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The Power of Milk
By: Andrew Doherty
THE more I see of this season, the more I see the prospect of a mid-table finish. Bright patches are interspersed with periods of struggle, and it's rare that there's any flow to the play.
We pick up odd points and at the start of today sat in 18th place. Our opponents today are Accrington Stanley in 11th. A small club with a loyal fan base, they are possibly most known for their part in the 1989 milk advert. "Accrington Stanley? Who are they?" is the line from the advert. We should know who they are, having played them 35 times before today, the last league encounter being a 0 - 3 home defeat in the 2017/8 season.
It was a clear and breezy day at Blundell Park today. 6,335 spectators were here today. Town's line-up today was: Eastwood - Mullarkey, Waterfall, Rodgers, Amos - Conteh, Andrews - Gnahoua, Clifton, Eisa - Rose. Both sides played with purpose. Accrington had the first chance on 6 minutes when Conteh did brilliantly to keep out Pritchard after a slip by Amos. Town had a great chance on 9 minutes after good work by Gnahoua and a muffed clearance by keeper McCracken but Rich-Baghelou was lightning quick in stopping Clifton 12 yards out. More good work by Conteh set up an attack. Rose squirmed and was unlucky not to win at least a corner. Both sides were controlling the ball well in blustery conditions, and the pace of play was good. On 15 minutes Waterfall received a yellow card when stretching to compete for the ball with Woods who went down like a wounded soldier. Good build-up by Town on 19 minutes was spoilt when Amos frustratingly crossed behind Town's advancing attack. It was a case of nearly but not yet for Town. Accrington looked a decent side, but Town were showing skill and endeavour in a bid to break them open. Accrington themselves went close when Andrews headed over from a pinpoint cross from Longelo. Woods then pulled Rose over. McCracken lost his bearings and hurriedly pushed the ball clear from Town's Andrews's cross. Town's movement was good. Everyone was in the game. On 29 minutes Gnahoua did well to squeeze past the defenders on the byline and crossed low to Eisa. McCracken saved on the goal line. Nolan then went close for Accrington before Mullarkey ran up the right and crossed. Rose slid but couldn't connect. Town won a succession of corners with Waterfall heading into a dangerous position. Accrington won a corner after a shot rebounded off a Town defender. Mullarkey did well to make a last-ditch challenge in added time. So Accrington had their chances but so did Town in a combative first half. Town's movement was good but solid defence prevented any breakthrough. 0 - 0 at half time.
Accrington's clear tactic was to attack Town in the second half now they had the wind in their favour. Andrews went on a terrific run, winning the away side a corner which was wasted. The home crowd got excited 5 minutes into the half when a cross from Gnahoua saw Rose with just the keeper to beat but offside was given. Leigh then lived up to the tag of being a dirty Northerner with a rough tackle on Eisa, earning himself a booking. Accrington applied pressure and Eastwood took two attempts to gather in a cross from Nolan. Martin then made a total hash of a shot as Accrington continued to press. On 54 minutes a bursting run from Rodgers was followed by a horrible pass but Town still won a corner. Gnahoua crossed but the game was halted for a bad clash between Rose and Rich-Baghuelou. Town had a golden chance on 60 minutes. Great work by Gnahoua led to a pass and cross from the right by Mullarkey. The cross ran straight to Eisa who from close range leant back and ballooned his shot high into the Pontoon stand to the dismay of the Town supporters. Following an Accrington free kick on the left, Pritchard went inches wide with a shot with Eastwood well beaten. One mistake then led to another: a weak sliced clearance from Hills set up Rose and Clifton who between them reached a total misunderstanding, resulting in an Accrington attack. Waterfall saved the day. Gnahoua could not get through the jungle of defenders, and Accrington attacked again, with Pritchard once again going close. This resulted in a corner, from which Town broke. Eisa advanced into the opposition half, only to be tripped by Martin who earned himself a booking. The game had livened up. Both teams were going for it. 69 minutes had passed. Holohan replaced Andrews. Two minutes later Andrews went on another run for Accrington and was clipped by Waterfall. The referee, who seemed to have an aversion to any form of tackle, gave Waterfall a second yellow card so Town were down to 10 men. This seemed a harsh yellow card. To bolster the gap in defence Maher replaced Gnahoua. Within a minute Andrews was causing more problems as Accrington attacked, finding Woods who passed to Whaley in the middle. Whaley's shot from 25 yards was unstoppable. Town 0, Accrington 1. The 116 away fans were jubilant. Accrington continued to press. Clifton fouled Andrews on the left. Eastwood struggled to gather Pritchard's cross. Pritchard then struck a speculative shot which crashed off the bar with Eastwood stranded. Town were under the cosh. The crowd was restless. It was a thoroughly professional and competent performance from Accrington who had taken full advantage of the following wind and now the numerical advantage. On 78 minutes Pyke and Wilson replaced Rose and Eisa. Accrington we're now pinging the ball around like a Premiership side. On 81 minutes Maher blocked an attack but it came as no surprise following a slick move when Nolan placed a perfect cross from the right for Andrews to rise and head home. Town 0 Accrington 2. Town didn't give up and a good move between Holohan and Wilson led to an Amos cross and corner. From the corner, Maher's header flicked off the post. 8 minutes were added. Accrington almost inflicted more pain but Longelo fluffed his lines from inside the box. Pyke had a shot, and Amos sent in a scorching long-range volley which was tipped over, but it was all too late as Accrington had sewn up the game. Final score: Grimsby Town 0, Accrington Stanley 2.
Milk makes you strong according to the advert. If this is the case, it's Town that needs the milk. We weren't awful today and we competed ok but we lacked the fluidity that we never seem to have and Accrington did have. Waterfall's dismissal was pivotal but Accrington were on top already and managed the game better as a whole. So it was a case of no milk today for Town.
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