The Fishy - Grimsby Town FC

Question of the Week

Where will Grimsby be next season?

Uphill Battle
Uphill Battle

Hard Work

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 16/04/2024

WHEN tonight's match was postponed earlier in the season, there was a view that it did us a favour as we were struggling for form and Colchester were benefitting from a so-called new managed bounce.

The bounce hasn't really happened and we got out of our sticky patch, albeit we've never pulled clear and performances haven't been convincing. That is until the games against Newport and Crewe when we played well and certainly not in the manner of a team faced with relegation. Just one point is needed to be safe. We proved at Crewe on Saturday that we have the ability to get on the front foot and take hold of the game. The defence has improved since January but trying to hold out for a point is fraught with unnecessary risk and perhaps at the same time it's arguably not the Grimsby Way if that means anything. On the television in the Anglia region where I live, this was billed as a crunch game, which it is for both teams but particularly Colchester who sit precariously in 22nd place.

This evening's team was: Eastwood - Smith, Mullarkey, Rodgers, Tharme - Clifton, Thompson, Green, Vernam - Wilson, Obikwu. Town wore their red kit for this game. As the teams settled, Mingi won possession in the Colchester half. Mingi passed to Read who had acres of space in the middle. Read ran forward and found the unchallenged Hopper who had the simplest task of chipping Eastwood for an easy Colchester goal after 5 minutes. Colchester 1, Town 0. It was a shocker to concede with Town's midfield and defence missing their assignments. On 10 minutes a Tharme pass started a move. Green ran forward and was tripped by Mingi. Vernam wasted the free-kick, sending it directly out of play. Town's defence looked to be struggling against the physicality of Akinde and weren't yet firing when it came to putting together attacks. On 16 minutes Hopper threatened after a free-kick but Clifton and Obikwu combined to mop up. Colchester were looking more comfortable. Town's game was marred by scuffed passes and poor control. On 24 minutes Green started a move and ran in. Vernam's through pass was poor but Town won a corner. Vernam's delivery was poor and Colchester ran down the field. Mullarkey cut out Fevrier close to the Town box. But Colchester were passing the ball about and had freedom on the right where Town were playing without a conventional left back. Smith then set up McGeehan who found himself free 20 yards out. McGeehan's shot was inches wide. Town then broke. Vernam passed out right to Smith who crossed but Clifton was dispossessed. Wilson then did well at the Colchester end to muscle out Smith and with his head down blast a low shot and win a corner. Vernam sent the corner straight to keeper Hornby. Colchester moved forward again on 32 minutes. McGeehan laid off to Akinde who played a diagonal pass to Fevrier in the box. Fevrier cut inside and shot on target. Tharme was on hand to head the ball away. Town cleared the corner. Town then struggled to clear a free kick, and conceded a corner. Rodgers then cut out a Fevrier threat with a good tackle before putting Thompson in trouble deep in the Grimsby half. Thompson averted the danger by winning a foul. On 41 minutes a mistake by Hall was pounced on by Obikwu who played forward to Wilson but Wilson was too wide and could only earn a corner. Once again Vernam's delivery was terrible. Obikwu then found Vernam as Town tried to get on even terms before half time but Vernam struck his shot straight at Dallison. Wilson then played Obikwu through but with Dallison in close attendance, Obikwu fell over. As three minutes were added, Hall passed back to Hornby who struggled to control the ball, resulting in Obikwu seizing the opportunity and winning the ball, playing back to Green on the edge of the box . Green played across to Obikwu whose first touch was dreadful and Mingi retrieved the situation when Obikwu should have scored. Vernam played a chip straight to the keeper and the half ended after Tharme played an innocuous cross into Hornby's hands. Colchester were workmanlike. Town were their own enemy in this half, being guilty of poor control and a lack of quality in open and dead ball play. The defensive performance improved but Town were misfiring in all areas so far.

Within a minute of the restart, a solid header by Tharme found Clifton who passed to Smith. The cross came in from Smith but behind Wilson who turned and slammed it over. Green and Wilson then combined and the ball was played to Obikwu who fell over and was booked for simulation. Good work by Green on the left led to a headed clearance by Iandolo which Smith picked up but his shot posed no threat whatsoever. Rodgers was then guilty of a poor pass as Town pressed and then found himself out of position as Colchester broke, but Fevrier and Akinde were unable to link up. At this stage it was Town however who were having most of the play. Town were now winning the ball and looking to pass the ball around and break through the Colchester defence. Colchester broke on 58 minutes and should have scored when Akinde slipped a pass through to Fevrier, but Fevrier's attempt slid wide. Mullarkey was then guilty of a poor back pass which Eastwood retrieved as Colchester eased the pressure that Town had started to apply. For all their effort, Town weren't creating any clear chances. It was more a case of huffing and puffing. With Town looking devoid of ideas, on 66 minutes the first substitution was made as Wood came on for Thompson. A minute later Green found Clifton who instead of cutting inside and shooting from the edge of the box, passed wide to Wilson who wasn't expecting it. Wilson and Vernam were then guilty of a misunderstanding after a through pass from Wood. It wasn't happening for Town. On 71 minutes a nice Town move from the back led to a Wilson cross from the right. Clifton was on hand for the header but it was a difficult one and the ball screwed wide. Wood then conceded a corner after a sliced Green clearance. Town cleared the ball. Wood played a good pass from the left to Clifton who ran on and was clattered by Dallison, earning the Colchester defender a yellow card. Eisa replaced Smith on 77 minutes. Almost immediately Tharme made a mistake in Town's defence, giving the ball away to Chilvers. The ball was played forward to Akinde who with Rodgers backing off curled a chip from the right edge of the box into the top left corner. Colchester 2, Town 0. A Mullarkey mistake soon after was retrieved by Tharme and Town attacked. The ball was played around and landed with Eisa who teed up Wood whose accurate shot was tipped over by Hornby. On 89 minutes Colchester came close when Chilvers won a corner after good work by Mingi. Town now looked lost in both their play and body language, having lacked the ideas and interplay needed to unlock the defence. 6 minutes were added. Clifton had a dig from the edge of the box in 93 minutes. As the clock was ticking down, Obikwu was hacked down 25 yards out by Dallison who received a straight red card. Vernam's curled free kick was pushed away by Hornby. The game ended: Colchester United 2, Grimsby Town 0.

This was the opposite of Crewe. Town's performance was lethargic and laboured with little invention, poor control and poor understanding between the players. It's not as if Colchester were that good. They didn't have to be. It's perhaps not surprising we are making hard work of avoiding relegation after all that we've seen this season. There's still work to do.

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