Flipping 'eck, Tucker!

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Paul Thundercliffe

7 September 2015

Boreham Wood 1 Grimsby Town 3

The Summer of Positivity had already turned to the Autumn of Discontent as we made our way to the Film Theatre of Dreams. In Town's last three winless games there had been pockets of brilliance and a definite change of style but a worrying pattern of prolificacy and penalty box howlers. We could have quite conceivably have achieved nine points instead of the two; fine margins and all that.

The truth is that Town have good players who lack the mentality to win games, take teams by the scruff of the neck and wallop them for five and six. Hurst's tinkering obviously doesn't help, but the sight of heads going down and blaming each other on the pitch is desperate seven games in.

As my son and I, with London Mariner Alan, walked down the same nondescript suburban high street as Barnet, Wembley, Woking and all the others, we came upon a fine sight. A group of Town players, in full assorted kits – all sporting red socks, some with shin pads, some with their phone and wallets down them – paying what looked like a homage to Terry Curran. There were a couple of non-moustached Phil Bonnymans, a blond Scott McGarvey and what looked like the real Richard Smith singing and chanting their way out of the pub and down a little alleyway that was the entrance to Boreham Wood FC.

Once inside, the usual heady mix of exiles and stoic away fans were already queueing for (half decent, it must be said) food and outnumbering the home supporters quite comfortably in a decent little ground – sort of a better Alfreton with a club shop in one corner the size and look of a pigeon coop.

Town strode out of the toilet block to our right in their blue kit that had so far achieved two points and lined up McKeown, East, Nsiala, Pearson, Robertson, Arnold, Disley, Robinson, Monkhouse, Armond and Bogle. Almost a first-choice 4-4-2 for many fans, although most would not have wanted to see Robinson in there given his propensity to watch the game pass by him like a confused contestant on The Generation Game as the conveyor belt whizzes past. The cynic in me would suggest that Clay's omission is Hurst's way of showing everyone who's boss even though even he knows it's wrong. Maybe Craig had us last burger at that BBQ.

First half

Town started very brightly, shooting away from the 700 or so Town fans, with Bogle in particular seeing plenty of the ball on the left. It wasn't easy to make out everything that was happening, but there seemed to be some goal-line clearances and general balls into the box, without anything too clear-cut.

Amond thwacked towards goal and then Bogle Lennied one over the bar from another good move

The fussy ref awarded an away free kick on halfway just short of ten minutes, which Arnold delievered in the usual flat manner. Instead of it being hacked away, Doe threw his leg at it. The ball spun wildly and widely before bouncing into the top corner. None of the Town players celebrated so neither did we, but the players trudged back to the centre circle, so it must have been a goal – the sort of goal we'd been conceding – and some luck at last.

The next ten or twenty minutes were played away from us as Town passed and probed, Disley and East particularly effective. A loose Wood ball saw Arnold run towards goal unchallenged. A second seemed likely but he squared to Amond, the keeper got something to his shot, and another hack from the line saw the score unchanged. Another decent move down the left – the Monkhousen Syndrome working this week – saw another save as Amond thwacked towards goal and then Bogle Lennied one over the bar from another good move.

As the half wore on Boreham Wood attacked more vigorously, changing their shape and almost scoring with a shot against the outside of the post, although McKeown had it covered. Indeed, our much-maligned keeper had punched, caught and tipped over well during a first period of more missed chances at one end and a sniff of an equaliser at the other.

Then something brilliant happened. Passing, movement, little triangles, a delicious ball across the six-yard box, where our winger tapped home. Super stuff. But this was a different Town, of Curran, Bonnyman and O'Riordan crossing for the substitute Mackreth during some half-time horseplay. Beats the Marching Mariners.

Second half

The home team made a change at half-time, Morias replacing Nunn, but it was Town who made all the running straight after the break. Some nice passing saw Bogle clean through and as he cocked his leg back it was taken from under him for a definite penno. Amazingly not given, it seemed to have an effect on Omar who, when gifted the ball a few minutes later, with only the goalie to beat, tried to take it round him and almost go down rather than just roll it home.

This galvanised Boreham Wood, who started to press Town back, sensing that the missed chances were going to haunt their visitors once more. A cross into the box to an offside-looking white shirt brought panic before a side-footed effort was just about scooped off the line by Nsiala.

Is the weight of expectation too much? If they can get Bogle's head right there are 40 goals in him

Most of the away support knew where this was going, and with Pittman stripped and ready to replace Bogle, our number 9 was again, for maybe the fifth time, passed the ball from an opposition defender. Omar created a little space before steering a left-footed effort wide of the keeper – a much more difficult chance than the one ten minutes earlier. He almost threw a scoffed arm at the Town fans after scoring, a sign of maybe the weight of expectation being too much? If they can get his head right there are 40 goals in him.

Disley, having a fine game despite a picky booking, let in Arnold, impressive all game, and he unerringly found the bottom corner from the top edge of the area to give the scoreline a more realistic hue. Arnold then had a piledriver saved. Amond's follow-up was also blocked by the overworked Edwards, who then parried Monkhouse's volley as Town turned it on.

Now it was all about the lesser-spotted Clean Sheet but right on cue, from nowhere, after Bogle had been subbed for Pittman, a cross from the right was nodded home by MacDonald, leaving our orange-coloured custodian apoplectic.

There was still time for him to save well from a chance created through sloppy defending, but Town – without ever playing as well as they did against Lincoln and possibly Macclesfield in the first half – finally ran out comfortable winners. Another victory over a promoted team – men against new boys.

With the delightful Forest Green showing no sign of wavering, this was a much-needed win. What needs to happen now is a winning run of our own during a couple of months with some tricky games. To do that we need a settled team and some self-belief because the quality is there, the goals are there and the support from the fans – dressed up or not – is definitely there.