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Square Trek: Winter Wonderland
By: Ian Townsend
NEIL Woods took his buoyant Grimsby Town side to the quaint surroundings of Histon with the 600 plus fans who followed the side wondering whether the team could maintain the excellent start to 2011 offered up on New Year's Day.
There are many reasons for wishing our stay in this league to be as short as possible but there are things that I shall miss...especially the hospitality shown by these clubs to the travelling support. From the friendly welcome in the two local pubs (even if one of them is owned by (the only member of??) the Histon branch of the GTFC Supporters Club, (I've often wondered what the advertising hoarding at the Osmond End of the ground refers to...Now I know!!)) to stewards who actually wanted to show you where to go...POLITELY...the day represented a breath of fresh air against the often toxic atmosphere at Town's away encounters when in the Football League.
These days Town draw support from across the world of (dead) entertainment with Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley taking a rest from rocking them at the Pearly Gates to lend their vocal support to the cause. The world of vegetables was also represented in the shape of a giant red jalapeno pepper complete with 70's porn star ‘tache.
Perhaps unsurprisingly Woods stuck with the XI who began the clinical battering of Mansfield two days ago with:
The game began somewhat scrappily although it was a tall order to expect two more goals in the first half dozen minutes.
Only a fairly weak shot from Connell and a decent run and shot from Ademeno warmed the cockles of the Town hearts on a crisp sunny afternoon.
It didn't take much longer though for Town to start using the full width of the pitch and a little flurry of action saw Arthur find Coulson who carried the ball 50 yards before delivering a cross which the keeper spilled with the ball being cleared for a corner before a Town player could capitalise. Charlie Ademeno was next in on the act and after a decent run his pass found Connell on the edge of the box but Town's top scorer just let the ball run slightly away from him lifting his shot over the bar.
It was no real surprise when the deadlock was broken on 21 minutes. Connell had a shot blocked but the ball fell kindly to Ademeno with the Town striker accepting the gift with true gratitude and hammering the ball into the net to open his account for the Mariners.
Histon were struggling to get any momentum as Town closed them down early. Connell again missed out at the expense of a corner and Kempson hoping for a repeat of his goal scoring heroics of Saturday heading the flag kick wide.
Town were unlucky not to double their lead on 34 minutes when from a well worked corner by Cummins, Atkinson headed back across goal but Ademeno couldn't keep his header down.
Histon had more than a touch of fortune from Town's next corner as Connell in the middle of the goal directed a header down towards the corner where it was defended at the post with more than an accidental use of the hand.
The half drew to a close with Town virtually camped in their opponents half.
HALF TIME: Histon 0 Grimsby Town 1.
Histon came out with more purpose in the second period and only the combined efforts of Wood and Arthur kept out Atwood at the expense of a corner which came to nothing.
Within four minutes of the restart Town found themselves with a two goal cushion and again it was Ademeno who struck. From yet another corner the Town striker swung his boot at the ball, missed altogether but in the ensuing scramble took his second chance to thump the ball home to his, and the travelling Mariner's fans obvious delight.
The referee made himself the next talking point when having failed to see the linesman flagging furiously for a free kick to Town for a foul on Coulson booked the injured party for a spot of retaliation despite having spoken to the linesman concerned for his side of events.
Town were by now almost totally dominant and it came as no real surprise when the Mariners struck again. Yet another corner was punched clear only to arrive at the feet of Sinclair who belted a half volley through a crowd of players beyond the despairing dive of Welch in the Histon goal.
This was to be Town's recent signings last taste of the action as Neil Woods perhaps mindful of the volume of games on the horizon removed him from the fray to be replaced by Hudson.
Ademeno nearly achieved a fine hat trick when he "got in the way of" Kempson's goal bound header only succeeding in diverting it over the bar in possibly the best piece of defending in the game.
The fourth goal wasn't long in coming however. Eagle had replaced Coulson and Connell was replaced by Peacock. Eagle picked up the ball just inside the Histon half. He fed Ridley on the overlap and after an incisive run into the box Town's experienced defender pulled the ball back to Hudson who had an easy task to side foot home from 15 yards.
This goal produced chants of "We want Five" and instigated the unusual site of a conga led by a giant red jalapeno ably supported by "The King" and The Prince of Pop"
The celebrations were momentarily curtailed though as Histon pulled a goal back almost from the restart with a fine effort from the busy Riza.
It proved however far too little too late with Town re-emphasising their superiority with a clever fifth goal. Bore, who'd had a much quieter game than on Saturday surged for the by-line before pulling the ball back to the unmarked Peacock at the near post. Town's peroxide striker back-heeled into the goal with nonchalant ease.
Most fans would have settled for that. This however is a Town team who show no mercy to their opponents. The best goal of the game was still to come.
The ball fell just inside the Histon half to the mercurial Eagle. The winger looked up, saw Welch off his line and dinked the ball over him from fully 45 yards into an empty net for the coup de grace.
Four minutes of injury time passed quickly without further excitement and the referees whistle drew to a close to Town's revelry and Histon's misery.
FULL TIME: Histon 1 Grimsby Town 6.
Things just get better for the Mariners. The game brought further vindication of the manager's tactics and the wise acquisitions made close season and since. Clearly Sinclair has made a big difference. However to put the improvement down solely to his inclusion would in the opinion of yours truly be unfair on others who's performances have improved substantially. Kempson in particular has seemingly got a new lease of life. Ridley appears to have borrowed the legs of a 20-year-old if his overlapping activities are evidence and Cummins has found a niche alongside the aforementioned Sinclair.
My Man of the Match today though was Charlie Ademeno. His first two goals for the club were the icing on a very rich cake of a performance where he was involved throughout, closing down defenders and always looking to bring his colleagues into play.
Two results do not represent a season changing event but at last the Town faithful, for so long battered by bad experiences could be forgiven for daring to dream....
Onward to Wales...
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