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12/02 Shrewsbury 2nd Half

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 13/02/2005

WHERE are we? Cleethorpes, still only in Cleethorpes. Some day this season’s gonna end.

Home > 2004-2005 Season > Reports > Shrewsbury (a)

Grimsby Town 0 Shrewsbury Town 1
12 Feb 2005, Coca Cola League 2

Neither team made any changes at half time, and Town immediately surrendered possession with a hopeful punt and some abstract dibblings around Parkinson’s shins. Perhaps he’s a conceptual artist, not a footballer. He’s actually living his art, it’s a satire on the vacuous nature of modern celebrity.

The sun came out, as did a semblance of Town-ness.

This is better, well sort of. A chip down the right saw Reddy sprint away, hassling the centre back into missing an attempted knock into touch. Reddy bundled forward, barged into the box, bore down on goal and, from a narrow angle inside the six yards box, nut-megged the sprawling ‘keeper. The ball travelled through the keyhole, deflecting wide off the back of his studs. The corner was curled out towards the penalty spot and a glancing looper arced towards the top right corner. Goalkeeper, defenders and Ramsden leapt up, the ball swerved an inch past the post. Worth an ooh.

And off Shrews went, squirreling upfield at pace, in numbers. They had to be stopped, they were, a free kick 30 or so yards out. Punted in, some tubby bloke headed over, probably Langmead as he was the bulkiest of the big blokes.

Back came Town, Hockless nobbled free, advancing at pace down the centre. Two defenders converged, the jaws of a great white shark clamping down upon the little sprat. Hockless jumped up and the defenders cracked into each other. Town got the free kick for one defender fouling the other. Hockless brushed aside tentative Gallic attempts to conduct the symphony and fair whacked a drive through the wall and straight at Howie’s head. He patter-caked it down, munched a pain au chocolat and supped his latte before Town strikers arrived.

Reddy again, raring, revving, revolving down the right, bullying past two defenders, crossing for….no-one. He gave a look that could have lasted years. So did we.

Now wasn’t that better, more in five minutes than in the previous 45. Do you think he shouted at them at half time?

Has Parkinson done anything at all today? Get him off, get him off now. Ah, uh-hum, great play by Parkinson. A Shrewsbury corner half cleared to the edge of the Town penalty area. Parkinson collected the ball and dribbled upfield down the centre, to the left, drawing defenders on his sketch pad as he went. Onwards, ever onwards up to the edge of their box, drifting back to the centre, Fleming and Hockless in support. Alas, poor Andy, we know him so well. He delayed his pass, allowing Fleming to wander offside. So much promise, so little delivery. Some more Town pressure; a corner, flighted badly, Shrews breaking. Danger, danger, three against two, Rodgers sucking in, tucking away a shot which riffled low straight at Williams.

"All stewards go to their posts". Uh? Just about the only thing that got us all on our feet in hopeful anticipation of some action.

Anthony Williams
John McDermott
Terrell Forbes
Simon Ramsden
Ronnie Bullyellow card
Andy Parkinson
Thomas Pinault
Terry Fleming
Graham Hockless
Martin Gritton
Michael Reddy


Greg Young
Tony Crane
Glen Downey
Danny North
Paul Ashton


Martin Atkinson
(West Yorkshire)


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The game is drifting, drifting, drifting, things happen, but they are just moments, no-one looked like scoring. The ball was starting to bob along the crest of a wave, briefly glimpsed at the peak, disappearing into the trough more often. About 30 yards out, the ball rolling, Bull and Moss yards away, poles apart, both lunging and stretching. Moss sliding with one leg, Bull leaping with two. Crack. Horrible, awful tackle, Moss in a heap, motionless. A yellow card for Bull: lucky, lucky boy. Moss stretchered off: unlucky boy.

Back came Town, with passing! Hello Monsieur Pinault. The ball dibbling around the edge of the area. In, out, Reddy flick, Hockless tap, a Fleming shin through to Gritton on the left, fifteen yards out. Out came the ‘keeper, over came Walton and Gritton carefully rolled the ball across the face of goal. The Pontoon rose, the ball trumbled along the obbly-bobbly pitch towards the bottom left hand corner. In, in, it’s surely in. It wasn’t, millimetres wide, possibly even grazing the post on its way out for a goal kick. Much running of hands through hair, even by the tonsorially challenged. Yes, it was that close.

More flicking and tricking around the area, but no way through the red wall of Shropshire. By the way, it’s a myth, you can’t see it from space. At last, at last, some passing at pace, with Pinault pushing and pulling the levers of power. Down the right, wonderful one-touch triangles. Pinault to Macca to Pinault to Macca to Hockless to Pinault to Hockless to Fleming. And the pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true . A footballing poem laddie. Nah, Fleming passed to Parkinson. He could yawn and be withdrawn and watch the world go by. What a waste, what a waste, but we do mind.

Roll up, roll up to Uncle Russ’s Great Grimsby Circus, it’s the greatest circus on the whole of planet earth! We have tumblers (Reddy), fumblers (Williams), lion tamers (Coldicott), oh sorry he’s not on today, so instead with have a troupe of clowns, led by Coco Bull. Gasp as he waddles forward onto a Parkinson pass, free inside their penalty area. Titter as he tackles himself, blocking his own cross with a sliding, jumping lunge. And misses too! It takes years of practice to get that comic timing. What’s the secret of great comedy? Err, being funny? He’s pulling all the tricks from his bag now. Marvel at the acrobatic physical humour. A spectacular tricycle kick clearance from near the half way line, with no Shrew within a decade of his red nose. Fall to your knees in awe at those jumping sliding tackles. He shouldn’t have stayed on the pitch for oh so many reasons.

