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Feed the Forbes
By: Rob Sedgwick
ON a night in which Brazil and Italy played one another just a few miles away in North London, a moment of individual brilliance from Adrian Forbes, which would have had the world's media purring over it, rescued a point for Grimsby in their relegation six pointer with Barnet. Sadly few will ever see it.
Ironically Forbes's goal was a singular nugget of brilliance in a game which otherwise would have provided ample material for one of Danny Baker's Own Goals and Gaffes series of videos.
Around 400 Grimbarians comprising the regular hard core of supporters, swelled by many exiles and occasional Town watchers, literally rubbed shoulders together on a compact terrace reminiscent of matches from several decades ago. With Town wearing an unfamiliar red and having a team largely assembled in the last six months whispers asking friends which team was which could even be heard as the players assembled.
Given that whoever lost the match would earn the accolade of the Worst Team in England, both sides were desperate to win the game and straight from the off it was obvious that there was a good chance goals would not be in short supply in this game.
Unfortunately, with the start that Grimsby made, in the opening period of the game it looked only a matter of time before Barnet opened their account.
After just five minutes slack defending by Town allowed Barnet's No. 7 Albert Adomah to have a shot on the edge of the box which whistled just wide of Town's goal.
Adomah was to prove Barnet's chief danger. Willing to run at players, chiefly Town's left back Widdowson, Barnet either gave Adomah the ball at every opportunity or pumped it into the channels for Adomah and the other pacy front players to exploit.
On 10 minutes Phil Barnes came out of his goal to clear a ball into the box and was left stranded, needing Atkinson to clear a shot off the line with the Town 'keeper marooned.
After around 15 minutes the first evidence of Barnet's frailties began to emerge. A mistake by the Barnet defence led to Proudlock bursting into the box and shooting from a narrow angle. The ball was deflected by the 'keeper and trickled agonisingly wide of the goal. From the ensuing corner Barnet's 'keeper made a desperate lunge for the ball which was so bad every Grimsby player and supporter must have made a mental note to test him with balls in the box as often as possible.
Unfortunately from a second corner by Town where the 'keeper was almost as bad, Grimsby gave the ball away allowing Barnet to break. Town in their desperation to score had left just Jamie Clarke back and Town's right back failed to prevent Bolasie, making his debut on loan from Plymouth, to shrug aside Clarke's challenge and shoot past Barnes.
Almost immediately Barnet added a second. Adomah ghosted past Widdowson as though he were not there and delivered a perfect cross for Furlong to nod in at the far post. Town were shell shocked and it looked like it was they who would be given the epithet of the Worst Team in England.
Grimsby were given a lifeline though very soon. Kadoch in Barnet's goal made a terrible mess of another Grimsby corner and the ball bounced into the net. It looked at the time like the Barnet 'keeper had pushed the ball into his own net after an aerial challenge from Ryan Bennett, although it would appear that Bennett has been credited with the goal. Many referees would have given a foul on the 'keeper but thankfully the youthful looking Steve Cook from nearby Surrey did not on this occasion.
Grimsby's confidence lifted visibly after the goal and although Barnet still looked dangerous it was Town who went on to look the better side for the remainder of the first half. Town equalised just before half time, again from a corner. The ball was crossed by Sinclair to the unmarked Elliot at the far post who headed it into a gaping net.
Early in the second half Forbes was fouled on the edge of the box near the corner flag. From the ensuing free kick Jarman delivered a dangerous looking cross which Elliot just failed to get his head to.
Barnet then should have gone 3-1 up but for an appalling miss in front on goal by O'Flynn who had the time and space to shoot past Barnes but could only muster a feeble shot straight at the Town 'keeper.
With Barnet still shading it, it was once again No. 7 Adomah who allowed them to regain their lead. Widdowson, who had been in Adomah's pocket all night, hacked down the winger in the box and the ref had no hesitation in awarding a penalty from which O'Flynn showed he could actually strike the ball very well.
With Town supporters beginning to despair Grimsby suddenly scored a goal from nowhere straight after the introduction of Peter Bore for Proudlock. A standard long throw-in by Atkinson was flicked on at the near post and came to Forbes who unexpectedly spun and volleyed the ball at great speed from an overhead kick. No 'keeper in the world could have saved it, especially one as inept as Adomah, and it crashed off the underside of the bar for a truly spectacular goal on a par with the famous strikes by Jevons and Kalala.
"Feed the Forbes, and He Will Score", chanted the Town fans many with some irony for a striker who had scored just once in 49 games (17 as a sub) prior to coming to Grimsby. Forbes, boosted no doubt by the confidence the goal gave him after such a lean period, suddenly looked twice the player he had done and buoyed Grimsby in the closing minutes.
Grimsby had a fantastic chance to win the game when Peter Bore was put through in the box and looked certain to score. Instead of blasting it though he tried to place it past the 'keeper and it dinked agonisingly wide of the post.
The match ended 3-3 and Town were hugely relieved to get a point. Town had not played well and largely had to thank Kadoch's ineptitude, plus a brilliant strike by Forbes, for saving the game. Credit must go to Barnet, officially still the Worst Team in England, who apart from their 'keeper looked a decent side who will pick up plenty more points this season.
Despite scoring three goals not a single Town player can be said to have played well. Forbes was largely anonymous for much of the first half, but wins the Man of the Match for his goal and his overall work rate in the second half.
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