The Fishy - Grimsby Town FC

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Who will go down?







Full house
Full house

Slayed by the Red Dragons

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 23/03/2024

TODAY'S opponents recall the quiz question asking how many league teams have an "x" in their name. It was once five, now it's four. One of them is the Red Dragons of Wrexham. Will they have the X factor? They might have unless you write it in Welsh: Wrecsam it is, then.

Celebrity owners and an abundance of financial clout give them a degree of glitz and glamour but the supporters are genuine and they're a proper club with a footballing history from a proper town. For sure because of their financial clout they are favourites to win today. But maybe not, as rather than running away with the division as many expected, they sit in third place. Town meanwhile are on a decent run, with evidence of improved, steely performances of late.

There was a buzz around Blundell Park. Today I had two good friends from Belgium with me. Fine beer, chocolates and now Grimsby … what a great life of luxurious juxtaposition. 7,728 including 1,128 Wrexham fans, took their places. Town's starting team today was: Cartwright - Clifton, Mullarkey, Tharme, Rodgers, Hume - Green, Holohan, Thompson, Obikwu - Wilson. It was slightly disappointing not to see Rose back but such has been the improvement that the replacements have played well and influenced our results. There really was reason for optimism on this bright and blustery day.

Nothing much happened in the first five minutes as the teams settled into the conditions. Town had the wind behind as they attacked the Osmond end for the first half. After five minutes from nothing Cannon picked up the ball in midfield and ran forward. The Wrexham player saw a gap in the defence, which had backed off, and shot from 20 yards. The ball bounced in front of Cartwright and over Town's keeper into the net. Town 0, Wrexham 1. Good work by Wilson and Obikwu was wasted by a poor cross from Clifton as Town looked to respond. But Town lacked punch and looked fragile in midfield. The Wrexham fans meanwhile joyfully lauded in song their own ability to interface with sheep. On 15 minutes Wrexham had an attack involving Lee and Mullin but overall weren't putting anything together. Two poor clearances from Cartwright put Town in trouble. A Tharme interception led to a half chance for Wilson following a link up between Holohan and Thompson but Town showed no threat. Clifton showed both sides of his game when losing the ball in his own half and then fighting to win the ball in Wrexham territory. Town were not dealing well with the following wind. It was a patchy performance. Town had the semblance of an opportunity on 24 minutes when a Clifton through pass almost located Wilson but keeper Okonkwo got to the ball first. A rampaging run from Mullarkey led to a throw as Town pressed. But 39 minutes had passed without a single real chance for Town, whose control was poor and who looked to be beating themselves. More good work by Tharme saw a foul on Green. Holohan's delivery was dreadful, the ball going directly to the keeper. Town won a corner on 30 minutes after Hume's cross was blocked following a Green pass. The ball was cleared, and Thompson worked hard to retrieve the ball, only to provide Bolton. Lee received the ball but his shot was high and wide. Good work by Green was then undone by a poor pass. Wrexham attacked. Thompson retrieved the ball and was tripped. On 35 minutes a Holohan turn led to a shot and corner. Wrexham broke quickly. Town struggled to get back. O'Connor advanced and supplied Cannon on the right. Cannon was on the ball, blasting the ball home to make it 2 - 0 to Wrexham. It was a slick move with a great finish but Town had been caught flat-footed. Town struggled to hang on. 41 minutes had gone. Wrexham attacked. A shot was cleared but only to Mandy whose shot was blocked. The ball came out to Mullin on the left who instinctively drilled the ball past Cartwright. Town 0, Wrexham 3. Mullin then had a long shot saved. As 3 minutes of added time was announced, Green was instrumental in a Wilson turn and shot which the keeper gathered and which was Town's first shot of note. Town seemed overwhelmed and there was no quality in the play, with too much inconsistency from the players in midfield and defence.

The second half started with a wild shot from Clifton. Wrexham then had a spell on the ball which resulted in a shot from O'Connell being blasted over. Hume was then booked for dragging back Bolton who threatened to run into Town's box. O'Connor's free kick found Palmer's head but Cartwright saved easily. Wilson was then fouled when turning but Hume wasted the opportunity by hitting his cross too far. Good work again from Wilson led to Green winning a corner but Wrexham's defence was well organised. Town's build-up was slow, and the move which started with the corner ended with a silly foul from Rodger's. On 59 minutes Gnahoua, Wood and Andrews replaced Holohan, Green and Hume. Six minutes later Tharme started a move from midfield. Wood cut inside and found Thompson who was fouled 25 yards out. The free kick struck the wall. Wrexham broke. Mullin homed in on goal. Cartwright came out but seemed to lose his bearings. Fortunately for Town Clifton was on hand to take charge and took the ball clear. Obikwu then battled to win a throw which Wrexham once again cleared with ease. The game had now gone into a quiet spell. Wrexham were well in control and looked to be running down the clock, while Town looked to have insufficient wherewithal to get back into the game. On 72 minutes Bolton crossed. Mullarkey made a mess of the clearance. Corner to Wrexham. A minute later Pyke replaced Wilson. Mullarkey was then flattened on the right side but Andrews seemed to have continued where Hume had left off with an awful delivery. Rodgers then was panicked into conceding a corner. Town seemed to be suffering from stage fright. O'Connor delivered. Lee flicked the ball on with his head. It went wide. The Wrexham fans, in boisterous mood throughout, now sang songs of Wales. Wrexham attacked again. Rodgers was first to the ball. Mullins went down as if he had died from contact with Rodgers, which at least prompted a mocking response from the muted Town fans. On 81 minutes Thompson trapped the ball nicely, finding Clifton who powered on and supplied Gnahoua. From a difficult angle Gnahoua cut inside and slammed a neat low left-footed shot past Okonkwo. Town 1, Wrexham 3. A minute later Andrews conceded a corner from a Bolton cross as Wrexham attacked again. O'Connor delivered. Mullin headed over. As time ticked on, Bolton and Young combined in a move which Town looked incapable of replicating. The move ended with offside. On 89 minutes Clifton and Andrews combined, but Gnahoua snatched at his shot from 15 yards. The shot went over. Five minutes were added. Thompson twisted and turned, winning a throw in the Wrexham half. Gnahoua fell over in the box. No foul was given. Obikwu was pulled back, earning Town a free kick but once again the delivery was lame. But in any case it was all too little, too late. The final score was: Grimsby Town 1, Wrexham 3.

Although Town scored late on, the second half was a formality. Town were not good enough. Many of the players seemed overwhelmed by the occasion and lacked the technical skills to take control of the game. Whether Wrexham had the X factor or not was hard to tell but they didn't look unbeatable. Town beat themselves and as a result we were well and truly slayed by the Red Dragons.

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