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Toner: OG
Toner: OG

10/12 Bristol Rovers 2nd Half

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 14/12/2005

NEITHER team made any changes at half time and the game continued as it left off. No, that’s inaccurate: it got worse. As it turned out, the first half was the good half.

Home > 2005-2006 Season > Reports > Bristol R (h)

Grimsby Town 0 Bristol Rovers 1
10 Dec 2005, Coca Cola League 2

A few minutes in Parkinson skewed a shot several thousand centuries wide, though Town got a corner as Campbell decided to play swing-ball, slicing the ball in an imperious crazy arc. Newey’s corner was-I dunno, I can’t remember. Town got a free kick just outside the area on the centre left. The referee paced out eight small steps then allowed Rovers to rove. Toner and Newey did a shuffly-stepover trick free kick, which they pushed infield for Parkinson to slice towards the singing ringing tree corner of the Pontoon.

The tannoy blew a fuse and kept sending out crackly white noise, messing with Lump’s brainwaves. The remote signal failed to get from his head to his feet and nobody seemed to have asked Rob Jones if he knew how to play Go Junior Agogogogo. But we’ll come that in a minute. Here they go, off in to the wilderness, dancing around the Town area - a shooting chance. Hunt, in the centre, inside the area, sidestepped one challenge and only Whittle’s shins diverted the ball away for a corner. Go back to your chocolate biscuits: nothing happened.

Well, nothing as in anything good, there was movement of humans, in vaguest of vague co-ordination with the ball. What a lovely sky: a purpling pink, much like the faces of the crowd. Newey corner Town. Whatever order you put them in it comes out the same - a big fat zero. One from the right excited the Main Stand when Hunt dived and glanced the ball out past the near post for another corner. It was already going out for a goal-kick, silly boy.

Then they broke from a period of Town "pressure" (ie Town had the ball in their half for a bit), with Walker wafting the ball well over the bar from inside the area, to the right of goal.

Have you noticed? Neither goalkeeper had yet made a save. Ah, I wrote too soon, for just before the hour the only save of the game was made. Town strung four passes together, zipping the ball from right to left, via Toner to the overlapping Newey, who crossed to the far post. Cohen sauntered in, unmarked and, from about ten yards out guided a soft header straight at Shearer.

Then Gritton replaced the Lump.

I’m sorry, are you expecting the heroes to triumph? Dear reader, such things only happen in fiction. The minutes are ticking by and there’s nothing to say. Town were disjointed, without fluency, without much hope. Long balls wasting possession, short passes mis-controlled; a static exhibition stand for an outdated product. How can we sell this?

Like a Romanian electricity supply there were isolated moments of connectivity when the lights came on for just a few seconds then- darkness again. Town pressure with Toner fiddling on the roof, crossing from the right to the far post. Reddy, unmarked half a dozen yards out, nodded softly straight at the goalkeeper. If only we had a rich man in charge we could have a long staircase leading nowhere, just for show. On second thoughts maybe we have one after all.

Steve Mildenhall
Gary Croft
Justin Whittle
Rob Jones
Tom Newey
Andy Parkinsonyellow card
Paul Bolland
Ciaran Toner
Gary Cohen
Michael Reddy
Gary Jones

Martin Gritton62 mins
Glen Downey
Simon Ramsden
Nick Heggarty
Paul Ashton

Peter Walton

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Town were trying, but failing. The Micawberish opponents were time-wasting all through the second half; content to stop, hoping for something to turn up. Can we criticise? Isn’t that our tactic away from home? Another almost moment; Parky, Toner, Croft and Gritton triangulating their co-ordinates up the right with Gritton squeezing infield and- stretching forward to horribly slice well wide from way outside the area. As Town flannelled, Rovers seemed to get worse, passing out of play, mis-controlling for throw ins, slicing hacks, bundling, barging, playing rugby.

In the last twenty minutes, as Town pushed forward more and more, the spaces appeared for Agogo to diddle about in. Whittle and Jones started to flap, with the Stickman wobbling, mis-controlling the ball when last man a few times. Agogo broke but nothing much happened, just a few seconds of concern. Still no shots from them on target.

With about ten minutes to go Parkinson lost possession on the left and Rovers drove forward in numbers, switching play to the left then back to the right. Parkinson tracked back and, just outside the area about eight yards in from the bye-line, lunged at the attacker, who fell over the tiny leg. Parkinson was booked and danger lurked. Town put up a couple of players as a wall and Carruthers crossed low towards goal with his left foot. TONER, at the near post, swung his left foot, slipped, fell backwards, and deflected the ball in to the net in the style of Max Wall. The Bristol players seemed happy enough, which is nice for them; though it isn’t as though beating Town at Blundell Park would be something exceptional.

Town hit the nuclear button, first sending Parky up front, then adding Rob Jones, with what ended up a 3:3:5 formation. How come? Well, you wait till the end to find out who the fifth man was. Town murdered the ball forward at every opportunity, with several Town players all jumping together. Toner stepped forward to a dropping missile and thundered a volley goalwards from thirty five yards, the ball beheading a centre back and shimmering aside for a throw in. A couple of minutes later a long ball dropped behind everyone, thirty yards out in the centre Parkinson burst through, nudged the ball on to his right and had a clear sight of goal. The ball dropped, Parkisnon’s boot drew back-.and he turned back upfield, ran around in a circle and the ball ended up with Whittle on the half way line. The crowd were a little frustrated at this point. In the last minute of normal time Reddy turned on the left, ran past a defender towards the bye-line, nudged the ball inside the area and-out of play. There was about a minute of added time, during which Town got a free kick when Cohen, near the Police Box, hauled his marker on top of himself, like he was pulling a sack over his head. Mildenhall raced upfield and awaited Newey’s clip to the far post. Newey clipped, Hinton hopped, the ball was cleared and the party was over.

Well, Tuesday was such an easy game for Town to play but let's face it things where supposed to be much easier today. Guess we need some bringing down to get our feet back on the ground. Let’s hope so. This was the team we wanted, in the formation we wanted and they, the players, were collectively awful. Too much dreaming, not enough scheming. We do live in a blame culture and it’s your fault. Remember that next time you pull into Tesco’s for your petrol and papers.

How many minutes of good football is that so far at Blundell Park?

Nicko’s Man of the Match

Should there be one today? No. Bolland, if anyone, would get some kudos for his first half efforts. More were closer to the Unman of the match award, but no-one was so bad they deserve that.

Official Warning

Mr P Walton. Overly fussy in the extreme, never allowing advantage to be played, but allowing some free kicks to be taken quickly, from the wrong place and when the ball was still moving. He set the tone for the game, refusing to allow any flow to the football. He was just rubbish generally. He gets 5.012, as he wasn’t so rubbish he sent anyone off or gave a penalty because someone sneezed.

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