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|Crane: Red Mist|
20/08 Darlington 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
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.
Grimsby Town 0 Darlington 1
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?
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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