League Two Table
Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
By: Matty Newton
AFTER the disappointing result at Wembley last week, around a good 200+ descended on Rochdale with Town needed to win if there was any chance of making the play-off's.
The Mariners lined up in a 5-3-2 formation with Hegarty and Clarke continuing as wing backs. Buckley was forced into a few changes after injuries to Bolland, North, Till and Atkinson last week - Bennett, Toner, Butler and Jarman came into the side in their place. Most notable however was the inclusion of young Matty Bird in the 16.
The first half was very much cat and mouse with both sides having chances, with Town's best chance falling to Toner whose free-kick rattled against the crossbar.
The turning point in the game, came in the 37th minute when Jarman, who was making his first start in for Mariners, was sent off after two quick bookable offences. The first tackle did not warrant a yellow card but Jarman could not argue with the second booking as he went in with studs showing. The referee, who didn't have the best of games, had no hesitation in sending Jarman off.
Half time approached with the score 0-0 with Rochdale perhaps the better of the two sides.
Buckley made a change at half time, taking James Hunt off in place of Andy Taylor. To Hunt's credit he had done nothing wrong and was playing well but was the unlucky one as Buckley looked to be pushing for the win.
Town kicked off the second half in a 4-4-1 formation with Taylor going out onto the right wing.
It took Rochdale just 2 minutes after the restart to find the net as a good cross from the left hand side found Howe, who had come on as a first half substitute, unmarked at the far post to head home.
Rochdale then went 2-0 up shortly afterwards in the 55th minute. Howe again the goalscorer as he was put through by Higginbotham and slotted it past Barnes.
During the next 20 minutes Rochdale enjoyed long spells with the ball but couldn't expand on their lead. Le Fondre came on in replace of Muirhead. Le Fondre almost made it three after the bleached blonde haired Perkins, who had been impressive all game, found him in a great position 6 yards out , yet he still managed to fluff the chance as Rochdale tried to compound more misery onto the Mariners.
The 83rd minute saw Perkins substituted for Basham, Perkins received boo's from the Mariners fans as he made the most of a challenge by Jarman earlier.
In the 85th minute Town pulled one back through Taylor. Good work on the left from Hegarty allowed him to cross, which found Taylor unmarked to head in. Town now looking for the equaliser threw on Jones in place of Clarke.
Three added minutes were signalled by the 4th official as Town made Rochdale feel very nervous.
With a free-kick deep in our half, Barnes came charging forward. Newey, who had been at fault for at least one of the goals due to bad marking, played the ball out to Hegarty on the left, Barnes was in space and screaming for the ball, but Hegarty choose to crossed it and Fenton smashed the ball into the stands.
That appeared to be it but Howe had the final say as he grabbed himself a hat trick and the match ball with the last kick of the game, by beating Barnes at his near post to end a dismal day for the Mariners.
Jarman's sending off was undoubtedly the turning point as Rochdale were just to good against the 10 man of Town.
Time and time again Town seem to self destruct just after half time, which is something that needs to be addressed.
In the end though I don't think anyone could argue with the result, which leaves Town without a win in three and all hopes of any play-off challenge ended.
Man of the Match Nobody deserved it, but Barnes was the pick of a very bad bunch,
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