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The Lull After The Storm
By: Rob Sedgwick
THE excitement and the tension of the last few weeks was followed this afternoon by the lull after the storm, as Grimsby and Macclesfield both failed to make the most of their chances. The match ultimately ended up a 0-0 draw, after both sides were guilty of poor finishing.
Mike Newell was forced into several changes at the start. Robbie Stockdale had to play at left back as Widdowson was suspended, Peter Bore came in at right back, and Jamie Clarke started in midfield in place of the suspended Danny Boshell.
Grimsby made a horrific mistake early in the game and should have gone 1-0 down as early as the third minute. Bore allowed himself to be dispossessed on the edge of the box and then Ryan Bennett also failed to react in time. This lead to Evans bearing down on goal and all he had to do was pass to an unmarked player to his right. However, inexplicably he decided to shoot and Henderson got down in time to save the ball.
Macclesfield had another good chance when the referee failed to give a foul on Bennett. The ball was crossed to Reid who blasted his chance over.
The match settled into a fairly dull end of season game, with few chances and poor finishing when there was an opportunity to score. Conlon gave himself a good chance with a great first touch which gave him the time and space to shoot, but blasted it high and wide. The excellent Sweeney also had a terrific effort from a volley from distance which the 'keeper caught at the second attempt.
Half Time: Grimsby 0 Macclesfield 0
At half time the Youth Team paraded their recently acquired trophy around to warm applause. It seemed a symbolic gesture of the cautious optimism many fans now feel after a satisfactory end to a season when Town came so close to disaster.
Grimsby almost took the lead at the start of the second half. The referee played a terrific advantage allowing Clarke to get to the byeline and cross to Conlon who volleyed wide to his obvious disgust.
Bennett then had a shot which was going well wide and deflected into the path of Akpro. The ball was dropping perfectly for a volley, which the Frenchman executed perfectly, except it flew into the sky high above the Pontoon, causing no shortage of giggles.
Town had a lot of possession but the players never really looked comfortable around the penalty area. With so many players in a different position to normal everyone looked unsure of what they and everyone else should be doing on occasion.
Town pressed forward with a clever Conlon flick setting up Akpro who forced a good save from the 'keeper with a volley. From the resulting corner the 'keeper had to fingertip Akpro's header over the bar.
Mike Newell then made a treble substitution bringing on Forbes, Proudlock and young Fuller for his debut. Fuller almost had a dream start when Sweeney set up Proudlock, who with the 'keeper to beat and Fuller unmarked in the box, chose to shoot and the ball was saved. It was eerily similar to Macclesfield's chance in the first half, with the same result except it would have been a fairytale ending (except for the 50 away fans).
Town had most of the possession and chances but Macclesfield almost won the game when Reid flicked a ball into the box towards the goal from close range, but Henderson reacted in time to make a brilliant save and keep Town in it.
In the last few minutes Forbes produced a point blank save from a header, and Grimsby finally had to settle for a draw.
Full Time: Grimsby 0 Macclesfield 0
The planned lap of honour never took place as the fans decided to invade the pitch despite all the requests not to. The celebrations for being only the second worse team in England instead took place in the main stand after most of the fans had dispersed.
Man of the Match was Peter Sweeney, who seemed to be able to find himself so much space in midfield, made some great passes, and covered an enormous amount of ground.
And so we all have three months off to reflect on next season and on the team which Mike Newell will assemble over the summer, which hopefully will be able to feature in the top half of the table. Hopefully we won't be getting stuffed by the likes of Farsley Celtic in July!
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