Cod Almighty | Match Report
21 November 2016
Plymouth Argyle 0 Grimsby Town 3
Ah, Plymouth – and the third leg of the South West Autumn Townfest. With the usual train comrades either not going or flying, it's a long drive due to my reluctance to board any plane but especially ones without at least two 7s in their title.
A 6am start sees me inside Home Park for one just as Mrs H tucks into the biggest pasty I've ever seen. The pre-match talk is not one of confidence, especially as my previous visit ended in a 5-0 drubbing. I need not have feared.
The steward on the gate as we arrived at 2:55pm assured us our numbers were good. "I'd say close on 600" was the quote, and the noise coming from within sounded so.
Town made Argyle kick toward their own fans first – a good sign. I hate it when clubs do that to us. Little victories.
Bogle had an early chance smothered as Town started well on the front foot and matching Argyle. It was, however, Argyle who broke and looked likely scorers – but as the net rippled it was relief it was only the side netting.
The game settled and Town continued to look accomplished and confident. The defence blocked the one clear shot on goal as the battle was fought in midfield. The league leaders upped their tempo as half time approached and for the only time Town looked under slight pressure. Still no clear-cut chance was created, though one cross flashed across goal. Reports later would tell me McKeown had made the first of three important contributions.
With the clock ticking over to 45 it was the Mariners fans celebrating. After another incisive speedy break stretched Plymouth, the ball found its way to Berrett's feet on the right of the box, six yards out. He stood it up at the back post and Collins met it with a firm header. In off the inside of the post. One-nil to reward the 10-minute rendition of "Marcus Bignot's black and white army".
The second half, and we fans settle down for the customary nervous 45 and 1-0 to the Mariners.
Plymouth tried an early Beckhamesque chip from 50 yards, but McKeown was untroubled. Slowly Town weathered the early impetus and began again to threaten. Mills and Andrew marauding forward in support of Chambers and Berrett, Comley and Summerfield battling for every ball. Town hunting in packs, forcing themselves back into the game.
An Argyle foul. Andrew drives in the free kick to the far post. It loops back into the centre of the goal and Bogle rises above the melée to head home. Five seconds of silence as 350 (I'm sure there were more) check the referee and linesman. Delirium.
Comfortable now, and in-control Town hassle Argyle into mistakes and break at speed and with width. Seventy minutes arrive and it's the Parslow moment: Chambers off, Pearson on to shore up the defence. No. This is new Town, positive Town, and a huge cheer greets Bolarinwa. Town continue to break menacingly. When they are breached, McKeown at his imperious best beats away once and then again full length to deny a deflected shot.
Positive, assertive, on the day a cut above, the new era of attack attack, attack attack attack is justified as the death throes beckon. Bolarinwa breaks onto a superb through ball, cuts inside rounds the keeper and is hacked down. Penalty! The ref is better – his superb advantage allows Bogle to slide into the empty net. Three-nil, job done.
The fans whose tremendous backing had filled the Home Park air all afternoon celebrated, danced, sang and hugged. The future's bright, the future's Bignot.