Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
Square Trek: One to Forget
By: Ian Townsend
WATCHING Town away from home is slowly but surely turning me into a real life version of Victor Meldrew. His famous "I don’t belieeeeve it!!" catch phrase could justifiably be on the lips of every one of the hardy 836 souls who made the short journey over to one of England’s most historic cities.
I’ve never enjoyed trips to Bootham Crescent (I refuse to call it Kit Kat stadium which would be akin to calling Blundell Park Fish Finger Park). This stems from my first visit in 1971 where MacMenemy’s fledgling super team got beat 4-2 in an F.A. Cup first round match played in a snow storm, with over 500 Town fans huddled together on that dreary open end.
Last night was minus the snow storm but there would have been several brass monkeys checking the whereabouts of some important "equipment" on a night where any sane person would have stayed in one of the seven pubs I counted on the way from the car park to the ground.
Despite the fears expressed before the game Neil Woods was able to put out a reasonably strong (on paper at least) starting XI with the only change from Saturday’s "Off Day" at Wrexham being the replacement of a Peacock with an Eagle as Town lined up:
You never know which Town team you are going to get. Last night we got the hesitant, lacking in confidence version.
The writing was on the wall from the first five minutes when Kempson was beaten in the air as Town defended on the half way line and the flicked header sent Reed away with several Town players trailing in his wake. Inexplicably once in the box he lashed his shot well wide to a collective sigh of relief from the Town fans massed behind the goal.
Town struggled for a foothold in the game with Connell being involved but unable to produce the goods from any of three half chances which came his way.
Town looked laboured and were easily beaten to the ball on numerous occasions by their opponents who’d pushed Bolton close on Saturday in the F.A. Cup.
It was no surprise when on 19 minutes the home side took the lead. The experienced Constantine beat a dangerously weak off side trap despite a hint of offside and chipped the ball over Arthur for 1-0.
The goal however did little to wake the Mariners up and the fans frustration as the ball was given away time and again began to be audible.
Every Town fan in the ground held their breath a couple of minutes later as a slight mix up resulted in Arthur steaming out of his goal but only succeeding in bringing down a York attacker as he moved towards the area. Fortunately the referee produced only "Yellow" when a red card could easily have been the result.
Off the pitch the developing misery was being compounded by the refreshment kiosk running out of hot food/drink before 15 minutes had elapsed. If this sort of organisation is what befalls clubs with an extended stay in the Conference then God help us if we don’t get out of the mess quickly.
The pre-Mansfield familiar pattern was returning. No Town player being willing to hold on to the ball they’d worked hard to win with the result that the pressure was near relentless. To their credit the aerial threat from Constantine was dealt with well by Atkinson and Kempson after the initial problems and Bradley Wood worked hard against York’s left winger with scant reward.
Midfield saw Town woefully short of competing. Sinclair and Cummins struggled to get the passing game going with the wide men as a result robbed of chances to use the ball.
Woods made a tactical change with Coulson swapping places with Bore as the manager sought to exert some pressure on York’s hitherto untroubled backline.
Town’s fortunes didn’t improve however and it was a disgruntled crowd who greeted the half time whistle with sporadic booing.
HALF TIME: York City 1 Grimsby Town 0.
The second half began as the first half finished. Town giving the ball away cheaply and having few tactics other than to lump the ball forward out of defence where it was snapped up with ease by York’s rearguard. After a couple of York crosses were dealt with Woods made his first change of the night-Peacock replacing Wood with Bore filling in at right back for his third position of the game.
The move did improve matters with Peacock looking far more of a threat than he did from the start at Wrexham the previous Saturday.
However, and not for the first time this season, the inclusion of a target man reduced Town to one attacking option. Coulson and Eagle who were very well marshalled by their defenders saw little of the ball and, when they did were generally knocked off it far too easily.
Town were however starting to cause a few problems and Connell had a reasonable shout for a penalty when he went down under a clumsy challenge and again moments later when he couldn’t quite get on the end of a Peacock attempted through ball.
Peter Bore, up from defence made one of his surging runs down the right flank with York eventually dealing with him at the expense of a corner.
With 12 minutes to go Hudson replaced the out of sorts Sinclair.
Within seconds Town’s second penalty shout fell on deaf ears as Coulson appeared to be brought down on a surging run into the box.
Town looked for a final flourish but any lingering doubts amongst the faithful that it wasn’t Town’s night were removed when Eagle, getting the ball in space, found Connell on the edge of the six yard box with the Town top scorer blasting the best chance of the night over the bar.
That knocked what remaining bit of stuffing the team and fans had out and the game meandered to a close.
FINAL SCORE: York City 1 Grimsby Town 0
Man of the Match: Again a difficult choice with so many Town players not showing up. The best of a bad bunch was Kempson who, after his early error stuck manfully to his task winning a lot of ball, particularly in the air.
All in all another game to forget. Whether it can be said that the last two games can be said to have dealt fatal blows to Town’s hopes of getting out of the cess pit that is the Blue Square Conference is a moot point. Some pressure must be on Neil Woods and his players on their next league outing against Kettering in 6 days time.
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