches wide of the right post as Fettis sat in the Pontoon and sucked on a thoughtful tooth. Around the same time there was a cross which went just past the right hand post. Wow.

With around 12 minutes left Coldicott was replaced by Mansaram, with Town changing to a 4-3-3 formation. Armstrong went into the centre of midfield with Barnard reverting to where he should have been all along. I haven’t mentioned Barnard much. He seemed to have wandered off to the nearest post box at half time, and sent his performance in by second class post. Actually, I’m not sure whether he remembered to put the stamp on. He fell over the ball near the corner of the Puddle penalty area, letting Boyd race off upfield. Barnard turned round and hacked Boyd down, Booked, lucky to be only that too.

With three minutes left Hartlepool got a corner, taken quickly and short on their right. Istead, on the corner of the penalty area, waited for the waddling Welshmen and surged past to the bye-line. He crossed to the near post, Fettis blocked put could not hold the ball. Up it popped and the Town defenders looked on as BOYD, a couple of yards out, toe poked the ball in. Flip, flap, bang, half the Town support got up and walked off.

In the last minute Monsieur Le Mansuramme twisted and turned, skipped past two defenders and was up-ended 30 yards out. The ball rolled to the English Mansaram, who squirmed through two defenders and, deep inside the area on the right, poked a shot towards goal. The goalkeeper seemed to knock the ball against the post and out for a corner. Who cares.

The tannoy announced that "The fourth official has indicated there is no hope." I jest, "Two minutes of added time". What’s the point? There were still some Town fans left in Blundell Park when the game officially ended, perhaps the ones without hoods or hats, sheltering from the storm.

Rotten, guileless, hopeless, clueless, think of a positive word and put "less" at the end. You get the drift. The weather was appalling, but that is only mitigation, so was the Town method. Method? What method. It isn’t unsound, there’s isn’t one at all. Humping the ball down field is not a method, someone should tell them that all that rugby will put hairs on their chest. Hartlepool were by no means scary, they were just OK, doing what they had to in the circumstances. They turned up, which is all that is required these days. Town were much better last September, in "that" game, as an attacking force.

Oh for those glorious, heady, golden days of the Rodger era, eh? So, so long ago, was it all a dream? Last month Town might score. Under Law, we hope we might not concede. The crowd have given up, silence tells more than a million cat-calls and boos. How many will return after two weeks of the dullest, gormless football seen for a very long time?

Nicko’s Man of the Match

If really, really pushed to name a name it would be half Jevons/half Coldicott - Stil Jevicott - simply because this amalgamation of brawn and beauty was the only entity to try, try and try again all afternoon. So it’s come to this, so quickly, lauding the ones who ran about most.

Markie’s Unman of the Match

For not being there, it has to be Stuart Campbell. The captain is supposed to remain on the sinking ship ‘til the last. He’s never done good things, he’s never done bad things, he’s never done anything out of the blue. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Official Warning

Mr L Mason. Almost an irrelevance, he could have called it off for health and safety reasons. That’s the mental health of the suffering Mariner masses. He had no idea really how to differentiate between fouls and falls, to understand the crazy meanderings caused by the wind. His bookings were, like the weather, a lottery. Into a big black velvet bag my hand goes and out comes the number 4.976.

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