The Fishy - Grimsby Town FC

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Consistent inconsistence
Consistent inconsistence

Fluctuating Biorhythms

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 13/04/2024

EVERYONE has an opinion about everything these days, so I'll add mine about Town's inconsistent performances. It's all to do with lunar direction and fluctuating biorhythms. Oh, and Brexit of course. We must blame that.

The fact is that we haven't been able to put two decent performances together but are more than capable of two bad ones. Let's not kid ourselves - our conquerors Harrogate were not world beaters. They had a couple of good players but were as mistake-prone as we were. There was a debatable disallowed goal and a howler of a miss, but for large portions of the game we played like a bunch of strangers who'd never met before. A while back Manager Artell was pointing to our away for as key to our survival - not much evidence of this, David, who I'm sure is as baffled by the inconsistency as the rest of us.

Today we are at high-flying Crewe. It wasn't always the case that Crewe were successful but the club started to go places in the late 80s and early 90s and have maintained a reasonable standard since, being relegated back to this division in 2021/2 under the leadership of Town's current manager David Artell who had guided The Alex to promotion two years earlier. Crewe currently sit in the play-off places, with a remote chance of automatic promotion, so although Town marched to a comfortable 3 - 0 victory in the corresponding fixture last season and have a good recent record against them, we were going to have our work cut out to get a result today.

Town's line-up today was: Eastwood - Smith, Mullarkey, Rodgers, Tharme - Holohan, Green, Thompson, Vernam - Rose, Obikwu. Town's fans today were in the Whitby Morrison Ice Cream Van Stand. Hopefully we weren't going to witness a vanilla performance. I used to work in Crewe and I must confess it's never struck me as an ice cream kind of place. Where we might sing about providing unpleasant additives to people's fish, there was no corresponding "we put strawberry sauce on your rum and raisin, yes we do". It's not very alliterative, I know, but in any case I can't see Crewe people singing or having anything to sing about. The people are ok but are dour and morose like the place and the weather. The stadium at least is nice and neat with good views.

The teams came out, disappointingly not to the tune of Greensleeves. Town were in traditional black and white, Crewe in red. Raspberry ripple would surely have been more appropriate - another marketing own goal. After a frenetic first five minutes with Town's fans in full voice, a mistake by Vernam led to Crewe's first shot. Town responded. A great header by Rose saw Obikwu take possession. Moving in, out and in again to beat the defenders Obikwu found himself clear but somehow his shot was deflected for a corner. On 9 minutes Rose was pulled over on the right but Mullarkey lost control from Vernam's cross, and Crewe broke out. Holohan raced across to cut out the threat. Nevitt then had a fierce shot which was deflected for a corner. Town came back with two corners themselves after good work by Obikwu and then Smith. Although Town's attacks weren't coming off, we were playing with plenty of spirit and intent. 22 minutes had passed. Bad news: Rose was injured and had to hobble off. His replacement Wilson was immediately in the action, bearing down on keeper Stryjek who had to race out and clear into the crowd. Tharme threw. Vernam's made good contact but the ball cannoned of a defender's legs. Crewe moved up. Nevitt was teed up and fired off a shot which Eastwood saved low. On 26 minutes Obikwu was tripped 30 yards out as he turned. Vernam delivered. The ball was cleared. Eastwood almost got himself into trouble as he tried to play the ball clear. Smith retrieved the situation. Town were battling hard. On 31 minutes a long ball cleared Town's defence and found Nevitt but Rodgers was alert and made a perfectly timed tackle to stop the threat. Crewe won a corner a minute later. Town cleared. A nice move involving Vernam and Obikwu ended with Green being fouled in the left corner and Cooney receiving a yellow card. Vernam's curling fee kick was too long and skimmed the top of the bar. Town had a good spell with Holohan and Thompson in particular making things happen. The momentum was halted when Obikwu fouled Austerfield. 39 minutes had gone. Town won a throw on the left. Tharme sent in the throw. Mullarkey flicked it on with his head. Stryjek dived to his left but was unable to get hold of the ball which crept into the net. Crewe 0, Town 1. Town continued to play with energy. Green had a curled shot. Mullarkey was booked for an over-enthusiastic tackle on Adebisi. Four minutes were added. Green dispossessed a defender in the edge of the Crewe penalty area. Vernam's corner came back out to Holohan whose dangerous cross earned another corner. The half ended. Town were fighting and deserving of the lead.

