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Port Vale Report - Part 2

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 17/08/2003

CAS made a couple of marvellous, manly oozing tackles to dispossess the left winger, but had no sense of teamwork with Crowe. Whenever Cas went upfield, Crowe did too, leaving a huge hole which Littlejohn kept filling.

Home > 2003-2004 Season > Reports > Port Vale (a)

Grimsby Town 1 Port Vale 2
16 Aug 2003, Nationwide League Division 2

More shots rained in on Davison, all from outside the penalty area, though the only alarming moment was when our new/old hero parried a cross to his near post, almost dropping the ball at the feet of a striker.

It began to dawn on many that there was no central midfield. Hamilton didn’t do anything of consequence until the 34th minute and Campbell was, apparently, on the pitch. The bloke sat three seats away from me insisted that he had seen the Great Striped Captainbird . Well, he is a twitcher and had his binoculars and book of rare British birds with him. Who can argue with that? Town did have attacks, winning many corners, but rarely threatening to shoot. Boulding was a bit of a pest to them down the right, with some twisty, pacy turns, and Ten Heuvel did some great shields, lay-offs and turns 30 yards from goal. Hang on, there he is turning inside his marker and having a shot from the right hand side of the penalty area. It was half blocked and the ball whizzed across towards Anderson on the left, who slipped the ball down the wing for Barnard. The slimline tonic hit a first time curling cross towards the far post. A bunch of players all arrived together and Crowe, seemingly on the corner of the 6 yard box, level with the post, headed across the face of goal. The ball hit the corner flag and Port Vale ran off and had a shot.

At some stage Boulding fell over in the penalty area after a swirling, curling run, but no penalty was given. It looked more like an obstruction and stumble. Actual shots? You want Town shots? Well how’s about this then. After a bit of Town foolery down the centre and right, the ball ricocheted away to the left hand side, just inside the Vale penalty area. Barnard thundered in and smackerooned a fabtabulouly hard rising shot, which just managed to crawl over the crossbar, before dislodging some pigeons from the underside of the Osmond Stand. And here it comes, here comes Disco’s Des’s moment. In the 34th minute a corner was half cleared and Desmondo, 20 yards out and right in the centre, miss-controlled the ball, then did a stretching, swiping shot which flew across the ‘keeper. Delaney rose like a bird in the sky to dive high to his left and catch the ball as it spun towards the top left hand corner. It was a very old fashioned moment.

Hamilton went on a mazy, crazy dribble upfield, which consisted entirely of him shinning the ball and stumbling forward. Just think of your average Adam Ant video, but without Diana Doors. Don’t worry Des, after 9 years of Prince Charming Livvo, ridicule is nothing to be scared of. Yee-ha!

The referee started to irritate the home support, especially when he booked Crowe rushing out of the wall to soon. As a result the free kick was brought forward 10 yards and the ball was fortuitously cleared after a couple of ricochets and rebounds sent the ball ping-ponging through the Town area. Not to mention those rubbish clearances that Town defenders specialise in. And then there was the foul on Campbell by one of the centre backs, about 20 yards out near the right corner of the penalty area. It looked to be two footed and a right scyther, sending Campbell spinning up, up and away like a beautiful balloon. Only a yellow card was wafted.

Craneyellow card
Andersonred card
Ten Heuvelyellow card


Rowan80 mins
Mansaram72 mins
Groves45 mins


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The crowd grumbled, rather than rumbled. A little itch, rather than a horrendous rash. The free kick saw a marvellous new way for Town to kick the ball over the bar. Several players ran up to pretend to take it, with Ten Heuvel making his way ostentatiously from the wall to the ball and feigning a long run up to do a blaster. As this charade progressed, Barnard stood next to the ball with his back to goal, then suddenly turned and curled the ball way over the bar. That’s international class rubbish free kicking.

With about five minutes left, Town built steadily down the right, even passing the ball to each other, which really flummoxed Port Vale. Cas received the ball about 30 yards out and suddenly sprinted forward down the touchline. He hit a brilliant, fast, fizzing, dipping cross towards the centre where BOULDING, on the edge of the 6 yards box, placed his head in the flightpath, heading the ball over the goalkeeper and into the centre of the goal. One-Two-Three- goal, simple as that. It was so quick, and so very un-Town like that it took a second or two for the crowd to react. And then it did, with some pleasure.

And for the rest of the half Town dominated, visibly stepping up the pace and levels of skill. Confidence, clear to see, that’s all they needed. The ball was hit around at speed, with players moving, supporting and generally causing Port Vale to fall on their backsides. Some flickery and trickery from Ten Heuvel released Crowe behind the defence. Unfortunately Crowe blasted a cross-shot into the side netting from a narrow angle. Port Vale rocked and rolled on the Town attacks and, in added time, won a corner themselves. The ball was half cleared, returned and then Barnard wellied the ball high upfield towards the half way line. There was just one defender back, with three Town players converging on him. The ball bounced, Walsh jumped up, Anderson sprinted in and jumped forward, with an arm in the air. They collided and Walsh fell, clutching his head. Anderson was sent off. Cue much howling and raging against the machine. Then the half was over.

Town were a bit fortunate not to have conceded a goal, only the supreme wondrousness of Davison had kept the ball out of the goal. However, the danger Port Vale posed was only on the break and their shots were all from outside the penalty area. Except one. I haven’t told you about Davison’s Bill and Ted moment, when he was most excellent. Just before half time as Town attacked, the ball was lost on the left side of midfield. Cas had sprinted up the right and Crowe was, well, somewhere else in body and mind. Thus Littlejohn was alone down the Town right. He advanced, he advanced, he bore down, he waited for the ball to fall. About a dozen yards out and wide of the right hand post Littlejohn tried to hit a spinning volley, which Davison brilliantly blocked . The ball rebounded up, back towards Littlejohn on the edge of the 6 yards box. Crane and Davison flew at Littlejohn, who stretched forward and miss-hit the ball out for a goalkick. And then Anderson was sent off. What a Boomer

Half time: Grimsby Town 1 Port Vale 0

Overall, a fitful, shambolic first half performance, good in very small parts, shockingly dishevelled in others. But Town were ahead, and Port Vale weren’t thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening, just ok. You can’t fear a team which keeps passing the ball out of play. Or at least, you shouldn’t.

Stu's Half Time Toilet Talk

"Can you stand still please, I’m reading your jumper".
"Hamilton will still be controlling that pass tomorrow".
"He’s called Ten Heuvel ‘cos he was Warnock’s 10th choice striker".
"All these new players, they only one I recognise out there is Butterfield"
"Have you got that ‘98 feeling yet? Well, I feel 98 watching them"

The report continues in the Second Half.

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