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Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
Square Trek: Episode 11
By: Ian Townsend
Hayes and Yeading II-The Revenge. "NOW this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But, it is perhaps the end of the beginning". W.S. Churchill November 1942 after the Battle of El Alamein.
Grimsby Town headed south for the first return clash of the season vowing revenge for today’s hosts August "Smash and Grab" raid at Blundell Park.
Neil Woods made one change with the now fully fit again Bradley Wood taking over at right back from Scott Garner as Town lined up with:
Town continued their recent habit of starting positively and Michael Coulson was instrumental in two early moves. Firstly the midfielder found Ademeno who’s cross into the box was headed away and then a ball into space found him before the eventual cross was well saved by the Hayes keeper.
Then a warning as the vulnerable "soft centre" made an unwelcome reappearance. Atkinson despite having had two attempts to clear lost out and only a smart save from Croudson as the Hayes attacker tried to take it round him saved the day.
Town were not to be denied however and on 13 minutes took the lead. The goal had some similarities with Town’s midweek effort at Cambridge. Alan Connell turning provider threaded the ball through this time to Mark Hudson who steadied himself before shooting across the keeper into the far corner much to the delight of a sizeable Town following who seemed to have a presence in all parts of the ground.
As Hayes and Yeading fought back Town had good reason to be grateful to Bradley Wood. Firstly, (albeit from his own error) the young Town full-back had the pace to get back and prevent a cross from a dangerous position and then when Kempson slipped in the box Wood was there to tidy up with a last ditch tackle at the expense of a corner.
The Connell/Coulson link nearly bore more fruit as the former found the latter and continued his run into the box. Unfortunately the return pass was slightly over hit and the chance came and went.
Hayes’ attempts to get back into the game were aided and abetted by some pretty woeful passing and needless flicks which never really had a chance of coming off. The main "victim" of this "hopeful punt" strategy was Charlie Ademeno who was starved of the service to feet that his bustling game requires.
This "tactic" surrendered the advantage to the home side and it was Town’s defensive qualities which were strongly tested. Firstly Croudson had to be down sharply to push the ball away after a spot of pinball in Town’s six yard box. When the corner came in it found Hand on the edge of the box in miles of space. Unfortunately for Hayes he was unable to repeat the heroics of the August game as his well struck volley flew wide. It really was all defensive hands to the pump now as the home side cranked up the pressure. Some desperate tackling and blocking kept Town’s noses in front before lady luck took a hand as a cross shot found the bar and bounced to safety.
That however was as good as it got for Town’s opponents and, after a slight tactical "tweak" which saw Coulson pushed up the park Town doubled their lead...very much against the run of play. Hudson found Eagle about 20 yards out. The midfielder steadied himself and as the home defence held off fired in an unstoppable shot for 2-0. This, unsurprisingly, took the wind out of the home teams sails and the rest of half passed uneventfully.
HALF TIME: Hayes and Yeading United 0 Grimsby Town 2
Town lined up for the second half in an interesting 4-3-1-2 formation with Alan Connell playing "in the hole" behind Ademeno and Coulson.
Very early on Ademeno finally had the chance to make an impression as receiving the ball he bundled his way into the box before firing into the side netting.
It was all Town as the hosts struggled to come to terms with the movement and pace of Coulson, Connell and Eagle. Rob Atkinson had a couple of headers go wide and then Connell, put away by Ademeno was unlucky to see the ball deflected wide.
At the other end Town were again indebted to Croudson for another point blank save after Kempson blocked the initial shot.
As the sun set over West London, Town made a double substitution with the visibly tiring Eagle and Ademeno replaced by Cummins and Corner respectively. Corner began well winning the ball on a couple of occasions using his height to good advantage.
Leary came on for Coulson as Town looked to close the game out.
Corner can count himself desperately unlucky not to have ended the game with his first goal in the bag. Connell’s shot was diverted across the goal where Corner hammered it goalwards only for a defender to punch it over the bar.
After a straight red card for Webb the resultant penalty was buried in customary fashion by Town’s top scorer Connell as Town went 3-0 ahead.
FINAL SCORE: Hayes and Yeading United 0 Grimsby Town 3.
So a first away win since the balmy summer days of August was in the bag and it was a relieved posse of Mariners fans who streamed away from the Church Road stadium. There is clearly a long way still to go but Town now possess a sizeable attacking threat. Gone are the days when if Alan Connell didn't score then Town didn't. Some of the attacking football was scintillating today.
Defensively there are still issues but Woods showed today that he is getting to grips with the tactics required to get results in this league. A willingness to alter things during games should continue to pay the same sort of dividend.
Man of the Match:
Spoilt for choice after today.
Defensively Croudson was amazing yet again! A display of real passion and ability.
Rob Atkinson after a dodgy first ten bossed the back four.
Alan Connell showed he is so much more than just an out and out goalscorer but, my vote, goes to Michael Coulson for an all-action, strong running display of attacking football which showed the fans just what we've been missing during his long injury.
The future IS bright. The future is black and white!!
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