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Should Russell Slade be sacked?

Yes immediately
Give him one more game


08/02 Oldham Part 2

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 09/02/2004

BUT let’s leave that for a few moments. You want to hear about Town attacking, right? There was some, for the opening ten minutes were relatively even, by Town standards.

Home > 2003-2004 Season > Reports > Oldham (a)

Oldham Athletic 6 Grimsby Town 0
08 Feb 2004, Nationwide League Division 2

A Crowe surge and some passing saw Campbell (I think, I may have imagined his presence on the pitch) loft a loopy cross to the far post, where Jevons (I know that, but I still might have imagined his presence on the pitch) headed straight at Spaghetti Pogliacomi. Boulding va-voomed away a couple of times, dribbling uninteresting shots goalwards. Big Les had to wake up once and move most of his limbs to smother a soft shot.

In the seventh minute we had our first "sort it Grovesie" of the afternoon when Crowe did something rubbish again.

So there we are for the first 10 minutes. Town had two or three efforts on goal, whilst Oldham hadn’t, though the holes in the Town team were already apparent, players far too far apart, massive areas of Boundary Park unpopulated by monochrome strollers. Crane was particularly wayward in everything he did, wandering out of position, ball watching, ball missing, falling over, a full range of ineptness on show. In about the 10th minute Town attacked again, down the right. Campbell played an awful pass to Groves, who appeared to miscue near the halfway line because, I think, he had been tackled by Crane. Crowe was way upfield having initiated the attack, and there was thus no-one on the right. Boshell received the ball in the middle of the pitch, just inside his own half, advanced and clipped the ball to the right. Vernon, unmarked of course, with Crane perhaps a dozen yards away, ran on towards goal. No-one came across, so he kept on going, into the area, about a dozen yards out. He looked around, saw a vast hinterland spread before him, a huge palette on to which he could paint anything he wished. VERNON decided to create beauty, by curling a shot high above and around Davison into the top left hand corner. A superb finish. Yet another superb finish against Town. But he had plenty of time to (almost) replicate his goal on Boxing Day.

So here we are again, history repeating itself for the umpteenth time. An evenish start, Town having slightly more chances, looking ok, but nothing outstanding. A catalogue of individual errors, a great finish. Then Town collapse. The heads, which were hardly up in the first place, dived into the Oldham mud. There was very little reaction to the goal, hands on hips, rueful looks, no talking. The innocent rabbit had just been clipped on its way across the road. Further squishing imminent.

Around this time Davison made a good save. It may have been before the goal, it may have been after, who knows, who cares, so what. It happened sometime. Oldham had won a corner down the Town right. It was played short whilst Town players lumbered back towards goal and an Oldham player curled a low shot through the penalty area. Davison plunged to his left and just managed to palm the ball around the post for another corner. Excellent save, he’s still alive then. After about a quarter of an hour Oldham dumped the ball forward. A bit of weak, scared defending followed, as Town players stood away from both ball and opposition. The ball bounced up about 25 yards out in the centre and Boshell, unmarked, headed the ball past Edwards. VERNON slipped by, dragging the ball left, right, swishing his hips and from about 15 yards curled the ball around Davison into the bottom right hand corner. Again a superb finish. Again time to do as he wished.

Edwardsred card
Barnardyellow card
Jevonsyellow card


Anderson46 mins
Ford46 mins


Anthony Leake


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Ah-ha, who’s this? The Town fans turned around and stood up to cheer a latecomer, for it was he, the once and future king, Mr Alan Pouton. How they pined for the return of their magnificent seven, who had to step over a bag to get to his seat. Ah, those old magic tricks. Not just Big Al, but the full Pouton Posse arrived en masse, tied by an umbilical chord. He scratched his nose, they scratched their nose. He sneezed, they sneezed.

Davison made a couple of routine saves, as Oldham looked into the Town eyes and saw straw. Why should they look a gift horse in the mouth? Any more clichés? The Town support had drifted past the silent stage through to outright rebellion. A rolling head was wanted, and wanted now, as Oldham poured forward, unimpeded by a nonexistent midfield, barely troubled by a ramshackle defence. Defence? Defence? Why use that word for a collective, there was one defender, Edwards, who three times kept out the blue hordes with marvellous blocks and tackles. At least he was trying.

