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Being and Nothingness Part 3

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 27/08/2007

JONES came on for Till from the start and almost made an immediate impact by heading down a high ball to Boshell, who passed to North. North gained control, struck and beat the goalkeeper with his shot for the ball to rebound off the post.

After more scrappy play, Jones started a move by again winning a header and Bolland battled hard to win a corner but to no avail. On 53, Barnes made his first save after a low shot from Murray. Newey made a run on 56 and the resultant cross went too far but Rankin pulled it back.

The Macclesfield defender gathered but headed the ball to North who headed over. Taylor then came on for Rankin. Macclesfield then had a near miss on 58, firing across the goal. A minute later, Town were lucky when a cross looped over the defence from the left for ex Town player Gritton to miss with an easy header when trying to guide the ball in from 6 yards. The ball came straight back up to the Town end, and bobbled around the penalty box. Just as it looked like the ball was going out to the right of the goal, it was pulled back and with Town’s defence stationary, all Gritton had to do was tap in from two feet. Grimsby Town 0, Macclesfield Town 1. The Town defence, which had been solid to this point, just seemed to lose concentration.

On 63, Hunt came on for North. Town’s performance continued to be listless with poor passes from Boshell and Toner and on 64 Macclesfield’s Reid shot wide. Revis confirmed that she had been reduced to train spotting, such was the poor quality of the play. Town won a corner on 71, and Boshell’s cross found Whittle who put in a solid header towards the goal. The header was flicked on by Taylor and was too powerful for the defence to stop. Grimsby Town 1, Macclesfield Town 1. Like Jones, who was winning headers and controlling the play, Hunt was winning balls and giving Town a chance to set up real chances.

On 77, Boshell set up Jones but the ball was cleared. At last Town were applying some pressure. Bolland was bundled over while surging forward, a deft flick from Hunt won a corner, and another accurate Boshell corner found Whittle’s head again. Macclesfield had a brief attack on 81, but Town were improving and several players were involved in a passing move on 83, resulting in a Macclesfield defender heading over. Newey was then tripped on the 25 yard line. Jones’s free kick found Bolland but the goalkeeper gathered the ball.

Toner, Taylor and Jones then worked up a well controlled but ultimately fruitless move. Macclesfield threatened briefly on 88 after Green beat Bennett, but Barnes smothered the ball safely. On 90, Town had another attack. Macclesfield defended desperately, Hunt stubbed it wide. A Macclesfield defender went down injured. Almost as soon as he got up, the whistle blew for full-time. Grimsby Town 1, Macclesfield Town 1. All in all, not very inspiring.

Verdict. I should be used to it by now, but numbness was what I felt when I left the ground. No-one else was saying much either. It wasn’t entirely hopeless but it wasn’t good either. What I saw was poor finishing of half chances in the first half, a sloppy goal conceded but at least an improvement in the control and passing in the second. A pleasing aspect was a new found talent for dead ball situations. It was a refreshing sight to see a variety of players taking free-kicks and corners instead of just seeing Newey waste most of them as last year. At least the second half was an improvement on the stupefyingly tedious first half. This was in part due to Taylor’s pace which gave us a threat level which was missing. The defence was generally solid apart from the goal, but it was a concern to see Bennett at right back, where he looked uncomfortable at times. In midfield, Boshell, Bolland, Till and Toner were all inconsistent and the introduction of Hunt and Jones introduced a much-needed and welcome element of control to proceedings. Gary Jones, who was my Man of the Match, won every header, fought hard and distributed the ball intelligently to give Town more time, space and possession to set up options up front. Having said this, neither team was incisive and the general consensus as we trooped down the Grimsby Road was that promotion cannot be on the agenda with this sort of unconvincing and inconsistent performance. Town did turn up for the second half, but it was largely an exercise in nothingness. That’s no wins this season, no satisfaction, no value for money. In fact for me, Merlin and Revis it was £34’s worth of frustration. Merlin agreed. "It was terrible". Welcome to the new season. We will be there. On many occasions it will be pointless. There will be nothingness. See you in the void ....

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