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Willem II - Part 2

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 27/07/2004

NO changes were made at half time by Town. I couldn’t tell whether Willem II had. Perhaps they couldn’t either, for Town ruffled their carefully placed hair within a minute. Mansaram had been sent free down the left by Young.

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He squirmed around, passed back to Bull who drifted a curling cross into the 6 yards box. The juggernaut jumped at the near post and, from just 4 or 5 yards out, headed a few inches wide. That was it Mr T, your time may be up. And 15 minutes later it was, being replaced by Sestanovich. Tangara had played for an hour and didn’t do anything the other giant redwoods haven’t. He won three headers, which ended up as giant clearances for Willem II, he controlled the ball twice and missed that chance. The sound of misplaced adoration drowned out the sound of Slade’s chainsaw. Timber!

Now Sestanovich is a mighty, huge mound of flesh, with a tiny, tiny head. Are we seeking out boiled footballers? But what an impact. His first touch was a dainty dribble and chip over the bar, his second a strong turn. He has a footballing brain and seemed to strike up an instant rapport with Parkinson and Pinault, forming a bemusing triangle around the edge of the penalty area. Here we go. A Pinault lay off, a Sestanovich turn and pass through the defence and Parkinson was sent free 25 yards out on the right. His shot was blocked by the ‘keeper with the ball ballooning straight to Crowe, about 20 yards out on the right. He took one touch and leathered the ball a foot over the bar into the Pontoon. A minute later another Sestanovich turn and perceptive pass sent Parkinson peskying away down the right wing. The ‘keeper rushed off his line and the cross managed to go in just about the one place a Grimsby player wasn’t.

The game started to have some pace, with Willem II suddenly looking like they didn’t want to lose, as if the presence of Sestanovich had woken them up. They needed to try ‘cos Town might actually score another. The ten minutes after Sestanovich came on were excellent, with Town playing football and ripping through the Dutch defences, the polderpuffs if you wish. They even started to attack, winning a free kick on their right which was clipped into the penalty area and a tall bloke glanced a header straight at Williams. Then they started to pass to each other, at pace, especially down their left. Crowe was forced to defend a bit and he was up against a very tricky player, someone with a very unpronounceable name. Several times this player cut into the penalty area and almost had shots. Still Town attacked, a clever free kick, 25 yards out on the centre right, with many Town players circling like vultures. Pinault stroked the ball low towards the penalty spot and Whittle turned around to find the ball coming towards his head. He stopped, he flicked and the ball zipped past the left hand post. Another Pinault cross from the left grazed Parkinson’s head, a Sestanovich drooper just went over Crowe’s head at the far post. And then there was Pinault’s audaciously cheeky chip which crawled a few inches over the crossbar. Nearly moments, good play. Football. Hope peeking it’s blurry eyes through the long night.

With just over a quarter of an hour left Marcelle replaced Parkinson. Marcelle is very small and had a surprising hairstyle. Remember that bloke in Boney M? He may be crazy like a fool to come to Town but let’s talk about Daddy Cool. Marcelle looked bright and tricky: a very useful substitute. He had some pace and some idea about how to play football. And a minute or two later Willem II scored. Fleming absented himself from this world as a midfielder ran forward. Young intercepted and, for want of a better expression, pratted about. He was easily dispossessed about 25 yards out on the Town left. Bish-bosh-bang, goal. Before you could blink, passes were exchanged and the ball was smooching the net in the bottom left-hand corner. Willem had a couple more efforts down the left, infiltrating to the penalty area almost at will, with only desperate blocks and desperate shots saving Town. With less than 10 minutes left Mansaram was replaced by Soames, much to the annoyance of the Town fans, who had been calling for Hockless. Soames ran after the ball once. With a couple of minutes left Willem almost scored again. The tricky left winger fluttered through the Town defence, receiving a lofted pass. Williams came out, Williams was lobbed, Bull ran around and headed the ball off the line. Pinault was replaced by Hildred, allowing Pinault, Pinault, Pinault, Pinault (the law says you must say it a la Geno) to have a richly deserved ovation.

And the game ended. Slade brought all the players over to the fans, not allowing them to simply walk off the pitch.

Overall there were more goods than bads. Pinault, Sestanovich, Parkinson, Crowe were all excellent. Ramsden was perfectly fine, as was Williams. The jury did note that Willem weren’t very physical or aggressive, the defence was not tested by a series of lumps and lamps. The bads were Young, Fleming and Tangara. Mansaram is always in a category all of his own.

Nicko’s Man of the Match

It has to be our French fancy, Thomas Pinault. Let’s hope he carries on like this, for he looks to have everything and more that you’d want in a midfielder at this level. Burnett with claws.

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