Cod Almighty | Match Stats
Tuesday 18 August 2015
Altrincham 2 Bowerman (13, 60)
Grimsby Town 1 Bogle (42)
Attendance: 1,680 (850 away fans)
Well at least we didn't concede a last-minute equaliser this time.
The match began in warm evening sunshine and Town ambled around for ten minutes, waiting for something to turn up. What turned up was an Altrincham goal. There was a corner that no one defended, a series of hacks at the ball on the ground, concluding with Altrincham players claiming a goal, and the ref awarding it, to Bowerman, apparently. The linesman had raised a flag and one knot of Town players swarmed towards him, another to the ref, making sure the two conferred. They did and the goal stood.
For ten more minutes, Altrincham continued to do more of the pressing, but their actual attempts on goal were limited to a succession of increasingly wild shots over the bar from clearances. Monkhouse began to organise the Town midfield and play shifted more and more towards the end where we were standing and Altrincham were defending.
At first moves broke down either with over-intricate attempts to thread passes through the centre of the Altrincham defence or optimistic crosses with just Bogle or Amond in the box, rarely both. Then Arnold got involved and it began to feel that a goal was coming. Amond, having earlier had the ball smashed in his face by the Altrincham keeper and seen the ball rebound wide, got on the end of an Arnold cross just on the byline, wide of the far post. He headed right across goal. Arnold sent a corner to the back post, for Nsiala to head over. Then they did it again.
Finally Arnold broke down the right, checked and passed to Bogle on the edge of the penalty area. He controlled, adjusted his body and stroked the ball into the bottom corner of the net. It was a goal that confirmed that when Town visit Moss Lane, we will score one goal to show what we can do when we put our minds to it.
Town, their tails up, even pressed for a half time lead. They won a corner. Arnold delivered it to the back post where Nsiala headed over.
Town attacked. The dish of the day was the two pass move, from left wing to midfield then a pivot pass to Arnold in space on the right. Chances came and went, Coburn making a good one handed stop low to his left after a passing move. The Altrincham defence frayed. We won a free kick, some 30 yards out. Bogle ran at it and pulverised it over the wall and down, beyond the reach of Coburn. It thwacked against the inside of the post, bounced in the goal area and was hacked free.
A goal was coming, and it came. Its just that Altrincham scored it. Those pivot passes seem to ask a fair bit of the central midfielder, often facing his own goal with our defence pushing forward. Now and again, they are going to get dispossessed, and then there is trouble. I thought it was Clay, but it might have been Disley who gave away possession in the centre circle. The ball was played to our right and a high cross delivered to the back post. It might have been going in. Certainly McKeown clawed at it but although he pushed it wide of goal, it stayed in play and fell at the feet of Bowerman. Although he was off-balance, he still managed to push it under McKeown and a defender on the line.
Town's game died there and then. Monkhouse was replaced by Mackreth, who scampered about with the enthusiasm and the ball sense of a labrador puppy. Then Paul Hurst reached for the playbook of desperate managers and sent Pearson on as an auxilliary striker in a 3-4-3. We had one last decent move, again down the right, a couple of forwards trying to tee up someone else when a quick shot was what was needed. And Arnold still had time to deliver one last corner to the back post for Nsiala to head over. But the closest either side came to scoring was when Altrincham exploited some dithering defence and shot against the near post. McKeown might have just diverted it.
With three minutes to go, play halted after Altrincham defender Marshall fell on the edge of his area, Town players immediately signalling that he would need treatment. He was stretchered off to appluase from all sides. It meant ten minutes of injury time, which stretched to 14 when Coburn also needed lengthy treatment. Town huffed and puffed but had lost their cutting edge. On the occasion we actually wanted it, there was no realistic sign of an injury time leveller.
Altrincham are one of those clubs that has a man of the match for both sides. So tonight we can say we have been patronised by the Robins. When Town were good, Arnold was good, so its as least worst a choice as any other
The most frustrating thing about this match is that you could see the components of a good team. Nsiala sprays passes out of defence like a new Paul Futcher. Monkhouse brings some composure and skill to midfield. Amond has both workrate and intelligence. Omar's chest will go down in Grimsby folklore. It can play one-twos with itself. But for all that, we still didn't do enough often enough.
Twice we gave ourselves a hillock to climb. We swarmed up it the first time. The second time we decided to try and punt the ball to the top instead.
Grapply gropers in defence and midfield, but able to work their own triangles when the opportunity arises. Michael Rankine actually plays quite well for them. My guess is they'll be tough to beat at home, but might find refs less tolerant of their arm-wrestling away.
We didn't cry. We just died. We went down in sympathy with the team. Lets award ourselves a point for applauding Marshall when he was stretchered off. Then deduct it for barracking McKeown.
Mr Brooks decided early on that pulling and tugging was fine by him, at least when it was a Robin's arm (wing?) doing the tugging. Maybe Town should have tested his boundaries as well, but the fact is we lost entirely from our own failings. 3.5
This Town knows we need to be, and should be, better than this.
Altrincham: Coburn; Densmore, Marshall (Reeves, 87), Moult, Griffin; Leather, Sinnott (O'Keefe, 73), Richman, Lawrie; Rankine, Bowerman (Clee, 67)
Subs not used: Griffith, Deasy
Town: McKeown; Tait (Pearson, 90), Nsiala, Gowling, East; Monkhouse (Mackreth, 69), Disley, Clay, Arnold; Amond, Bogle
Subs not used: Robertson, Venney, Clifton
Booked: Gowling, Nsiala