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|Not Our Day!|
Insania Darlingtonia Part 4
By: Andrew Doherty
THE second half began with some urgency on Town's part, but no apparent increase in skill. After a lot of struggling and feet going for the ball on 49 minutes, a somewhat speculative snap shot by Jones missed the target by 20 feet.
Newey went off on a run, beat a couple of defenders and put in a good cross, but too far to be of any use. Reddy went on a run on 52 minutes, but didn't have the support. Again he looked tired. Gritton had a shot hooked away. Town did not look in the least threatening as all the activity was in the corners or 40 yards out. Parky played an awful ball to waste Town's advantage. Darlo's response on 54 was an impressive bazooka from their no 2, which resulted in a corner. A perfect tackle from Crane kept Darlo out before Reddy wasted a cross on 54 minutes. We then had the biggest cheer of the day. Cohen on for Parky. The Darlo number 2 flattened Newey and the next few minutes were punctuated by niggling fouls. On 60 minutes, there was a moment of controversy when the Darlo goalie raced out to gather the ball, but did he step outside his area? It certainly looked like it from the John Smith stand, where we had a good view. 'The referee is blind in one eye', the nice man next to me announced. On 62 minutes, Cohen broke away but the run came to nothing.
On 64 minutes, Darlo got the ball into Town's penalty box and a tussle ensued between Wijnhard and Crane. The referee awarded a penalty. Oh no. After an argument, Wijnhard stepped and placed his shot to Mildy's right .... SAVED !!! It was a dubious penalty, but we were reprieved. Still 0-0.
Town responded with their own brand of attacking manoeuvres. A foul on Ramsden resulted in the ball being worked to Bolland, whose volley flew across the goal. On 68 minutes, Cohen showed great awareness by feinting and turning but his free shot flew too high. He needs to watch the Michael Owen DVD on shooting. 'Head over the ball, and shoot ...'. In fairness though, Cohen was looking sharp and showed excellent skill. Reddy showed endeavour too, as Darlo seemed intent on stopping Town with foul play, but the resultant possession was invariably wasted. Ramsden wasted a corner on 70 minutes, before new boy Calvin Andrew came on for Michael Reddy. There were signs that Town were trying to keep the ball on the ground, which was mildly encouraging. Darlo reminded us on 74 minutes how dangerous they could be when their number 20 turned in space and won a corner. In response, Cohen broke away and having no support showed good composure to hold the ball up before passing to Newey who curled it over the top. Gritton forced his way through on 77 minutes and won a throw-in.
On 78 minutes, Darlo's pint-sized number 21 Peacock dribbled his way round a number of Town players, entered the box, ran into Newey, and ... penalty! The referee compounded the crime and sent Newey off. Another argument ensued. Crane got booked. Darlo's Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu stepped up to take penalty, hit a firm shot and scored to make it 1-0. Mr. Ndumbu-Nsungu was booked by the referee for celebrating his achievement. From the Mariners' point of view, it was now looking desperate. 0-1 against a better footballing side and 10 men on the pitch.
Another free-kick and another aimless Crane punt up field was followed by some determined tacking by Bolland on 82 minutes, a poor pass by Bolland and some more guts and determination from Bolland. Bolland vs Darlington. A hand ball on 83 minutes gave Town a free kick, which Crofty floated to the Darlo goalie.
Our friend Mr. Ndumbu-Nsungu had a good run and a low shot to the right corner, which won Darlo a corner. At the other end, Cohen put a shot in which the Darlo goalie fumbled - his first mistake of the day. Crane headed over from the corner. Ciaran Toner came on for Bolland, and briefly looking impressive. A free kick was followed by a run back to deny Darlo's number 10. 90 minutes up. Four minutes added time was announced. It was Darlo on the attack though and a fight for the ball resulted in a dubious corner at the Osmond end. Crane offered feedback, but the referee didn't see it that way and sent him off for foul and abusive language. 9 wilting Mariners remained on the pitch. Unsurprisingly, Darlo's no 22 went clear but was somehow denied. We just didn't have enough players. One last chance for Town led to a Jones flick-on from a free kick but the goalie saved it. The referee blew for full time. Grimsby Town 0, Darlington 1.
The Verdict. Awful, shocking, dire, disgraceful. Take your pick. On this form we will struggle to stay clear of the relegation zone. A lot of people blamed the referee, who was poor, but to be honest Darlington adapted their play to the conditions, which we didn't and deserved their win. On the plus side, Town's work rate was good. Odd bits of skill from Cohen, Reddy and Newey were annulled by clumsiness from most of the others. The tactics were non-existent, unless you regard hoofing the ball 50 yards up the field as a tactic. There was hardly any passing and any skill the midfield had was invisible.
Individually, Mildy in goal showed great authority. I was impressed with Bolland's determination, and Cohen added some flair when he came on. I thought Newey looked promising too, but too many of his clearances and crosses went astray. Crane epitomised the ill-discipline of the team and some of his clearances were awful. I thought Crofty was disappointing too, as frankly were most of the Town team.
The final whistle signalled the end of the torture. Humbo and I agreed that we'd had a good day but wondered if it might be better if we just missed out the football. This was just a fleeting aberration. Of course we will go. Even though I haven't seen them win or even draw at home for nearly two seasons, the atmosphere, occasion, the views of the river Humber, the people and the communal suffering make it an indispensable part of any visit. It's like a cleansing process. It would be nice if they won though.
With these thoughts in mind, I found temporary relief in the form of yet another wonderful portion of fish and chips from the County fisheries. Reading the Grimsby Telegraph on the way home, I felt more justified than guilty when I read on the front page what a Young's Bluecrest spokesman (not that he would be biased, of course) said : 'Fish is a natural fit with today's lifestyles - it's healthy and .... it's our job to exploit this flexibility and make seafood easy people are encouraged to eat more of it, more often'. Another portion, please, but only if it's from NE Lincolnshire. And why not? It's best to take advantage, I say. My 'small' portion would not have cost Â£1-70 and would have counted as standard down south. Plus you don't get the nice chatty lady offering scraps, which I gratefully declined in a somewhat hypocritical moment of nutritional awareness. All this in part made up for the football.
I'm going to a dark room now to contemplate chaos, having witnessed it at Blundell Park today.
I went to Grimsby. It was windy. We lost 1-0.
I went to Grimsby. It was windy. We lost 1-0.
I went to Grimsby. It was windy. We lost ................
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