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The Lunatics are on the Grass: Notts Co Report

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 03/03/2004

A chilly evening in Trentland Central with around 700 or so Town supporters dotted about one of the crazy identikit stands behind a goal. The faintest of fogs was apparent in the air, or was that just Stuart Campbell warming up?

Home > 2003-2004 Season > Reports > Notts Co (a)

Notts County 3 Grimsby Town 1
02 Mar 2004, Nationwide League Division 2

Tinny tannoy, echo-o-o-o-ing around the vast canyons of the Nottingham mind, a stadium desolate: 20,000 seats and no-one sat on them, soulless and rather depressing. The pre-match announcements were drowned out in a screech of feedback. Now where would rock 'n' roll be without feedback?

Town lined up wearing that anonymous shroud, the failing sponsor's corporate colours, in a 4-4-2 formation, as shown. At least Hamilton wasn't starting, I suppose, but Coldicottless Town just looked vapid. And still no Edwards eh? The first cuckoo of spring was seen, as Hockless scamped about on the right, being cheeky to the locals.

County? They looked quite tall.

The tannoy announcer whipped the crowd up in to religious fervour with "C'mon you Pies," in a soft, avuncular manner, like a schoolteacher at the local fete. Jolly well done, and may the best team win. No, no, no, we can't have that.

1st half

County kicked off towards the Town support. Tip-tappy, nice stuff, la-di-di-da, happy-clappy, football being played. Groan. After about a couple of minutes Town's fantastic defence made an uncharacteristic error, and of all people Simon Ford was the culprit. No, no, it must be said, and I know it will shock many. There, it's like calling Cliff Richard a shrivelled prunish prude in front of your Great Auntie Bessie, a social taboo.

The ball was knocked over the top down the County left. Ford, erm, Forded. An arm half raised, a half turn, a half-hearted amble back as Marie Antoinette-Curier scuttled off towards goal. Onwards, into the box, a goal certain, A-C drew his boot back and Armstrong flung himself across and blocked about a dozen yards out, the ball whizzing out for a corner.

A few minutes of little triangles, passing and movement, with Thorpe a rock-solid presence, ended with Armstrong, unmarked and about six yards out, heading a corner from the Town right just over the bar. So far so good, just the one Calamity Jane moment in 10 minutes. Things are improving!

Things soon became magnificent, and our collective hat cocked at a jaunty angle on a haughty Humber head. After Jevons was fouled way out on the Town left Barnard plopped a perfectly flighted free kick into the six-yard box. Crane jumped up at the far post, and the ball hit his head and went into the top right corner of the goal. The Town fans rose, applauded and sat down smugly. Are we finally on a roll?

The scoreboard suddenly spluttered into life. A vague flash of yellow slowly transformed into "County 0 Grimsby 0 after 0 minutes". Then "Goal". To resumed cheers from the self-satisfied south bankers.

A couple of minutes later County attacked down their right. The ball went out to their full-back, whose attempted cross was charged down by Rankin, tracking back, looking bothered. Uh-oh. Rankin stayed on the ground, writhing in agony, shaking his ankle. He was rolled off the pitch and lasted another minute when he came back on, being replaced by Mansaram as County were about to take a corner. Mansaram struggled to co-ordinate his arms and head, but eventually passed his elementary dressing exam. His shirt was on, and not inside out or back to front. Success.



Parker87 mins
Mansaram16 mins


Mark Blackpool


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The report continues in Part Two.

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