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Akpro: MOM
Akpro: MOM

The Waiting Is Over

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 03/10/2009

"THE waiting is over" the rather irritating PA announcer said as the teams came out onto the pitch at Barnet. And so it was - we would find out whether Grimsby could bounce back after the 3-2 midweek defeat at Chesterfield.

They didn't. In short it was a very bad day at the office for the Mariners. After a bright opening spell, Town had the stuffing knocked out of them by two fortunate goals for Barnet before the London side had even had a proper attack.

Thereafter Town fell apart and never looked like getting back into the game. They were inferior in every department to a side they used to routinely pick up six points from every season they met. Barnet's front three, supported by two attacking wide players, were rampant against Town's suspect defence and got forward at every opportunity to try and extend their lead.

With the clock running down and the final few pointless minutes being played out on the pitch, Town substitute Barry Conlon made the day even worse for the Mariners when he was shown a red card for an elbow on a Barnet player. It will inevitably result in another suspension for the Irishman, who has just returned from a three match ban.

Mike Newell once again started with Bennett playing in front of the back four. This time however Proudlock and Akpro started up front, with just three playing in midfield. Adrian Forbes missed out and had to settle for a place on the bench.

Grimsby decided to kick up the slope and with the strong wind in their favour in the first half.

Town got off to a great start, with Akpro finding space early on, and his shot was deflected for a corner. Town won a succession of corners and free kicks in the early part of the game, and Barnet hardly got into Town's half.

The first time they did however Grimsby conceded a penalty. Yannick Bolasie, who was to be a thorn in Town's side all afternoon, made a dangerous run into the box and was brought down by rookie defender Bradley Wood, playing his second game for Town. It looked a clear penalty from where I was and O'Flynn made no mistakes from the spot.

It was rough luck on Town who had dominated the game, but things were to get worse almost immediately. The ref awarded a free kick right on the edge of the area when Bolasie was challenged by Linwood, fairly but heavily in my view. The free kick was poorly struck bouncing off the wall, and them falling into the path of Adomah, whose shot deflected outrageously in off the frame of the goal.

Barnet found themselves 2-0 up for almost zero effort on their own part.

A few minutes later Town broke the offside trap and Akpro was through, but dithering by the French striker saw the chance come to nothing.

Barnet should have been 3-0 up when Bolasie was through with just Conlon to beat, but the Irishman made a good save to deny the on-loan Plymouth winger.

Town's best chance of the first half fell to Akpro, who again beat the offside trap, and was getting ready to shoot. Breen though managed to get a challenge in which sent Akpro wide and his shot from a narrow angle was easily saved.

Mike Newell brought on Leary in place of Linwood, which gave Town an extra midfielder as Bennett dropped back into the back four.

Half Time: Barnet 2 Grimsby 0

Town made a near disastrous start to the second half when Atkinson almost headed the ball into his own net, but the nearest Town came to scoring was a Proudlock shot which was deflected for a corner.

Barnet had a Furlong goal disallowed for handball, and Town then brought on two substitutes; Conlon for the injured Proudlock (hip) and North for Peter Bore.

Akpro switched to playing on the right wing and looked a lot more effective there than Bore had. Indeed on a couple of occasions Akpro found North in space, but the Town substitute's first touch let him down both times.

Barnet put the game beyond reach when man of the match Bolasie smashed an unstoppable rocket of a shot past Conlon off the underside of the bar. It was a terrific goal which won applause from quite a few Town fans.

After that the game was effectively over and in the final 20 minutes Town's best hope was a consolation, but in truth they never came close.

Conlon was then sent off in the last few minutes for an elbow right in front of the linesman's nose. I didn't see the incident, so can't comment on how bad it was, but clearly Town are starting to have a problem with indiscipline - not least Mike Newell himself who was sent to the stands several times last season. Conlon hopefully will be heavily fined and given a long stint in the reserves if the referee was right to sent him off - and few who were there seemed to feel that he wasn't.

Full Time: Barnet 3 Grimsby 0

Man of the Match was Akpro, almost by default as he is the only player who a case can be made for having a good game.

Where do Town go from here? They were once again beaten by a superior side, and it would appear that the best they can hope for this season is a place in the bottom third of the table. The sides they have looked most comfortable against are those near the bottom - anyone else we tend to lose to. Ryan Bennett playing in front of the back four worked for the first couple of games but has failed against the better sides we have played since our mini spell against weaker teams. The problem with playing Bennett where we do is that if we concede the first goal, we have to change the system during the game, which is easier said than done in football.

Town's biggest problem is still the midfield - the wide players are ineffective and the central players ineffectual. We could desperately do with Nathan Jarman to come back in the problem area of right midfield.

Next up is Hartlepool in the JPT, which is an opportunity to try out a different formation, and perhaps bring one or two new players into the mix.

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