The icebox challenge

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Barry Whittleton

31 October 2016

Yeovil Town 0 Grimsby Town 0

Yeovil away – and due to our much better privatised railways' inability to transport me 250 miles to Sheffield in five hours, it's out on the 6:20 to Chinley then a drive down. The fact that the first train breaks down at Sheffield requiring a switch to the boneshaker stopping service would be a precursor for the day. One in which it's never quite enough to have you frothing but just enough to leave you a bit moody.

Constant 50mph speed limits on the M5 leave us arriving in the Arrow at 1:15. There's already a good few Town in and flags draped in abundance. The hoardes are quickly swelled by the arrival of the booze bus. This hour in the pub and £3.20 bottles of Peroni are the best bit of the day.

It's hard to get worked up by Yeovil. Their pubs offer quick service, their fans are pleasant, and their ground is proper despite being comparatively new. The fact that they charged us £6 extra to sit in a seat we didn't want, and then over-zealous stewarding eyed up those refusing to sit, fitted in with the day perfectly.

And so we commence in red, not grey. So that's a good start.

Tom's in but no Vose, so 50/50 for Town's caretaker, and Vernon preferred to Jackson or Tuton. Dis is back in midfield with Berrett and Summerfield for company. The theme of the day continues.

Town start quickly, pushing the hosts back. Omar is slid through, pushes the ball past his man, surges into the area and is grounded by a hack from the floundering defender. Penalty, shout the travellers – the defender's body language screams penalty – but the ref points, unbelievably, for a goal kick.

The players protest, the bench protests, the fans voice their unhappiness, and the home fans to our left smile sheepishly. Bogle sits, arms outstretched, where he landed.

Galvanised by the injustice and a Khan shot as they argued, Town respond. Omar blasts one from 25 straight at the keeper, who tips over. Like the rest of Town's first-half dominance, the corner comes to nothing. Predominantly playing in the Yeovil half, Town are concise, controlling – but, too often when it comes to the killer final ball, frustrating.

Vernon battles and offers flashes of previous heights. Omar gets more frustrated than the fans. And our flying winger becomes more peripheral the more the game progresses.

As half time approaches Yeovil fleetingly break out of their half and a quality timed last-ditch intervention by Collins stops Khan as he prepares to pull the trigger.

Half time arrives and general thoughts of the travellers are that we need to turn our dominance into chances and goals. Town are greeted with optimism and chants of Maa-riii-ners as they enter the park for the second half.

An initial link between Mills and Bolarinwa feeds Berrett: we wait for the net to bulge, but his shot flies over. Summerfield finds Vernon's head with a free kick but the header is disappointingly high and weak.

The hosts finally begin to get a foothold as Town fade. A cross sweeps through the area with McKeown helpless but no one gets the killer touch. A long ball in finds its way to the far post but Macca blocks at his near post. The game dips into a midfield battle with neither side able to create a clear chance, the hosts having the better of it.

Bogle blasts over with a rare contribution, then Town's caretaker gambles Comley for a tiring Disley and Rhys Browne for an ineffective Bolarinwa. Comley makes space and feeds Berrett inside the box, but his low shot is parried away.

Town, prompted by Comley, take command again but are unable to force another real chance. Jackson enters too late to have any impact as Vernon departs, having made little in his 87 minutes. The game drifts towards an inevitable stalemate.

The travelling faithful cheer, "Dave Moore's black and white army" fills the air. The players clap, the fans clap but deep down there's that nagging doubt as to where the next goal's coming from. The answer will dictate if it's mid-table anonymity or a push toward our rightful place in the third division. Up the Mariners.