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08/10 Northampton 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NO changes were made by either team at half time. They kicked off, some spectators nodded off. After a couple of minutes or so something happened down at the other end which made their fans say "oooh".
Northampton Town 0 Grimsby Town 1
Breaking quickly, Cramb the catalyst, Pinault the hub around which the wheel turned. One-twos, a wiggle and Sestanovich gliding across the turf down the right. Three defenders shuffled like umpa-lumpas in front of him, whilst Sestan got out his theodolite, which heâ€™d secreted in his back pocket, and surveyed the scene. He looked up, wiggled his bottom just one more time and, from about 20 yards out, wide of the penalty area, curled a dipping fizzer over the goalkeeper and against the top of the crossbar. A few minutes later Sestanovich did an audacious waist high back-heeled volley to Pinault, who immediately flicked and tricked the ball out to Parkinson. Sit down: he kicked it against a defender whilst others raced up in support. Parkinson again, drivelling a low shot straight at Rachubka from 25 yards. He should have passed to one of the hordes of Mariners racing across the Northamptonshire Steppes.
Still Northampton, errr, had the ball occasionally. Chuckle if you must, but they had another shot. Wide, high, distinctly dreadful. Williams was dying of boredom. Not now though. The referee took pity upon the locals, perhaps feeling a little guilty that he hadnâ€™t awarded them any free kicks. Whittle was booked for winning the ball against two strikers. They fouled each other, Whittle headed the ball, they got a free kick and it was marched forward ten yards. He probably got booked for kicking the ball away rather than the supposed foul. What happened at this free kick. Nothing. Oo, and another one....nope, no danger. We noticed that their left back had his name spelt oddly. Jaszczun. Mmmm, maybe the Registrar was drunk. With about 10 minutes left they took off Smith and brought on J K Galbraith, perhaps attempting to nullify Pinault through the concept of countervailing power. Whatever, he didnâ€™t do anything. For Northampton it was the bland leaving the bland.
Northampton continued to pass with little purpose, and cross with little accuracy. A Gordon flick header averted danger and one of their midfielders flipped a free kick from about 20 yards just over the bar, the ball riffling the top of the net as it stopped. Has Williams touched the ball with his hands in this half?. Another Town attack, thatâ€™s nice. Quick flicks, neat feet, Parkinson sent free, Gordon overlapping, Cramb unmarked...Parkinson managed to cross onto just about the only defenderâ€™s head. There were other defenders, but they were headless at this point. Itâ€™s a nil-niller isnâ€™t it, or one of those daft late defeats that is part of our genetic make up.
La-di-dah, Northampton trundling off down the other end. Here it is? No, another rubbish cross. How long left then? Five minutes, plenty of time to... oh, a free kick to Town about 30 yards out on the right. Err, why? Who cares? Letâ€™s see action. Pinault stood alone over the ball, waving away the rosbifs. He curled the ball low into the area. It skidded off the grass and no-one seemed to be moving. What a waste, typical Town. GORDON, about a dozen yards out at the far post, threw himself forward, wrestling a crocodile at the same time, and thundered a diving header goalwards. Rachubka only managed to parry the ball against the underside of the crossbar and there its was, in the net. Itâ€™s what is known in "the game" as "a goal". Itâ€™s the sort of thing that makes you take the world in a love embrace.
And the Cobblers stopped being so cobblers. They threw the ball forward, upped the pace, upped the intensity. Sabin flicked a header a yard wide, Coldicott gave away a free kick by diving across, feet first, just 20 yards out in the centre to stop Low after he drifted past four Town players. The free kick hit the wall, the rebound was looped very wide, very weakly. Another free kick, another weak effort. Three minutes of added time were added , but Northampton needed three years, they never looked like scoring. To score you have to shoot, and on target. If all movement is accomplished in six stages, they were on number one: get up, get out of bed, drag a comb across your head. The last kick of the game summed it all up, a pumped-up cross and Whittle majestically flying above the molten earth to scream a header away.
Another win on Russâ€™s magical mystery tour, where satisfaction is sometimes guaranteed. By jove I think weâ€™ve found the elixir of youth. Donâ€™t bother playing well, thatâ€™s the road to perdition. Play rubbish and win. Thatâ€™s the secret formula. You want to know about the players? Great performance was it? I have rather glossed over some terrible mistakes by Dean Gordon, he welched out of two tackles, was frequently awfully positioned and turned upside down by Low, but he did score so heâ€™s let off being UnMan of the Match. Parkinson was not worth the paper his names is written on. He tried, he always tries, but succeeded with nothing. The rest were versions of adequate ranging from alright (Coldicott and Fleming) to really quite good (Crowe and Pinault). Yes, even the bandageless Reddy did what he was supposed to do.
Donâ€™t bother trying to buy the video of this game, the resultâ€™s the thing. If any team deserved the victory then it was Town, but only in the sense that we deserved to draw more than they deserved not to lose. Itâ€™s nice to creep up the league unnoticed, waiting in the shadows, observing the alley cats fighting amongst themselves. Letâ€™s let â€˜em tear their hair out, but letâ€™s not stroke our new fur coat too much. We donâ€™t want to be the cats who licked themselves to death. We did that last year.
Not bad so far.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Jason Crowe was a human dynamo up and down, up and down, up and down the wing, but he loses points for style, or lack of it. What a rubbish dive at the end of the first half. No, no, no, thrice I say no. Iâ€™ll have no truck with transit vans and people carriers, itâ€™s the 12-wheel articulated lorry for me. Mr Justin Whittle, faultless in defence and only a couple of "Hull balls" whacked down the pitch towards the Ferrensway flyover.
Mr L Mason. Unusually Town-friendly for most of the game, his little errors were merely irritating, like the free kick where Whittle got booked, but overall a perfectly acceptable non-homer. What other score-dooring than 6.263 will do? Well, none.
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