The Fishy - Grimsby Town FC

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Pot of Gold...
Pot of Gold...

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 02/03/2024

IT feels like a crunch game. It’s not really as there are twelve games left after this one, and we currently have an admittedly slim three-point cushion over the teams in relegation spots, including today’s opponents Forest Green Rovers.

The problem is picking up points, especially at home where our form and ability to leak goals have been woeful. What we need is a performance where the players are concentrating fully on the task. Manager Artell made an interesting revelation after the last home defeat, telling the interviewer that he didn't approve of the players shouting in the dressing room to get themselves motivated and then going out and conceding early goals. I don't have any data to support this disapproval, but I do agree with him. I'd have thought letting off steam before the start was more likely to hinder concentration than help it. A calm build-up would seem a better way of getting into the right mindset as the players prepare for the kick-off and beyond. But that's just my opinion. What I do know is that at least the team applied themselves at Morecambe last week and earned a useful point so the hope was that the positivity from last week has rolled over to this week's game.

From a spectator point of view, part of the purpose of football is to give the opportunity to let off steam, and there's been plenty of opportunity to do that at Blundell Park this season. But here we were again, 6,506 of us including the 50 or so supporting the strange team from Gloucestershire. The starting XI with the job of securing the points for Town was: Cartwright - Clifton, Mullarkey, Tharme, Rodgers, Hume - Thompson - Holohan, Andrews - Rose, Wilson.

With a wet pitch, blustery conditions and squally rain, the game did not have "classic" written over it. The wind blew straight down the pitch from the Osmond towards the Pontoon end. The only bright spot was FGR's luminous green kit. Town attacked the Pontoon for the first half. Two early corners for Town came to nothing. This was the sort of game where throw-ins were going to go out directly for throw-ins as FGR proved early on. Town pressed. Nice work by Tharme and Thompson earned a corner. Another followed. Holohan mishit his shot. The ball fell fortuitously to Rodgers who hit an impeccable volley into the top left corner. Town 1, FGR 0 after 9 minutes. FGR launched their first attacks. Town's defence stayed tight. The rain came down. On 13 minutes Town almost undid themselves when Cartwright's miscues clearance came back to the unmarked Osadebe whose stabbed effort went wide with Cartwright stranded. A rainbow returned over the river. FGR won a free kick on the edge of Town's box after a foul by Holohan on McCann. Tharme cleared. Town pushed FGR back. Tharme's interception then started a move but Hume overhit his cross. Hume then delivered a cross after a foul on Holohan. FGR defended desperately and conceded a corner. It wasn't a classic as expected. Play was slow and patchy. At times it was becoming a game of head ball. Town showed more intent of the two sides. Town broke away on 30 minutes. Hume was unable find Holohan with his pass. A Hume cross was then cleared out to Rodgers whose unlikely curler went wide. FGR won a corner after Holohan was dispossessed. Rose, helping out in defence, headed clear. FGR's keeper Reyes then had to rush to cut out a wind-assisted back pass on a rare moment of excitement. A nice switch by Andrews led to a dig by Clifton whose shot went wide. On 43 minutes Rodgers missed a header which almost let McAllister in, but Tharme and Mullarkey closed ranks and saw off the threat. Rodgers was involved in the final act of the half, impressively robbing Bernard as FGR launched an attack. 1 - 0 to Town at halftime. It had been far from fantastic fare, and the movement by both sides was slow in tricky conditions, but Town showed patience and discipline against a poor FGR side. Town's defence was communicating well, which was especially pleasing.

FGR started the second half on the offensive. A cross by Thompson led to a Miskito by Tharme and a corner. Mullarkey then cut out a cross by Robson before FGR had a further succession of corners, coming close when Thomason's curler from the right was missed by Cartwright but it was too long and ran out of play. On 51 minutes Wilson shook off the FGR defender but his ambitious shot from range went wide. The rainbow reappeared behind the Main Stand as neat work by Bernard and McAllister led to a Omotoye shot. FGR were having a dominant spell. Town's players weren't connecting as they had in the first half. But the defence was showing determination, Rodgers making an excellent tackle to foil an attack on 58 minutes. The game went into a lull with neither side controlling play. While the slow pace was suiting Town as the clock was ticking down, the danger lurked that Town would fall asleep and lose concentration. On 68 minutes Osadebe wriggled clear after a game of head ball close to Town's box but the defence was on hand as a unit to close down the threat. Tharme then showed his skill in cutting out a cross and bursting out, which led to him being fouled. The game stopped momentarily as Rose and Robson clashed heads. On resumption, a great interception by Thompson led to Wilson keeping the ball in play, crossing to Clifton who scrapped with Marie-Taylor - no sign of Town switching off here. This languid game was getting feistier. On cue, Green replaced Thompson on 75 minutes. A minute later Wilson impressively shook off his marker, showing his pace to win a corner for Town. As the ball came out Green wasted the opportunity with a ghastly long range effort. Two minutes later Wilson again showed his strength, laying the ball off to Andrews whose cross from the left was awful. FGR won a succession of corners which Town dealt with easily. On 84 minutes Pyke replaced Wilson who received great appreciation for his efforts. Town scrapped and fought, hopefully for victory. It wasn't pretty. Town were putting in a shift today. Four minutes were added. Town won a succession of fouls. FGR messed up. FGR went close. The players squared up as FGR's frustration spilled over, Keith and Green receiving yellow cards.The referee blew his whistle for full time. Grimsby Town 1, Forest Green Rovers 0.

The game was as exciting as boiled vegetables but the relief amongst Town's supporters was palpable after the game. "Massive, massive result" was a comment I overheard from one hyped supporter. It was cold, wet and miserable in the Findus Upper, but the day was brightened up by the rainbow in the sky and the result. Forest Green had no lightening winger to cause any threat but and were generally awful, but you can only play what's there. Led by Captain Rose, Town showed character and spirit. As the rainbow disappeared and the sky finally turned blue, we were given a ray of hope today.

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