Shrews return from mid-game hibernation. A Tinson free kick from 25 yards on their centre left curled over the wall on to the chin of the cross bar. A goal kick given to the consternation of many a Shropshire lad behind the goal. Yoikes, Shrews break from a Town corner, Rodgers plundering ground, on and on and on and on. Forbes, Macca and Fleming straining every sinew to get back, finally, as the Obi Wan of the Severn pulled back his boot, Forbes made a magnificent tackle. Main Stand, Smiths/Stones/Findus, and Pontoon are the quietest places under the sun.

Ticking away, Town waiting for someone else to show them the way. Gritton looking injured, Reddy playing in bursts, Pinault fitful, Hockless occasional, Fleming horrible, Parkinson unbelievable. Change, Mr Slade; it isn’t something you find in your pocket. Meandering to misery, nothing. The wind it plied the corner flags double, it blew so hard Town soon will be gone.

Reddy ducked when charging down a Howie fly kick. Now, if only he’d stood up he might have got a fluky goal. And lost his teeth but, hey, he’s a professional. You don’t use your teeth in football, unless you are celebrating a Reyes goal. No Spanish practices here.

And still no substitutions, no changes. Slade stood up, arms crossed, glowering and glaring.

As the last ten minutes wearily trudged on the Town fans’ seething boredom turned into vocal disenchantment. You can’t argue with facts and Grease isn’t the word; rubbish is, though. A stream of hoofed clearances saw balls disappear over the horizon as quickly as belief in Town. An old silver-haired steward rose form his post to caress a perfectly weighted pass to Hockless. Sign him up, of course; only half in jest. Williams raced out of his box to shepherd the ball over the line. Except it didn’t reach the bye-line and Rodgers harried him into lying on top of the ball and rolling over the line for a corner.

With three or four minutes left Reddy was resurgent, chasing a dibble over the top on the left. He barundled the defender away, surged on, cut inside one, drifted past another defender inside the area, glided across the turf and, about a dozen yards out, carefully passed the ball to Howie. Last chance? No. A minute later Pinault steered a shot low to the ‘keeper’s left from the edge of the penalty area. Last chance? No, more Town pressure, rather desperate, lumping into the box, bodies everywhere, the ball pinging and ponging around, always falling to Fleming, darn it. One, two, three half chances to shoot lost with terrible control and indecisiveness. The final one lost when he chose to chip the ‘keeper rather than blasting through a huge mass of humanity between him and goal. "Chip" is a benevolent description: spooned back pass is more accurate. Last chance? NO, how many times do I need to tell you. There were four minutes of added time and in the last of ‘em Town had a series of corners and crosses, the last of which was hit by Hockless into the middle of the area. Two defenders missed it, the ball floated out of the area. Gritton chased after the ball, turned and hoiked it back in to the box. Forbes challenged, defenders swamped him, the ball bibbled about in a bout of head tennis, eventually Howie punching the ball away, right down the middle. The ball looped over Fleming, who back-pedalled and stumbled as Pinault, 20 yards out, volleyed low through the emerging humanity. Silence. No-one moved. Everyone in the arena of angst stood and watched, the wind dropped, the ball shimmered and bounced off the foot of the right hand post. And that was the end.

Did anyone deserve to win. Probably not, a draw would have been fair. Shrewsbury looked better organised, more committed, more of a team. Hang on, didn’t I write that last time? So we finally got 4-4-2 and it was awful. Hockless was by no means the worst player; he was ok, a couple of good things, a few bad things. He was only interested when he had the ball; defensively, especially in the first half, he was a liability, allowing crosses with not even the veneer of a challenge. He did enough not to be lambasted. Parkinson was the opposite, he was barely noticeable. He would have felt comfortable in last year’s team. The front two huffed and puffed but blew their own houses down. There was little cohesion, and no dynamism. They played like it was April and they had nothing to play for but their holidays. I could go on, but it’s the same sentiments, different words.

Ultimately there’s no collective fight, there’s too many shrugging shoulders. The excuses had been flagged up all week, and not many failed to be seduced on to the rocks. It’s February and we’re waiting for next season already?

Nicko’s Man of the Match

The best anyone performed was "not bad". Reddy did things in the second half, Macca tried, but was, by his standards, struggling against their big winger. Fleming tried, but was hopeless in every respect. He wasn’t playing football, he was doing a 10km cross country run. Who was the least inadequate throughout? Erm, well, Terrell Forbes, didn’t seem to make any mistakes. His clearances went far enough away, he covered for Ramsden a lot, he was awake. So, for not being asleep and not doing anything wrong, it’s him.

Markie’s UnMan of the Match

Ramsden doesn’t do marking. He looked flustered today. Fleming gets away with it because he tried so hard. Bull and Parkinson don’t: they didn’t earn their wages. Bull was just bonkers. Parkinson must have gone shopping, he just wasn’t seen. And when he was, you wished he’d gone shopping. Time is up for the favoured son of Slade.

Official Warning

Mr A Atkinson. He was excellent, one or two small decisions you could quibble with, but overall he kept the game moving, his judgement on when there was an advantage was superb. If I was a Shrewsbury supporter I wouldn’t forgive him for only booking Bull though. So from a Town perspective he gets 8.761. A neutral would probably knock a couple of points off for his leniency, but this is no neutral zone.

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