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Where's the Beef?
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY'S winless run extended to 20 games this afternoon as Neil Woods's charges once again drew a blank in front of goal. A solitary goal by leading scorer Lee Hughes proved to be the difference between the two sides, in a game of few chances.
Town once again never really looked like scoring. Their only meaningful shots on goal came from set pieces, mostly in the first half. The Mariners once again passed the ball around well but when it came to the infamous "final third", Town's methods proved fruitless, despite the recent additions to the squad.
Adam Proudlock was injured so Town started with two fairly new strikers: Wes Fletcher and Tommy Wright. Olly Lancashire now in his second loan spell started at the back, meaning a place on the bench for Rob Atkinson. Otherwise the team was similar to that which had played at Aldershot.
Town matched Notts County in a first half in which neither 'keeper was really tested. The Mariners went close on a couple of occasions when Lancashire had free headers at corners, but could not keep the ball down. Lee Hughes went close just before half time but his shot was deflected wide.
The team were clapped off with some gusto at half time, but in truth they hadn't threatened County's goal other than winning quite a few corners. Fine but "Where's the beef?", I remember thinking, a half remembered phrase from a past US election campaign.
Fletcher had Town's best chance in open play after the break when he managed to break just clear of the defence and struck the ball first time. It was a difficult volley with his left foot and he failed to hit the target.
Ten minutes later Hughes intercepted a back pass which Colgan rushed out to get. The two collided just on the edge of the box and the ball spewed free of danger.
Just seconds after Town brought on Jarman County took the lead after a Town mistake. The ball was played into the Town box and Linwood slipped, allowing Hughes to nip past him and shoot low past Colgan.
Fletcher then collapsed with cramp and had to be taken off on 72 minutes.
Lee Hughes, who had been barracked by the Pontoon, for his conviction, angered the crowd when he ironically clapped the Pontoon and Main Stand as he got taken off. He then chose to warm down in front of the Pontoon, instead of his own supporters. Hopefully he will be reported to the football authorities for attempting to antagonise the crowd.
Jarman forced a save out of Schmeicel deep in the game with an overhead kick, but Town once again failed to really trouble the big Dane.
The match ended with nearly 4000 home supporters trudging away with barely a complaint. Such is the air of desolation and resignation around Blundell Park, most supporters who still attend games appear to have resigned themselves to what they regard as the inevitable.
The truth is a couple of back to back wins would make our situation look so much better, it's just the way we have chosen to play does not create enough chances to win games. The 20-match run is not down to bad luck, it's a result of playing a style of football which does not lend itself to scoring goals very often. Joint second top scorer for Town is still "own goals". The endless changes in players seem to have little effect as the style we have chosen to play under Neil Woods remains the same - changing players is like rearranging the deck chairs on The Titanic.
Man of the Match was Peter Bore. A defender, who is also useful going forward. Coulson and Fletcher stood out for me, although neither was fit enough to last the distance. Sweeney played better on the left at Aldershot and had a poorer games today. Everyone else was OK, but that's all.
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