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|We are Town!|
The Jamey Osborne Show
By: Andrew Doherty
I RECEIVED some feedback after writing one of these articles in which the correspondent said "it’s all about football" and they weren’t going to bother to read it. I thought this was good. It puzzled me a bit and made me wonder if at some clubs they just have social events, tea parties and that.
I'm in my fiftieth year of watching Town and there have been good times, but it's good to know I've found football in there. Often it's been a struggle to identify any semblance of football, let alone describe it. I imagine supporters of today's opponents, Notts County, must empathise with that view, having lost umpteen matches and put themselves back on track with a morale-boosting 0-0 draw at home to Mansfield last week. Town, meanwhile, were buoyant after wins at Hartlepool and Carlisle, and then faced an Exeter side below them in the table. We lost 0-3. So at this point we all, and in particular the manager, consider what went wrong and find a Solution. The Solution in Town's case appears to be to trawl the Birmingham area and come up with three players. So like the first match of the season, it's a case of watching the unknowns. We won that game 2-0.
"You can smell the fish and chips", commented a distinctly Nottingham-sounding person, starry-eyed at the wonderment of Cleethorpes. It was grey and drizzling, a recipe for a greasy surface. Black and white played black and white today, except that Notts wore pink. For the first half, Town attacked the Osmond end. Today's line-up was:
Henderson - Boyce, Pearson, Collins, Andrew - Mills, Osborne, Comley, Clements - Bogle, Vernon.
In spite of trading corners, neither side posed any threat until the tenth minute when Comley threaded a through ball to Osborne, whose great control led him to shake off the defender and supply Andrew, who was adjudged offside. This was the only moment of promise, as Notts in particular embarked on a physical game. Quality was lacking from both sides. The one bright star in this aimless struggle was Osborne. The ball seemed to stick to his feet. On 25 minutes he supplied Andrew again but Town's left back put in a poor cross. Then two minutes later, Osborne's cross was half cleared. Osborne saw the opportunity to keep the ball in play. His persistence paid off and not only did he stop the ball from going out of play, but he picked out the unmarked Bogle who was standing next to the penalty spot. Bogle slotted the ball to the goalkeeper's left and into the net. Town 1, Notts 0. Bogle attempted to return the compliment on 30 minutes, sending Osborne away up the left. Osborne's low cross was batted down by Tootle's hand but the referee, who was close by, declined the appeals for a penalty. Notts decided to make an effort after this, and Forte struck the far post with a floating cross-shot from the left. The attack fizzled out. The referee tried to keep the game flowing but even he had to award a free kick following a high-flying tackle by Milsom 35 yards out. Bogle's resultant free-kick lacked power but the shot was deflected and the Notts keeper was forced to make a save to his right. Town had a lucky escape on 40 minutes when the referee failed to spot a back pass, which Henderson picked up with his hands. The referee then allowed play to continue when O'Connor injured Osborne with a physical challenge, but although Bogle beat the defence, his fierce shot was too high and sailed over the bar. As the half ended, the previously unreliable Andrew sent in a low cross to the advancing Mills, but determined defence prevented Mills from scoring. At half-time, it was Town 1, Notts 0. Town's performance had been positive but was loose at the edges.
Inevitably, it was close skill from Osborne, which provided the first attacking opportunity of the second half. Four minutes later on 51 minutes, a pinpoint deep crossfield pass from Pearson of all people found Andrew, whose cross once again was poor. Just as Osborne was dazzling the crowd of 5,421 spectators with his silky skills and constructive play while having the dirtiest shirt of any player on the field, Notts's Stead managed to fall over himself. Notts were lumbering and clumsy but from Town's point of view a one goal lead was always going to be cause for nervousness. Sure enough hesitation in the Town defence on 53 minutes allowed Notts a corner, but this was cleared and resulted in Bogle being dragged down in midfield and a booking for the defender. Town then had a good spell, first when the Notts goalkeeper was pressured after a good passing move, Bogle had a dig from 25 yards, then another fantastic ball from Pearson found Bogle who raced on but could not convert the chance. Town were playing with flair. Notts were clearing their lines desperately. Clements got booked on 61 minutes for a high and physical challenge. From the free-kick Notts won a corner, and a long cross found the far post and the waiting Dickinson, but the angle was too tight. Town were showing tendencies to put themselves in trouble but Notts were unable to convert their opportunities. Mills went on a break but the intended target Bogle was well covered, then Osborne fought off a challenge and went on the march, finishing with a low left-footed stinger which went just wide of the post. Bogle was sent clear on 69 minutes, but in spite of slipping, sent in a shot, which the keeper parried to his right. Andrew was on hand but his touch was awful and the chance was wasted. After a short stoppage for an injury to Henderson, normal service was resumed when Osborne won a corner. On 74 minutes, Disley replaced Clements. Town pressed on on 76 minutes, the enigmatic Andrew put in a good cross, resulting in Mils forcing a great save from the keeper. Town's interplay was patchy but a training ground move involving Mills, Disley and Bogle sent Vernon clear of the defence but the final pass from Bogle did not allow Vernon to capitalise. It was inevitable that Osborne would be the architect of another move on 82 minutes. The build-up led to Osborne supplying Bogle on the right. The angle was tight but Bogle's ball crossed the goalmouth and came back off the post. Vernon was waiting, and beat the defender to the ball, turned and slotted the ball home. Town 2, Notts 0. Notts's O'Connor was lucky not to receive a yellow card on 84 minutes for tripping Osborne, who was replaced a minute later by Davies. The hitherto effective Comley raised his game further by carrying on where Osborne left off, but Bogle's anxious shot undid the good work and sailed over the bar. Gunning replaced Vernon on 86 minutes. Notts had a rare chance on 88 minutes when Aborah was tripped on the edge of Town's penalty area. The same player's curling free kick was accurate but lacked power and Henderson was able to reach across and push it away. As the game reached its end, an excellent cross from the left found Mills who controlled the ball outside Notts's penalty area. Mills, realising his angle was tight, found Davies who unmarked, but Davies slipped and his shot went over the top. After Henderson's earlier injury, 5 minutes were added on but neither side had anything more to offer and so it ended: Grimsby Town 2, Notts County 0.
This was the Jamey Osborne show. I cannot recall a more impressive debut. Osborne had skill, confidence on the ball, energy, vision, determination and was the complete package. It would be wrong to describe him as The Solution, as this is a team effort after all. Town weren't flawless and were inclined to loose passes and crosses and snatched shots, but Comley, Pearson, Mills, Henderson and all the defensive unit put in good and powerful performances. Notts County, who tried but lacked any sort of cohesion, and their 696 travelling supporters, can have no complaints. Town were far and away the better team. That's the football. It's time for tea now.
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