Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
04/09 Rochdale 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NO changes were made by either team at half time. Rochdale had the ball for five minutes. Nothing happened. The growls started. Russ hadnâ€™t heard the Grimsby grumble before, heâ€™ll have to get used to it if he canâ€™t enthuse his players to move their limbs.
Grimsby Town 0 Rochdale 1
Erm, I just lost 10 minutes of my life.
At some point Williams flapped at a corner, or was it a cross. Well, something or other. The ball was in the air and he missed it. Par for he course. You know, he hadnâ€™t had to make a proper save yet. And neither had Edwards either. Are you interested in Gordonâ€™s 40 yard dribbler? If you are, you shouldnâ€™t be. What about Williamsâ€™ shot? You are? Well, Williams had a shot. He miss-controlled the ball through three tackles in the middle, about 30 yards out and rather panicked when heâ€™d got to the edge of the penalty area. There was a big space for him to aim precisely, but he hit a hurried shot which wobbled straight into Edwardsâ€™ stomach. Hurrah, Edwards had to make a save! One where he didnâ€™t have enough time to bake some scones and ring his Auntie Maureen to apologise for forgetting her birthday. With 13 minutes left Ramsden was replaced by Coldicott. Townâ€™s formation changed. There appeared to be four at the back, though whether this was a reality only the gnomes of Zurich can tell. The rest of the team was some people up front generally, and some in the middle, sort of.
A couple of minutes after the substitution the perils of Pauline struck. The Town defence widdled about passing sideways to each other just inside the Town half. The ball was eventually rolled back to Williams, who did an appalling fly kick straight to Clarke, just inside the Town half. The ball was lofted back over the top of the Town defence, dropping around Whittle on the centre right. Jibbering Justin allowed the ball to bounce behind him and HOLT bundled past, chested the ball down and cracked a low drive across Williams and into the bottom left hand corner from just inside the penalty area.
Reddyâ€™s bandage slipped even further from shin to ankle, accurately reflecting the mood. A mark of respect in a period of mourning.
The growls morphed into grumbles and groans, especially as Town players suddenly became incapable of controlling the ball. McDermott was the most guilty, having a personal disaster, matched in his dreadfulness by Crowe, who wasnâ€™t even running quickly in a straight line any more. If he canâ€™t do that, what else is there to his game?
Sure, Town threw the ball and bodies forward. There were frequent moments of potentially almost shots. But it was clueless, shapeless, desperate fourth division nonsense. Creativity eschewed in favour of fervour. Reddy, at last, ran quickly, bulldozing past a defender on the left, surging in to the area. All alone, naturally. He awaited the cavalry, but the Rochdale Cowboys were there en mass, snuffing out danger through sheer weight, and weight of numbers. Pressure mounted, crosses were twittered, shots were not made as players timidly sought to pass the buck, and the ball. Town crosses were cleared, and cleared again, and Coldicott lofted the ball over the top as the Rochdale defence hung around the edge of the penalty area like disaffected youth on the village green. Theyâ€™ll be driving knackered old Escorts around Town next. The ball bounced free, Parkinson turned and flashed his right boot at the ball. A free shot, eight yards out and just wide of goal. Sit down and duck at the back of the Pontoon. The ball swayed off his left boot, curling, curving, cavorting into the darkest regions of the stand. A Pinault corner from the left curled into the near post, straight to Reddy, just five yards out. Reddy seemed surprised and was easily outjumped by Burgess. Rochdale broke away but wasted the chance to stick the stilettoed boot in to the complacent underbelly of Town.
In the last minute Williams was tickled free down the centre right. Inside the area he turned and completely miss-hit a cross, or was it a shot. The ball looped up soft and gentle, like fairy liquid, bouncing like a baby onto the top of the crossbar. If you wish, you can convince yourself that Town were unlucky, hitting the woodwork in the last minute. Itâ€™s up to you, but stand by for someone calling you a fool if you do.
It ended. The players trouped off as the supporters turned their backs and walked out without comment. Town had been pathetic, by a zillion miles the worst performance of the season. Many of the forward players were either injured or too cocky, conserving their energy for greater foes. The Town players seemed to take Rochdale far too lightly and were unable to match their opponents for concerted effort or connected team work. A team of very, very ordinary individuals stuck to a limited game plan and triumphed. In short, they did to us what Town have done for years to teams like Birmingham and Wolves. Keep it tight, bore the pants off â€˜em and you may be lucky. Canâ€™t blame â€˜em for that, but we can blame our players.
I suppose Town were due a stinker. We can only hope that any smug self-satisfaction about the overwhelming superiority of Grimsby Town has been launched up their collective derriÃ¨re, like an enema.
Town got what they deserved. Now we fans deserve something back in return for our patience.
Bored after reading all that? Well, you now know what it felt to watch it. Pain should be shared.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Only two candidates Pinault, the occasional flashing blade, and Ramsden for another calm display. This time the secret cabal has voted for Simon Ramsden. The moment he walked off, we conceded. It rather speaks for itself that one, doesnâ€™t it.
Markies Unmen of the Match
A joint award to McDermott and Crowe. They were terrible. Poor Johnnie, one bad game when youâ€™re 35 is enough for the doubters to squeal. Crowe had no redeeming qualities today. He doesnâ€™t know why left foot is attached to his body.
Mr A Woolmer. Oddly a few people called him Phillip Norton, but as the programme says it was Mr Woolmer, Iâ€™ll stick with that. Itâ€™s not easy being green, I know, but he was a bit rubbish.
Not a relevant presence for the first 30 minutes he suddenly woke up and decided to inject some life into the proceedings by making some daft decisions. Booking Whittle being the most obviously stupid decision. And how do you play advantage? See a foul on the half way line, let play continue then give the foul when Rochdale kick the ball out for a Town corner? The Spotlanders in the Osmond moaned a bit too; canâ€™t remember why and frankly, my dear, I donâ€™t give a Galli. In the modern age, numbers are important. My random number generator comes out with the following: 4.754. The bonus number this week is 0.008. There was one lucky winner in the Blundell Park lottery.
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