The Fishy - Grimsby Town FC

Player Ratings


Average ratings
Enter your ratings
Latest Scores

Follow the Fishy on Twitter
NewsNow logo

Question of the Week

Where will Grimsby be next season?


The Good, the Bad and Hard Labour

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 23/09/2023

BELGIUM isn't known for very much, but there is a team from their football league fourth tier called Eendracht Elene-Grotenberge who have been punching above their weight and have reached the last 32 of their national cup competition. This reminds me of ourselves last year.

Next up are first division opponents - no glitzing it up with talk of Premierships or Super Leagues over there. The team has fighting spirit, and in their last match spectators were able to enjoy “a majestic free-kick and a subtle lob”. Reading this made me reflect on Town's performances as I so often do to the chagrin of my wife, who listens patiently to my analysis from all angles of Grimsby Town, Paul Hurst's tactics and related matters. Prior to last Saturday I have been seeing improvements, and the introduction of Gnahoua has finally resulted in acceptable and even good free-kicks. I have seen Holohan and Amos make lobs, and reckon that Rose would be capable of it, but as a whole it hasn't quite come together. There is some scattered evidence that team play has got better, we've got the added dimension of the Eisa thunderbolt and there is spirit in the group, commanding centre backs for the most part and bucketloads of effort from Rose and the influential Clifton. Progress is encouraging but we do need to achieve consistency and most importantly start racking up points after starting the season with games against much-fancied teams.

I sometimes wonder if in a former life Paul Hurst was a labourer, and as revenge he now takes it out on Town's strikers. In recent times we've had Taylor, Orsi, Rose and Pyke battling up front on their own, being pulled apart by uncompromising defenders and flogged to death by managerial tactics. If the plan last week was to contain Wrexham, as suggested by having five defenders and a defensive midfielder, it didn't work. The negative mindset and labouring strikers become painful to watch. Last season all that was missing was the supporting sale of thin gruel at refreshment kiosks - not consistent with the continuously improving new image at Blundell Park, I guess, but they could have called it oatmeal compote and charged £4.50. Home performances so far this season have shown more promise, to be fair, but if Mr Hurst decides the opposition is the new Manchester City, then it can mean a very hard spectator experience. The optimistic among us are hanging on the fact that we've played the difficult teams but this doesn't guarantee success against the ones who are perceived to be weaker, as we proved a couple of years ago in games against the might of Maidenhead, Kings Lynn and Weymouth. This year's equivalents might include Harrogate, Sutton and today's opponents Crawley.

Crawley have in fact been the surprise package of the division. Among their signings was the aforementioned Orsi. I was sorry to see him go. Having signed and developed him, I thought he had skill and physical presence. We haven't seen Wilson yet and hopefully there's more to come from Pyke. Town's line-up today was: Eastwood - Efete, Mullarkey, Rodgers, Glennon - Conteh - Khan, Holohan, Clifton, Eisa - Pyle. The changes were on the face of it were not obviously for the batter but as always we would see.

Town put together a nice move in the first 40 seconds. A Conteh interception led to a weak Holohan shot. Within 2 minutes a poor clearance by keeper Addai was picked up by Clifton but Eisa, who received the pass, was too slow and indecisive. As Pyle went off injured, Tsaroulle managed a deflected shot for Crawley. Town's midfielders were hungry and putting Crawley under pressure. On 7 minutes a poor back pass saw Pyle with only Addai to beat. But Pyle didn't believe in himself and shot weakly at the keeper. From the follow up Eisa slid the ball wide off a defender for a corner. Town's midfielders continued to win balls but chances were being wasted. The crowd was quiet. Not much was happening on the pitch. Town started to give Crawley space. The response from Crawley was ineptitude. On 16 minutes Khan turned Maguire, not that one, who was booked. Glennon delivered the free kick. The ball came out. Pyke's overhead kick went wide. A rare Crawley attack saw Orsi fall over and win a free kick on the corner of the penalty area. Gladwin teed up Kelly whose shot cleared the Pontoon stand. On 23 minutes Town won a corner after good work by Holohan and Eisa. Glennon passed short to Conteh whose cross flew over Addai, striking the inside of the post. The bounce surprised Holohan who thankfully bundled the ball in from 2 yards. Town 1, Crawley 0. Town pressed on. Another Conteh cross caused havoc. Efete followed up with a low cross but Pyke was penalised. 30 minutes had gone when great work by Holohan saw him turn in midfield and start a move. Eisa received Holohan's pass on the left, saw a hole in the defence, bursting through and firing low into the bottom right corner. Town 2, Crawley 0. Crawley responded by running up the field immediately, and provided by Campbell, Kelly chipped a left-footed shot into the net. Town 2, Crawley 1. Too easy and Town's concentration has to be questioned. Town switched off. The crowd went quiet.The hitherto inept Crawley burst into life. On 35 minutes they attacked again. Kelly did well to keep the ball in play on the left and managed to get a cross in. The unmarked Darcy volleyed it home. 2 - 2. “Wake up Town” was the cry. Crawley had newfound confidence. It was as if Town were playing a different team. Eastwood flapped. Town recovered. Crawley started to move the ball quickly. Town were chasing shadows. 4 minutes were added at the end of the half. Holohan looked to be tripped in the box in a now rare upfield move, but it was an uncomfortable end to the half. Town had gone from domination to putting themselves under pressure.

