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New Gaffer!
New Gaffer!

Season Review: Part Four

By: Sam Kinnaird
Date: 18/05/2009

JOHN Fenty began the month of October by announcing publicly that he would be prepared the hand the club over to a willing backer. Many took this the wrong way, believing Fenty had had enough and would wipe his hands of the club. Those that knew him knew better, the man would never leave his club in the mire!

Home > 2008-2009 Season > Season Review > Part 4

It was announced that the new manager would be unveiled on the Monday after the Rotherham game. News filtered through the away end that Mike Newell, the former Blackburn striker and Luton manager had been given the job. Newell had, and was sat in the stands to watch his new club as they took on Rotherham, a club who started the season on -17 points. An early Danny Boshell wonder strike gave Town a deserved lead at half time. But a second half collapse saw Rotherham defeat Town 4-1, with 4 goals in 31 minutes to leave the Mariners at rock bottom and Mike Newell with a massive task on his hands.

Although Newell had been appointed, he would again observe from afar the next game, Scunthorpe away in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Second Round. Stuart Watkiss would take charge in his final game as caretaker manager. Town battered a poor Scunthorpe side for 45 minutes but somehow found themselves 2-0 down at half time, a dressing down at the break seemed to inspire the Mariners who scored instantly through Nick Hegarty. The Town fans who nearly outnumbered their Lincolnshire counterparts could sense an equaliser, and began to make a racket! The equaliser never game, but an encouraging performance nonetheless, and Newell had liked what he saw.

His first official game in charge would be table toppers and unbeaten Wycombe Wanderers at home, £10 tickets were sold in a bid to pack Blundell Park for the massive League Two game. An early goal from Peter Bore saw Town lead until deep into stoppage time when Leon Johnson earned a goal for ten-man Wycombe and deny Mike Newell a deserved first three points. Again, the new boss was encouraged.

Striker Martin Butler was finally released from his contract, a man that agreed to a princely wage but refused to train more than once a week. Buckley’s answer to our striking woes had been a flop of epic proportions, and the fans were happy to see him leave Blundell Park and take his poor attitude with him.

A tough game at Exeter City was next. They had been promoted to the League and were hot favourites to earn a second promotion in as many seasons. A gritty Town performance earned a 0-0 draw on the South coast. Peter Bore had a late effort cleared off the line but a point had been a fair result. "I am really pleased because we have come to a difficult place and played against a side that were on a good run, going by the reports that we have had," Newell said.

The first win still eluded Town, it had been 5 months since their last in the League and talk of relegation could be heard around Cleethorpes. A Tuesday night home game against Luton Town was next, another team who started the season on minus points but one that Town could, and should have easily beaten. Goals from Peter Bore and Ryan Bennett gave Town the lead twice, but an injury time Tom Craddock strike meant Town had again snatched a draw from the jaws of victory.

Bradford City were the next visitors to Blundell Park in the league, a side rated as one of the best in the league had had a strong start to the season and looked to carry that on at Blundell Park on a chilly Friday evening. Omar Daley and Michael Boulding with his expected goal gave Bradford a 2-0 lead at the break, and a Graeme Lee header soon made it three. Liam Trotter gave Town a consolation goal with a header but it was now 20 games without a win for the Mariners; next up was a trip to Dagenham & Redbridge.

An awful Town performance meant a crushing 4-0 defeat in London, two goals in each half saw Dagenham stroll to a comfortable victory in front of only 1,622 fans. Ben Strevens grabbed two in the rout, Mark Arber and Paul Benson added the rest.

October had been as disappointing as August and September had been, four defeats and three draws left Town third from bottom in League Two. They had already been overtaken by Rotherham, and it surely wouldn't be long until Bournemouth followed...

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