League Two Table
Question of the Week
What should happen to the EFL Trophy next season?
By: Trevor Hewson
AS you drive into Grimsby along the A46 for a night game, the lights of Blundell Park flit in and out of view for seconds at a time from Caistor onwards, tempting you onto the rocks of despair with ethereal promises of better times.
Even as you approach Fiveways, the glow in the sky is as alluring as the Lorelei and just like those sirens it lures you into troubled waters.
I've got to admit I was utterly taken in yesterday. There had been some definite omens of a good result for Town, things like watching telly in the afternoon and seeing a boat proudly showing the name ‘Mariners’ tipped the balance and I was nearly convinced enough to put some money on a big scoreline in our favour. 4-1 was going to be the bet and not parting with that money was one of my more sensible decisions.
After a crap week personally, it was nice to meet up with my brother and get back into Blundell Park so I could enjoy the bonhomie of a familiar place. The first sign of things to annoy me was that Town were kicking off towards the Pontoon, this is just wrong and the pesky opposition skipper who won the toss needs to have a good look at himself.
It was though good to see Coulson and Atkinson back in the starting line-up (I know the latter had been back before, I'd just not seen him play). After a couple of minutes of pressure from Tamworth, Town started to look more of an attacking force. The movement and fluidity of the team going forward was dragging the visitors back line all over the place. Coulson and Bore in particular were causing all sorts of problems with their pace. The flow of the game was also helped by a referee who had clearly decided that he was not going to give any niggling fouls. It was entertaining stuff and it looked like all those pre-match promises were going to be fulfilled. Connell and Bore had some great chances carved for them, the latter in particular, with a one-on-one which he blew in a hugely disappointing manner, trying to shift the ball onto his right foot in such an obvious way that the keeper didn't really have to think to hard about gathering the ball at his feet. As the possession and chances came and went there was always the threat that Tamworth would take one of their own efforts. We had a warning when a long looping cross from their right almost caught out our Goalkeeping Coach, I'm not sure from the distance I saw it if Croudson got anything on it before the ball came off the post, but either way, the alarm bells started to ring. And so it came to pass that an inability to clear a corner properly led to the ball being pumped back into our box and Perry to do what our strikers could not do. The story was repeating itself once more.
At half time I managed to convince the steward on the Pontoon gate that I'd be absolutely no trouble if he let me into the Main Stand to watch the second half from the comfort of our very own world heritage stand. This half was much the same as the first, lots of Town possession and pressure, yet never really looking like scoring. Bore was getting plenty of chances to run at the defence, but being on the left, he was having to cut in, forcing play into a very congested central area, Coulson was being more inventive on the right, but was clearly starting to tire and was subbed after an hour or so. Hudson came on for Cummins and we did look slightly better, but the other sub, Corner, is not the target man we need and frankly does not look capable of getting on the scoresheet and for once Connell looked out of sorts in front of goal. The game fizzled out in the same way, there was an element of pressure on the Tamworth goal, without ever really getting the feeling that we'd snatch another late equaliser. So we were dumped out of the cup for the second year running by crap non-league opposition. Only thing is, this year that opposition is above us in the league so what does that make us?
I've read criticism of Peacock before and since this game, but he was at least trying to create things, even if the Midfield General role does look a bit much for him, we just seemed to have too many players last night being asked to do things slightly out of their natural position, and even at this lowly level, this never works.
Woods needs to take a leaf out of AB’s book and get people doing a job that they know and god help them if they did not do that job exactly as was required. Despite our national team and others playing with tucking-in wingers, it’s not for me. The lack of midfield bite remains an issue, We need to find a Stacy Coldicott or a James Hunt to run and battle all game, thus freeing up the A.N. other to create things. However, it’s difficult to be objective about last night, because we did create lots of chances and indeed should have been well ahead before Tamworth scored. So if you are talking about the performance, it wasn't the worst of the season by some margin. The result however was very, very poor. The cup may not be number-one priority, but it sets a tome around the club, a good run lifting the spirit and also pulling in a few quid, as such, we have now got a very challenging winter to look forward without this distraction. I don't think I've ever left Blundell Park feeling as flat as I did last night, but it wasn't that bad, I just hope we can get things going properly in the league, we badly missed Wright as it meant too much shuffling of the team. Coulson and Atkinson added a bit of class though and for that reason I don't feel as bad as some others may do having had the opportunity to sleep on things. The one thing we don't have though is a Plan B. We cannot change things round enough and we really need to find a way to do this, and until we can, I fear frustration will rule.
MOM: Atkinson, good to have a footballing defender back.
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