For the second half, Town had the wind behind them. Billington immediately ballooned a clearance which went backwards before Stryjek struggled to clear under pressure from Obikwu. Town pressed. Vernam slipped a pass to Rodgers of all people and it was only a desperate block by Williams which prevented a goal. Thompson, Green and Smith then worked in unison before Green's shot won a corner. Obikwu's flicked header was cleared. 51 minutes had gone, and Town were so much on top that Crewe made double substitutions. It made no difference. Holohan and Green made great interceptions to keep the pressure on. Town needed to keep this up. On 59 minutes, Tabiner slipped. Obikwu gathered the ball. Holohan won a corner. Vernam's cross came in from the right and was cleared out to Thompson … slam! Thompson's shot into the left corner of the net was unstoppable. Crewe 0, Town 2. Town carried on battling. There was no thought of defending the lead. Green battled. Vernam battled. Williams hacked Vernam down as the Town player sought to escape up the left. Williams was booked. Vernam delivered. Mullarkey headed over. Vernam then showed amazing control, trapping a long ball but Cooney kept his concentration and stopped Vernam's progress into the box. Thompson was then fouled to win a free-kick in the Crewe half. After a passing move, Rodgers beat Williams to earn a corner. Vernam's corner curled in. Stryjek struggled to push it away. Tharme sent in his throw. Nevitt, more known for his work at the other end, headed the ball away. Town had another corner. This time Tharme headed back to Obikwu who got in a good shot which the keeper saved - another corner for Town. This time Tharme's header was just wide. But Holohan made a great interception to keep the ball in the Crewe half and followed this up with another one. Is this Grimsby I was watching? Town won another pair of corners. Rodger's headed just wide before Town came forward again. Green slipped past the defender on the right and supplied Thompson in a good position but Thompson slipped while shooting, 70 minutes were up, and Crewe actually had an attack but Cooney messed it up. Another interception by the imperious Green set up another opportunity but Obikwu lost control. At the other end, Mullarkey denied Nevitt. The ball was cleared and only desperate work by Stryjek denied the advancing Wilson. Town continued to play without fear. On 79 minutes Thompson found Wilson who took too long, with the defender winning the battle. On 85 minutes Thompson won possession, earning a throw which Tharme took. Green teed up Holohan who wasted the chance by blasting the ball over the stand. Clifton and Hume came on for Green and Vernam. 87 minutes had gone. Disaster - Eastwood scuffed a clearance close to the goal line. The ball struck Nevitt and rolled into the net … but no, Eastwood got there and managed to clear it. It was Crewe's turn at last. Finley crossed. Town struggled to clear the ball. A cross came in from the left. Nevitt volleyed. Eastwood was going the wrong way but somehow reset himself and saved the shot on his right side. With a minute of normal time left, Andrews and Ainley replaced Holohan and Obikwu. Town attacked. Wilson picked the ball up on the right, weighed up his options and passed to Hume who was running into space. Hume drove the ball home from inside the box. Crewe 0, Town 3. Six minutes were added. Wilson was fouled. Andrews's free kick was straight to the head of Rodgers but the header went just wide. It was all over bar the shouting, and the Crewe fans streaming out, there was plenty of shouting from the Town fans, who were jubilant. The game ended: Crewe Alexandra 0, Grimsby Town 3.

Blimey, I need an ice cream after all that excitement. This was a stellar performance from all Town's players who played with intensity and desire, and made promotion-seeking Crewe look very ordinary. Like the recent win over Newport, every player deserves praise for their contribution. The result of all this is that we need just one point to be safe mathematically. It wasn't just the result but the manner of it which was so impressive. It's not often that there's joy in Crewe but we found it today. The moon must be facing in the right direction and our players were in the right frame of mind to deliver a consummate team performance. Long may it continue. Well done, Town.

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