League Two Form Guide
Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
Roll on the Summer
By: Ian Townsend
ON a very damp night in front of one of the poorest crowds seen at Blundell Park for a very long time, Town took the field for the second time in 4 days with a chance to put Saturday’s poor display behind them against a Wycombe Wanderers side currently in the last play-off position.
Buckley put out a team without too many surprises with Barnes in goal; a back three of Newey, fit again Atkinson, and Fenton; Hegarty and Clarke as wingbacks with Till, Boshell and Bolland in the middle. Up front Butler partnered perhaps a little surprisingly by Jarman. On the bench: Montgomery, Bird, Toner, Bore and Taylor.
For once Town kicked towards the Osmond in the first half but as expected it was Wycombe who were first to show. Showing good movement from their front two they pulled the Town defence around, with only last ditch tackles from first Newey and then Fenton preventing serious early danger.
Town however gradually got a foothold in the game mainly due to the effort and ability of Jarman who, as well as holding the ball up well and battling hard managed to play some decent passes. From one of these after 8 minutes he put Butler in one on one with the Wycombe keeper who spread himself well to make a good save.
A couple of corners were won in quick succession, but as so often has been the case this season they came to nothing.
Wycombe still looked the team most likely and with a midfield supporting the front two were putting Town under pressure causing Boshell to give the ball away only for McGleish to shoot wide. Town then conceded a soft free kick which when the ball came across Newey went missing allowing Facey a free header which Barnes did well to push round for a corner.
It wasn't all one way however and more good linking by Jarman put first Till in with real danger only averted at the cost of another corner and then a sparkling 4 man move ended with Jarman being marginally off-side.
However there was a sense of inevitability about Wycombe’s attacking play and when the ball broke to Town’s nemesis from the Slade era Sergio Torres, the midfielder took a couple of paces and fired in a shot which may have taken a slight deflection just inside Barnes right hand post to put the Chair Boys one up on 19 minutes
Back came Town and a good run by Hegarty resulted in another corner which again came to nothing.
After half an hour a very good run from Newey found Hegarty but his effort lacked any real conviction and was easily cleared.
Both Jarman and Till were clearly "up for it". However although there was a lot of good running with the ball the final incisive pass was missing much to the annoyance of the small crowd.
As the half drew to a close only a great blocking tackle from Newey prevented a further score.
On 40 minutes Fenton, who'd gone down heavily in an earlier challenge had to go off being replaced by Toner. Town reverted to a "flat" back four with Hegarty at left back, Newey and Atkinson in the middle and Clarke dropping into right back. Toner took up an orthodox left midfield position.
With virtually the last kick of the first half the Wycombe keeper spilled the ball but unbelievably there was no Town player within 10 yards.
Half Time: Grimsby Town 0 Wycombe Wanderers 1.
Town came out with more purpose and got an early free kick when Jarman was upended in a fairly dangerous position. However somewhat inexplicably the ball was passed to four players, not going forward at all until it found it’s way to Bolland on the right who crossed to the far post clearly forgetting that Fenton had left the field.
It was all Town but as all to often this season there was no end product to the very neat midfield passing as first Hegarty (not for the last time) wasted an opportunity to cross and then Butler couldn't quite get on the end of a through ball from the very impressive Jarman.
Wycombe were reduced to counter attacks but one of these heralded two minutes of utter madness as first Barnes had to make a great save with his body, and then having rushed from his goal he was surprised by a shot which had him scampering back as the ball came off the outside of the post. This signalled sheer panic to start and for a while Town seemed unable to get the ball away.
In an attempt to freshen things up Buckley brought on Bore for the disappointing Martin Butler on 70 minutes and the youngster was straight into the action picking out Bolland who was robbed by a last ditch tackle as he shaped to pull the trigger.
Town huffed and puffed but in reality didn't have the guile to break down the Wycombe defence.
On 78 minutes Buckley in a last throw of the dice brought on Taylor at the expense of a tiring Jarman who left the field to a well deserved standing ovation. His all round effort and awareness must surely have put him in Buckley’s mind for next season. On this display he is definitely worth the risk of a further contract.
Town continued to press but in truth Wycombe comfortably saw out the last 10 minutes to earn a win which went some way to securing their place in the play-offs. Buckley must have cast an envious eye at their speed of thought and movement off the ball. Too many Town players lacked the nous to anticipate moves. Bore in particular after a bright start faded badly and Taylor hardly had time to impose himself on the game.
Facts don't lie and the main fact was that for all their decent approach play once again Town didn't make the opposition keeper make a save in the whole of the second half. Effort wise it was 100 times better than Saturday and Till and Jarman were big plusses. It must frustrate Buckley because it sure as hell frustrated most of the 2,537 hardy souls who turned up. In all honesty the season’s end cannot come soon enough. We have to hope that the club can conjure up something for next season if a repeat of this term or worse is to be avoided.
Final Score: Grimsby Town 0 Wycombe Wanderers 1
My Man of the Match: Jarman (for his effort, liveliness, ability to hold the ball and no little skill)
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