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20Port Vale6-25
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Crane: Red Mist
Crane: Red Mist

20/08 Darlington 2nd Half

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 21/08/2005

THERE were no changes by either team at half time. Darlington came out on time and waited and waited and waited. Bored, they indulged in some formation dancing just like the Red Barrows, Britain's leading wheelbarrow display team.

Home > 2005-2006 Season > Reports > Darlington (h)

Grimsby Town 0 Darlington 1
20 Aug 2005, Coca Cola League 2

But without the barrow's obviously. A couple of days later the Town team emerged. Ah-ha, Mr Russell Slade had clearly given them some stern words of advice at half time.

Indeed he had: for the first five minutes the Town players were most deliberate in their passing, trying to avoid kicking it in the air and/or a long way. They tried, they really tried, but failed. Darlington players simply stood near them and, with the ball frequently at the feet of the Crane/Jones duopoly of dross, Town had nowhere to go but get their kicks on route one. No width you see: with only Newey and Macca on the flanks they were as easily closed off as a safety valve. The nadir was reached in the 51st minute, when Jones walloped the ball upfield, straight through and out of play for a goal kick, replicating Crane from a minute earlier. The Town fans erupted in a chorus of boos. It wasn't particularly aimed at Jones, but a general cry of despair. We can all see why this is happening at home, match after match. Is there just one man who can't? Or won't?

An attack! A Town surge, Newey past one, past two, to the bye line and crossing just above McDermott at the far post. Finally some urgency, some movement, some players in the opponents penalty area and a couple of passes thrown in to boot. Along the ground. Sweet dreams are made of this.

Normal lack of service has been resumed: hit it long, let Reddy run. Exciting when he roams, but what end product - crowded out, lack of support, lack of intent to pass; the merest glimpse of hope. Gritton long since reduced to disinterested loping; Parkinson still not seen in active service. Poor lad, we don't doubt his willingness, no-one does, but he's reduced to be being a subutteo player. If he ever flicked a kick I didn't know.

Ooh, wince. Darlo attacked with purpose and poise down their left, McDermott fleeced, flailed and flattened. Valentine teed up just inside the area, a shot rising and managing to crawl an inch or two over the bar. A corner given: nothing happened.

Just before the hour, to a great crescendo of ironic applause, Parkinson was replaced by Cohen. Nothing personal Parky, it's only business. Cohen seemed to play as a right winger with Gritton sent to the Siberian steppes underneath the Findus/Stones/Smiths stand. It looked like a 3-4-3 formation, with Reddy alone in the centre. One long Reddy run and some Cohen haberdashery later and the score remained the same. A fantastically exciting 40 yard run from Cohen down the right saw Macca race up in support; Cohen got to the corner flag checked back inside and allowed McDermott to take the ball on into the area and cross, just behind Reddy. Ahhhhh, shame. No shot, no chance, just a chance to get out of the seat and the stretch legs; DVT can strike anywhere, it's something to do with women eating chips, or something. Health scares aren't what they used to be - where are the zombie germs from Zaire these days? Like Windscale, they've changed their name to get a better press, no doubt: the Democratic Republic of flesh eating zombificationaccocci.

Doesn't the ball swing after 60 overs and Jones becomes really effective? Or is that another sport? Did you know that swing-ball is really the ancient game of bumble-puppy? You thought I was insulting Parkinson again, didn't you.

Steve Mildenhallyellow card
John McDermott
Tony Cranered card
Simon Ramsden
Rob Jones
Tom Neweyred card
Paul Bolland
Gary Croft
Andy Parkinson
Martin Gritton
Michael Reddy


Gary Cohen57 mins
Ciaran Toner88 mins
Calvin Andrew72 mins
Gary Jones
Justin Whittle


Carl Boyeson
(East Yorkshire)


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With about 25 minutes left Darlo had a throw in on their left, about 15 yards out. Why mention it? Because something happened, that's why. Hurled towards Wijnhard, the dumpy Town rejector, he rolled around Crane, who indulged in some junior level Greco-Roman wrestling, hanging on Wijnhard's every fold of fat. Birds of a feather, eh. A penalty was given and, bizarrely, Crane wasn't even booked, not even for being really dim. Wijnhard got up, stroked his ego, and placed the ball just left of centre, the ball striking Big Steve around the knee area with Croft swiping the rebound away from Clyde on the edge of the six yards box. For the first time the Pontoon roared.

Wijnhard was taken off immediately. Pity, he was a good stopper for Town.

Within a couple of minutes Cohen had wooed the crowd with his pace and persistence. Exchanging passes 25 yards out he did an extremely slow motion step-over that was more like a step around, before clipping a shot a few feet above the crossbar. A shot! The first one of the half. And again, Town's pacy frontmen flibbered about, with Reddy bursting through two on the right. The ball bounced at shoulder height inside the area. Reddy nodded, a defender jumped up and booted the ball from the end of Reddy's nose. Ouch, no free kick, play on. That was that. With 20 minutes left Reddy was replaced by Andrew, much to the noisy chagrin of the dwindling Town faithful. And what about Martin Gritton? Yes, what about him, was he still on the pitch?

