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10/12 Bristol Rovers 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NEITHER team made any changes at half time and the game continued as it left off. No, thatâ€™s inaccurate: it got worse. As it turned out, the first half was the good half.
Grimsby Town 0 Bristol Rovers 1
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? Isnâ€™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 isnâ€™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, Parkisnonâ€™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 Neweyâ€™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. Letâ€™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 itâ€™s your fault. Remember that next time you pull into Tescoâ€™s for your petrol and papers.
How many minutes of good football is that so far at Blundell Park?
Nickoâ€™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.
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 wasnâ€™t so rubbish he sent anyone off or gave a penalty because someone sneezed.
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