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Dry Bones! - 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
Neither team made any changes at half time, though Stockport clearly made amendments to their tactical constitution. Whenever Mildenhall had the ball they knew he would kick it towards Andrew, so their big centre back wandered over and won everything in the air.
Neither team made any changes at half time, though Stockport clearly made amendments to their tactical constitution. Whenever Mildenhall had the ball they knew he would kick it towards Andrew, so their big centre back wandered over and won everything in the air. Bolland and, especially, Kalalalala-lee were subject to routine body searches, the forces of law and order deeming them to be potential troublemakers. The result? Anarchy is coming some time.
Events dear boy, events. Jones the Lump had a shot. There you are, an event. Their keeper was required to rise from his armchair and turn off the television, the remote control lost down the cracks in the Town edifice. The crowd were silent; Stockport already ascendant, forcing Town back and back. Bolland and Kalalala stamped back towards Mildenhall, acres of lovely green grass unsullied by a Town boot. Easter a permanent pootler down the Town right, Whittle wibbling, Boshell free and shooting high, high, high into the sky, sky, sky. Hatters' happiness imminent; Town shocking.
Passing? Some lovely passing from Town straight to Stockport. Kalala passed to Hamshaw rather than Croft, Croft rescued the day with a wonderful man-sized bulldozer, advancing and fouled near the half way line: a free kick to Town. Phew, danger over. Town's sneaky wallop up to the big men was being readied. Arrghh, Reddy took the free kick quickly, tapping the ball straight to Hamshaw, alone on the half way line. Off he went, Town panicking back. A cross, hibblage and bibblage, with arms flailing and Town ailing and the moment passed. The crowd stirring towards the Grimsby groan. Something must be done, something must change, they've worked us out. Swap the wingers around? Take off the leaden lumpy Jones? If Town remain the same, the score won't.
After about ten minutes they had another attack. Nothing much seemed to be happening, Easter wheeling away down the right. A low cross into the centre, no danger, Whittle was in front of the striker, so you can return to your snooze now. Oh. WHITTLE slid across and, about a dozen yards out at the near post, scooped the ball over Mildenhall: an own goal. Shocked. And stunned. Err, sort it groundsman?
Stockport inflated, Town cremated themselves with an ever-decreasing circle of competence. The game plan remained the same: hit it in the air towards Andrew. Twice Mildenhall eschewed Croft when the little one was free and calling for the ball to be thrown to him. We used to do that, didn't we. Build from the back, through the full backs. I suppose keeping possession is so 20th Century. Kalala piddled about again, was dispossessed again and only Macca saved the day with some old-fashioned defending without tackling.
The worst crime I ever did was playing rock and roll, but this was an indictable offence. C'mon Town get a grip on yourself! A long punt forward, straight down the pitch and Jones the Stick allowed himself to be outmanoeuvred by the little happy Easter. The ball bounced once, twice, and Easter was alone inside the area with just Mildenhall between him and glory. A swish, a miss, the ball bumbled wide. Lucky Town, terrible defending. Ah, better. Kalalatlast passing, Parkinson swooping through the left, cutting inside to the edge of the area and.. you can tell who the ticket-hunters are, they're the ones who stood up when Parky was about to shoot. We, the few, the unhappy few, knew better. Sliced a yard wide, why bother. Oh, and they wore Chelsea shirts, these less than diehard Mariners.
Please don't cry: it's happened again; a long boot upfield, the Town central defence pinned like a dead frog, Easter free. Mildenhall came out to the very edge of his area and plucked the ball off Easter's toe. It's getting rather fraught, they've worked out where our weaknesses are. You know, now would be a good time for the management to do something crazy, like manage.
Town were incapable of passing: underhit, overhit, wombling free, straight to unseen bluemen stood right in front of them. They never looked, they just whacked it forward. Town were awful, there was pain as Town receded, conceded and were deseeded by the footballing applecorers from Man-Stock country. The body twitched - it's still alive! Kalala crossed and a defender jumped, handball given twenty five yards out on the Town right. The ball was caressed into the centre of the area and Reddy stooped and glanced a free header five yards wide. Shall we ooh? If you're feeling desperate, please do so.
Russell Slade, deep in conversation with Rodger; Gritton running up and down the touchline. No changes imminent. Hey, it's working so well.
