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16/09 Swindon 2nd Half

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 17/09/2003

NEITHER team made any change at half time and it was nice of them to come out eventually. We were running out of things to talk about at half time.

Home > 2003-2004 Season > Reports > Swindon (h)

Grimsby Town 1 Swindon Town 2
16 Sep 2003, Nationwide League Division 2

Within the first minute Town had had a shot. Another one! Three in one game! They do spoil us at Blundell Park these days. Cas, near the half way line in the centre, stretched out his long left leg (as opposed to his short one) and sprinted down the middle. When about 25 yards out he let fly and dragged a shot a yard wide of the left hand post, with the unmarked Boulding having made an excellent run through the centre left, arms wide, head high, frustration apparent. A couple of minutes later Hockless did the same. Same position, same shot, same Boulding run, same Boulding flapping of arms.

And then the game ended, nothing happened after this . No sir, honest, the referee decided that 50 minutes of this guff was enough and went home. And so did we, and we all lived happily ever after where the trees are green and waters blue. If only.

Swindon had a half attack of indeterminate origin and inconsequential conclusion. A shot from the edge of the penalty area, right on the centre, which didn’t even hit the "R" in the Ramsden’s advert. Pfft, even Pouton would have been embarrassed by that. La-di-da meanderings in midfield, suddenly danger as Swindon increased the tempo and started to move. A midfielder surged towards Barnard. What problem could there be to an international defender? It is Darren Barnard isn’t it? Or have we got some Stars In Their Eyes wannabee by mistake? What has happened to him since he went off to not play for Wales? Barnard disappeared and the ball was played up to a striker, with Ford blocking the way to goal. Gurney ran through and past the back line on the centre left. Whoever was marking him wasn’t, obviously. And the Swindon Swaggerer was free inside the penalty area, perhaps a dozen yards out and a few to the left of goal. GURNEY smacked a shot with the outside of his boot inside Davison’s left hand post. Silence descended upon the Pontoon and the over non-populated areas of Blundell Park, with just a few boos and grumbles audible. A well constructed goal from a Town.

The growling increased with every miss-placed pass, missed tackle or clearance that failed to result in a goal. What was the players’ response? Surprisingly they didn’t suddenly become the masters of the universe. There wasn’t any passing, plenty of movement, but no ideas. Just hoofing up to Nimmo and Boulding. Plan "A" being use Boulding’s pace. Plan "B" being use Boulding’s aerial dominance. It didn’t look like a tactical choice from the management. There really isn’t much to describe from Grimsby from now on. Swindon clearly saw the whites of the Town defenders’ eyes and could see the fear, for there was an increased freedom in their passing and movement. Mooney, as one would expect, was a constant pest, never still, always looking to gain an edge. He couldn’t shoot straight though. Another example of Barnardian ineptitude saw Swindon waste an almost open goal. The Doppleganger Darren hesitated, then airily-fairily wafted a foot near the ball around the half way line. Off the Swindon player went, causing panic, Crane trundling behind. Into the area, just Ford and McDermott back as a big haired midfielder stepped inside Crane and tried to curl the ball into the far corner. Ford blocked, but the ball rolled out to Mooney, somewhere near the penalty spot, who dragged a scuffy, scruffy shot an inch or two wide of the left hand post.



Soames73 mins
Nimmo39 mins


Eddie Ilderton
(Tyne & Wear)


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More noises off from the Pontoon. A few minutes later an unmarked Mooney stumbled at the far post as a cross looped over all Town defenders, the ball bouncing over the slipping Scouser and away for a goal kick. There were other shots, all following some free flowing attacking, which Davison held with varying degrees of discomfort.

