Caustic custard

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Paul Thundercliffe

22 September 2019

Grimsby Town 1 Macclesfield Town 0

An Indian summer in the back streets of Cleethorpes as Town welcomed their old foes to The BP. No goals in the previous game and a half. With this one not going to penalties, could Town overcome the bogeymen and revive their assault on Division Four?

Town lined up in the favoured 4-3-3 formation: McKeown (c), Hewitt, Waterfall, Gibson, Hendrie, Cook, Hessenthaler, Robson, Green, Hanson, Rose. No Moses in the squad with the bench of Russell, Vernam, Pollock, Wright, Clifton, Cardwell, Whitehouse.

First half: Lazing on a sunny afternoon

Would Town be lazing on a sunny afternoon as Macclesfield kicked off towards the half-full Pontoon? Well, the Town fans were, in a half of football so soporific that 3,700 may as well have had a milky drink, a couple of chapters of a good book and a cuddle with the cat.

Please don't make me write down too much; it will make my memory bleed. Town were intent on passing it among the defence before launching it to Hanson, who appeared to have forgotten to take his jumping juice. Back the ball came as high as before until most of the half had been played in the air.

In among it, a neat Rose touch allowed Hessenthaler to pass to the keeper and Green had a couple of loopy headers but it really was dire. So much so that McKeown saved a shot going 10 yards wide just to have something to do.

Obviously, the ref was shit and spent the first half ignoring Macc fouls while seeing phantom Town ones. We shouldn't be surprised any more but he was in danger of spoiling a terrible game, a bit like a chef serving an already-burned sponge pudding with caustic custard.

The first half finished with Green on a sort of attack, fouled and the ref blowing. About to cheer ironically, we soon realised he was whistling for the interval. No minutes had been added. We were at least grateful for that.

Second half: Energy, purpose and pressing

Town made a change at half time, replacing Rose – a mixture of good and bad touches in the first period – with Max Wright, who scared the shit out of them last week.

The change of personnel saw a change of formation, Wright going on to the right wing with Cook left. Almost immediately and for the remainder of the game, Town were on top. Macclesfield failed to have a shot, the only care being a claw from McKeown after a bit of pinball in the box.

Town had energy, purpose, and started to press Macclesfield, which led to them giving us the ball. This was being used to good effect by Robson, invisible for the first 45, as he passed and prodded, the team giving Wright the chance to attack at will.

Ironically it was the opposite side where the goal arrived from. Some neat play from Green saw the ball pushed forward by Hendrie into space behind the defence. Robson motored on, doing well to not only keep it in, but drag the ball back beyond a flailing defender. Now level with the six-yard box, Robson then slammed the ball right-footed into the roof of the net – a really good goal in contrast to a really poor game.

The goal galvanised Town and Wright, who kept drawing foul after foul as he took the game to Maccclefield. One scything challenge ended with Cook’s free kick into the wall, with no Green to help him, Matt having been humorously pointed out of the way by Hessenthaler.

The last 20 minutes rode out fairly well, Waterfall having a good chance from a set piece and Hanson having one taken off his head when about to score, before he flicked on to Wright to smash a volley against the inside of the post.

Town saw out the game in the Pontoon corner and in the end were routine winners, once the formation changed and Max was allowed to do his thing. Of course, a win is a win, but in a division where a consistent set of results will probably propel you upwards, three points were readily welcome ahead of a test at the leaders next week.

Town huffed and puffed a bit but the changes at half time meant they were all Wright in the end.