Question of the WeekWhere will Grimsby finish?
|Wo ist er|
Desperately Seeking Schubert
By: Andrew Doherty
FOREGOING Nottingham's German Christmas Market for a trip to see the not-quite-rampaging Mariners at Meadow Lane was an easy option. Why Bratwurst should be de rigueur prior to Christmas is a mystery. Pies or perhaps more appropriately Magpies won the competition for entertainment today.
My company today was Darren, a diehard Notts supporter, Jerry who offered the thought that Gluhwein was a Notts County striker, and Darren's partner who thinks we're all nutcases. Jerry's comment prompted me to consider how many former Town players have German-sounding names. The only one I could come up with was Schubert who was a reserve team full back in the 1960s. Having managed to stump Grimsby Google Andy Humberstone with this name, to assuage my doubt I checked with my brother who assured me that I'd persuaded him to take me to a Town reserve game involving Schubert. This was music to my ears. My brother couldn't remember who we were playing but he did remember Schubert gouging a clod of earth out of the Blundell Park turf in attempting to clear a ball upfield. I can't understand why people don't consider this a normal line of enquiry. Does any else remember Schubert?
Schubert and Gluhwein were sadly absent from either line-up today. Town were unchanged from last week: McKeown - Mills, Clarke, Collins, Davies – Jaiyesimi, Rose, Summerfield, Dembele – Matt, Jones. With a play-off place in reach, would Town park the proverbial bus against one of the division's leading teams or play with the flair they showed in the first half last week? Mr Slade was non-committal in his pre-match observations, merely confining his comments to recognition that Notts were good at “doing the basics”. The line-up indicated a display of intent.
Sure enough, Town started working the ball around. For the first half hour Summerfield and Rose routinely won first balls, while Matt and Jaiyesimi caused problems for a surprisingly hesitant defence. Town won a succession of corners, and Summerfield had a shot tipped over. On 21 minutes Jaiysimi supplied Matt who weaved inside but his shot was blocked. Then in a goalmouth scramble Matt looked certain to score from close range but his shot was blocked. Notts got into the game in the later stages of the half but posed no real threat.
In spite of having more possession, Notts continued to misplace passes in the second half and were unable initially to launch any meaningful attacks, while Town were solid in defence and tried to launch attacks through the middle. None came to fruition however as Mills was unable to get past the defence on the right while the preferred crossfield balls to Dembele on the left side were poor. Dembele himself created a chance after showing his skill and pace but ballooned his shot over on 62 minutes. Being distracted by the lack of quality, Jerry and I speculated what the green line at the bottom of the scoreboard meant – a frustration meter perhaps, as the home fans became increasingly restless at their team's insistence on playing the ball in the air and passing to no-one in particular. Town were showing greater discipline, but the game became increasingly niggly and patchy, with Rose in the thick of the action for Town, as a large number of fouls were committed on the slippery pitch. Town had two claims for penalties but the referee, who tried to make allowance for the greasy surface throughout the game, saw nothing in them. Notts's best spell of play came in the last 20 minutes after making three substitutions, while Vernon, Woolford and Hooper came on to replace the hard-working Matt, Jaiyesimi and Dembele. Vernon and Woolford both added a measure of control to proceedings in what was an increasingly frantic and messy affair but in spite of Notts going close with a shot from Forte on 85 minutes and McKeown earlier getting booked for tripping the advancing Stead towards the corner flag, neither side had the cutting edge to be able to break the deadlock, even with four added minutes. So the game ended: Notts County 0, Grimsby Town 0.
An away point against one of the top teams is good, even if Notts County were underwhelming. The result keeps Town in the top half and within striking distance of the play-offs. It was encouraging that Town played with composure and determination. Mr Slade and Town's 1500 fans of the 8016 spectators present must be satisfied. Town's defence looked solid, and the team worked hard to play the ball upfield as a unit. Jaiyesimi looked the biggest threat, while Summerfield and Rose asserted their authority in midfield. Whilst the result was decent, this wasn't a classic game and meaningful activity was absent for large parts of the game, especially in the second half, allowing me the time to reflect on what might have happened to Schubert.
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