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A Dysfunctional Day Part 3

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 15/10/2006

A foul on Croft on 48 led to a booking for Onibuje. Swindon’s defence was being marshalled well by Ady Williams and was looking firm. On 50 though, Bore pounced on indecision in the Swindon defence and won a corner. A Toner low shot went just wide. It was a promising start.

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Not according to Revis, who was drawing as she watched the game. Her drawings were becoming more macabre and now featured a weeping girl. On 53, Onibuje turned Toner but fortunately was off side because no-one could have caught him. Town’s best chance came so far when a second good turn by Thorpe came off the goalkeeper’s legs after Toner won a free kick, but Jones couldn’t follow it up with any power.

Barnes in the Town goal was looking confident and cut out a dangerous pass on 59. Croft put in an excellent through pass on 60 but the chance was wasted after a misunderstanding. On 61, Jones was tripped on the edge of the box, but after much kerfuffle about the positioning of the wall, Toner’s shot was poor. The resultant corner led to another good effort by the increasingly impressive Thorpe but the ball was cleared. On 65, Swindon had a good chance but the ball was fired out of the ground. At least they were having chances. Apart from a short spell earlier, Town weren’t and seemed to lack the final thrust.

The game was being slowed down by free kicks, not helped by the Swindon players behaving like prima donnas each time anyone came near them. On 67, Jones was tripped again while on 73, Thorpe almost broke clear but the threat was cut out by Ifil in the Swindon defence. Bore then was fouled but the advantage was given and a Town corner won. The corner came in too close to Swindon’s keeper Brezovan who landed awkwardly and had to be stretchered off, to sympathetic and sporting applause around the ground. Town immediately went on the attack, with the unaccustomed Ifil in Swindon’s goal but in spite of bursts by Toner and Fenton, no threat was made on the Swindon goal.

There was an appeal for handball on 85 after a Toner ball found Thorpe, but no penalty was given. A Jones flick almost confused Ifil, but there was still no real threat to speak of. Town’s lack of pace was apparent. Swindon started to attack again and Monkhouse won a corner on 86. Croft shot wide on 88, but Swindon were soon back upfield and gained possession from a loose ball. With the defence all over the place and Barnes out of position, Peacock took advantage and slotted home for Swindon. Grimsby 0, Swindon 3.

6 minutes were added on following the injury to the goalkeeper but Town had run out of ideas. North came on for Thorpe, but in spite of continuing good touches by Toner, Town had no shots. On 93, Shakes had a clear header but missed for Swindon. Fenton had a weak header, which summed up the performance ... weak. Swindon were firing at will, and Pook blasted wide. On 96, Smith showed the control which Grimsby lacked and fired in a pinpoint pass to the unmarked Pook, whose accurate effort was disallowed for offside. The final whistle was a relief. Grimsby 0, Swindon 3.

The Verdict. This wasn’t a terrible performance, and we spent a lot of time in Swindon’s half during the game but we didn’t present enough of a threat to them. Toner, who was my Town Man of the Match, showed invention and Thorpe looked dangerous in patches, but we weren’t quick enough and lacked control when it mattered. There was no lack of effort but the support play was not as fluid or clinical as it should have been. Swindon were not consistent, but when they put their mind to it, were incisive and exposed a determined but largely static and creaking Town defence. Mid-table mediocrity beckons, I fear.

"We didn’t win, but we’re used to it", proclaimed Revis as we made our way home, before adding atmospherically "We died very painfully". Merlin was satisfied with proceedings but understood the frustration as a long standing sufferer at both Swindon and Grimsby. As we sat on the train, Revis continued to draw and revealed the opening line of her accompanying story: "Once upon a time there was a football team which couldn’t play very well and always lost". Maybe she should have added: "It was a dysfunctional day" ....

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