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The Jarman Show
By: Ian Townsend
A FAIRLY sparse, weather-inflicted crowd at a cold but dry Blundell Park greeted the Grimsby Town and Exeter City players for this afternoon’s League Two game.
As expected Town were forced to make two changes due to suspension and injury.
Town lined up as follows:
Clarke, Heywood (as expected replacing the suspended Rob Atkinson), Bennett and Widdowson.
Jarman, Sinclair, Kalala, Elliott
Proudlock, (and a home debut for loan striker) Forbes.
Subs: Montgomery, Boshell, Bore, Llewellyn and Hegarty.
As has become the pattern recently the game began slowly with both teams trying to come to terms with the conditions. Town were the first to show when a good ball from Sinclair found Proudlock who held off his defender well but his shot was wayward.
Then Jarman had a strong shot from the edge of the box blocked after a corner fell to him. Within 30 seconds though Town found themselves a goal behind in rather odd circumstances. Jarman committed a foul on the half way line. The free kick was very quickly taken and a thirty yard pass found Marcus Stewart in acres of space as the whole defence was caught napping. He took one touch to control it and then curled an unstoppable shot around the slightly advanced Barnes into the top corner for a splendid goal after 8 minutes.
Town tried to respond and Jarman brilliantly controlled a Barnes kick and then found Proudlock. As the striker looked to pull the trigger he delayed a fraction of a second too long allowing an Exeter defender to get in a goal saving block at the expense of a corner.
Town looked to up the pace and a little flurry of half chances saw no player in black and white able to put the finishing touch.
In truth though for most of the rest of the half Town were unable to get any coherence in their play. They were out passed and out thought as the home team struggled to get any moves going. The midfield seemed devoid of the energy seen in the previous two home games. The state of the game was summed up when the energetic Forbes chased the ball between three Exeter players without any of his colleagues seeing fit to get involved. A somewhat rueful shrug of the shoulders told them of his views on the matter!
The defence minus the steadying influence of Atkinson looked more vulnerable than at any time in 2009 and it was only a combination of poor finishing and safe handed goalkeeping that prevented a worse score line.
As half time loomed most people thought Town would do well to keep the score to one-nil. Then, just as it appeared the likely outcome Town produced their best move of the match to date. The ball was worked out to the left and when Elliott found his way blocked was sent out wide right and eventually into Proudlock who scuffed his shot. The ball found it’s way to Jarman whose slightly mishit shot went under the 'keeper for the equaliser.
Hopefully the goal would provide the platform Town needed to finish the job in the second half.
HALF TIME : Grimsby Town 1 Exeter City 1.
The second half began with Town putting more pressure on their opponents and on 48 minutes Proudlock unleashed a shot from 20 yards which went narrowly wide. Forbes was next to show and the highly combatative front runner got the better of his defender to fire a shot in that was deflected for a corner.
From the corner Bennett got in a good header which was too high.
It wasn’t going to be long before the pressure told though and from a free kick on the half way line the ball found its way to Widdowson. His cross was missed by Proudlock but again Jarman was there to take his second goal with aplomb from about 6 yards out.
Clearly delighted, Jarman "celebrated" with the fans in the Lower Smiths, earning an unfortunate yellow card from fussy referee Attwell in the process to a chorus of boos from three parts of the ground.
Town were very much in the ascendancy and only the woodwork (in the shape of the bar) prevented a third Town goal as Widdowson’s cross was headed goalwards by Kalala. Interestingly the referee decided that the ball hitting the top of the bar meant it was out and gave a goal kick in another strange piece of decision making.
The first changes came on the hour. Sinclair limped off to be replaced by Boshell. The other change involved the sending of Mike Newell to the stands presumably for something he’d said. Exeter tried to get back into the game and Town were slightly fortunate when the defence was opened up only for Barnes to make a comfortablish save at his near post.
Mr Attwell had clearly had enough of some rather "robust" tackling and gave Town a free kick 35 yards out after a foul on Proudlock. Up stepped Stuart Elliott whose low shot was very well saved at the expense of a corner down at his near post by Exeter 'keeper Jones.
On 70 minutes Town made their second substitution with Forbes being replaced by Peter Bore. The striker went off to warm applause from the Town faithful who were impressed by his endeavour and a decent skill level.
Town continued to press for a third goal and Proudlock was denied twice in quick succession by Jones.
From the second of the resulting corners we had an interesting outcome. The ball from the corner by Boshell found its way back to the midfielder via the bar without another player having touched it to concede a free kick when he played it in again.
Back came Exeter and a dangerous looking cross was shepherded away by none other than action man Jarman. This, however was to be his last contribution of the game as on 77 minutes and clearly tiring he was replaced by Llewellyn.
Almost straightaway (but through no fault of the latest sub!) Exeter pulled level. A little cross found Exeter’s sub unmarked in a central position and he rifled an unstoppable shot inside Barnes near post.
It was a sickening blow for Town and the long suffering fans sensed ten minutes of "hearts in mouth" action. True, Exeter exerted a bit of pressure but the defence held up well with Heywood making several good headers and timely blocks. Four minutes of time added on produced little in the way of chances and the game ended with the majority of fans thinking a draw was a fair result.
Final Score: Grimsby Town 2 Exeter City 2.
Man of the match was not really a difficult choice today. No hesitation in giving it to Jarman for another all action display. His two goals were the icing on the cake. Town fans may well find themselves grateful for one more event from Mr Buckley’s third spell at the club if his current form continues. That’s three goals in 2009 for a player who many on "The Fishy" doubted could "finish".
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