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Harrold: Closest
Harrold: Closest

28/03 Rushden Part 2

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 29/03/2005

WAHEY, their goalkeeper slipped over when punting forward. You have to grasp onto little things these days. Are you listening Anthony Williams? What an odd cove their keeper was, hurling and swirling himself around the area, arms swinging, jumping and jiving. Was he really a keeper?

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

Grimsby Sleepwalkers 0 Rushden & Diremen 0
28 Mar 2005, Coca Cola League 2

The programme has him down as a defender/midfielder, so it must be that old school football trick - catch the ball in the warm up and you're in goal. "Haw, haw", to quote Nelson Muntz, their assistant manager.

You have got the drift, haven't you? Slow, dull, devoid of competence, Town seeking the big men upfront, the Rushden & Carbons defensive in the extreme. Ten minutes gone and the Carbonites hadn't even managed to get one little toe inside the Town penalty area. A shot! Nah, not from them. Gritton receiving a flick on from Harrold on the centre left, weaving and wafting a shot from just outside the area which drifted and droned wide of the near post, without Shearer bothering to move. He was bored already.

In the context of this game the following was an exciting moment to be savoured, treasured even. Some Town player, lost in the mists of time, dinkled a cross from the right, Gritton soared above his marker beyond the far post and headed back across goal. Fleming trotted in, the ball bombled past him, Harrold slid in as Shearer stooped and scooped the ball up. Yeah, great.

Rushden broke excitingly from their own half, getting within 40 yards of Williams. My, that was exhilarating. Handball? Has this officially been excised from the rule book? Handball again? And again? Pfft. La-di-da-di-da, dum-di-dum-di-dum.

A Rushden player set foot inside the Town penalty area, 22 minutes 34 seconds.

Boring. Another Town long ball. Boring, boring, boring, boring. Where are my old John 'n' Roly videos? Hoof, Harrold flick, Gritton nodded free behind the defence, bounding along inside the area, just Shearer betwixt Gritton and glory. Shearer ambled forward and leapt half-heartedly at the Gritster, who rather feebly tapped the ball against the goalie's thigh. Pathetic attempt really; awful miss, for the keeper was caught in a terrible position and just jumped up in the air hoping for the best. How long gone? Twenty four long, long, long minutes.

Choose some suitable mental music to signify a moment of great joy and triumph. You could choose Beethoven's ninth, or perhaps the theme from Please Sir! The nesting entity that was Rushden suddenly shrugged off the torpor and timidity. From their right, just inside the Town half the ball was curled into the Town area. Williams stayed on his line, Forbes raced back and, from the edge of the six yards box at the far post, slid, stretched and hooked the ball away at the far post. The ball struck the dove from above on the chest, bouncing a couple of feet past the post. Of course a corner was given, flipped through the area, missed by all, except Gritton's right hand, which laid the ball off perfectly for Crowe to clear from near the foot of the left post. Some Town fans even appealed for handball, so desperate were they for something to happen. Anything, we'd accept anything.

Rushden had what was, for them, a spell of concerted pressure. In other words more than three of their players were in Town's half and they had the ball for a minute. Nothing whatsoever came of it. No shot, no possible moments of almost nearness, not even any comedic fumblings and stumblings. A barn owl did not swoop down and pluck away the centre forward's toupé, nor did Rob Jones break-dance in the centre circle to the hip-hop beat of Lieutenant Pigeon. What a mouldy old dough this game was.

Anthony Williams
John McDermott
Justin Whittle
Terrell Forbes
Jason Crowe
Terry Fleming
Thomas Pinault
Stacy Coldicott
Andy Parkinson
Martin Gritton
Matt Harrold


Graham Hockless65 mins
David Soames81 mins
Rob Jones
Tony Crane
Glen Downey


Joe Ross


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Hibble, bibble, a Pinault shot, looped wide, looped high. An effort of sorts, an effort to describe it. What's going on out there? Nothing. No movement, therefore no passing, Pinault performing cartwheels seeking out a pass, faced with a sea of indolence. A Gallic shrug nears. Forbes and Whittle tried to pass the ball out of defence, but then gave up faced by a red wall, deciding to chip a steady stream of nonsense in the vague direction of the front two. This is not what we do, WE are Grimsby, WE play football. It would have helped if some of the males in striped shirts had moved their feet sometimes.

High ball from the right, far post, Gritton head down, Harrold slapped the ball wide at the near post. Not interesting football, nearly something: wasn't. Dull. Percentage football; Town statistically insignificant. Pah and pah again. Has Blundell Park ever been so silent? The game was sinking into a gloop of steaming, festering compost. No skill, no wit, no chances, nothing has changed, it's still the same. Everywhere in Town it's getting dark. Dark, dank, rank. Hark the Harrold angel nearly sings. Pinault, exquisite, sublime, a wondrous cross looping from right to left, dropping perfectly to the unmarked Harrold beyond the far post. The Prince opened up his body and steered a volley low across Shearer who blocked the ball away into the centre of goal, with a bit of scrumblage by his henchmen scrumping danger away under a big red cloak.

In the last minute Whittle and Coldicott decided to do their infamous Chuckle Brothers routine, passing the lukewarm potato between them with boxing gloves on their feet. A Rushdenite embezzled the ball away, using left, then right hand. Off he went down the centre right, down he went under the merest of stares from, err, I dunno, let's say Forbes. Williams hid behind the wall and we awaited the usual one shot, one goal routine. Hello sailor! The ball wafted into the loft apartments atop the Pontoon, knocking over someone's cocoa and an ornamental badger. That, for statistical purposes only, was their shot. The ball just couldn't wait to get on the A180 and vroom out of Town as quickly as possible.

Half time: Grimsby Town 0 Rushden and Diamonds 0

That was the half that wasn't. Half of what? Definitely half empty. Half-baked, half-cocked, half-a-sixpence, halfway up the stairs isn't up and isn't down, it isn't really anywhere. Fleming and Parkinson wasted, neither knew where to stand, caught in the headlights, neither here nor there. Crowe? Can he be bothered to tackle? Is Gritton fit or has he given up? Lop-sided, disjointed, fragments of football, the illusion of cohesion, not so much a performance as a contractual obligation to appear.

Stu's Half Time Toilet Talk

"I have a tree that looks like Ken Dodd."
"Yeah, and Crane's been our best player this season."
"So, have you taken your kids to Grimsby's cultural quarter? They've been to Lincoln before."
"Ah, I see both legs are working now."
"Town've never suffered from safety before. It's boring."

The report continues in the Second Half.

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