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2Notts County271851
3Accrington Stanley261446

6Lincoln City271144

10Newport County27642
12Cambridge Utd27-638
14Crawley Town27-436
18Port Vale28-632

23Forest Green27-2223

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02/03 Notts Co Part 2

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 03/03/2004

THE corner, from their right, was flung beyond the far post to the unmarked Barras, who headed firmly goalwards. Four Town players stood and stared as the ball made its way towards the centre of the goal.

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

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

Antoine-Curier stooped and conquered, nodding the ball past Pettinger from inside the six-yard box.

Another dreadful goal, for Barras hadn't done anything mind-blowing, just the standard roll around the back, and several Town players were still in the flightpath when he nodded back. Yeah, he nodded back, we nodded off. Movement lacking, thought lacking. The corner was daft too, for County had pumped the ball behind Ford and Pettinger had raced out of his area. The incredible shrinking goalkeeper got to the ball first and managed to volley the ball out for a corner while standing only a couple of yards from the touchline.

Town responded by driving up the other end and forcing a corner, with Mansaram twisting and turning past a defender and getting to the bye-line. Passing to the unmarked Jevons would have been better. The corner was half cleared to Hockless, about 25 yards out in the centre, who smacked a half volley goalwards. The ball deflected off the last defender as it was heading for the bottom left corner.

Hasn't Hockless got a long throw.

A few minutes later Town had their one other effort in the first half. Jevons and Thorpe combined down the left, with Thorpe rolling past his marker and dragging a low cross into the near post. Mansaram, about 10 yards out, eventually reacted, taking two strides towards the ball. The goal gaped. His right foot went back. He missed the ball, and it continued across goal towards Jevons, before being scrumpled away.

So far, you may be thinking, not so bad. Oh it was. The right-hand side was a no-fly zone for Space Cadet and his little munchkin: Richardson roamed at will, with Caskey and Oakes hitting a succession of dinks and clips over to the balding ballroom blitzer. Town just kept on getting away with it, usually through a poor cross, or Armstrong doing something unusual, and curiously interesting: he defended. The attack became a one-man operation, big-hearted Thorpe alone against the elements, and someone offered £5 for proof of Stuart Campbell's existence.

Near the half-hour mark County attacked down the Town left, and the ball was knocked out for a throw-in. In it went, flicked off to Baldry, who jinked past the red dwarf at left-back, the fading star, shrinking, glowing, the energy dwindling. Caskey made a diagonal run into the box, while Heffernan drifted away from Armstrong, who had shuffled across to block the near post. Baldry hit the bye-line and chipped the ball over Armstrong. Heffernan raced into the middle and, from inside the six-yard box, stopped and headed across Pettinger, who half carried the ball into the net on the left.

A very good, though simple, team goal. It was if they knew what to do. Doesn't it just take the joy out of the game, all this coaching stuff. What happened to spontaneity?

And Town imploded.

Armstrong pushed Antoine-Curier 20 yards out, in the middle. Oakes took ages before leathering the ball way over the bar as Pettinger hopped left and right, Barnard flirted with standing on the line and Town generally looked a little confused. County pressed again, on Town's right, and were repelled.



Parker87 mins
Mansaram16 mins


Mark Blackpool


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The Town fans were soon appalled, as Crane, Campbell and Ford walked upfield and watched Antoine-Curier stroll through them on to a lofted dink. They didn't move, just hoping for an offside flag. Antoine-Curier ran on, down the inside left, into the area and approached the quivering Pettinger. About 10 yards out and to the left of goal A-C smacked a drive against Pettinger's chest. The lad stood up well, though it should have been another goal.

Urgh, again, Ford, always Ford, no longer visible to the naked eye; you need a radio telescope to see him as he exits the solar system. Arrgh, what is he doing now? A corner, a scramble, the ball at his feet a dozen yards out. If in doubt hoof it out? No - if in trouble drag back, step over and shimmy through your own penalty area. His mind really doesn't work the same as yours or mine, does it.

More? You need to know more? Caskey, left free with a late run into the area, mis-headed a dropper wide of the left post. Crane headed a long punt out of the Town area. Caskey burst through the middle past Captain Cardboard. Crane felt similarly unenthused enough to move. Caskey stretched and sliced a half volley very wide, very high from the middle edge of the penalty area.

Barras headed against Ford's shoulder when a free kick from their left was shaped into the far post, just eight yards out. The corner was curled into the middle of the box and Pettinger made an excellent reaction save, clawing the ball away to his right. Remember these are just the actual moments of blind terror. The dreadfulness that resulted in nothing has been kept from you. There are some things best left in the dark recesses of life.

Half time: Grimsby Town 4 Barnsley 0

You get the feeling Town were a defensive disgrace? You bet, and all down the right. Hopeful hands shot up whenever County hit the ball over the top, with barely an attempt to track back. County should have scored at least a couple more, and Town would not have felt hard done by.

The irony is that it is the Town players, those who are actually employed by the club, who rested on the Saturday laurels. Thorpe, Daws and Armstrong were the most motivated of the lot, the best of the bunch. Hockless tried, but was easily brushed aside by the County defenders. Jevons didn't like it much, for the self styled 'Pies nullified him just by having a bloke stand near. No room, no time, no fight. I could go on, but you have the picture, the footballing equivalent of Guernica.

But it was still only 1-2, and look what happened last week. Ah, but no Stacy this time.

Stu's Half Time Toilet Talk

"I never thought I'd ever say we miss Stacy."
"Are you going for a hike after the game?"
"No-one could ever accuse Ford of using performance-enhancing drugs."
"There's no hot air in the men's toilet."
"Their mascots have human legs!"

The report continues in the Second Half.

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