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03/04 Sheff Wed 2nd Half

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 04/04/2004

TOWN came out and stood around waiting for Wednesday. And waited. And waited. Perhaps they were watching the Grand National? Perhaps they were securing the guy ropes for the big orange barrage balloon they wheeled out into the goalmouth. How does Pressman, the Mr Creosote of football, do it?

Home > 2003-2004 Season > Reports > Sheff Wed (h)

Grimsby Town 2 Sheffield Wednesday 0
03 Apr 2004, Nationwide League Division 2

He gets bigger every year. Didn’t Sheffield United once have Fatty Foulkes in goal? Is portly Pressman aiming to be the 21st Century equivalent. He’ll be swinging on crossbars next.

What else happened? Wait, wait, I’m computing the data. Sensors indicate that planet football is a barren landscape, all life forms were terminated by a catastrophic event, known by the inhabitants as half time.

Doodle, whittle, do anything you wish to pass the time - we did. It wasn’t boring, there was atmosphere, the Town fans slowly stirring, regaining the confidence to taunt the blood brothers from the West. But nothing of any consequence happened. Town sat back, relying on their strength: rock solid defending. Whoops, I’ve had one of those acid flashbacks again, to the heady fin de siècle days of the Lawsless ‘90s. A couple of minutes into the half Rankin bullied his way through the centre right, knocking the ball past the last man, Smith, who leant down and rolled Isaiah up and over his shoulder, doing a double piked somersault. Not even booked. The free kick, err, faded from memory banks even before it was taken.

The game was all Wednesday, embarrassed into the illusion of trying before their silently seething supporters - if one ignores the Burberry capped ones bouncing on the temporary seating, who were more interested in singing to their chums in the Lower Smiths/Stones/Findus. But the Owls fluttered to deceive. Hang on, here comes the judge, bizarrely awarding a free kick against Edwards for handball, when it clearly hit his shoulder. Well, they’d learned from Town and they did ask very politely. Brunt, right in the centre on the edge of the area smacked the ball against the wall. Wasn’t worth waking you up for, was it?

Proudlock dived inside the penalty area, no penalty, not even a finger wag from the referee. Ah well, who cares, the game has long been won, we are just waiting to go home. Antoine-Curier had a couple of almost moments, trabunding down the left, in space, hopes high, hopes dashed. He just will not use his left foot, checking back, passing back, the moments frittered away as Town players slowed to walking pace, movement non-existent. It was as if the Town players were transfixed with fear that attacking was the wrong thing to do. Antoine-Curier made a third hash of a chance to breakaway then BANG, a clash of heads, Monsieur Hulot and Geary lying face down in the dirt. They resumed, but a couple of minutes later A-C collapsed in a heap inside the Wednesday half. Play continued on and on and on. The referee ignored the prostrate Frenchman and Wednesday players refused to kick the ball out of play, which infuriated Coldicott. Crowe eventually kicked the ball out of play and then Wednesday didn’t throw the ball back to Town, further angering the artisans. Antoine-Curier was stretchered off and replaced by Rowan after about 65 minutes. Wednesday took off Mustoe and Cooke at the same time. Cooke? Cooke? Didn’t Town once have a really popular player by that name? Couldn’t have been the same one, this one was Campbellian in his invisibility and ineffectualness.

Still no shots to tell you about.

Another Wednesday player dived inside the penalty area and was booked. What a rubbish dive.

There really isn’t any point in carrying on with this game, they aren’t going to score, and we aren’t trying to.

Cranegoalyellow card
Croweyellow card


Antoine-Curier38 mins
Rowan67 mins


Philip Dowd


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Hang on a tick. Another Wednesday free kick 30 yards out, flung to the far post, flicked away for a corner by Rowan. Shall we say oooh just for the sake of it? Are Town going to attack again? I moaned too soon, for with quarter of an hour left Town played some football. Anderson on the wing flicked the ball infield to Coldicott, who hit a dinking curler down the right touchline. Rowan hared after the ball and, near the corner flag, twisted and slapped a cross into the near post. Rankin, on the corner of the 6 yards box, nipped in front of the centre back, turned, shimmied to the bye-line and hit a brilliant cross to the unmarked Jevons at the far post, seven yards out. The barrage balloon hoved into view and Jevons headed firmly, but an inch or two over the crossbar. That woke us from our slumbers.

Have Wednesday had a shot yet? From open play I mean, not one of Brunt’s free kicks? Well, had they? Ah, you sneer too soon, for a bit of bumblage inside the Town area following either a long throw or a free kick resulted in the ball falling to Proudlock about 10 yards out. Not one Sheffield supporter made any movement that indicated excitement, hope, or expectation. They know their players. Proudlock slipped and slapped a shot into the ground and yards wide of the left hand post. Silence from 2,400 Sheffielders, sniggers from 4,200 Grimbarians. But behind our sarcasm desperate memories lie. Did Wednesday do anything else? Not really, there was a cross which was scootered away from Chambers by Crowe at the far post as it drifted through the 6 yards box.

Town had one more effort, with about six or seven minutes left. Anderson received the ball 25 yards out, swished infield, and flicked a pass forward to Rankin, about 12 yards out. Rankin fell as he laid the ball back to Jevons, who fell as he miss-hit a shot which lollopped high and mighty, dropping a 8 yards wide, and a foot over the bye-line.

That’s it, go home, be happy. You can still worry though. There was nothing here to cause any concern, nor to fill more than 30 seconds of any John and Roly’s highlights video. Town at least looked like a team, but it is difficult to gauge how much of the victory, or comfort, was down to the paucity of professionalism from the Sheffield Hillyboroughies . Still, it was nice to see some of the old timers come back, you know, players we had in August.

In this league of very ordinary gentlemen the mundane is sometimes something to aspire to. Wearisome wins are better than dire defeats or demented draws. Just another twelvety points needed.

Nice to smile again though, isn’t it.

Nicko’s Man of the Match

Coldicott ran around a lot, battling, buzzing and sawing off several Sheffield legs. Ford had another one of his excellent returning from injury games, and Crane headed the ball a lot. But Town fans know one thing, and one thing above all this season, the best defender is MIKE EDWARDS, a rock standing out in an ocean of doubt. He returns and Town defend properly.

Official Warning

P Dowd. Extremely erratic, the big decisions he got right, but all the little ones were way off. For not giving Wednesday penalties for obvious diving - 2 points each. For sending off N-N - 2 points. For not booking for crude upendings by Mustoe and Smith - minus 1 point each. For turning up on the right day - 0.427 points. Now factor in the imaginary inverse co-efficient of competence, otherwise known as Plonker’s constant, brought forward from last season, and we have 5.999992.

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