The Fishy - Grimsby Town FC

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Next England manager?








Next  year's squad
Next year's squad

The Pathless Path to the Knowable Unknown

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 15/04/2023

IT'S hard to know whether we learnt anything from Monday's win at Doncaster. 85 minutes of ineffectiveness was followed by 10 minutes of action. Town's formula is not clear, which may be good for confusing the opposition, but we seem to bamboozle ourselves and at the same time allow opponents too much time and space.

The replacement of Waterfall by Khan at half time gave more strength across midfield on paper but Town continued to look listless and unco-ordinated until Lloyd and Orsi came for Taylor and McAtee, providing movement and new energy with it, and enabling the efforts of Emmanuel and Lloyd to be rewarded. As Emmanuel and Lloyd are loanees, then building a future strategy round them seems futile. What we do know in the here and now is that there is a league table, we can win three points or less and we can climb or fall. Mr Hurst can at least keep the customers happy by orchestrating energetic performances which might bring victories instead of the turgid fare which particularly characterises our home performances, and was evident at Doncaster.

Our opponents today Mansfield are well placed to make the play-offs. We proved that we could more than match them when we played there less than a month ago, but at half time their experienced manager Nigel Clough worked us out and closed us down. Today's encounter was going to be a good test but one we should relish, both as a contest and in terms of the unstated target of achieving win-loss parity. Whether Mr Hurst sees it that was is another unknown as he is a grand master at not revealing very much. Town's lucky dip XI today was: Crocombe - Efete, Smith, Maher, Gallacher - Green - Clifton, Morris, Khan - Taylor, Lloyd.

They came in large numbers, not for Fantasy World or the Smile Factory on the sea front, but to Blundell Park to watch their team. Mansfield's supporters packed the Osmond end. Of late it's been the away supporters making the noise at Blundell Park. The rest of us in the crowd of 7,088 were looking for something to shout about. Town kicked off and within a minute Efete had upended Quinn. Nothing came of it. Khan set up a battling attack for Town, which ended with Gallacher fighting off a defender in Mansfield's box. Errors followed from Smith and Khan but Mansfield were unable to capitalise. Green then struggled and Crocombe was forced to stop the advancing Bowery. It was early in the game but Town were too error-prone. Mansfield looked like a team who could take advantage with their movement and passing. On 10 minutes a good trap from Taylor led to Khan sending Efete away up the right. A cross came in but Lloyd's header was too high. This was better. Unfortunately the play was too piecemeal and it was Mansfield who went close with a Keillor-Dunn header after a corner. A curler from Akins then went over, as Mansfield continually beat Town to the ball. A corner was then gathered comfortably by Crocombe. Town's endeavours were sporadic. Good work in midfield by Lloyd sent Clifton on a run. Clifton found Khan who had a chance to shoot, but instead he chose to lay off to Gallacher who fouled a defender. Mansfield always looked more dangerous. Town were needing to concentrate hard when defending against Mansfield's team play and so far were succeeding. Crocombe was the only keeper having to work. Town sprang into life on 25 minutes when Morris started a run. Clifton found Efete whose cross deflected off a defender for a corner. Morris fired into a mass of legs. Mansfield recovered. Ex-Mariner Hewitt was booked for sending Efete flying before a dire clearance from Maher caught Bowery by surprise. Had the Mansfield striker been more alert, it would have been a different story. When Town made a move, it was cumbersome. Off the ball movement was lacking, and the quality was poor. The game restarted after Boateng suffered a verticality problem. Shortly afterwards on 38 minutes, Mansfield won a free kick on the left. Hewitt delivered. Bowery received the cross, took a while to control it, turned and did not make a great connection but Crocombe was late to it and only managed to palm the ball into the net. Town 0, Mansfield 1. Khan had a run, but was pulled back by Boateng, which everyone except the referee saw, then a mistake by Gallacher led to Maher conceding a corner. It remained 0 - 1 at half time. Mansfield deserved their lead. Town's thinking was slow and there didn't seem to be much communication. As a result they didn't look like creating chances, and were gifting opportunities to Mansfield with unforced errors.

