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Bradford survive

Pre-season tour
Gallen signs
Hornets sting Town
Owls shot down
Gray returns
Wijnhard crashes out
Worthington woe
Ayre departs
First home point
Bye Bye Brucie
New manager announced
Fans show anger
9 points to safety
First home win
Ndlovu at first sight
Town leap to safety
Macari wins award
More cup woe
Ndlovu joins Blades
Jamie jumps ship
Town hit rock bottom again
Morris' McApline move
Prodigal son returns
Biggest win
QPR doomed
Nearly there
The bitter end

Tuesday 6th March.

The rumblings continue following Mr Rubery’s written assault on Steve Bruce, with the former manager threatening legal action against his former boss presumably for defamation of character or something like this. Bruce was interviewed on Radio Leeds Leeds Leeds defending himself and his ego, and insisting that if he had received the full financial backing he had been promised then we would have been in the play-offs at the very least last season. He obviously feels that the rug was pulled from under his feet with the enforced sale of Marcus Stewart, and there is clearly no love lost between Bruce and Rubery.

Anyway, this is a side issue as Town looked to continue their survival bid tonight with a bottom of the table 6-pointer against Grimsby Town. Unfortunately we didn’t get the reward of 3 points in a game that was as dull as ditch water. It would have been fair to assume that after the efficient win over Norwich on Saturday that Macari wouldn’t tinker with the side, but inexplicably he did. Simon Baldry received his first start in about 7 games and although this wasn’t really a problem, Town’s management inexplicably decided to restore Armstrong to left back and Jenkins to right back, with Dean Gorré making his first start in 18 games. Having a right back playing on the right, and a left back playing on the left seemed somehow to unsettle the team and they appeared to lack understanding of exactly who was playing where.

From the start of the game it was clear that neither side wanted to lose this one and chances were at a real premium. In fact it was such a complete bore that leaves me struggling to find much to write about. If the referee was a compassionate man, he would have blown the final whistle at half time and allowed the long-suffering 9½ thousand supporters to go home. I didn’t finish work until about 6.20, had to walk 10 minutes up to the car, belt home up the M62, wolf my tea down at a rate of knots and scoot down to the game to arrive breathless at 7.45. Isn’t it a shame that the players can’t show the same level of commitment when they take the field for just 90 minutes.

There were chances for Town, particularly in the first half hour or so with Gallen trying a weak shot that was easily collected by Danny Coyne in the first minute. Martin Smith tried a couple of efforts that were both off-target as Town dominated the play but seemed to lack real penetration. Fit again Simon Baldry looked quite threatening on his return to the team and looked to have set up Kevin Gallen in the 20th minute, but again the Grimsby keeper was equal to it. Grimsby created little of real threat, and former Town midfielder Kevin Donovan looked quite ineffective on the whole although he did manage to set up Daryl Clare after 30 minutes but the effort was easily blocked. As the half progressed the game drifted into a frustrating display of misplaced passes by both teams and the referees whistle was a welcome relief as the interval was called.

The second half was more or less a carbon copy of the first with the play littered with passes going astray, and even Dean Gorré didn’t look at his creative best. Kenny Irons who had looked vastly improved on Saturday seemed to have gone back into his shell, and I think he missed the ball winning industry of Craig Armstrong in midfield. There have been times recently when we have needed more creativity from midfield, but to have two similar players alongside each other with no one to win the ball seems a bit pointless.

The players looked increasingly uptight in front of goal the longer the game went on, Gorré wasting a great chance with around 20 minutes left shooting well over the bar after doing the hard work getting into the position, when a simple pass to Martin Smith would have been the better option. With around 10 minutes remaining Martin Smith was presented with an opportunity to break the deadlock (and boredom) but rushed his shot and fired wide of the Grimsby goal.

Throughout the second half Lou Macari persisted with the same side that looked devoid of true ideas to unlock the visitors’ defence. I cannot think why Macari didn’t re-jig things to perhaps move Armstrong into midfield by bringing Moses or Heary into the defence, and Ben Thornley would have been worth a run on the left to move Smith alongside Facey up front.

A substitution was finally made, after 93 minutes! In a quite inexplicable move Ben Thornley was brought on for Kevin Gallen with about half a minute of the game remaining. This would have been sensible if we were leading and Macari wanted to slow the game down, but we weren’t and this must go down as one of the weirder decisions to come from the Town dugout. Perhaps they were happy with a point, but the supporters were not.

Thankfully, none of our other immediate relegation rivals picked up maximum points tonight, and with QPR playing tomorrow we have actually moved up one place. The biggest problem is that we aren’t catching up on those teams just above the drop zone, and we are starting to run out of games. Saturday sees us travelling the short distance to Oakwell to face Barnsley, and this has been a far from happy hunting ground in recent years (remember the 7-1 mauling a couple of years ago?), so bringing anything back from that one promises to be a very tall order indeed.


Grimsby Town 0

Position in table – 22nd

Town – Vaesen; Jenkins; Lucketti; Dyson; Armstrong; Irons; Baldry; Gorré; Gallen (Thornley 90); Facey; Smith. Subs not used – Margetson; Gray; Heary; Moses.

Grimsby Town – Coyne; McDermott; Gallimore; Handyside; Groves; Butterfield; Donovan; Willems; Burnett; Campbell; Clare (Allen 85). Subs not used – Croudson; Pouton; Black; Enhua.

Referee – Graham Laws (Whitley Bay). Attendance 9,494



All words and thoughts by Chris except where stated.

A big thank you to Machala for putting up with me doing this and Ian for his support and my Mum for her proof reading.

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