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04/09 Rochdale Part 2

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 07/09/2004

TOWN played at walking pace, movement merely a word with eight letters in it. The crowd was silent, bored already, sitting back and awaiting the circus maximus, the ritual annihilation of the Christians. Mmm, Rochdale had the ball. They still had it. They still had it. Town let ‘em have it.

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

Grimsby Town 0 Rochdale 1
04 Sep 2004, Coca Cola League 2

Perhaps we’re just watching and waiting for the moment to strike. Lulling them forward to create space. It’s tactical. Yeah, Russ’s big bonce had come up with a meisterplan. Rochdale still have the ball, they might even cross it soon. Aahhh, that’s better, their straggly-haired midfielder dripped a shot several feet wide of Williams’ right hand post from about 25 yards out. No danger.

Five minutes gone - a shot! Oo la-la, from left to right, the ball fizzed, Rochdale stripped to the bone, Sestanovich cutting in, in and around two defenders before smooching a left-footed shot straight into the goalkeeper’s midriff. A few minutes later another nearly moment. Some head tennis on the right ended with Reddy nodding the ball back into space about a dozen yards out on the centre left. Fleming strode forward, opened his body and very precisely rolled a soft shot towards the bottom left hand corner. Edwards flopped on to the ball. A couple of minutes after that Pinault floated a free kick from the right, about 25 yards out to the far post. Whittle steamed in, barged a defender away and, from beyond the far post, headed firmly across the face of goal. Bouncing along without a care in the world, the ball tantalised the faithful, but rolled away. Perhaps Gallimore cleared, which would be nice for him. Ah, and again, another foul and another free kick from Pinault. Gordon, unmarked and in almost exactly the same spot of green, green grass as wattling Whittle had been, headed down into the ground. The ball slowly looped over Edwards and over the bar.

Sounds like Town had chances? Sort of. It was deadly dull, but ‘Dale had been far from deadly themselves. They had that work ethic vibe, which Town conspicuously didn’t. The magnificence of our socks would surely be enough to see off these little specks, these footballing footnotes? Rochdale were capable of passing to each other more often than not, though the frequency of their passing to Tony Ford in their dug-out was pleasing to the eye. They must have had one eye on our history too.

Had the Town players enjoyed the pre-match meal in McMenemy’s as much as the oldsters? Was this a post-prandial stroll in the Park?

Rochdale squeezed the juice out of Town, simply by filling the middle with men, by running up to Town players and tackling. Most Town players couldn’t be bothered to manoeuvre themselves into space. The result? A dreadful, dull droopy nonsense of direness. A steaming, putrid pot of rotting parsnips. Town resorted to their lazy ways of lofting high balls up to Parkinson. When that failed they decided to prove that Gallimore was taller than McDermott. Amazingly he is. Who’d have thought that?

Take a little break, close your eyes and drift away.

Don’t worry, you haven’t missed a thing. Pinault decided to play some trick shots to liven things up a bit. McDermott rolled a corner back to Town’s leading Frenchman. Rochdale were surprised by this cunningly ploy - to do something we did last week from which we scored. Who’d have thought it? The mind boggles. No, Pinault’s foot boggled. He swiped and the ball ballooned up, circled the earth twice and dropped at Sestanovich’s foot near the edge of the penalty area. What audacity, what a superb pass. We chuckled as we knew that Spotlanders thought he was shooting. We know better, of course. I think McDermott crossed. He might not have done. I can confirm that it didn’t rain wheelbarrows, aliens didn’t land in the back of the Main Stand, and Gallimore didn’t climb onto the back of a giant albatross which flew through a crack in the cloud to a place where happiness reigned all year round. Then again, he might have gone straight to the Grosvenor after the game, which is almost the same, isn’t it? They do play music ever so loud.

Anthony Williams
Justin Whittleyellow card
Simon Ramsden
Dean Gordon
John McDermott
Thomas Pinault
Terry Fleming
Jason Croweyellow card
Ashley Sestanovich
Michael Reddyyellow card
Andy Parkinson


Stacy Coldicott77 mins
Chris Williams65 mins
Ronnie Bull
Greg Young
Paul Robinson


Andy Woolmer


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Come to think of it, does anything other than a mind boggle? Answers to the usual address by Friday and you won’t win a prize

After half an hour the ref flipped. Bored out of his mind perhaps, he awarded Rochdale a free kick for Whittle cleanly heading the ball. Or perhaps his expectations of fourth division football are so low he mistook adequacy for improper behaviour. Gallimore stepped up, the crowd chuckled: those Rochdale fans don’t know, do they. We do. A three man wall melted away before his very eyes into just Reddy standing a few yards away tossing his hair from side to side. Does he or doesn’t he use Harmony? Galli was completely bamboozled, he had no target to aim for. It’s third man from the left, half way up the right shin isn’t it? Galli walloped it straight at Williams. In a world first a Galli free kick was on target. Well done that man. Some other Rochdaler had a shot sometime. It went wide. A bit later another one had another, it did the same, but wider still.

A couple of minutes after the Galli free kick, Whittle was booked for heading the ball. Then a bit later a Spotlander was booked for tripping Parkinson. Neither should have been booked.

Doesn’t time fly by when you’re enjoying yourself? I’d rather be listening to an old man talk about drainage in Ashby cum Fenby.

Inept defending by Town allowed Rochdale to pull them apart down the left, the lack of full- backs meant space appeared. Gordon stayed in the centre as Crowe ambled about. Some bloke in blue got to the bye-line, crossed, and no other bloke in blue got near the ball as it drifted across the face of goal. They should have scored, they never looked like doing so. Usually the Pontoon rages, but it sat back, detached from this pageant of poorness taking place in a field nearby.

Finally, half time neared and we could all be let out on parole for 15 minutes. We had behaved ourselves, couldn’t they let us out for longer? The Rochdale ‘keeper appeared to take the ball out of his area when a dinked through ball zipped through as Parkinson approached. Edwards raced out to his left and from a perfect angle 120 yards away it looked like he kept hold of the ball for at least a yard. Nothin’ doing from the officials. Bertos wasted a breakaway for them when Whittle backed off then stood his ground, whisking the ball off the Kiwi’s fruity foot about 10 yards out. Whittle looked up and whacked the ball straight back to Rochdale. In the last minute Sestanovich curled a beautiful pass diagonally over the back of their defence. Crowe zoomed in behind their full back and chested the ball to Edwards.

Half time: Grimsby Town 0 Rochdale 0

Yes, celebrate. It’s half time.

Town were awful, with only Pinault of the front payers being consistently adequate. The defence was rarely awoken form their slumbers, though Williams still managed to cause mild peril with his inability to kick the ball. In the entire half their goalkeeper made one save. Rochdale did exactly what it said on their tin - "hard working". They ran around, they tackled, they stood in the way. It was enough. Town played like they thought opponents had a duty to allow them to paint pretty patterns on the Blundell Park canvass. Only Jackson Pollock could get away with chucking it about willy-nilly.

Stu's Half Time Toilet Talk

"Sounds like your car needs some colonic irrigation."
"We’re making Galli look composed."
"I saw Dave Worthington selling ice creams down the Prom. He looked happy. "
"How did the same eleven beat Wigan?"
"One of them doesn’t like football and the other collects tropical fish."

The report continues in the Second Half.

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