With a quarter of an hour left, Town got a corner after a typical Reddy run into the area, all arms, hair and ignoring of the ball. Hung high and slow, the ball plopped safely into Duke's arms. He looked up and punted the ball straight back upfield beyond Croft and Easter, it bouncing halfway inside the Town half. It bounced again, it wasn't going to reach the area, Mildenhall came out and tackled Croft, then two Stockies on the right corner of his area. The ball squirmed out towards the touchline as he tried again. Yoiks! Blue shirts flooding forward, barely a stripe back, the ball was crossed to the far post where the unmarked HAMSHAW, a few yards out, nodded and plodded towards his adoring support.
Martin Gritton continued to warm up: the management called a focus group together to consider the step change in empowering employees to maximise their potential. They pointed a lot.
Town had the briefest of rallies. Jones headed vaguely towards the Duke of pukey-coloured shirts. Macca the driving force, visibly enraged by the second half perfromance, was clearly determined to do something to make us happy. He flew forward, urging on his morose and moody Mariners; trying to set up one-twos with Jones the Lump. Sir, you ain't no Tony Rees. Ah, at last, it worked. Macca zimmering forward, the ball slipped inside to him and a rising drive rising drivily a couple of feet over the bar. At last a roar, at last something to believe in. For about twenty seconds.
Stockport sniffed the air and could smell the Town blood. They wanted an armful, not just a pint. They saw this dying dormouse and swooped down for the feast. Town gave the ball away, initially from a poor kick by Mildenhall; Town stretched, the sea crashing over them. A shot was half blocked, the ball came out to Wolksi in a huge unmanned space, 25 yards out. Two Town defenders eventually advanced to block. WOLSKI pummelled a low shot underneath the two Town towers and low to the unsighted Mildenhall's left.
Town: defunct, defused, defeated. Defibrillator required.
Ah, at last, a change. Uh? McDermott and Croft hauled off and replaced by Ramsden and Gritton. Town went back to 3-4-3, with Andrew still on the right and Parkinson on the left. What an interesting and informative decision, leaving on players who lacked heart and competence and taking off the two Town players, the fans players, the full backs.
A couple of minute after coming on Gritton destroyed a strip light in the Pontoon, though not quite with the same style as Menno Willems. Andrew had headed on a corner and Gritton volleyed over from about five yards out. Mmm, perhaps this was a cunning plan - the game abandoned due to crowd safety concerns - strip light dangling dangerously above some children. Surely a risk assessment should have been done before play continued. Where was the council?
Gritton also had a shot which went wide. Yeah, so what, it was all just a return to what passes as normality at Blundell Park. Passes? I use that word ironically, of course.
Stockport only delayed themselves by making three substitutions in injury time. They'd won, Town were useless, the crow long since seeped out in a show of support for the team. All these fans who are Grimsby till they cry, eh?
Town got what they deserved. Whose fault is it? Individual errors mounted, a collective dispirit emerged. There seemed no fight in the second half, like they thought they'd won, that all they had to do was strut and Stockport would be stuffed. Stockport won because their manager changed tactics and their players did what they were told. We didn't change until way, way too late. The writing had been on the wall, the half time buzz was about changing Andrew and Parkinson around. As the half had progressed Parkinson drifted further and further infield, almost playing in his hole again, leaving Town with no width. The Town defence wasn't too bad on the flanks, but the centre couldn't cope with Easter in particular. The Town central midfield disappeared completely and Kalala played at half pace, seeming to give up at some points.
Stockport were the best team so far at Blundell Park, and you'd have to say the best manager too. Spurs sent sideshow Mel to spy on Town. He's still laughing at Krusty the Town.
That's a true story, Kate. That's my football team, not me.
NickO's Man of the Match
Bolland and Andrew had fine first halfs. No-one was any good in the second. So No-one.
Markie's Unman of the Match It's lucky dip time. Whittle had a total stinker after halftime, getting worse by the minute after his own goal. Parkinson disappeared again, as did Jones the Lump, who should have walked off after an hour. Expectations are higher with talented players, so Jean Paul Kamudimba Kalala gets the dead laurel wreath flung at him. Attitude: head dropped, feet slowed, passing appalling. Can do better.
Mr K Woolmer
He really didn't want to book anyone, letting three Stockies off for persistent low level fouling. And even high level fouling, like Wolski's flying trapeze act upon Bolland. Overall nothing of substance to complain about, so an unusually high 6.989
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