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01/05 Brentford 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
AS usual Town came out a couple of minutes before the opposition, and were left standing around like lemons.
Grimsby Town 1 Brentford 0
Surrounded by defenders he spun and clipped a pass out to Hockless, near the corner of the penalty area. The defender, was mesmerised; terrified by the dancing shoes, he retreated. A couple of paces, a step over and Hockless hit a flat cross into the centre of the penalty area. RANKIN sprinted between two defenders and hurled himself at the ball, blurring it high into the centre left of goal as Nelson sailed into the sun. And the band began to play as Rankin ran off towards the open corner, swirling and hurling his shirt into the far distant sky. Count those chickens: Town are staying up.
A couple of minutes later Crane proved heâ€™s no Andy Todd. And who ever thought he was, eh? Campbell won a corner after a helter skelter run down the right, exchanging passes with Rankin inside the penalty area. Barnard curled the corner way, way beyond the far post to the totally an utterly unmarked Crane, just eight yards out. The crowd probably put him off by rising to exclaim their joy at a second gaol, for he horribly shinned the ball against his left leg before shuffling off stage left, pursued by a bear with a sore head. Should have been two up, game safe, points wrapped up, but no. We have time for worries, close your eyes Mr Crowe and the game will drift away.
At some stage in the last quarter of an hour Brentford managed not to score several times. One of their strikers suddenly swivelled just outside the Town area, on their left, and boomed a fizzing shot a couple of feet wide of the near post. Phew, where did that come from? Temperatureâ€™s rising, the fever is high. Shut those eyes and pray, they are off again, hounding, howling down the Town right. Whereâ€™s Crowe? A man free behind the defence, a cross, a block, scramble, scramble, angels one-five, donâ€™t panic, donâ€™t panic. Legs flailing, bodies tumbling, the Brentford fans roaring. A cross shot from their left, flashing through the area. Two Brentford players alone, missing, the third waiting at the far post. Calm down, Edwards is there. Again, more shambolic flappings: a cross from their left, a striker rising at the far post heading down. The ball bumbles, bombles, saunters across the face of goal. OK, weâ€™re sitting here waiting for any one of three Bees to pounce. Get it over with, end it all now. They didnâ€™t: the ball rolled past the post and Fettis plunged upon the bag of air.
So is this it then, is this the moment? Hockless curled a delightful pass down the left for Jevons to run onto, behind the defence. Nelson raced out of his goal and just managed to beat Jevons to the ball, clearing high upfield. The ball sailed down the middle, curling from right to left. Crowe stood and watched, Crane followed the flight of the ball and let it go. But Rhodes, a sub, didnâ€™t. He sprinted across from the left wing and, suddenly, he was free behind everyone, bearing down upon goal. Crowe eventually awoke from his siesta and sprinted across. Rhodes pulled back his right boot, Crowe dived across and Rhodes fell over Crowe. No penalty given, play waved on. What a fabtastic referee, how could anyone doubt him? With about five minutes left Brentford again appealed for a penalty as Barnard rose above one of their fair haired strikers and headed a throw in clear.
Town did have some attacks, with Nelson forced to parry a hard Campbell cross from his near post as Jevons flew across his eyeline. The ball went across the face of the goal, but straight to a Brentford defender. Lucky them. Ah, but you will want to know that the cross was preceded by some football: a wall pass to Rankin, who held off two defenders on the edge of the 6 yards box before slipping Campbell free. And, five minutes from the end, Campbell, on the centre left, picked up a loose ball about 40 yards out. No-one was moving, including the Brentford defence, so he just ran straight into the area, side stepped an eventual challenge and clipped a shot towards the top left hand corner. Nelson was again forced to fly across goal and punch the ball away for a corner. Another fine save weâ€™d gotten him into. Town decided to waste time from the corner and, as one would expect, didnâ€™t. It just gave Brentford a throw in. The last 5 minutes, and injury time, seemed to be taken up with Sonko launching long throws into the Town area. From one of these a little bloke was briefly free on the left, inside the Town area, but twisted and wafted a half volley against the scoreboard. Apart from that it was a big game of musical chairs inside the Town 6 yard box.
As added time ticked on loads of Town supporters surged past the stewards and lined the pitch, some running on while the ball was still in play. The referee took the hint and ended the game.
This game? Commitment in spades, and skill poked a tiny finger through the barbed wire very occasionally. It took Hockless to turn a grim scrap down Meggies into a work of art. Brentford were energetic and had a simple game plan. It isnâ€™t pleasant to watch though. And neither are Town, but at least we have some players who ignore the instructions and bring that little extra needed to turn curdling cream into gloriously tasty cheese.
So, there we are, fate supposedly in our own hands. How cruel, how typically Town, that the torment lasts forever. Just how much are we going to burble on about Chesterfieldâ€™s injury time penalty last month?
The appeal has been lodged, execution delayed for seven days.
Nickoâ€™s Edwards of the Match
Well, obviously, itâ€™s Edwards but, as thatâ€™s a given, who else was a score on the door? Rankin ran around a heck of a lot, exhausting himself with a will to succeed. As did Lawrence. But Stacy Coldicott gets the vote of the art bar strollers in the Pontoon, for a display of total, well, Coldicottness. We donâ€™t need him passing too much, we need him stopping the opposition. He did.
N Miller. Heading for the lowest score ever after 5 minutes with a series of decisions which barely aspired to incompetence, he just kept bagging those points. He ended up as our kind of referee (just donâ€™t expect anything inside the penalty area). So he gets 6.872. Iâ€™m sure heâ€™ll now sleep well.
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