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Question of the Week

Should Russell Slade be sacked?

Yes immediately
Give him one more game


14/02 Brighton Part 2

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 15/02/2004

AFTER four minutes something happened. The ball was sploshing about in the puddles under the Findus/Smiths/Stones stand, around the half way line. Coldicott imposed himself upon a dilatory defender, forcing him to retreat, retreat and retreat again.

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

Grimsby Town 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 1
14 Feb 2004, Nationwide League Division 2

Stacy’s posturing made Brighton crumble, for they gave the ball away, put their hands to the heads and screamed. The ball was played up to Mansaram, about 30 yards out on the right. He looked up (note that in your diary) turned and flipped a pass at chest height into the penalty area. RANKIN, to the right of the penalty spot, chested the ball sideways, leapt up and hooked a spectacular scissors kick across the ‘keeper and into the bottom right hand corner. The bedraggled, bewildered remnants of the Town support went wild, we’d never seen that failed tennis player do that. Wahey, Woohoo, Yes and other exclamations of joy were heard.

A couple of minutes later nirvana was almost reached. Anderson bullied Mayo down the Town left and dribbled into the penalty area. He crossed low, with the ‘keeper in a void of his own making. The ball zoomed across the sodden turf with Rankin sprinting into the area, totally unmarked. Rankin slid forward and just missed the ball, the goal gaping, open and, like Jim Davidson, demanding to be hit. Passing, movement, tackling, trying. Ah, so this is football, is it? It was by no means perfect, but at least the middle of the park was forming a barrier. Brighton had done nothing. Then they did. Or rather Knight did, a small irritating little cheat really. His reputation preceded him and he surely lived down to it. He dribbled down the Town right and, when possession was lost, theatrically hit the mud, actually starting his dive before the Town player had even moved a body part. The referee had no hesitation in awarding the free kick, and from it Town flapped, or rather Davison flapped. The free kick was flung into a bundle of bodies at the far post, with Davison creeping off his line to half punch. The ball fell to the huge number n-n-n-n-n-n-n-19 Virgo, whose shot hit someone’s legs and was wellied clear.

And Town slowly, slowly succumbed to Brighton pesky "professionalism" from then on. Let’s gloss over Anderson’s Poutonesque miscue from one of the trademark free kick routines. The ball stayed in the ground. Knight confused the Town players by not falling over, dribbling from the half way line towards the edge of the penalty area. The shot ballooned off a big Town boot and landed on top of the goal. The corner was eventually taken after several little tussles and tantrums in the six yards box. Benjamin rubbing himself against Davison, Culip and Mansaram almost coming to blows. The corner was clipped to the near post, being half cleared off Crowe’s back. Returned to sender, the ball was chipped in again. Davison came off his line, punched rubbishly, and the ball dropped straight to one of the midfielders, Oatway, the smaller more bruisingly constructed one. His shot fizzed along the ground towards the right hand corner. BENJAMIN, stood in the line of fire, perhaps five yards out, flicked at the ball and it arced slowly towards the left hand corner, with Daws just failing to get back. A real soft, wet weather goal. The Pontoon tried to get behind the team again from the kick off, but it was hard work, the deflation had taken the wind out of our sails.

When was the goal scored? The 18th minute. I am certain, and also sure of this, as the scoreboard froze for 10 minutes. Perhaps mortified by the injustice of a bunch of hoofers and kickers scoring by accident. And just to rub it in, to infuriate those fair minded souls who follow Town, the referee decided it was his one man mission to book the Town defence.

Davisonred card
Croweyellow card
Craneyellow card
Barnardyellow card
Dawsyellow card


Hamilton47 mins
Jevonsgoal67 mins
Soames86 mins


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Firstly Barnard for standing in the way of Knight as the tiny terror flicked the ball past him down the left. Barnard turned his hips, Knight jumped into Barnard, Barnard was booked and the referee walked the free kick forward ten yards to the very corner of the penalty area. Fortunately Daws’ big feet got in the way of the free kick. A minute later Benjamin chased a through ball down the left hand touchline, underneath the Stones/Findus/Smiths Stand. Crane slid across and swiped the ball out for a throw in. The referee decided to book Crane and give them a free kick. The crowd were roused and riled beyond a safe level, as were the Town players. Knight won a free kick for slipping over right next to the linesman, in almost exactly the same spot. Next up, or rather next down, was Mansaram, flattened from behind by Culip, who went though the back of the octopus with legs and elbow. Just a quiet word from the referee, got to take account of the conditions, haven’t we. The free kick was chipped to the far post and Ford, unmarked about 10 yards out but stretching, headed a couple of feet wide.

Around this time Brighton had a shot. Davison diverted it to his right, Crowe cleared. They didn’t have another. They were awful.

With about 10 minutes left Town began to attack again. Rankin, who had been strong and tricky, flicked a loopy header from a free kick just over the bar. Worth an "Ooo". Mansaram turned superbly on the right, about 25 yards out, spinning and thwacking a tremendous shot which sliced across goal and went 25 yards wide. Not worth an "Ooo". Oh, and a couple more bookings, of course. Daws slid across to block Knight, who spun off the old man’s thighs, then Crowe thundered into another wailing wimp. We’re drifting towards half time now, you know. Campbell - hello Mr Campbell! - ran in from the right wing past one, two, then a third who hauled him down as he approached the penalty area. You can’t be serious thinking the ref might book a Brighton man. Barnard and Anderson held an impromptu balloon debate, with Anderson winning, curling the free kick towards the top left hand corner. The ball flicked off a strand of hair on the end of the wall and looped a couple of yards wide. Barnard curled the corner high to the far post. Jones dropped it, the ball landing at Crane’s feet. The man with the largest backside in association football stabbed the ball goalwards and it disappeared behind several bodies, re-emerging away on the Brighton right. It had been knocked off the line by someone, we presume not a Town player. Brighton broke away, but didn’t do anything particularly threatening. Poor old Stace was gone from this world, eventually arriving inside the Town penalty area, hands on knees, looking ready to drop. He’d given his all and more.

And that was the first half, well, almost. It ended with a throw in under the seething Stones/Smiths/Findus Stand. As Town prepared to chuck it in Campbell was elbowed by Oatway, who then turned around and pushed Campbell away, hand in face. The referee saw it, ran over and told Charlie boy not to do it again. To a chorus of boos the referee made his way off the pitch, as Town were applauded. In such times we must make mountains out of molehills, for the very thing missing from last Sunday was back, personified by Coldicott. Even his perennial critics were moved, if not to tears, at least to support and appreciation. Rankin looked to be as quick as Boulding, and much, much stronger. He linked up well, he passed, he held the ball up, he looked a more complete forward than anyone seen in Black and White for a considerable length of time. Competence is something Town now aspire to.

Half time: Grimsby Town 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 1

Town were a little unfortunate to be level at half time to a bunch of brigands, a team in their manager’s mould. As Norman Stanley Fletcher once observed - "a charmless Celtic nerk". How the heck did they manage to be fluttering around the play-offs?

Stu's Half Time Toilet Talk

"If elbowing’s allowed, bring back Livvo!".
"We can never have a manager who once drove a lemon Escort".
"Well Geoffrey, I’m putting my money on the 3-1 shot - Town to finish with 7 players".
"I have crocuses around my tree".
"It’s a pathetic fallacy, isn’t it? Do you mean the club or the crowd?"

The report continues in the Second Half.

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