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Going Underhill - Second Half

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 06/12/2006

For the first ten minutes, Town played with style, showed good ball play and piled on the attacks. Till in particular was causing problems in the defence. But Barnet got the ball up the field quickly on 57 minutes and Town were saved by a header off the line.

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Barnet continued to surge forward and their speedsters were being matched by committed tackling on Town's part. On 60, Paterson won a corner which led to nothing. On 63, Newey escaped a tackle and set up a good passing move but on 65 Barnet won a corner. Barnes collected in Grimsby's goal but then hoofed the wind-assisted ball up to the other end.

This resulted in Barnet again racing up field and getting a shot in. On 66, Pulis had a good crack at goal for Town from 20 yards out. As in the first half though, Town were allowing themselves to be dictated to by Barnet, who with some skill were still operating the game at lightening pace. Town did have their chances and a Jones interception put Paterson through who sent Hegarty clear but the goalkeeper came up with a good save.

Barnet made a double substitution on 70, no doubt to provide some fresh legs to do the running around. The game wasn't being helped by the wind which was diminishing the skill factor. On 73, Paterson got clear again and won a corner but Town were unable to capitalise. I made the observation that Barnet ran and ran like greyhounds, to which Mick commented "yes, they don't winalot". Thanks, Mick.

This prompted various references to Kennelworth Road and Town being urged to "whippet in". The jollity was interrupted on 78 with a cold blast of Cleethorpes-style air and more good skill from Paterson who won a corner after a curling shot.

Hegarty's corner almost went in but the goalkeeper was fouled in the process. Barnet were exposed again on 80, when Jones intercepted. He did not have the pace but put Till through. Good work from the Barnet goalkeeper cut out the danger. Barnet were very prone to mistakes and made another one on 82. Ravenhill unselfishly pushed the ball out to Paterson who in spite of being pushed out wide, pushed the ball past the goalkeeper.

With the wind, the ball flew up and Barnet's Yakubu made a hurried clearance. Paterson had another chance moments later and from 25 yards out, weaved his way in from the left, cut inside two defenders, and shot, only for the ball to bounce off the bottom of the left hand post. Town were playing well at this stage but Barnet remained dangerous as the ball went from end to end.

A floated ball in at the Grimsby end caused momentary alarm as the resultant header landed just over the bar. Till won a corner for Grimsby on 90 minutes after a Jones lay off. 3 minutes time were added on, during which Town's defence had to block a fierce shot. Barnet won a corner on 93 minutes and after an initial clearance, the goalkeeper who had gone up to assist attempted a bicycle kick. The attempt was unsuccessful and so the score at full time was Barnet 0, Grimsby Town 1.


This was an end to end game which surprisingly had only one goal in it, given all the action. Barnet seemed hell-bent on getting the ball up field as quickly as possible, and showed great pace but skill also. They were also prone to mistakes, which would account for their lowly position in the league.

The danger for Town was getting roped into this style and in the first half they did, except for a couple of passing movements, one of which resulted in the goal. To have continued to match the "hoof the ball up the field" philosophy would have been dangerous and as it was, Barnet put Town under pressure in the second half as well.

Town however played in a determined fashion throughout and there some solid and brave tackles from a number of players. We played well for a large part of the second half, notably in the first ten minutes and during another spell around the 80th, when we were unlucky not to score. At other times we were outdone for pace but it wasn't as bad as I have seen.

There were a number of good performances on the Town side but I was especially impressed with the three loanees Pulis, Paterson and Till. All three added quality. The other players I would single out for praise were Croft, Fenton, Jones and Hegarty, all of whom contributed skill in their respective areas. Paterson deserves particular praise for his general play and coolly taken goal but for me the Man of the Match was the exciting and troublesome Peter Till.

Overall, it was a bit of a struggle especially with the wind blowing from one end to the other and it certainly wasn't pretty but although Town weren't in control for long periods, they looked to be tighter, more dangerous in terms of creativity and more of a unit.

Swanny, Nick and I said our goodbyes as we set off for our homes in Grimsby, London and Biggleswade. The performance may not have been overwhelmingly fantastic, but it was an entertaining game, and we were able to leave this Underhill windscape in a state of happiness with three very important points in the bag.

Up the Mariners!!

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