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The Men in White Coats

Bring On The Medics

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 29/10/2006

"That’s nine goals I’ve seen this season, and we haven’t scored one of them" screamed a text message I received. The trials of supporting a woeful 4th division team.

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Oh, I should mention that we’re not talking about Grimsby Town here. This came from my friend Terry who as a native and pillar of the local community has had to endure watching Peterborough United a.k.a. The Posh over the years.

Clearly supporting these teams amounts to a medical condition, which requires both psychological treatment and medication. So Terry and I decided to have a bonding session before the match at Charters, a jolly nice pub/barge by the river Nene. Anaesthesia was necessary for the endless torment we were about to be subjected to, and was found in the form of some very nice Jeffrey Hudson Bitter at £1-90 per pint. The last time we were here together, the Posh were playing Boston (0-1 to Boston). We just stayed in the pub for the afternoon. So there is hope for us. But not today. We’re going to the not-so-big match. But not until we had taken our medication. On the way to the pub, I popped into Waterstones book shop. In the football section they have three copies of a book called "Crap Teams" - a best seller in Peterborough. Next door was "Le Petit Four - Boulangerie et Café Français". A sign of these continental times in Peterborough? Terry opted for a KFC.

We took our seats in the Family section. Not having my children with me today, I felt quite smug. The Social Services could not cite me today for child cruelty. The game started.

First Half. This was a typical 4th division experience. Plenty of endeavour, but with the final ball going astray, goalmouth action was non existent and neither goalkeeper was troubled. Three through passes from Toner almost worked, and Crow had a bad miss for Peterborough. Town’s passes were starting to work and the tackling was determined, but the nature of the game only changed in the 37th minute when Gary Jones saw the opportunity to win the ball in the Peterborough half and went in with his studs up on Peter Gain. A red card for Jones. Town’s loss, Peterborough’s gain. Town pressed on however but disappointingly crosses went straight to Peterborough’s evergreen goalkeeper Mark Tyler. More encouragingly, Town had learnt by this stage to keep the ball on the ground better than Peterborough and the passing was more fluid. Crow threatened for Peterborough before half time but was guilty of a panic-stricken snap shot. Peterborough looked frozen, Town didn’t create any real chances and 0-0 was a fair score at half-time. Neither side looked like scoring.

Second Half. A Toner shot on 47 minutes was on target and Tyler did well to tip it over. Town played with commitment and energy in spite of having only 10 men. On 52 minutes, Fenton went on the offensive, handling the ball in the process but the referee didn’t notice it. Bore was put clear on the left and brought on a good save from Tyler, but the defence let the goalkeeper down with a poor clearance, giving toner the chance to pick his spot and score to the keeper’s right. 1 - 0 to Grimsby. The Peterborough youths carried on happily munching on their burgers and chocolate bars meanwhile. The gargantuan midfield struggle continued to the 60th minute when Crow won a corner after threatening to break through the defence. The set piece led to an easy goal for ex Mariner Ben Futcher. Grimsby 1, Peterborough 1. Peterborough followed this up with some dangerous attacks and a lot of pressure, but against the run of play another defensive error from Branston gave Bore the chance to beat the goalkeeper with a deft chip on 73 minutes. Grimsby 2, Peterborough 1.

"Can we hang on" enquired Andy Humberstone by text. At this stage the answer was yes, because the Grimsby Ten were playing positively and heads had not gone down. Peterborough did themselves a favour by bringing on Opara who with his pace was causing problems in Town’s defence. Just as it looked like Town had the situation under control, on 79 minutes another Peterborough sub Huke played in a good pass to the right through the defence, the ball came across the goalmouth and back from the left for the waiting Benjamin who unchallenged turned and slammed the ball into the left hand corner. Grimsby 2, Peterborough 2. Town had a chance on 83 minutes after a good passing move, with the ever dangerous Bore pushing the ball to Ravenhill who fired from outside the box and over the bar. We were at least fighting.

On 86 minutes, Opara broke through but was foiled by Barnes’s legs and Benjamin blasted over a few moments later. At the other end, Bore worked his way through the defence and for a moment an own goal looked possible but the ball ricocheted off the defender’s leg for a corner. Four minutes time were added with the game still in the balance. The Grimsby Ten looked tired. Peterborough had one last chance when Huke shot low and accurately but Barnes was up to it and deflected it for a corner. The game ended at Grimsby 2, Peterborough 2.

Verdict. Town did themselves credit today. Neither side was especially consistent but there was skill in patches from both sides. For Town Toner and Bore were especially creative with Barnes a rock in goal. My Man of the Match was Phil Barnes.

For all their effort, Peterborough weren’t a good side and won’t go up in my view. Equally on this performance Town won’t go down. So we’ll see you again next year, Terry. Don’t forget to keep taking the medication...

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