Ten minutes of non-scoring was ended with another great/freak goal. Oldham punted the ball from right to left. Crane, dreadful Crane, at no point marked a man, nor approached the ball. No, I fib, he did spend three seconds closely marking Edwards. Crowe stood near, but not close to an Oldham player, perhaps 20 yards out near the edge of the penalty area. The ball was curled and looped to beyond the far post. Don’t worry, it’s going out for a goal kick. Worry. GRIFFIN, near the bye-line, just inside the six yard box, leapt, twisted, hooked and levered the ball over Davison, the ball dropping into the goal from an unfeasibly acute angle. Magnificent or lucky? Whatever, a goal, another flippin’ freaky goal, another triple treat for opposition fans.

Ah, yes, but this is the week of the three goal comeback, isn’t it. Now is the hour. Now is the time. A free kick to Town, 20 yards out, on the centre right. Barnard to curl, Jevons to twirl, who, which, now. A goal? Jevons caressed the ball around the wall and the Pogman flew to his left and brilliantly tipped it from the foot of the left hand post for a corner. Barnard passed the corner to the unmarked Daws, 25 yards out, right in the centre, who steered a right footed shot goal wards. The ball drifted past Poggy and rippled along the net. Up went a couple of dozen Town fans - a goal! No, a goalkick, the ball had curled around the post and hit the pole at the back of the net. I’ll let you into a little secret; all the Town fans thought it’d gone in, but not many were interested in celebrating.

Where are we, oh yes, Town in the ascendancy. Sorry, you need a few one liners to keep you going, don’t you. Campbell had a long shot, weakly rolling to the Pogster and Daws, again, smacked a terrific 25 yard drive which Aussie Les uncomfortably parried aside, straight to a fellow Oldhamite. With about 10 minutes to go to half time Jevons used all his Premiership cunning to fashion a fourth goal. A bit of head tennis by Town inside their own half ended with Jevons nodding the ball through a gap between Edwards and Crane. JOHNSON glided through, sidestepped Edwards and, from about 15 yards out on their right, hit a low shot across Davison. The ball wasn’t hit venomously and it rolled underneath Davison and in. Ooooooh dear.

Could it get any worse. Of course it could, of course it will. Oldham missed a few sitters, with a ping pong match on the Town goal-line the highlight of this never ending series of offal defending. All down the right mind, all down the right. And then, in the last minute of the half, the referee decided to get out his silver hammer, like Town needed assistance in burying themselves. The ball was played over Edwards on the left, with Johnson about to sprint clear outside the box. Edwards put his hand across Johnson, who fell. The ball skipped through to Davison, with Crane covering. For once, for once in his life, Crane was covering. So the referee decided to send Edwards off, after some helpful advice from the residents in the Lookers Stand . I suppose they asked nicely. From our angle it looked like there was cover so it should have been a yellow card, but, hey, Town are the Streetcar Named Disaster. Do not expect kindness from strangers.

In the added time Town’s right hand side was shredded again, with Crowe being slow to react as the Oldham wall game was played around him. Into the area, to the bye-line, panic. Vernon took a couple of steps back as Groves and Crane defended conventionally, guarding the six yard line. The ball was passed to VERNON, who shuffled to his left, then right, as Groves threw himself across, drilling a low shot from around the penalty spot that seemed to go through Davison’s legs.

Torture suspended for 15 minutes.

Half time: Oldham Athletic 5 Grimsby Town 0

Comment? Analysis? Redundant really, though that scoreline only tells you half the story. Individuals made very basic errors, and were not bothered enough to stop doing them. The two "full backs" had no interest in defending, whilst Crane played like a gibbering idiot. There was no midfield, apart from Daws during a 20minute period in the middle of the half, but he’s nowhere near the man of he was in October. Town were constructed out of feathers and held together with delicate silk thread. The players played like they expected to lose, and some like they didn’t care if we did. There did not seem a collective desire to keep Paul Groves in his job.

Town were stuffed men, leaning together, headpiece filled with straw.

Hey, it’s only half time. Anything could happen in the second half. Couldn’t it?

Stu's Half Time Toilet Talk

"I’m so depressed I can’t eat my apple."
"I passed a sign saying Stalybridge twenty miles. Twenty months more like."
"I think Boulding needs to visit the psychic hairdresser."
"What a mysterious mauve sky. Is that Town’s next away kit."
"Don’t you feel embarrassed watching them?"

The report continues in the Second Half.

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