The second half started slowly. On 51 minutes Glennon put a good cross during a Town attack but Holohan couldn't quite reach it. Neat work by Orsi at the other end then gave Tsarulla a chance. Eastwood palmed the ball away for a corner. Great work on 55 minutes by Clifton to rob three defenders led to a through pass to the advancing Pyke but the pass was too strong. Town's midfielders were doing their job today. Two minutes later Clifton slipped his man to send Eisa away - corner to Town. This came to nothing. Conteh and Efete then got in a mess but Gladwin lacked composure and shot over. Crawley then threatened again, breaching Town's defence. Campbell was clear but his shot went inches wide. Conteh made a good interception and provided Khan on the right, but instead of cutting inside and finding his stronger foot Khan dithered and made a poor pass. Khan and Conteh were replaced on 66 minutes. Gnahoua and Andrews came on. Following a Wright throw, Eastwood gathered, and sent Mullarkey away. Andrews burst through from the right and earned a corner. Glennon's inswinging cross threatened to go in with Addai under pressure but a foul was awarded. Battling work by Pyke earned a corner but the move ended due to a Crawley player suffering a head injury. On 74 minutes Town put together a good attack but Glennon's cross was directed at the keeper. Town had lost their first half fluidity. Eisa had a curler from outside the box but it didn't curl as Town battled in vain to make inroads. Following a Forster shot for Crawley, good work by Andrews put Pyke on a run. Pyke supplied Clifton who was in support but Clifton's shot although accurate was easily saved. On 80 minutes Wilson and Ainley replaced Pyke and Holohan. Crawley were looking the brighter of the two sides by now. On 83 minutes Orsi played Forster through. The normally alert Rodgers was slow to react and managed to retrieve the situation to concede a corner. An offside call following the corner ended the attack. Town pressed momentarily, and Andrews put in a shot, but it was all struggle and no penetration after such a promising start. Town's increasing disarray was exemplified when Ainley kicked his teammate Wilson, who had just come back from injury and so probably wasn't too pleased with this random act of kindness. 89 minutes had passed. Kelly had a shot which went wide. Eastwood then sliced the ball out to give Crawley another chance. Six minutes were added but Town had lost momentum, their creative play being confined to scraps from Andrews and little else. The quality has become dismal. The clock was ticking down. Crawley played the ball upfield neatly, switching the ball from right to left. Forster received the ball on the left, ran to the by line and crossed for former Mariner Orsi to slot in from close range. At least Orsi didn't celebrate. It was a giveaway goal by a tired and disorientated Town defence. Although Rodgers had a half chance in the remaining 90 seconds, there wasn't time to recover and the game ended soon after: Grimsby Town 2, Crawley Town 3. The vast majority of today's crowd of 6,357 went home disappointed.

I don't know what we spectators did to deserve this. Town were a 30 minute wonder, playing well before concentration lapses led to a Crawley revival and resurgence of confidence. The second half provided the opportunity to make amends but Town went backwards. Where the first half blame goes to the players, and to a great extent the second half too, the substitutions took away any coherence that we had, and Crawley took advantage. Ironically this was the opposite to Bradford where the lack of substitutes meant our players were being flogged to death against fresher opposition in the heat. Playing different defensive combinations doesn't aid understanding but the one constant Rodgers seemed off the pace, and the withdrawal of Conteh left us without support. Town looked more ragged as the game went on, and in the end it was hard labour not just for the striker but for everyone watching. Our pre-substitution midfield did well but we failed as a team. There was good, there was bad, and whilst I don't subscribe to booing myself, there was plenty of it at the end as Town's fans vented their frustration at this ugly and shocking spectacle.

Add To Facebook

This site is by the fans, for the fans, and we will consider articles on any subject relating to the Mariners whether it be related to current news, a nostalgic look back in the past, a story about a player, a game or games in the past, something about Blundell Park or football in general. Click here to submit your article!

Related Stories

Forum Latest
Thread TitlePostsLatest Post
Matty Carson11HertsGTFC19/06 17:50
The Official Summer Transfer Rumour Thread1,498GrimPol19/06 17:32
Bobby6Gaffer5819/06 17:23
Euro 2024112Les Brechin19/06 16:30
New kit311Poojah19/06 12:39
Stockwood Article 33lew chaterleys lover19/06 11:22
Football Governance11Lost in Lincoln19/06 09:29
2024–2025 League Two Transfers In29Nelly GTFC18/06 22:13