I really haven't mentioned Darlington attacking much, have I. Well, they did, but nothing was really coming of anything, Jones headed away the crosses, and stray Town legs managed to nick the ball away from their attempts at intricate tic-tac-toe around the edge of the box. Dickman was a constant menace with his bursts from midfield and Peacock was beginning to become a threat. Ah the pitter-patter of tiny feet, the Mr Ingleby of Darlo used a box of Frosties and a tin of beans to peak above his socks, scan the horizon, and cause no end of trouble running between legs. Town players had trouble seeing him; well, as a professional you don't play football looking at your feet, do you.

Bang! You blinked didn't you. You missed it. With quarter of an hour left Asbo Sodje, another sub, etch-a-sketched past threeTown payers on their left, cutting infield, across the face of the penalty area and hit a fast zipping shot a few inches wide of the right hand post. Mildenhall was motionless and thankful for the little onshore breeze that lifted the ball wide.

And the game drifted on, Town receding on the horizon, no passing, no movement, just waiting for the game to end; or to get a set piece, of course. Ah, here it is - a Town free kick; send up the big men just for once. Boomed long by Newey, the ball was cleared with Darlo pressing. Newey fended of little Peacock who twizzled and twirled in never ending windmills. Back came two more defenders, Peacock still had the ball, ducking under and through the arches; three times he retrieved, swizzling back to goal; Newey the final defender with Peacock tumbling, Newey grabbing. They both fell and a penalty was given, a red card shown. NDUMBU-NSUNGU stepped up and smelled the ball to the centre right as Mildew went left. The referee booked the goalscorer and the goalkeeper, as Mildenhall raced up and pointed at the crowd.

I don't know what to describe Town's formation as after this. Three at the back and the others upfield? Crane looped a header from a corner very safely over and Cohen had a couple of runs where he forgot to pass the ball. With three minutes left Toner replaced Bolland who, a minute earlier, has suddenly stopped and waved his hands in the air when tackling. Toner did one good pass and one superb covering tackle in his brief cameo. Ndumbu-Nsungu had a flashing drive parried aside at the near post by Mildenhall as they went on numerous breakaways after Town lumped forward towards the big men. And then there was the last couple of minutes. A Town free kick was wellied down the centre, Jones back towards goal, had his shirt inspected by matron, and.... nothing. As clear as Crane's mud-wrestling for their first penalty, but nothing given. They broke and got a corner; Crane moaned and was sent off: idiot. In the last minute Town got another free-kick half way inside the Darlington half. Lumped high, Jones was free twelve yards out and headed firmly down, but straight at the heavily limping Russell, who had been injured five minutes earlier. The game ended, officially. Had it ever begun?

It really is getting tedious. Town don't create anything, relying on Reddy's ability to run quickly and the big defenders coming up for set pieces. Darlington were another opponent who at least tried to keep hold of the ball, to pass, to move, to play some football. They easily repelled Town. Doesn't everyone at Blundell Park? The attendance figures are tolling the bell, and so is the sound of the crowd.

One day this bore's gonna end.

Nicko's Man of the Match

There are only two possible contenders: Mildenhall the blameless and Bolland the matchless. Some good saves from the Big S, but for sheer energy and determination Paul Bolland has a consoling arm placed around him, accompanied by a rueful smile and an imaginary magnum of isotonic lucozade

Markie's Unman of the Match

So many candidates, like trying to taste the difference between lemon and lime. Croft, a yacht without a mast; Macca, holed beneath the water line: the coastguards ignored their pleas. Newey was infuriatingly profligate with possession and disturbingly careless in tackling, whilst Crane is...Crane. No, it's Martin Gritton, who isn't bothered; a telling indictment of his belief in the tactics. They aren't for him, but he's paid to run at least.

Rob's Rant of the Day

Like a dog whistle, you can't hear it, but you can feel it in the atmosphere crackling around Blundell Park. It's a set of numbers: Four-Four-Two. Is it a code? What does it mean?

Official Warning

Mr Carl Boyeson. As welcome as an acoustic Rush tribute band, he is forever etched in the collective memory of the nation of Grimsby for past misdeeds. Today, well, true to form he ejected two Townites from the pitch and Town lost. Was he to blame? No, he continues to perform the role of convenient fig-leaf, perhaps kicking a Town when it's down, but not the cause of defeat. The first penalty was clear, the second potentially disputable. To be consistent he should have given Town a penalty at the end but then that would be piling on the pain, wouldn't it, with our record of underachievement. He was incredibly pernickety in an occasionally inconsistent fashion. The merest touch was enough to get free kicks, though a boot in the head or shoulder barge was fair game.

He gets a boring 4.349. He wasn't as bad as we'd like to believe. He lost points for not giving Town a penalty and a general fussiness that would have had a carpet cleaner frothing.

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