League Two Form Guide
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|Conlon: 3 Goals|
Walking in a Winterton Wonderland - Part 2
By: Chris Smith
I wish I'd taken a notepad as I thought I'd be able to commit any goals to memory but was caught out as they started to flow almost straightaway. It was clear that Town were up for this one and there was plenty of crisp passing and movement off the ball.
Big Baz Conlon got the first goal and then got a well-taken second from a very good cross by Adam Proudlock who we serenaded with "Two Freddie Flintoffs, there’s only two Freddie Flintoffs". Baz took the ball down well before shooting. Freddie then laid on one for Nathan Jarman which was the cue for three saddoes to start singing the song made up on this ground last season. What was pleasing at this point was that the Town players were all shouting and communicating with each other as opposed to the silence during games early last season. In Sweeney’s case, he was also communicating with the linesman, and not in polite tones, but it demonstrated a commitment we haven't seen for some time.
Whilst recognising that we were playing a team five levels below us, it was really pleasing football from Town and the fourth wasn't long coming with Baz getting his hat-trick with a good chip. Town were also committed to defending when needed and the forwards did so as well. Winterton did score a beauty to pull one back and I wouldn't attach any blame to Leigh Overton for that. Although he didn't score, we were all impressed with Chris Jones and it also dawned on us that we could adapt our Gary Jones chant for him. This set the seal on a fine first half.
One of the stewards had kindly handed out team sheets in the bar before the game (another nice touch) so I knew we were going to play two teams in effect. Overton, Jones and the also impressive Lavers (I'm going by the spelling on the team sheet here), who we took to be a trialist, were the only players to take part in both halves. (I think!)
I couldn't have been more wrong in thinking that we might ease off a bit in the second half. It wasn't long before Akpa Akpro scored a long range beauty to make it 5 1. It was the sort of goal that wouldn't go in for him last year. Northy, who looks a lot leaner and enjoying his football, got the sixth with Jean Louis getting a spectacular seventh and then the eighth with his hat-trick. Jean Louis looked sharp and we couldn't resist chanting "Jean Louis oh oh Jean Louis oh oh, he’s from the Cote d’Ivoire, he is a Grimsby star". Believe me, on this performance he is. I'm trying not to get too carried away, but his goals were very well taken and would have troubled any keeper.
At this point, I started to lose track of the goals. Northy got another, then Leary, then Jean Louis and Clarke finished off with a sweetly struck free kick which Winterton’s replacement keeper did well to get near. It was nice that Town fans complimented him and he was able to smile back. Oddly enough, we had one disallowed when Ryan Bennett came in at the far post to head in, but then officials never give us anything as we reminded them when they came off the pitch (which they took in good humour). I just hope Ryan gets over the disappointment and that his value doesn't drop too much.
Throughout the second half, a Winterton fan of more advanced years kept berating his side about what a rubbish team we were but gave up after the tenth or so. In fact I like to think one of our shots that was banjoed wide was deliberately aimed at the miserable curmudgeon. Coming to think of it, he did go quiet about that time. He reminded me of a grumpy old sod in the Pontoon nearly thirty years ago who, in the 85th minute of a 5 0 win over Blackburn, was heard to say "Come on Town, you can still lose this b******." The same bloke would stand in the gangway and then complain as his feet were trampled upon by pogoing Pontoonites after we had scored. I think our adoption of the J Geils Band’s Centrefold finally saw him off...
John Fenty stood with the troops in the second half and confirmed that Jean Louis was under contract for a year as there had been some doubt around us as to his status. Say what you like about our chairman, he will talk to the fans and acknowledged the fans as they left the clubhouse after the match.
Winterton were eventually put out of their misery at 12 1 and Town were warmly applauded off the pitch. We had our bit of sport with the match officials who'd obviously enjoyed the game and gave our four goal hero a rousing rendition which he acknowledged. we'd been trying to convert a few songs into French to make him feel at home with varying degrees of success. Jim has just sent a text of another to me. There’s mileage in a few we think, which is bad news for the rest of you.
We went into the bar afterwards and heard that it was thought that Nathan Jarman had broken a bone in his foot. We hope not; it would be a real shame for him and us. I don't have any further information as I write this, fingers crossed. Jim and I decided to go over to our Ivorian hero but he must have sensed this and disappeared! We did have a chat with Brian Stein though, and reminded him of the very entertaining Luton side he played for in happier times for both clubs. Brian is a brilliant appointment and knows how the game should be played as well as having many contacts in the game. I liked his comment of "let’s hope we can get something going at Grimsby". We also swapped words with Dave Moore during the game. What appears to be a really positive thing is the ease with which the Board, management team and players seem to have around each other. I doubt this was the case last year.
I read a lot into last season’s friendlies and quite rightly as it turned out. This year the players look fit and up for it. There is also plenty of flair. Whilst we will be playing tougher games than this from now, it was a very good performance with the promise of plenty to come. It is easy to forget we hit the woodwork a few times and went close on several occasions. There'll be plenty of Mariners at Cheltenham next week, that’s for sure.
Today’s game won't have done our confidence any harm and once again, it’s thanks to Winterton for hosting us and giving us a warm welcome. I hope they have a good season. As for the two chavs who called me a Codhead when I went out to get my mobile, I hope you liked being called inbreds. It was the best I could come out with at the time.
If I got any details wrong I apologise but there was so much action it was hard to keep up.
Chris is a regular contributor to the Grimsby Town Supporters Trust web site
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