Glennon replaced Gallacher for the second half. Trickery from Khan on 50 minutes led to a Morris shot, which was headed clear. Mansfield broke but Town broke quickly, sweeping to the other end where Lloyd was clear. As Lloyd raced on, he was pulled down by keeper Pym, who was lucky to only receive a yellow card. The referee awarded a penalty. Khan stepped up, but sent a weak shot to Pym's right. Pym pushed the ball away. Lloyd was first to the ball and headed home. Town 1, Mansfield 1. From this, moment Town had the momentum. A dib from Taylor to Lloyd led to a shot in the top right corner which Pym pushed away. Khan then ran and ran and fired a shot. It went inches wide. On 55 minutes Akins was tripped on the edge of Town's box. Boateng's curler went just over. As the game opened up, a Morris interception led to a Town move. Green's shot was blocked after a Glennon pass. Mansfield countered. Provider Glennon raced back to stop the threat. Crocombe then made a nice save from Boateng. Town moved up quickly. Efete had a shot saved after good movement from Glennon and Clifton. Town had come alive. Khan then had a shot after a poor clearance by Boateng. On 63 minutes a deft Clifton chip found Lloyd whose crisp volley was pushed away by Pym for a Town corner. Intricate team work led to Mansfield's Keillor-Dunn firing over. 66 minutes had gone. Taylor and Morris were replaced by Orsi and Holohan. Mansfield continued to probe, with Boateng and Keillor-Dunn instrumental in looking for a gap in Town's defence. Maher put his head where it hurts to stop an attack. On 71 minutes Crocombe found himself approaching the half way line as he came out for a clearance, almost sending Lloyd through with his pass. Mansfield responded. Maher was booked for pulling Bowery by the arm and was booked. The free-kick from the edge of the box was wasted. Crocombe then had to make a good low save from Akins following a break. Town countered but the game was stopped for an injury to Keillor-Dunn who went down before the Mansfield attack. 77 minutes had gone, when an Orsi lay-off found Efete who crossed to Lloyd. The ball rebounded off Lloyd's legs as Town's striker struggled to get control. A Town attack broke down when Orsi was adjudged to be offside, then Town withstood pressure from Mansfield twice as the slippery Keillor-Dunn sought to find space. Mansfield continued to look for the win that they needed to help secure a playoff spot. Following a Mansfield attack, Clifton broke, pushing the ball forward to Lloyd but the cross-field pass struck a defender. On 83 minutes, Green and Khan were replaced by Khouri and McAtee who immediately won a corner. On 87 minutes Town attacked but Holohan's touch was atrocious. McAtee went and was scythed down 25 yards out. Glennon's free-kick was poor, sailing miles wide. But overall there had been a significant improvement in the quality of Town's play. The game was playing itself out. 5 minutes were added. Holohan had a decent shot. Mansfield broke and had a penalty appeal, but Bowery appeared to fall over himself. The referee agreed. Maher was penalized for holding, but Town came back. Orsi looked up and sent the ball through to McAtee in Mansfield's half. The move ended when Orsi was penalized for backing into a defender. In spite of the best efforts of both teams, it was deadlock. The game ended: Grimsby Town 1, Mansfield Town 1. It was a fair result. After a poor first half, Town showed more energy and presented an attacking threat. Glennon's introduction, better all-round play and service to Lloyd saw a great improvement, and while Mansfield looked dangerous in attack, Town's defence was impressively resolute.

None of us knows where Town are heading, or what the squad will look like in August. It could be top secret or it could be that the manager doesn't know himself. He has suggested that he has a plan in mind. What we do know is that we took one point today, and from 14th at the start we have moved up one place. The rest, as they say, is a mystery.

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