Town fail to make any impact

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Paul Ketchley

11 April 2022

Weymouth 0 Grimsby Town 0

Around 600 travelling Mariners turned up at Weymouth's neat stadium on a bright sunny afternoon. We were split between those standing behind the goal and those in seats in the main stand, which faces east and so was in the shade by kick-off. In spite of the sunshine those in the seats shivered in the shade.
The ground is out of the town centre off a ring road, and is like a more rustic version of Wycombe Wanderers’ Adams Park.

Town decided to stick with a winning team and so the 11 from Chesterfield started with Crocombe, Cropper, Smith, Waterfall and Amos at the back; Jones, Maguire-Drew, Holohan and Clifton in the middle and then McAtee alongside Taylor up front. Fans who had been at Chesterfield drooled at the prospect of picking up where we had left off the previous Saturday.

Weymouth play in a claret and blue West Ham-style strip. Acute eyes noted that goalkeeper Fitzsimmons wasn't the tallest we'd faced but that was balanced by a giant centre back in Tyler Cordner.

First half

Weymouth kicked off and pressured Amos into giving away a corner from which a header went just wide. They played a high line and Town's response was to try and get Taylor in round the back, only for him to be caught offside. Was that how we planned to unlock their defence? Surely it was only a matter of time? Their goal difference is -37 and they've only kept three clean sheets all season.

So we played at three-quarter pace, playing little chip balls round the back and winning corners safe in the knowledge that with Waterfall in charge at the back nothing could go wrong. But Weymouth didn't buy into the script and played with energy. They had obviously practised back flick passes and they worked a treat in getting them to the by-line. Presumably they watched the Chesterfield video as well and surrounded Holohan every time he got the ball.

A moment of brilliance by McAtee on the far side delivered the ball to Maguire-Drew a few yards out with just the goalkeeper to beat, only for Fitzsimmons to beat the ball away with his legs. Gradually Town got into the ascendancy in midfield and delivered crosses into the box but without anyone really attacking them. Most of the danger came through McAtee and after half an hour he did what Burnley did to Everton when the guy gets through to the by-line and cuts the ball back for the guy bursting through to slam it into the net from the penalty spot, except that nobody got on the end of it.

In the stands people shook their heads and the Town bench could be heard urging the players to move the ball more quickly.

Shortly before half time, Holohan conceded a foul in a dangerous position on the Town left. Cordner and left back Greenwood stood over the ball for Weymouth and Crocombe set the wall up to defend his left post, expecting the ball to be delivered towards the right hand side. Greenwood's run seemed to be a ploy until he whipped the ball round the wall with his left foot and left Crocombe floundering as the ball smacked off the left hand post. Fortunately it didn't rebound off someone into the net and Town were lucky to find themselves level at half time.

The half–time conversation changed from how we could keep the momentum from Chesterfield going to this being the sort of game in which three points was up for grabs and a 1-0 win would do thank you very much, if we could grind it out. Someone envisaged the risk of a sucker punch five minutes from time if we couldn’t break the deadlock. Surely that couldn't happen?

Second half

Town made no changes but the players came out early. They were attacking the goal in front of the away support. "We'll pepper the goal this half" someone predicted.

Well, we didn't. First of all, Crocombe made a disastrous kick out which went straight to a Weymouth player, underlining underlined the sucker punch threat. Then it became obvious that Weymouth were quite prepared to "park the bus" with two lines of four and five in front of goal and to die in the ditches. As soon as they lost possession they scampered back into the trenches and for the most part Town played at a pace which allowed them to do so.

Early on Waterfall came up for a corner and rose to meet a deep cross. He intended the ball to go in at the top left corner but was off target and it went past the post.

Gradually the match slipped back into the same routine as the first half had ended. The need for change was obvious but it took until mid-way through the second half for Scannell to come on for Cropper, upon which Clifton dropping back, and for Dieseruvwe to replace Taylor. After this Town were brighter and started to create openings but weren't able to score from any of them. Maguire-Drew saw a good attempt palmed over by Fitzsimmons and then Smith had a shot blocked on the line. After a lengthy delay when Cordner and Waterfall clashed heads Weymouth were forced to play with 10 men but Town were unable to make the advantage count and the home side held out.

Town kept coming forward but all too often they telegraphed their intent to the Weymouth bus and defenders were all prepared to put their bodies on the line to keep the ball out. As the game drew to a close Weymouth's Goodship had the clearest chance of the afternoon when a cross was floated over the Town defence and found him unmarked only to head the ball directly into Crocombe's arms.

It was a frustrating afternoon all round with Town playing the ball around but just not being clinical enough with their finishing. Let's hope the two points dropped don’t prove to be vital when it comes to getting into the play-offs.