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Lost at Sea
Lost at Sea

Lost Souls

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 13/09/2022

IN the aftermath of Covid, Gainsborough Trinity paid tribute to its victims who were connected to the club. The crowd reflected in silence.

Similar collective reflection and silence would have taken place in honour of our sadly departed Queen last Saturday at Blundell Park except that in spite of there being no obligation and the Queen herself recognizing the benefit of sport during her life, the EFL and other footballing authorities decided to cancel all the games. Whether this was because they regard football supporters as pariahs who can't be trusted, or they just wanted to be seen to look good or not look bad, either way it was unnecessary. It's true that whatever we believe football isn't essential and at the same time the Queen deserves respect, but there was no need for the cancellation. The collective show of respect can happen tonight among those who can make it, and this coming Saturday or indeed any time we want to. It's a week of mourning. We don't need to be told how or when to pay our respects.

On the footballing front, Town have to start as favourites after a good run in the league, home advantage and an opponent in Gillingham who have had a slow start. Signs at the Newport game were that our new signees give us more options. The team this evening was unchanged from the win at Newport: Crocombe - Efete, Waterfall, Smith, Glennon - Kiernan, Holohan, Morris, Clifton - Taylor, Richardson.

Due homage was paid to the Queen before kick-off. The game began. Nice early work by Kiernan and Clifton led to a Glennon cross. Following an Efete cross, Taylor found Clifton who couldn't get control. On 5 minutes Holohan found Richardson who won a corner. The ball was cleared, then came back in. Smith mishit his shot but the Gillingham keeper spilled it, and Taylor was the quickest to react from close range. 1 - 0 to Town. Things were looking good. Gillingham sought to get forward and on 12 minutes won a corner. At the second attempt, Reeves crossed to the far post. Baggott pushed it into the packed box where Mandron rammed the ball home between Town's defenders with Crocombe out of position. Gillingham continued to attack. Town struggled. On 22 minutes Kashket forced himself, cutting inside and shaking off Town's defence and bringing a great save out of Crocombe. Town looked sluggish in defence and midfield. Richardson threatened to break clear on the half hour mark but was fouled around midfield. Decent work between Efete and Kiernan a minute later led to a cross by Holohan which went straight to the keeper. This was Town: moves were breaking down with poor passing and delivery. Gillingham looked more like scoring and again a sleepy defence was saved by Waterfall who conceded a corner. On 35 minutes Gillingham won a corner. Reeves crossed. Mandron headed home. The goal was disallowed after the referee spotted a foul. On 38 minutes Holohan supplied Kiernan - corner to Town. The ball was cleared. Glennon crossed from the right. Kiernan saw his opportunity and fired his shit from inside the penalty area off the underside of the crossbar. Efete managed a header on 42 minutes and Holohan started a move that broke down due to a misunderstanding. It remained 1 - 1 at half time. Town need to up the tempo and the quality of their play, which after the first 5 minutes and odd spells was poor and lacking in cohesion.

Sleepy Smith, who had seemed off it in the first half, started the second by committing a clumsy foul. This almost led to a second Gillingham goal but Mandron couldn't get his foot onto Adelakun's cross from the right. Like the first half, play was scrappy. Town started to increase the tempo. On 50 minutes Kiernan and Efete were involved on the right. The ball found Glennon who crossed. Taylor's back flick was cleared off the line. Town launched a counter attack 4 minutes later but Holohan sliced his shot wide, getting in the way of Clifton while doing so. Gillingham's keeper Morris then made an utter hash of a clearance. Baggott blocked Holhan's shot. Town had a trio of corners. The ball was headed around. Holohan's shot was high. Town continued to press. Morris did well to stop a counter attack. On 60 minutes a ball from Baggott to Mandron split Town's defence and with space, time and Crocombe to beat, Mandron slipped when a goal looked inevitable. A Gillingham corner followed. After the earlier bright spell, Town had lost control of the game again. Our normally impregnable defence looked vulnerable. Moves continually broke down. At times the play smacked of panic. One bright spot was the interplay between Efete and Kiernan on the right and on 71 minutes an opportunity was lost when Kiernan's first touch was poor. Town made substitutions: on 74 minutes Hunt replaced Morris, and on 79 Simmonds and Wearne came on for Richardson and Kiernan but still Gillingham dominated play. Town struggled to clear their lines. Hunt was muscled off the ball. Gillingham attacked. Hunt did good work on 84 minutes, picking up the ball in the Gillingham half and finding Efete but there was no-one to meet the cross. Simmonds then won the ball but Holohan's shot lacked power. Waterfall's battle with Mandron resulted in a bloodied head for the Town defender. Gillingham continued to press for the winner. 4 minutes were added. A cross came in from the left, Mandron tapped into the empty net. The linesman flagged for offside. Town couldn't get it together, and only looked like conceding as the game came to its end. The whistle blew for full time. Grimsby Town 1, Gillingham 1.

Town looked tired out and played like lost souls against an average Gillingham side. If the first or second ball was made, the third ball wasn't and whilst efforts by Taylor and Kiernan almost resulted in goals, there was too much action at Town's end where the defence looked unusually shaky. In the end, Town were lucky to earn a point. The greatest credit goes to the crowd of 5,960 including 125 travelling fans, the officials and players for showing fortitude, unity and respect to mark the death of the Queen. I wouldn't have expected anything else. As a nation we will find a new way. On the football pitch, Town lost theirs this evening.

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