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Question of the WeekWhere will Grimsby be in 5 years time??
By: Andrew Doherty
TODAY took us to international territory: Newport, South Wales, for our second consecutive away game, or third if you count the midweek visit to Derby in the Stupid Cup, as Lee Bowyer once called the EFL Trophy.
I have been to Newport before. It was towards the end of the 1978/9 season. We drew 1 - 1 as our season fizzled out but we did win promotion from division 4, now the EFL league 2, in second place behind Reading. Newport's ground at that time had the reputation of being the worst in the league. They have moved now, and have had the reputation of having the worst pitch in the league as we found out a couple of years ago when we went down 0 - 1 here during the crowd-free lockdown period. This season Newport didn't start off by pulling up trees in the footballing sense, but their last three matches against Tranmere and Harrogate in the league and Portsmouth in the Carabao Cup resulted in victories, so this appears to be a team in form. Two of the goals in their 4 - 0 win over Harrogate came from a certain Omar Bogle who is now with the Welsh side. With Waterfall's physicality and Smith's pace, you'd expect that the threat of Bogle would be countered, but as we know ex-players have a knack of scoring against their old team.
Town's team today was: Crocombe - Efete, Waterfall, Smith, Glennon - Kiernan, Holohan, Morris, Clifton - Richardson, Taylor. Alex Hunt has returned, and we have two strikers on loan in Richardson and Simmonds to strengthen the group. It all looks like steps in the right direction but even so we can't expect miracles to happen, particularly with so many of our squad being young and inexperienced. Town wore pink as they had on Tuesday, the cynic in me thinking that this was to justifying having a second away kit and the revenue that brings in. Town brought 504 supporters in today's crowd of 4,251 but it was a desert of pink as the supporters only responded in small numbers to the corporate memo.
Entry formalities were completed with the added bonus of friendly stewards for the second week running, it was time to get set. The pitch looked decent. The ground is a bit of a hybrid but we got to sit in the most modern stand with a good view. Town kicked off, facing the home side in their amber and black. Richardson showed early skill, combining with Efete. Taylor was tripped while turning but Glennon's free kick was long. With the wind behind Town in the first half and two open ends making it more prevalent, Town struggled throughout the half to take account of the conditions and make best use of dead ball situations. But Town played in enterprising fashion with Holohan and Morris, in particular, combining well in midfield and a concerted effort being made to win balls and press forward. Clifton had a great run, bursting through. His shot was tipped over by Townsend. A poor pass by Smith put Town in trouble on 10 minutes. Nevers picked up the ball, cut inside and fired over the bar. It never ever had a chance. Town had most of the play with Newport countering. A Bogle chip went wide to the delight of the Town fans. He then turned outside the box with Smith supervising, resulting in the Bogeyman going down like a dying swan and impressing the referee to the extent of winning a free-kick. And to the further delight of Town's fans, our former number 9 shot straight at Crocombe. On 25 minutes Bogleyman knocked the ball down with his hand, turning and firing just wide. Close and illegal. But aside from the Bogle Sideshow, Town were playing nicely with Kiernan and Efete working well on the right, and Holohan and Morris continuing to be effective, but in spite of this the Newport keeper wasn't being tested. A nice move up the right led to a Kiernan cross which Clifton attempted to clip home, an on half time Richardson had a chance but lost control as he tried to turn the defender instead of being direct. But there were no clear chances and so at half time it was 0 - 0.
Newport started the second half with a level of intensity that had no doubt cropped up in their half time team talk. Bogle linked up with Nevers but the shot was off target. As the game opened up in what had already been an open game, Morris had a shot as Town continued to move the ball from side to side. A dangerous cross from Norman evaded everyone as Newport started to cause problems. Again Town came back and on 55 minutes a long cross from Efete fell to Glennon. He found Taylor who won the ball but Richardson couldn't overcome the defender. A further attack involving Clifton, Efete and Morris resulted in a low shot which was blocked and went out for a corner. At the second attempt, Glennon found Waterfall's head but the header went inches wide. Newport were getting more attacks in but Town were still battling and on 62 minutes Holohan picked up the ball and started an attack for Town. Glennon was tripped by Norman. From the free kick Glennon played a short pass to Morris who from 25 yards blasted an unstoppable low shot into the bottom left corner. Newport 0, Town 1. Newport immediately responded with an attack on the left. The ball came over to the unmarked Norman, whose shot was goalbound, but Waterfall was on hand to hook it off the line. The pressure from Newport was relieved when Kiernan made an interception before the same Town player performed great defensive work. Town were fully committed and showed great character. On 71 Richardson was replaced by Simmonds who immediately impressed with an inventive flick and cross which Newport defended well. On 78 minutes Kiernan was booked for a tugging match with Clarke when it seemed to be Simmonds who was involved. As Newport sought to get back in the game, a mistake by Demetriou was picked up by Clifton who advanced and threaded his way through the defence, finding a gap and slotting it past Townsend. Newport 0, Town 2. This was a goal of great maturity from Clifton. A Kiernan interception in midfield three minutes later provided Clifton with another chance but this time Townsend did well, saving the shot with his feet. Newport countered but Collins fired over. Orsi replaced Taylor on 86 minutes. Smith was then booked for a shoulder charge on Norman. Newport followed up a long throw with a corner but Crocombe was on hand to gather the ball. Town found respite as Efete burst clear and the tricky Simmonds was fouled in midfield. As time ran out, Green and Maher came on for Holohan and Kiernan. And then as Newport made a final thrust, the ball fell to Bogle in the box. He struck. Crocombe saved. We laughed. The whistle blew for full-time: Newport County 0, Grimsby Town 2.
It used to be in pre-internet times that half an hour after the game the Football Paper as I knew it, or the Saturday Pink as it was otherwise known on account of the print colour, would appear and enlighten us on the day's scores. I would scour this with great excitement. It always amazed me how this could be put together so quickly. This exists no more. The Town Pinks provided us with the excitement today. At half time the suspicion was there that Newport would come back as they did, after a first half in which Town played well but didn't create the chances. But as the open game became more open Town pressed on and deservedly won the game thanks to impressive performances from all quarters. At the end Town's fans celebrated. You could say we were in the pink.
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