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26/12 Macclesfield 2nd Half

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 28/12/2004

NEITHER side made any changes at half time, which dismayed many, especially as only nine Town players had run back out and Gordon had been conspicuous by his absence from the half time subs kick-a-bout. Jones and Bull finally trotted back on. There was a groan.

Home > 2004-2005 Season > Reports > Macclesfield (h)

Grimsby Town 0 Macclesfield Town 0
26 Dec 2004, Coca Cola League 2

Town kicked off and had a bit of vim about them. Within a minute Sestanovich had burned some rubber down the centre right and pummelled a fizzer a foot wide of the bottom left hand corner. That's post, not corner flag. Next minute, Town played defensive dingbats, Rob Jones missed the ball on the left, Joey Jones trundled on into the area and sliced a shot high into the Osmond Stand, upsetting a snoozzing steward. It's like a tombola of old Liverpool full backs out there.

On came Tommy Widdrington after about 10 or so minutes. Is the game so dull they have to bring on the pantomime villain early? And what is the first thing he did? The Len Ganley stance: arms out straight, rigid as a juggernaut. The point of Widdrington is to point, of course. And be booed when he enters the Mariners world. He was, and we felt better for it. Behind you Fleming! And the second thing Widdo diddo was to pass directly to McDermott. He never did that when he played for us.

Parky, remember him? Wriggled and waggled, dinkled and dankled a pass forward towards goal from the centre right edge of the penalty area. Bodies fell, Bull flew, the ball grazed an orange thigh and slipped a few inches wide of the left post. Jones had a free header from the corner. On the penalty spot, rising, nodding, rubbing his face as it sailed a few inches wide of the left angle of post and crossbar.

Oh look they have a Tommy Rooney. Do you think fourth division managers have sussed our collective quiver at the sight of Tommy Mooney in the opposition team? We're not that phonetically challenged. Are they still playing? Am I still awake? Are you? Why?

Woo, Gritton, stripping his marker, striking a super cross from the left bye-line. Fleming surged forward, stretched and volleyed way over from just the six yards out. At that very point Gritton realised what he'd got himself into. You could see it in his face, colour draining away, eyes inevitably rolling skywards. One agent about to be sacked.

Them? Yes, they were still alive. Sheron cracked a low drive toward Williams' right hand post. As usual Williams dropped it, but someone cleared up the doodoo. Tipton, I think, slammed a terrific drive from just inside the left corner of the penalty area. Williams plunged left and tipped aside. Good save. Sheron side-footed staright at Williams when a corner dropped nicely to him ten yards out. All this happened in a three or four minute spell where Town disintegrated at the back, Macclads piling in for corner after corner, cross after cross, cow after cow. Crowe panicked a clearance out of Williams' hands after a bit if bobblage and hobblage. Crowd growling, calling for Deano and Pinault. How long gone? Seventy minutes! Doesn't time creak. Reddy waited for ages before being released into the wild, replacing Parkinson. No-one seemed to moan about Parky going off.

Immediately Town were more of a threat; mobility, a bit of the old je ne sais quoi. Pace, power, aggression, some strength, some skill. Reddy and Gritton played like a pair of strikers, menacing Macc, releasing Macca, who crossed. Bull flannelled about, minor mayhem, no chances. Twisting, turning, pulling the centre backs hither and thither. Bull free, Bull crossed, Reddy flicked at the near post. The ball looped loopily, lazily, longingly over Wilson, onto the top of the crossbar and down beyond the far post. Macca raced forward imploring Gritton to get outta the way, but the Gritster tried a spectacular overhead kick which ended up as a clearance for a goal kick. Sestanovich, another 7 year run past the 12 legions of Sparta, shooting wide of the right hand post. Town pegging them back, at last looking like shooting, even getting some on target.

Anthony Williams
Justin Whittle
Terrell Forbes
Rob Jones
John McDermott
Terry Fleming
Jason Crowe
Ronnie Bullyellow card
Ashley Sestanovich
Martin Gritton
Andy Parkinson


Michael Reddy72 mins
Stacy Coldicott
Dean Gordon
Colin Cramb
Thomas Pinault


Phil Joslin


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A Bull shot, slowly curling into Wilson's midriff. Crowe bursting, Fleming barging. Almost through, never with that control! Why does the ball always end up at Fleming on the edge of the box? A scuffler wide, a dribbler into orange ankles, Fleming here there and everywhere. Time ticking away, more points squeezed through the sieve of despair.

