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07/08 Darlington Part 2
By: Tony Butcher
DARLINGTON kicked off towards the Town fans. Woah, woah, woah. Steady on, calm down, a false start. Parkinson was so eager he tackled them before kick-off. Weâ€™ll try again shall we.
Darlington 1 Grimsby Town 0
The goal a-gaping, he leant back and thought of his goal bonus awaiting transfer into his current account. He cleverly steered the ball several yards over the bar, soaking in the adoration of the Town fans, or something similar.
The Darlington pressure was all self-induced by Town, for no attempt was made to keep possession. Defenders headed when they could have chested, the goalkeeper wellied the ball up to Parky, possession lost every time. Was it ever gained in such circumstances?
Another welly, a Darlo mistake and the ball at Sestanovichâ€™s feet. The Quakers quaked as the colossus strode imperiously forward. Like a collection of dancing Gallimores, they backed off in synchronised unison, allowing Ashley to pass sideways into a huge, huge gap. Fleming awaited the ball. And waited. Some people, tired of waiting, finished off the crossword. Eventually Fleming thwacked a low left-footed shot from the centre, just outside the penalty area. The ball zoomed towards the bottom left hand corner, Russell zoomed to the same spot and saved well.
A minute or so later Town should have scored. A Darlington player tried to be clever on their left touchline, about 10 yards from the half way line. Sestanovich blocked out the sun and blocked the panicking pummel upfield. The ball rebounded down the line and Sestan ran after it. You could hear the hoofbeats pound as he raced across the ground, and the clatter of the wheels as his mind spun round and round. The Town fans rose, awaiting glory for the new hero. He awaited the arrival of the goalkeeper and, from about a dozen yard out and wide of goal, drew back his foot and...several hundred Town fans sat down. The ball was rolling across the open goal towards an unmarked Town player...to Mansaram, who scuffled a shot goalwards. Russell appeared from nowhere and diverted the ball away for a corner. It was an exceptional piece of goalkeeping, but there is no hiding place for the Donny Dazzler. Sestanovich should know by now not to tempt Mansaram with his treacle tarts.
And, again, another nearly moment. Parkinson almost free, but the ball bounced and Liddle pounced, danger trounced. Itâ€™s hot, isnâ€™t it? Too right, for as a Darlington player received some treatment for a knock the referee and players sprinted over to the touchline and had a drinks break. Itâ€™s just not cricket, or basketball.
OO-la-la, câ€™est Pinault. He mugged a Darlington midfielder and pinged a perfect pass a full 40 yards right onto Croweâ€™s big toe. Bullet-boy vroomed forward, cut infield by lifting the ball over the full back and was free inside the box, perhaps 15 yards out. The whole area was denuded of Darlington defenders. Russell was affixed to his line, Crowe ignored the two free Town strikers and lobbed a left foot shot straight at Sam Russell, who caught it underneath the crossbar.
Any other action as we dribbled towards siesta time? Williams got himself in a tither when a Darlington player got to the bye-line on their right and chipped the ball across the face of goal, the ball dipped and bounced a yard beyond the far post. Williams came out and missed a punch, with the ball being headed back to him by a perplexed hoop. And in added time Sestanovich did the Sestanovich thing of holding off a thousand opponents when cutting in from the right before slapping a low fizzer goalwards. The ball nudged along the side netting as it passed Go without collecting Â£200.
Half time: Darlington 0 Grimsby Town 0
And then it was time for a chocolate-scented water and hot crusty bakes. Overall not too bad; Town looked very dangerous when they managed to get the ball in the opponentsâ€™ half, especially through Sestanovich. Parkinson was a pest, Mansaram almost effective, Pinault could pass, and I do recall Fleming being on, or around, the ball at some stage. The defence was generally adequate, with Jones the pick. Whittle spent his time ushering inaccurate Darlington punts out of play for goalkicks. He ushered in falling stages, like the pictures you see on the side of step-ladders with a big red cross over them. No need to call the doctor yet.
Town could have been losing, but should have been winning, but werenâ€™t. Back to some kind of Town-ness already.
Stu's Half Time Toilet Talk
"The steward down there looks like Peter Levy."
The report continues in the Second Half.
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