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Newey: MOM
Newey: MOM

Fresh Air and Pleasure #2

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 16/09/2007

ON 47, Stockport broke through after Pilkington ran clear and put Elding clear but the flag went up for offside. Town’s offensive contribution seemed to be to provide crosses into the centre of Stockport’s packed and lofty defence. Toner was particularly guilty.

Home > 2007-2008 Season > Reports > Stockport (h)

Then, on 51, Newey, who had threatened all afternoon, picked up the ball and instead of aimlessly firing into the centre, sent in a curling head-height cross to Bolland on the edge of the box. Bolland got behind it and fired in a powerful header into the top right hand corner. Stockport’s goalkeeper Logan had no chance. Grimsby Town 1, Stockport County 1.

Mulligan came on for Bennett and got booked for a foul within 2 minutes. Then on 54, Hunt came on for Taylor which left Town in a 4-5-1 formation. Having just scored, this caused murmurings amongst the crowd, to whom it seemed that instead of capitalising on the equaliser, Town were consolidating and happy with a draw.

A Fenton tackle on 54 set up Till who won a corner. Boshell’s corner was headed out. A Boshell cross on 55 landed on Fenton’s head but the ball went inches wide. A Hunt interception on 60 set up another move. Town were not fluid but seemed to be gathering momentum. The passion was there. Toner had a scrap in the corner with Stockport’s Taylor. On 62, Bolland cut out a pass and enabled Rankin to go through on his own but he couldn’t quite beat the goalkeeper. Rankin won the ball back immediately and got the ball out to Newey who rounded the defence and crossed to Boshell. The header went wide but this was better.

Stockport won a corner on 69, and unlike a few minutes earlier, Town were struggling again. In particular Rankin was outnumbered and yet the presence of five midfielders didn’t seem to result in more possession for Town or more dangerous attacks. On 72, Newey fought to keep the ball in play at the Town end but merely succeeded in giving the ball to Stockport. Town won the ball back but Toner lost possession when trying to get Rankin through. Bore then came on for Till, restoring the 4-4-2 formation.

On 74, Mulligan, already on a booking, ran into a Stockport player which led to a free-kick by the corner flag. Pilkington fired over. Town continued to struggle. On 75, Stockport won a corner following a deflected shot from Elding. A number of crosses were put in to Barnes, who was equal to all of them. Barnes’s clearances however seemed to be mopped up by Stockport players who started up further attacks. Newey showed determination on 79 by intercepting a pass and setting up a passing move which broke down when Bore was dispossessed.

Bore looked lost, in common with Town who seemed for the most part to be stumbling along without fluidity or purpose. Bore and Rankin worked up a move on 84, and Rankin laid off to Toner whose shot from 20 yards just went over. Town continued to pass the ball around. Newey was seeking the right options but otherwise the moves were mostly without control. On 85, Mulligan was dispossessed following a passing move on the edge of Stockport’s box, then on 86 Boshell’s misplaced pass resulted in a Stockport breakaway. The ball returned to Rankin who claimed he was pulled down. No foul was given. Rankin then proceeded to argue about it from an offside position, epitomising the poor attitude, which along with the hesitation, occasional lack of concentration and lack of self-belief in the final quarter are all contributing to Town’s poor results and performances.

On 88, Bore broke away following a Stockport corner but Town fiddled and Toner made a mess of it. "It’s as if they don’t want to score" commented the gentleman in front of me. Bore won a corner but Toner committed a foul in the box. Toner then interworked with Newey but the eventual recipient Boshell, who’d had a shocking game, took too long over it. 90 minutes was up now and a high floating cross came in from midfield into a packed Stockport box. For once the Stockport goalkeeper mishandled under pressure and Rankin gained possession, taking the ball to his left before firing a goalbound shot with the keeper stranded. Stockport had manned the goal line and a defender got in the way. It was close but it was also Town’s last chance as the whistle blew for full time straight after. Final score: Grimsby Town 1, Stockport County 1.

Full-time verdict. There’s always a sense of disappointment and emptiness after a home draw and this was no exception. After being outplayed in the first half, Town had more of the play in the second but visibly struggled. Stockport looked bright, fluid and dangerous throughout. Town didn’t. There was no shortage of effort but time after time attacks broke down in the final quarter with misplaced passes or the defence crowding out Town’s attack, which at times amounted to Rankin on his own. Taylor didn’t do much and Bore, who came on later, didn’t really get into the game. Having five in midfield as we did for a time didn’t up the possession much and certainly didn’t improve the quality. The ball just seemed to be lost or support was lacking as we were trying to break through. The defence seemed to be a bit slow in the face of the Stockport attacks, which is worrying, and suffered from the customary lack of concentration when conceding the goal. I would have to question Town’s attitude as a whole in terms of concentration and the tendency to argue at the expense of the game going on around them. At the same time there is an overall uncertainty and visible lack of self-belief when it comes to setting up meaningful attacks. They could take a lead here from Stockport, who had a number of dangerous attacking options and supported each other well. On the positive side, Rankin battled hard and refused to give up in spite of the lack of support. Whittle and Bolland gave their all as usual. Till looked creative before being taken off while Barnes in goal looked solid.

My Man of the Match was Tom Newey who weighed up his options and played with a composure we haven’t always seen from him in the past. His runs were incisive and determined, his passing and crossing thoughtful and he made the Town goal with an excellent cross. As Andy said, he looked a division above in his play. Beyond that, it was mediocre. I’m not going to compare it to Accrington because I wasn’t there but "at least it was better than Accrington" is no accolade. Although it’s not cause for excitement, there’s no need for panic. I think we’ll win some games but based on this performance we’re looking at survival and nothing more this year.

In spite of the disappointment of the result, it was a fairly entertaining game, largely thanks to Stockport’s enterprising style, and as always it was a good day out. Let us not forget the plus points and the pleasure. We scored a good goal. We gained a point. Ruth got her fresh air. So did 3,725 others. There were no miserable and ungrateful Arsenal supporters. Just good company, and therapeutic fresh air. It does you good, you know. We’ll be back for more soon ....

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