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08/05 Tranmere 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
TRANMERE replaced Beresford with Big Dadi at half time. Oh dear. Horrible, horrible, terrible, awful. What kind of team talk had Fester the Bogeyman given? Town were incapable of passing to each other, and were static spectators as Tranmere buzzed around.
Tranmere Rovers 2 Grimsby Town 1
In the 66th minute Hockless replaced Mansaram with Jevons....oh, you know the bit that follows. Hockless immediately upped the pace and won a corner with some tomfool-trickery on the left. Shrug if you want to, nothing happened from the corner.
Town . What were they? Shocking, desperate, a mess, route one dross. Hoping and wishing and praying. A Rankin flick, a Jevons nod. Nearly, almost, maybe, never. The imperious Goodison had Rankin within his sphere of influence. Try as he may, and he did - boy did he try - Rankin was simply unable. Add any word you want, but Rankin couldnâ€™t do anything. Jevons flittered and flattered, dancing feet and no substance, his usual centre forward performance. With some of the players the more they give, the less you get. And the same for the fans; the more we implored, exhorted, demanded, pleaded, the less Town produced. Whatâ€™s the use of trying, all you get is pain. Are you still a believer?
If anything Tranmere, yes 10 man happy holiday Tranmere , looked the more likely to score. Town didnâ€™t have a defence, just the occasional bloke standing about at the back. Edwards and Young seemed to be permanently up field. While the cats were away Hume was at play, shooting straight at Fettis from the edge of the area. More attacks down the wings, more crosses; Shirley Crabtree a menace, a showboating fancy flicker on a different plain to the Town team. Hume and Dadi were superior. A shot over the bar, a shot from the left, a shot from the right; letâ€™s go to Tranmere again sometime.
At some point the Tranmere fans claimed handball against Edwards when he shuffled a huge drop kick back to Fettis. Thatâ€™s just being greedy, isnâ€™t it. They must have realised that weâ€™d come to spoil our own party: they didnâ€™t have to do it for us.
Pump it up, pump it long. Hoof, hoof, hoof. Campbell fouled, Campbell jostling, Barnard rolled the free kick towards Crowe on the edge of the area. Let it go! Hockless lurked in the middle waiting, but Crowe drumbled a left foot shot straight at Achterberg. Without power, without direction, without hope. With about 10 minutes left, suddenly hope: Hockless in space gambolling towards goal. About 25 yards out he let rip; the ball wobbled, Achterberg wibbled and spectacularly punched the ball aside, just past Edwards. Retrieved, the ball was swished back to ... Young on the wing, who sidestepped, twisted and clipped a dangerous cross into the centre. So thatâ€™s the two centre backs being the creative soul of the team eh?
As the minutes ticked by the mood sank lower and lower and lower. Even with ten men Tranmere were individually and collectively superior. They passed the ball to each other. And moved. Didnâ€™t we used to do that? Barnard smacked a shot through the area, cleared away from goal near the line. Barnard squelching a free kick from about 30 yards straight at the â€˜keeper. Hockless almost tip-toed Jevons free, but a giant Wirral boot saved their day from a pin prick of embarrassment. With a couple of minutes left Campbell was replaced by Anderson., who immediately outfought a defender for a long ball, seared in to the penalty area and crossed into the near post. Straight in Achterbergâ€™s arms.
"Nicky, Nicky give us a wave." Goodbye.
For the sake of completeness you may want to know that Fettis made a save at the end when some Tranmere bloke cut in from their right and shot towards his near post. They probably had some other shots too, but the concrete floor suddenly had a strange fascination.
The whistle blew and we all knew. Weâ€™d heard the news today, oh boy. And the news was rather sad. It was only the Tranmere fans who had to laugh. In typical Town fashion hope clings like a virulent virus, striking at the very last when things just might be turning out fine, despite everything.
Strung out behind us were the banners and flags proclaiming defiance but the Town team, like the season, lies in tatters and rags. All our pretensions laid bare: weâ€™re back in the third, we ARE a third division team. Once upon a time we were dragged up from the gutter through tough love, and now weâ€™re back in it like a recidivist, an alcoholic. You donâ€™t know what youâ€™ve got â€˜til itâ€™s gone.
Still, weâ€™ll be back. Somewhere, someday, somehow.
Nickoâ€™s Edwards of the Match
Finally, always and forever, Mike Edwards: a foot, a head, whatever body part needed, it was there. Young Young was okay beside him, but Edwards bestrode the match, the season, this tortuous, treacherous pregnant season.
Mr C Penton. Mr Penton at Prenton? How fishy. Rather wobbled over Taylorâ€™s last man scythe on Rankin, but made up for it later. Tranmere fans complained a lot, probably to keep them going over the duller summer months, but he wasnâ€™t that bad. They would probably describe him as egregious. Adequate and worthy of a seasonally adjusted 6.251.
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