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A Series Of Unfortunate Events Part 2
By: Andrew Doherty
JONES blazed wide on 49 minutes for Town after a lumbering passing move. Even at this early stage of proceedings, the game was lacking atmosphere, the opposite of a book you canâ€™t put down. Not like Lemony Snicket: "Welcome to Hotel Denouement".
On 63 minutes, Darlingtonâ€™s Smith fired in a dangerous cross but it ran across the goalmouth. Town were trying to press forward but there was an overall problem in keeping control of the ball. It was noticeable that when any of them went on a run, with the exception of Croft they werenâ€™t looking up to see who was around them. On 68 minutes Joachim was allowed space in midfield, turned and went on a run but his shot was blocked.
Townâ€™s sole threat was coming from Paterson, who on 69 used his pace to beat a defender and won a corner. The corner went straight to the keeper. Shortly after, Paterson caused trouble again and squeezed the ball through to Jones who seemed to fall over himself in the Darlington 6 yard box. On 71, the lively Paterson broke loose on the left and shot, causing the goalkeeper to fumble. A useful ball from Toner on 73 sent Croft away and a dangerous cross resulted in a corner for Town. From the clearance, Joachim was set loose and passed to Wright but of the three Town defenders homing in, Newey mopped up neatly. This had been a better spell for Town, who were more enterprising but they were still guilty of hoofing it upfield. There was evidence of some passing at least.
Joachim won another corner for Darlington but the ball was ballooned over. Revis was now on page 72: "They did not like to think what was the worst that could happen". On 79 minutes, Harkins landed on Joachim outside the box and was booked. Ryan took the free kick from 25 yards out and fired in a low shot to Barnesâ€™s right. Barnes fumbled it and the ball ran over the line. Grimsby Town 0, Darlington 1.
Town did not look like scoring. On 83 minutes, the ineffective Till came off for Rankin, who came on without any warm up. Revis, who was back with the game, looked at her ring which she explained came in a mystery pack. There was no mystery here. Town were awful and apparently on their way to losing. At the same time the freezing January wind moved in. Hope was restored on 87 minutes when after a clumsy foul, Town had a free kick on the right side of the field outside Darlingtonâ€™s penalty box. Newey curled a neat free-kick in, the ball ran through the defence and appeared to hit the post before being cleared. No-one was there to get in first and a chance had gone.
There had been fouls or injuries to cause play to be stopped so there was precious little added-on time to retrieve the situation. Nevertheless Town wasted a free-kick in the Darlington half by taking it too quickly when no-one was ready. Darlington now played for time in timeâ€™s half and Bolland got booked for an aggressive tackle on Darlingtonâ€™s Cummins. The final whistle blew shortly after. Final score: Grimsby Town, 0, Darlington 1. The playground is empty now. The children play no more. The game is over.
Verdict. My enduring memory of this game is of Town players squabbling over who was going to take the penalty, before it was ingloriously missed. This was unprofessional. Surely preparation had been made for this eventuality. Overall, the players looked lost, there was no collective performance worth speaking of and any threat was snuffed out by an efficient Darlington defence. AB must be in despair. Interestingly, I never heard anyone criticising him, indeed the Town faithful were sent into subdued silence by the level of ineptitude on the field. Yes, there was the odd passing move, but they were interspersed with misplaced passes and hoofed balls up the park. This just isnâ€™t good enough. Paterson was impressive but got no support from the statuesque and lumbering Jones or from anyone else. Croft had a good game on the right, and tried to instil some measured urgency while Newey performed with commitment and some skill both in defence and on counter attacks. Harkins filled in well in a makeshift defence until his clumsy challenge led to the free-kick and the goal. Indeed, considering the shortage of regular defenders, this area was surprisingly one of Townâ€™s stronger departments. Unfortunately, with the notable exception of Townâ€™s Man of the Match Paterson, the rest were woeful, and the overall performance was lacking in co-ordination or cohesion. This was not a performance according to the AB formula, and I can only imagine that he is solely aiming to survive this year before having a clear-out and bringing in a team of players who can operate together. I look forward to that day but in the meantime we havenâ€™t scored for 6 matches and apart from Paterson we donâ€™t look like doing so. Rogetâ€™s Thesaurus has many adjectives which are synonymous with awful and most of them apply.
Revis was philosophical as usual. "Total crap" was her analysis, adding that her biggest moment of excitement was dropping her ring and having to clamber over the seat in front to pick it up again. She pointed out the leaflet telling us about the 20,000 seater stadium, asking "how are they going to fill up 20,000 seats?" She cheerfully offered to lend me her book, which on its back cover proclaimed it was "next to first in its share of misery, despair and unpleasantness". I politely declined on the basis that I had more than my share of this by visiting Blundell Park, or going to Lincoln.
In spite of this, after the game I bought our tickets for the Boston game for another Series of Unfortunate Events. Next stop insanity.
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