After about 65 minutes the coup de grace. A corner was flipped over from the Swindon left, with the ball sailing beyond the far post. Bolder (I think, hey, it’s really dark in the corners) ran after the ball with a Swindon player. There was much wrestling and pushing, with Bolder appearing to be the more injured party. The Swindon player got to the ball first, turned past Bolder and the linesman flagged for a free kick, very close to the corner flag. The Town fans railed at such an arbitrary decision. Mooney waddled over and belted a low cross through the 6 yards box. And through it went, beyond Davison, and still bob-bob-bobbing along. Oh dear, and straight into the far corner. MOONEY had scored, and this was the cue for some soul searching amongst the Town fans, with an outbreak of internecine strife. Some deciding that this was the proper moment to boo, hiss, slow handclap and register displeasure. Strangely the players didn’t play any better. How odd.

Almost immediately Soames replaced Hockless, who had not been very visible, and Town moved to a 4-3-3 formation. And hasn’t that always worked in the past? Longer hoofing, even more aimless puntings, with Crane and Barnard being the main culprits. Hardly a pass was attempted, though when it was (hello Mr McDermott) there were chinks of hope. Campbell spun through two tackles near the right corner flag, dribbled along the bye-line and crossed onto the head of a defender at the near post. Ooh, doesn’t the moon look nice.

Swindon continued to rampage across the land, with Davison saving from Milner, after a mazy, crazy run through most of the Town team, ending with a dragged shot from the centre edge of the penalty area. Davison failed to hold a low drive, which was almost scooped up by a greedy striker. And finally, when all else fails, what is left but putting the big bloke upfront. Crane spent more and more time hovering around the Swindon penalty area, with Town winning several throws, allowing Cas the opportunity to hurl the ball and hope for the best. After 77 minutes it almost worked. From the left hand side, about 10 yards infield, Cas walloped a flat throw to the near post. Crane challenged with two defenders and the ball skimmed off Ifil’s head, over and across the goalkeeper. For the briefest of moments salvation was in sight, for the ball arced beautifully towards the top left hand corner with Boulding racing in, unmarked and ready to score. Evans, rather brilliantly, skipped across his line, leapt and levered the ball from under the bar and Boulding’s nose and away.

What more to say? Parkin had a goal disallowed for offside (very offside, it was clear from the Pontoon), Cas had a couple more long throws, Crane played as a centre forward for the last five minutes, Crowe replaced Bolder with four minutes left. Town continued to be hopeless, with the youngsters Nimmo and Soames chasing lost causes, and Swindon rampant. In injury time, Town had one last opportunity to get an undeserved draw. Cas hurled in from the right, header, header, block, fight, scramble, ball in air and Soames attempted to loop a header over Evans from near the penalty spot. The ball drifted onto the top of the net, there never being any danger of it going in.

And the referee ended the game right there, right then.

The Swindon goalkeeper made two saves, one very routine, the other a marvellous tip away to avoid an own goal. And Town only had another three or four shots that could even be considered, in the loosest possible terms, as efforts on goal. There was no invention in midfield, just a lot of effort. Though I may absolve Cas from this description, as he played only the most tangential part in proceedings, not counting the throw ins. In many ways this was a worse performance than against Hartlepool, though the defence, which some may say is a relatively integral part of a football team, were a bit more solid. Ford (one late mistake excepted) and McDermott were fine, the other two much less so. Bolder confirmed his position as Reserve Team midfielder, Campbell was occasionally effective but often, like the Town passing, misplaced. Hockelss and Cas were the most peripheral of peripheral figures.

I can’t lie to you about our chances. Our structural imperfection was matched only by our fragility. Do we have your sympathy?

Nicko’s Man of the Match

There is only one John McDermott.

Official Warning

Mr E Ilderton. Rather clueless, totally unable to interpret why some players fall and others are hacked. Mooney had him sussed from the off, winning countless free kicks, sometimes merely by asking. There was a case to send off a Swindon player for the late hack on McDermott, and the free kick for the winning goal was just arbitrary. And he allowed Mooney to intimidate him at half time. It was the accumulation of little decisions which leads the Norwegian Jury to conclude that 5.012 is appropriate, in the circumstances, all things being considered.

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