The Fishy - Grimsby Town FC

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24/08 Wigan 2nd Half

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 25/08/2004

NEITHER team made any changes at half time. Let me turn a mental page in my head and remind myself of this half. Ahhh, how relaxing. After a couple of minutes of Wigan passing to each other but not getting very far, Town broke. As usual it was at speed, with conviction and with intent.

Home > 2004-2005 Season > Reports > Wigan (h)

Grimsby Town 1 Wigan Athletic 0
24 Aug 2004, Carling Cup Round 1

Who was it this time? Reddy ripping down the right and crossing low into the centre of the box. Crowe raced up but a defender stretched and strained to avert more pain. How did the ball get to Reddy? The normal Town way: pish-pash-posh, passing supreme.

For quarter of an hour Town raided and Wigan had little spells of pressure. The teams traded shots, one a minute, all entertaining and exciting stuff. Us then them. Our General Pinault sat behind the strikers and the lines on the map moved from side to side. Up then down, round and round and round and round the ball twirled, Parkinson free on the right, dribbling past his marker. He crossed to the near post where Reddy zoomed in and diverted the ball a foot wide as Walsh sat on a park bench, confused by modern life, and even park life. Just have fun feed some ducks with a bun, it’s a better option when you’re at the tired and emotional end of a professional career. Another Town break and Crowe free. Crowe crossed. Thome cleared.

Wigan had a shot, another, and another, wide, wider and higher still. I thought we’d sold Pouton to Gillingham? They’re getting closer to the corner flag by the minute. Oops, that’s almost a chicken counting moment. Ooooh dear, one of their left-sided players dribbled into the Town area and tumbled under a non-challenge. "Penalty" cried the 34.8 Wiganites (exclusive of playing staff, friends, relatives and VAT). What a fine ref, not interested at all in such amateur dramatics. The little Wiganite failed his audition for the Caxton Players. Another shot, getting closer, Graham having several. He’s enthusiastic, we’ll give him that.

Around the hour mark Gordon picked up a half clearance about 40 yards out in the centre left. He took the ball forward a few paces and set himself to shoot. We’ve had decades of experience of this sort of thing. You know the routine. The middle of the Pontoon gets ready to catch the ball. Oh no sir, that’s the past, this is the present. Gordon clonked a flat bazooka which zonked towards the top left hand corner. Walsh back-pedalled then leapt up and just managed to lever the ball over the bar for a corner. Back on our feet again. A minute or so later Pinault wobbled a long shot a couple of yards wide. No danger present. Anything Dean can’t do, Thom can’t do either.

The game started to ebb away from Town a bit. Wigan kept the ball more, pulling Town left and right, right and left, waiting for a train that never came. It was the appliance of a certain science and almost, almost brought rewards. Their substitute, Teale, was fed a steady supply of dry fish meal, exploiting the spaces behind Crowe as the little Argonaut steamed upfield to support Town attacks. Many moments of danger, so few things to report. Crosses yes, clearances yes. A cross through the Town area, no-one there. A free kick 25 yards out, flipped well over the bar without a by-your-leave; a fantastic Crowe tackle inside the penalty area; a superb Ramsden interception on the right; Gordon strong and resolute; Whittle limping through heroically, a man barely alive yet unbeatable. A teasing Teale cross, floating, floating towards an unmarked Wiganite. Whittle rose from the depths like Poseidon to flick the ball away and save Town. More crosses, men free at the back post, shrivelling in the presence of Whittle and Gordon.

Anthony Williams
Justin Whittle
Simon Ramsden
Dean Gordon
John McDermott
Thomas Pinault
Terry Fleming
Jason Crowe
Ashley Sestanovich
Andy Parkinsongoal
Michael Reddy


Clint Marcelle85 mins
Stacy Coldicott
Ronnie Bull
Darren Mansaram
Kirk Wheeler


Phil Joslin


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Into the last 20 minutes and Town visibly slowing, tiring by the second, limbs aching, Pontoon agonising, a little concerned, silent, hopeful, but content with the world. It’s a freebie game, no pressure, just pleasure. Town had many breakaways which foundered at the last, exquisite passing moves, lung bursting surges from midfield, Town players pouring towards the area. Parkinson a permanent pest, Reddy a thorn in Thome’s side. Thome, big Emo, a saviour of Wigan, the big Brazilian’s boot emerged from behind red socks to avert many a moment of danger. Typical Brazilian, a hoof it anywhere merchant.

Did Sestanovich have a shot? Maybe, to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track of which is which and who was who. He was less effective than usual, a peripheral figure, drifting infield occasionally to try some trickery, conjuring and caressing, but often crowded out. Some homework done by Wigan? Once, twice, thrice, Sestan the Man delayed passes a microsecond, allowing the annoying linesman to convince himself that Parkinson, then Reddy were offside. You wouldn’t find anyone in the Pontoon who would have given offside, oh no.

As the game entered the last 10 minutes Wigan became a bit more frenetic in their attacking, becoming more direct. Town were slowly pulled apart down the left, then right, with Teale flipping in a cross to the far post. Graham wandered in, unmarked and from somewhere near the six yards box at the far post carefully side footed the ball a couple of yards wide. He’d have been better off letting it hit his shins. A couple of minutes later Graham twisted free outside the box, about 20 yards out on their centre left. He smacked a low shot goalwards, which took a deflection of a defender’s boot. The ball arced towards the bottom left hand corner and Williams made a brilliant one-handed save at the foot of the post. The ball may have even been diverted onto the post. Does that matter? It hadn’t gone in because Williams had somehow stopped it, that’s the important bit.

Around this time Marcelle replaced Sestanovich. Town played out the last few minutes with some aplomb, they kept the ball by passing to each other quickly, little triangles with Pinault emerging from his purdah to orchestrate the final coup de grace. In added time Fleming and Pinault tippy-tapped their way through the flagging Wigan defence. Pinault played the ball down the right sending Reddy free. Reddy crossed, Parkinson flew in, leant back, twisted and steered a header across the face of goal. Walsh dived, the ball spun towards the right hand corner and crawled an inch or two wide.

After two minutes of added time the referee put Wigan out of their misery, and allowed the Town fans, at last, to celebrate. The players hugged and walked over to the Pontoon as Slade joined them for his three seconds of fame. Town had played superbly: the most complete performance so far this season. They were up against a well-organised, highly-coached team who also tried to play football. It was just an excellent match, from our point of view. Two teams playing football. We won.

Everyone played well, some weller than others, with even the fourth division makeweights excelling. A total team display and you should bask in the warm, warm feeling that we have a team, a team playing swashbuckling football. And winning.

Happy times, happy nights, happy days are here again?

Nicko’s Man of the Match

Such a fine line to be drawn between so many excellent performers. Parkinson was a human dynamo, Reddy flogged himself to death, Pinault was perfection for an hour whilst Ramsden was totally assured and calm. But the International Jury of Arbitrary-tation delivered a solemn verdict: Dean Gordon. Power, pace, professionalism.

Official Warning

Mr P Joslin. I’m trying hard to find fault: maybe his timorous reaction to Ramsden’s deliberate ignoring of him was the peak of his imperfection. His was probably the best refereeing performance since Paul Durkin way back when. He gets a straight 8.921

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