Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
|Behind Enemy Lines|
Among the Shots in the Osmond Stand!
AS my dad and I walked down Grimsby Road on 28 March, we were expecting a tight League Two game played in blustery winds in front of a three quarters full, bleak and recession-hit set of Grimsby and Aldershot fans. Nothing out of the ordinary.
The only thing we were right about was the wind, although that doesn't really change all year long. The wind was a bit of a shock to us Londoners. We had travelled up that morning. We were more used to a cooler breeze together with the polluted and foggy air of the capital.
When we arrived at the Blundell Park ticket office, our £5 voucher in one hand and our programme in the other, we were greeted with a sign no Grimsby fan had ever really seen (except for Tottenham and Newcastle some years ago). The sign which the last minute football fans dread: The ‘sold out’ sign. My dad and I, who in our sad lives had been looking forward to this all week, were speechless. My dad, who had been to watch Grimsby all his childhood (and had even donated 2 and 6 pence to the club one week when he could not make it to a game), did not see that one coming. While most Grimsby fans ticketless turned their backs on the 111 year old stadium, my dad and I had an idea. With our southern accents we realised that if I hid my Town scarf, which took a lot of persuasion, we could fake it as Aldershot fans.
The plan was successful and suddenly we were from Aldershot, although I didn't even know where it was! We made up a story that we lived at 15 High Street Aldershot if we were asked. All I knew was that they had come up this year from the Conference. When I eventually found out that they were from south of London, I thought that there would be just a few away supporters. We were met with were 3 drums, red and white balloons, silly string and well over 200 fans, complaining bitterly at the state of the Lincolnshire weather and the fact they could not get in for a fiver like the locals. What they all had in common was that they wanted to make a party of it (and that they supported Aldershot!) and they did just that. An alien from outer space would have thought that this match was being played in Aldershot’s own back yard.
The game started. Aldershot, playing towards their fans, started the better and in Jake Robinson they had a potential star. He went just wide early on as the wind and, on some occasion the referee, seemed to be on Aldershot’s side with Henderson having a 9 out of 10 success rate of his goal kicks ending up in the main stand. Soon though Henderson was called into action to make some saves proving that he is a competent replacement for Phil Barnes. However Grimsby then came more into the game around the half hour mark. Hegarty and Sweeney were more prominent, taking on the defenders, and Town went close a few times. Peter Bore came on for the injured Chris Llewellyn, which also gave Grimsby some pace on the right. However it remained goalless by half time.
In the second half Aldershot’s fans picked up the volume even though chances for the Shots were few and far between and could not be easily seen from the Aldershot stand. Grimsby came close on a few occasions. Most notably Peter Bore hit the crossbar. A total of two balls were lost from Blundell Park and one lucky family had an extra ball in their backyard. The referee then had some sympathy for Town. Atkinson was lucky to escape a red and then Town were awarded a penalty. Although a fair choice, the Aldershot fans were incensed. Firstly an Aldershot defender handballed it while challenging for the ball with Conlon and then brought down Conlon amidst the confusion. After debating with the linesman the referee decided to give it and Conlon made no mistake in dinking the ball over the keeper to score his second in two games.
Grimsby then played out the last 8 minutes surviving the 89th minute goal syndrome ,which has plagued Town for so long, and 4 minutes of added time to collect another win in their struggle for survival. The worst thing about sitting with the Shots was that we could not celebrate the goal!
Ben (aged 13)
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