Oh go on, here it is. Like ice in a drink, invisible ink, or dreams in the cold light of day. Here comes the judge. Last minute tipping, tapping, Town exposed on the right. Potter free, Potter crossed, Harsley strolled in unmarked and headed straight at Williams from about eight yards out, right in the centre. Hah, been trained well, all those days training with Town weren't wasted then.

There were three minutes of added time, which was a bit mean considering all the stoppages and time wasting. And in this period Town went mad again. Actually attacking. Gritton sumptuously swung away from his marker in the centre, swayed left and clipped a shot through the defenders' legs, and across the face of goal from just outside the area. Crowe surged into the area on the left after Jones dribbled forward, cut inside the defender and, from about a dozen yards out, curled the ball around Wilson. All stopped, all watched, one could almost hear the ball cut through the cooling air. Smack, against the underside of the crossbar, and bouncing a foot or so onfield by the left hand post. Macca attacked, retrieved and possession was retained. A cross, male bombling, ball squirmed out, Fleming sweeping forward and felled on the edge of the area. Reddy pursuing the loose ball in the area, unmarked...but the referee gave Town a free kick. A solid wall of glaring orange faced Sestanovich, who belted the ball against a hand in the wall, belted the rebound back against another chunk of Cheshire cheese and the game ended.

Cue unhappy Grimbarians sulking out of the ground to the ominous sound of silence. It isn't the so-called boo boys that sound a death knell. It's the lack of passion in the Pontoon, that's what Fenty should fear. The bums won't sit on seats if this continues. It's not just about the position in the league, it's the layers of competence being stripped away, game by game, the paucity of ambition in each game. The boos at the end were for the Sponsors' Man of the Match decision. Irony can be taken too far, it travels round the globe and comes round again to kick you up the backside.

Of the players, well, Gritton was working up a fever in this one horse Town. He didn't have a lot of what you might call "luck", but he had a lot of "get-up-'n-go". Interesting player, what Reddy isn't quite, but when the two were together there was the glimmer of hope. Gritton worked as hard as Parkinson, had the fleet of foot and touch of Reddy and the footballing intelligence of Cramb. Whittle had a stonkingly poor game, slow footed, slow witted; a series of errors, especially in the first half had the sheathed knives dangling. Clearing against Parkin's backside when inside Town's six yard box was a highlight, as was the time McDermott, pursued by a striker, chased a ball down the wing, back towards the Town corner flag. He kept it in and passed back to Whittle, who promptly leathered it out of play two yards further upfield. Lord Macc-the-Knife was displeased, raising an eyebrow in the direction of the Hull hacker. The rest of 'em played to their annoyances rather than strengths. Forbes sleepwalked through half the game, Bull had no idea how to defend, Crowe occupied space and was infrequently conspicuous inside their area. Fleming was his usual self and Sestanovich liked the posing aspect of being the designated playmaker, forgetting the bit about passing to team mates.

Town were designed to stop Macclesfield. On that level it was a success. That's aiming lower than a Whittle punt and not what the dwindling denizens demand.

Here's to Town's future now, it's only just begun. Is that a curse or a blessing?

Nicko's Man of the Match

It was NOT Rob Jones. In no way, whatsoever. Really just two candidates, Mr Macca and Mr Gritton, McDermott was reliably Maccaresque, being in some marvellous positions upfield, thwarted by his team mates' dank dimness. Feeling unusually jolly and with Grimsby goodwill Martin Gritton is launched on the shoulders of pygmies for offering us something to look forward to.

Official Warning

Mr P Joslin. Extremely fussy, he kept getting in the way, determined to stop play. The drop ball on the edge of the Macc area, when their player was injured several yards away to the right, was funny. His refusal to play advantage was infuriating. He looked like he didn't want to make a "big" decision, and was therefore not to be trusted. The cosine of the inverted angle of competence suggests a score of 4.341. And who am I to disagree with science like that?

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