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|Jone the Lump|
07/10 Wycombe 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
TOWN eventually emerged and neither team made any changes at half time. Why is the Lump still on?
Grimsby Town 0 Wycombe Wanderers 1
Gritton had been warming up since half time, the Lump was still turning down a million dead-end streets. And don't forget the left side. Betsy specialised in running fifty yards with two and three Town defenders at his side but no tackling. Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes required.
Reddy roamed down the right, racing into the area, past a couple of defenders towards the bye-line. He looked up and rolled the ball to Jones the Lump, eight yards out at the near post, who stumbled and was immediately mugged. More groans thrown out from the crowd. A minute later Town again slashed the Wycombe defence apart. Hit high to the Town right, the ball was headed clear, but immediately looped back over the top. Toner turned his marker and was free, inside the area. He bundled towards the bye-line, rolling off a challenge and bore down upon Lonergan, about six yards out at a narrowish angle. The keeper ducked, Toner opened up his body and shinned a left foot something over Lonergan, over the Lumpster at the far post and over towards the toilets.
A couple of minutes later a Town free kick from the right was pumped high and long towards the far post. The ball sailed over the Stick, over Whittle and to the unmarked Lump, who glanced the ball very safely wide. Francis steered a header wide too, can't remember when, but it was definitely before he was substituted with twenty minutes left. Cohen came on and at the same time Gritton finally replaced Jones the Lump. There was much audible appreciation for this change. Reddy had been a lonely soul, he had nobody until Marty arrived.
Town abandoned their previously subtlety and pumped the ball higher and longer, but with the added thrill that if the ball fell to Gritton he passed it. Cohen broke from the edge of the Town area, tracked by Oakes, then felled by Oakes near the managers' dug outs. Seeing the referee waltzing over with the yellow card visible, Oakes decided to roll around on the ground. He stayed put for a minute, despite being an inch from the touchline, the ground booming with boos and indignation. This simply allowed Town to send the Carrot and the Stick up to squeeze the Wycombe juice still further. Corner, corner, throw in, corner. The pressure was incessant, but always with that fear they'd break away and silently slip the stiletto in our neck. They broke, Town wobbled, the Bendaboys surfing through; Mooney twisting at the near post, shot deflected wide.
Back Town roared, the crowd on their feet, the surround-sound on full blast. Parkinson took a throw on the left, lobbing the ball straight to Reddy, whose marker had taken a quip kip. Reddy rolled around the final defender and from a narrow angle, about three yards out, poked the ball over the lunging Lonergan. The ball struck the keeper in the face and ballooned out for a corner. More pressure, the ball zinging and pinging through their area. Cohen through to the bye-line, Torres dug up both Cohen and ball: another corner. They cleared to Bolland who was dispossessed near the tunnel. Ooh, matron! Torres zipped away with the ball and with Bolland hanging on to his underpants. Another booking.
After a brief interlude, where Wycombe once again tore little strips of meat off the Town carcass down their right, the game returned to its rightful home: inside the penalty area in front of the Pontoon. Jones the Stick was a permanent presence. With five minutes left Ramsden clipped a free kick deep into the penalty area, towards the far post. There was hibbling and bibbling, legs flailing, the ball squirming out to the edge of the area on the centre left. Bolland took a step and cracked a low shot through the advancing tide of blue, under Lonergan and into the bottom left hand corner. But no, stood behind the keeper was Mooney. Why was he there? Did he know? The ball hit his shins and bounced up, straight into the keeper's hands.
At some stage, which I will say is about now, because I have just remembered it, Wycombe broke quickly down their right and switched play to the unmarked Mooney, who chipped the ball across Mildenhall and a foot or so wide of the left-hand post. I'm as tired as you of seeing "they broke down their right hand side and.." Betsy, about fifteen yards out just wide of goal, thumped a cross shot which Mildenhall parried out across goal. There was a scramble, an even bigger scramble, then a couple of blocked shots.
The seconds ticked down, the excitement cranked up. What a denouement? A Town player free, behind the defence. Who was it? To tell you the truth in all this excitement, does it matter? To the bye-line, Lonergan crouching at the near post, Reddy unmarked at the far post just six yards out A perfect cross, Reddy on his haunches, slowly leaning forward, launching himself into a full diving header. The keeper and a defender leapt across to their right, Reddy carefully placed a firm header down to their left. The ball clipped the leaping Lonergan's ankles and spun up. Everyone froze and watched as the ball crawled over the crossbar and on to the roof of the net. Reddy was almost crying with frustration. Newey clipped the corner to the centre of the goal. Jones the Stick thundered in, massacred the ball goalwards, past the keepers hands and the ball hit someone on the back of the head and bounced clear. At this point it crossed our minds that Town weren't going to score tonight.
A Gritton glancing header from a Ramsden cross that looped towards the top right hand corner and a Jones flick that boomed high over were the last wheeze from the Town bellows. Three minutes of added time were taken up mostly with Wycombe time-wasting in the one remaining empty corner of Blundell Park. The Town players got a standing ovation, unlike Lonergan who indulged in some teenager taunting. As we rose in acclamation Betsy walked over and applauded the Town support.
Town lost this in the first half, with a timid, tepid non-performance. Out of character? In truth it was totally consistent with the majority of home performances. Big hoofs towards Reddy with Jones the Lump nowhere to be seen have been the order of the day. It is tempting to say Town have gotten away with it so far, but three home defeats already suggest otherwise, don't they. The fightback was laudable and exciting with Town, in the end, deserving of a draw. But Wycombe were better than Town; they play like we used to.
Isn't it about time Mooney retired?
Nicko's Man of the Match
No Town player was outstanding. Reddy was his usual whirligig self, but overall Paul Bolland did the work of at least two, so he gets it for sheer persistence and effort.
Markies Unman of the Match
Returning after a month off, there were too many to mention. Jones the Lump was by far the worst player. "But he's been injured" cried the nice people wearing hats. Well, don't pick him then. So it's the man who wasn't manager of the month: Russell Slade, for the wrong selection, wrong tactics, wrong formation, inert management when things were falling apart and a general whiff of fear in dealing with Wycombe. Yes they were third, but Town were top. If you can't be bold then when can you be? We shouldn't be playing away at home.
Mr Deadman<.i>. Is that a name or a prediction? A pedantic pustule who was determined, almost at all costs, to not be influenced by the crowd. He was wilfully contrary and most of his errors were disfavouring Town. I don't think he deserves a score at all. He did not cause the defeat, but he was a bad influence on society. In my day boys like him used to get expelled, or at least his parents be given a stern lecture. I am, of course, assuming he has parents, which is contrary to the general consensus. Like Town he gets nothing from this game: 0.00
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