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|Too many mistakes|
The Cost of Poor Quality
By: Andrew Doherty
AFTER Saturday's disappointment, it's good that we have the opportunity to pick ourselves up three days later. It's too much to expect that we replicate the frenetic finish of the Swindon game, and it's not wise that we do so, but a positive start and a crisp performance over the course of the game would be nice.
And also preferable to some of the myopic play and occasional poor quality we have seen. Turning it on in the last 5 minutes is not a recipe for success. This said, we have started the season solidly and are looking to continue to make progress in tonight's replayed game against Carlisle, who themselves have a reasonable record. I did think on Saturday that number of the players looked jaded, perhaps due to the games we've had recently, and there was a case for resting some, even at the risk of altering the shape. This assumed that the manager has options, which for the most part we have. In the event, the manager's choice this evening was: Crocombe - Efete, Waterfall, Maher, Amos - Maguire-Drew, Hunt, Clifton, Khan - Simmonds - Taylor. And so Mr Hurst exercised his options with five changes, which was a welcome sight. Clifton's move to midfield looked ton paper o provide physical presence. It now come down to the team's performance as a unit, and individual enterprise and quality.
Carlisle in red kicked off. A Simmonds error led to a Carlisle attack and a cross which Crocombe fumbled. No Carlisle striker was on hand fortunately. Good work by Khan started a move for Town. Maguire-Drew did well and enabled an Amos cross. Taylor headed back but Hunt's shot was saved. On 6 minutes Stretton beat Efete on the touchline and charged forward before crossing to the unmarked Moxon, who fired a low shot past Crocombe. Town 0, Carlisle 1. It was a simple goal, and the result of the Carlisle players' enterprise and determination. On 12 minutes Simmonds was bowled over on the right. Maguire-Drew's free-kick floated straight to Carlisle's keeper Holy. After a short but promising initial attack, Town slowed down and it was becoming a familiar pattern of lumbering play and poor quality passing. On 19 minutes Hunt made a good interception but couldn't curl it past Holy. Soon after Khan found Maguire-Drew who looked to be tripped on the edge of the box. The referee saw no offence. Stretton ran the length of the field and forced a good stop by Crocombe. Town had a mini-spell around the 25 minute mark. Good work by Clifton led to a poor cross from Maguire-Drew. A super ball from Maguire-Drew then found Amos whose who won a corner. Maguire-Drew followed this up by slipping a nice ball to Khan whose shot went inches wide. At this point Town started to look inventive with their passing but moves were breaking down before any goal threat could be posed. On 33 minutes good work by Khan found Hunt who was fouled 35 yards out. Maguire-Drew took the free-kick. Holy cow … straight to the Carlisle keeper again. On 37 minutes Carlisle attacked. The passing was incisive. Armer crossed, and Crocombe did well to get a hand on it, otherwise Mellish was well placed to score. From the corner, Mellish ballooned his shot over into the Pontoon. Clifton then fired over after an Efete cross at the other end. Khan was tripped on 42 minutes and struck an awkward but powerless free-kick which Holy gathered with ease. Carlisle advanced up the field. The move broke down. Efete played the ball back to Crocombe. His pass was underhit. Dennis latched on to it, rounded Crocombe and the score was now Town 0, Carlisle 2. The half-time whistle blew. There were odd moments, but overall Town had nothing to offer. There was competent work by Hunt and Khan, and little touches by Maguire-Drew but Town lacked energy and cohesion in another uninspiring first half performance. Town looked clueless in the final third if it got there in the first place.
The second half started in lacklustre fashion. Town continued to fumble. Carlisle were happy to oblige and keep the tempo down. Town passed without progress. The players and the crowd were falling to sleep. On 53 minutes Khan had a shot which went miles wide. This wasn't going to excite the crowd. Four minutes later Town clumsily worked the ball upfield. Hunt provided some quality and found Maguire-Drew who passed to Efete. Town won a corner but Waterfall's header lacked power and went wide. On 59 minutes Orsi and Richardson came on for Taylor and Simmonds. Nothing had worked so far, so it was time to see if Town could play for 30 minutes. The signs were promising. Richardson won a corner and followed up with a good cross. On 63 minutes Orsi then almost worked in a Richardson cross - corner to Town. Maguire-Drew's cross was headed out. Khan found space on the left and placed his pass into the 6 yard area where Efete was on hand to slot the ball home. Town 1, Carlisle 2. Were Town about to “do an England”? On 66 minutes Richardson burst forward and was tripped in the D. Hunt's free-kick limply hit the wall, when one from Maguire-Drew would have been a better bet given the angle, but Orsi picked up the ball on the right and was fouled on the edge of the box. Maguire-Drew crossed. The ball came to Hunt but the shot was blocked. An interception by the lively Richardson led to a run forward and a shot which was deflected for a corner. Khan then found Maguire-Drew whose shot went straight to Holy. Since the substitutions, Town's movement had been better. But as Town continued to press, the impact of the substitutes wore off, and the mistakes returned. Kiernan replaced Amos on 83 minutes. Amos had had a decent game going forward, and now Town just became less effective. Carlisle did little but had a break on 83 minutes. The game had gone quiet as the clock ticked on. Town looked to attack. Clifton passed into touch behind Efete. The quality alarm bell run once more. Town foundered about and panicked. Ideas were visibly lacking. Five minutes were added. Maguire-Drew found Richardson who had a half shot, and then supplied Clifton whose lashed shot landed in the Pontoon. As full time beckoned, Town passed the ball across the field. The torture ended. Grimsby Town 1, Carlisle United 2. We cannot claim to have been outplayed by top quality opposition. We beat ourselves, and for most of the game lacked ideas and energy.
Years ago I attended a course called The Cost of Poor Quality. Grimsby Town should be a case study, if it still exists. We are not going to win games if we play like we're asleep for 60 minutes, perform for 15 and then switch off again. Is the manager boring the team to death with his pre-match talks, I wonder, to the point where the team goes out onto the field in a daze? The final third seemed an unsolvable mystery until Richardson and Orsi came on. This wasn't entirely the fault of Taylor who was fighting on his own again with no-one to lay off to. I agree that we needed to change things around but our tactics were stale still and we haven't solved anything. The Hurst halo is slipping, I fear. The game pattern wasn't clear. We know we need to start with purpose and intensity, and doing it for less than 5 minutes isn't good enough. Let's see some quality and composure in our play, or we will find ourselves plummeting down the table.
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