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Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
28/12 Lincoln 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
AS the teams trotted out the occasional flecks of snow turned into a shovel load, hurled over the top of the Pontoon by desperate Lincolnites. Cackle maniacally and twang your guitar. White-out!
Grimsby Town 3 Lincoln City 0
The referee started to get in the swing of things, making bizarre decisions like a goal-kick for Town when Newey scudded the ball away off the soles of his diamond-encrusted feet. Even the Pontoon claimed a corner for Lincoln. How long gone? Still only 62 minutes; it said that ten minutes ago. Is time freezing too? Or maybe Town wish it would be Christmas everyday?
Hereâ€™s another daft decision - free-kick to Lincoln just outside the box because they asked politely. And another, and another. Kerr and Mayo took turns to dimple the ball into the centre. Bodies collided, the ball followed instructions and avoided contact with red and whiteys. Moments of potential danger where the application of the laws of probability says something could turn up eventually. It didnâ€™t; the nearest they got was when Mild-O wandered out to whisper in Whittleâ€™s ear. The ball trumbled off a Lincoln head, over the bored keeper and some anonymous and anodyne striker way beyond the far post glanced a header even further wide.
As Lincoln started to press forward Town started to catch them on the break. Cohen performed some juggling with a large baked potato, a banana fritter and a bobble hat. Two defenders applauded as the Gretna ghost za-zoomed away from the touchline towards goal. They backed off, he looked up, saw Reddy racing to his left and played a perfectly weighted pass to the Kilkenny flyer. Reddy pushed the ball to his left, dribbled in to the area and chimpled the ball way over the bar, hitting the underside of the scoreboard. How long gone? 62 minutes.
Robinson started to kick Croft, leaving his foot hanging in the air for an "accidental" collision, but Town rarely got a free kick. The crowd were roused and railing when Cohen was penalised for winning the ball; the crowd wailing when Cohen was clobbered full on in the cobblers area, but no free kick awarded. At long, long last, a free kick to Town: Robinson booked and Newey launching the ball deep into the Lincoln area. Jones the Lean got on his space-hopper and loop-glanced a header goalwards, Marriot arcing back and comfortably plucking. How long gone? 62 minutes? Still?
Thatâ€™s not a clock itâ€™s a thermometer. But on which scale? The Fentyscale, where itâ€™s the temperature youâ€™d like it to be? Where did the last 20 minutes go? On 82 minutes Croft was walloped again. In the 80th minute Ramsden replaced him. Now thatâ€™s management, thinking two minutes ahead, no wonder we concede so few goals. Lincoln still pressed on with their jumping-a-Town-player-to-get-a-free-kick tactic. The Impies indulged in some binge dinking into the Town penalty area, resulting in men rolling around on the floor and forgetting where they were and what they were doing. Mild-Still-In-Tights rabbit-punched one away and there was the very minorest of hints at a shot from them when a dink arrived at Robinsonâ€™s feet four yards out. With his back to goal he was simply ushered into the nearest cubicle and told to wash his hands before he leaves.
Townâ€™s infrequent raids were characterised by flickery and trickery, the Lumpmachine acting as some kind of bloated Tony Rees, holding the ball and rolling it aside for Cohen to mis-kick straight to the keeper. Parkinson shot straight at a defenderâ€™s ankles after Bollandian hussling and Reddyian rolling had set him free. Itâ€™s party time.
With a couple of minutes left Heggggggggarty replaced Reddy, who got a huge ovation. Reddy wasnâ€™t paying attention and had to be tapped on the shoulder by his marker and told to leave the pitch. And that was just about that. Hegggggarty touched the ball twice and was introduced to the harsh world of man-football as Town launched the ball in the air towards him. Town just wasted time in the corners for the last few minutes, much to the annoyance of the crowd. Does it matter now? No. Game over, three points in that big bumper bag of goodies. Lincoln just got the plastic kazoo.
How satisfying: a stroll in the snow with the job done in half the time available. How wonderfully efficient. See, Town, thatâ€™s the way to do it: rock and roll from the start. Most pleasing, locals content; letâ€™s open another box of chocolates.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Everyone will pick Reddy for his typically Reddyian performance of shugging and chugging, and he was an immense pest to them, creating the first two goals. But hey, Nickoâ€™s from Grimsby, itâ€™s in the DNA code to be contrary. Toner had his best game for Town by several eons and, really, everyone played well; even Lumpy was effective for the whole match. However, for being a human dynamo from first to beyond the last minute, itâ€™s Paul Bolland; he even controlled it twice. What further proof do you need to convict?
Mr R Olivier. He gets a seasonal bonus of an extra five clubcard points for letting the game start, and finish. But the bits in between were a problem. Every little thing he did was not magic, managing to infuriate the home fans by imagining slurs upon the good shirts of Lincoln but ignoring some rather obvious man-not-ball challenges, particularly by their forwards. He kept giving free kicks when Town players looked at Lincolnites, but then ignored the Reddy shuffle, where he yanks the centre backâ€™s underpants down and runs off sniggering and pulling faces. Far too many words used already, you just want the last line "....for a while". A rather kind 4.671 for the Anti-Crouch.
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