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A Day At The Galpharm
By: Andrew Doherty
IT was time for the Fishyâ€™s Annual Outing. For reasons best known to themselves, some people opt to go to New England for the Fall, or spend a weekend in Paris.
Following on from last yearâ€™s three pointer at Mansfield, Rob and I joined forces once again for an FA Cup awayday up north in Huddersfield.
To cut out indecision, Rob suggested that we made our mind up to go before the Barnet game last week, so we did. As it happens, against expectation we won gloriously and weâ€™re now on a two match winning run, so no amount of cold wind, rain and Yorkshire hostility was going to deter us from our victorious march.
Thereâ€™s nothing to stir the blood more than playing a team from Yorkshire. People from outside Lincolnshire would not understand this. We were simply brought up to despise them. "Kill all Yorkies" once read the quasi-militaristic graffiti on the wall by Bradley crossroads. Times are more enlightened now, and we have come to tolerate these strange folk, but we still donâ€™t like their football teams. Oddly, in all the hundreds of times Iâ€™ve seen Town play, this is only the third time Iâ€™ve seen us in the White Rose county (0-0 at Rotherham in 1980, and 3-2 at Sheffield United in 1984, for the record). I clearly followed my parentsâ€™ advice to steer clear. As for Huddersfield, I distinctly remember a 5-1 home victory on New Yearâ€™s Day, 1985. "The nasty yellow men" was how my wife Sam called them, having once had the unpleasant experience in her life of meeting someone from Pontefract. Rob and I now crossed the border. There was no telling of the dangers ahead. Welcome to Hell. We were now in Yorkshire.
The weather didnâ€™t let us down. Brass monkeys would have prevailed in the conditions. In spite of the blue skies, sinister grey clouds provided a backdrop to the chimneys of those satanic and now disused mills. The insipid colours of the buildings in the distance matched the bleak setting. Huddersfield in fact is a curious hybrid of Victorian terraced houses, those disused mills, car showrooms, electrical superstores and the statutory McDonalds standing incongruously in the middle. And then there is the State of the Art Galpharm Stadium, todayâ€™s destination. It has everything you would expect of a modern stadium - superb views and good facilities inside the ground, but little immediately around it. We met Andy Humberstone. Rob and Andy shared their experience of living in Surrey. You know what they say about Town supporters only living in Guildford, or was that some other team? We went into the pub by the ground. Rob likened its queuing system to an airport terminal. In spite of the plasticness and the Northern cold, the Galpharm experience so far was good, and the locals were all friendly. Times are changing. It was now time though for the match.
Town lined up as last week, apparently once again with a 3-5-2 formation: Montgomery: Bennett - Fenton - Atkinson: Hird - Till - Hunt - Toner - Newey: North - Jones.
After the obligatory scrappy start with the teams jockeying for position, Toner was allowed space on 8 minutes and put in a low shot from 20 yards, which the goalkeeper tipped round for a corner. Toner was again involved in a move with Newey and North on 12, but control of the ball was lost. Huddersfield had a dangerous attack on 15 when Kamara crossed to Holdsworth whose left-footed shot went high and wide.
Kamara again created space on the right two minutes later and ex Town man Jevons headed onto the top of the net. It was a heart-stopping moment. Jones fell over in the Huddersfield box on 18, but the appeals for a penalty were turned down. It was Huddersfield who were looking the most dangerous with Kamara forcing two excellent saves from Montgomery in Grimsbyâ€™s goal.
Grimsbyâ€™s endeavours were leading to nothing. The passing was neat but moves were breaking down and mistakes were being made. Grimsby won a free-kick for pulling on 24. Neweyâ€™s kick was ineffective and led to Huddersfield breaking away. The move stopped when Hunt tripped up Kamara. Hunt was booked. Jones then tried to loft the ball over the top to North, who was offside. On 33, Till was dispossessed, and Kamara forced yet another good save from Montgomery. Fenton headed over for another corner as Huddersfield pressed. The pressure stopped when Bennett was fouled.
On 38, Grimsby built up two attacks, the first involving Hird and Till, the second Toner and Till, but Till lost the ball on each occasion. Huddersfield attacked again, and Fenton pushed clear on 39 for a corner. A low cross from Kamara was cleared by Atkinson, not for the first time, and Atkinson blocked again moments later after Jones booted the ball clear for the ball to return into Grimsbyâ€™s box. Town won a free kick on 43. Toner sent in a good cross, and the ball was headed out for a corner. A goalmouth scramble looked promising for Grimsby but offside was given and the momentum was lost. Town pressed on for the rest of the half and were in when the whistle blew for half-time. Huddersfield 0, Grimsby 0.
Half-time verdict. There was a lot of running around, width was being created and the support play to go with the passing game was good, but Grimsbyâ€™s moves were not fluid enough. Our players were being closed down and passes were going astray. Till in particular seemed to be trying to do too much. Hunt was anonymous, while Toner was trying to create openings without having success. The Huddersfield goalkeeper had had nothing to save. At the other end, Huddersfield were causing mayhem down the right and Kamara was proving too quick and skilful for Newey. The defence was determined though and both Atkinson and Fenton were blocking well. Montgomery was excellent in goal. In spite of needing greater fluidity, the game was in the balance and there was no need for panic measures. Town were wearing Manchester United colours today, but there was no resemblance to Ronaldo, Rooney and co, although Rob did rather bizarrely compare Fenton in appearance to Giggs.
The report continues in the Second Half
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