Back once again. The third home game in eight days is another Tuesday night affair. We are on a bit of a role with three wins and a draw in our last four games, we are four point clear of the relegation places, but another win tonight would take us up two places in the league as well, so all to play for.
The opposition are Grimsby Town, and it is a case of third time lucky for this fixture. It was originally due to be played at the start of January, but Grimsby were still in the FA Cup, where they made a run to the quarter finals. Then it was due to be played at the end of January when we were in America, but that was postponed due to a frozen pitch. And so, it was rearranged for tonight.
Going into the game, Grimsby are the only side to have played less games than us in the league. They sit seven places above us in fifteenth and are eleven points ahead of us, with two wins and three draws in their last five league games.
The away game in October resulted in a 3-0 loss. I had considered going to that game and had scoped out travel times for trains and hotels for overnight stays as there wasn’t much to do with Helen being away, and probably being the only person who wants to go and take photos of Cleethorpes. But I decided against it, which was a wise decision, as it was a poor result saw us ending up as the strongest team in the football league – bottom – holding all the other teams up. And it saw Kevin Betsy being sacked. Something for which a lot of people had wanted. If we survive, I might take the opportunity to go and take photos next season.
Four managers (including interims) later and we are on our best run of form of the season. We have additional people with us tonight, as one of our neighbours has some link to one of the Grimsby players. I wasn’t listening carefully enough to find out anymore information on the subject, apart from the fact they weren’t even in the squad for the game. No programme to pick up this evening as it was included in the double header issue from the weekend.
With the clocks going forward and a respite in it trying to rain it was still light as we made our way to the ground. Said hello to Al on the way in, he was prowling our stand again tonight, but without the blonde female steward working this evening he wasn’t stopping to have a five minute char every time he walked by. There is scaffolding and gantries up, not because we are being televised of course, but they are already preparing for Brighton Ladies playing Manchester United at the weekend with that being on TV.
There was one away fans coach in the car park, but plenty more than that in the way of fans. The tarpaulin had been removed and there was no overspill of home fans for this game. There did appear to be two ostracised Grimsby fans in the far corner sat on the steps of the terrace twenty yards away from where the away support behind the goal stopped. Grimsby are in an all blue away kit and it is all red versus all blue again.
It took seven minutes for ball one to disappear out over the east marquee from a Crawley clearance. Grimsby settled into the game better, and are first to the ball most of the time and are creating chances and seem to outpace Crawley all over the pitch.
Fourteen minutes in before we get a corner, and from it Aramide Oteh gets a shot on target from outside the area. Ten minutes later ball two disappears over the east marquee, this time from a Grimsby clearance. The only thing stopping Grimsby from getting a lead at this point is a poor final ball. Something they put right on forty-two minutes. A strong run from midfield isn’t dealt with, no tackles really, just waved through and a pass into the box where there is even less tackling and the Grimsby striker gets a shot off, straight at Corey Addai, but it goes straight through him and off into the net and we are behind 0-1.
From the restart we attack and a shot is tipped around the post for a corner, quickly followed by another corner, but the pressure comes to an end with a cheap foul given away in the Grimsby box. Two added minutes are shown and I’m surprised it’s only that as the referee is as pedantic as can be.
Half time, the usual playlist, and the usual shenanigans of Crawley coming out a couple of minutes after the visitors. And it only takes a couple of minutes for Grimsby to run past a very sluggish defence. Their number nine runs by Joel Lynch as if he’s a statue, and his curling shot comes back off the inside of the post and is hacked away to safety.
We have an attack and a shot is saved, and straight away Grimsby come down the other end and have a better chance that is well saved by Addai. Ball three disappears over the southwest corner of the home terrace from a Crawley block.
More chances for Grimsby and there is another good save by Addai as the Grimsby number nine skins Lynch again and puts across a great ball to an unmarked player, who should probably have done better, but we’ll claim it as a fine save. Grimsby are pressing really well, they just seem fitter and faster all over the place, and Crawley are making far too many sideways and backwards passes just like the days of Betsy
With less than five minutes of normal time left there is a challenge in the Grimsby penalty area and a Crawley player goes down as the ball goes out. The referee points to the penalty spot. It looks a bit dubious, but I’m not going to complain considering some of the piss poor decisions that have gone against us in other games. Various players have the ball in their hands as if they are going to take it, but it falls to usual penalty taker Dom Telford, which doesn’t inspire confidence after his last spooned effort three weeks ago against Tranmere. And it is a shit penalty, close to the keeper, who gets both hands on it and his body behind it, but it spins off of him and into the corner of the net. It is 1-1 and Telford is a lucky bastard.
Straight from the restart Grimsby attack and get a free kick right on the edge of the Crawley penalty area, another couple of steps and it would have been a penalty the other way. We haven’t defended these well all season, so there is a big sigh of relief when the free kick is put over the bar.
Four minutes of added time are indicated and it announced that the crowd is 3,668 with 329 away fans, a record for us on a weeknight in the league this season. The match sponsors name Joel Lynch as their man of the match, which would suggest they spent most of the game in hospitality rather than watching the game and seeing him get skinned for pace at every opportunity. Added time is scrappy and the ref blows for full time and it ends 1-1.
There really is no need to play ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ when we draw, especially after a game like this where the draw is definitely a case of a point stolen rather than any lost.
The point takes us five clear of the relegation places, and that is all our games in hand used up now. It also puts us on the same amount of points as Colchester, but we stay behind them on goal difference. It is now five unbeaten, easily the best run of the season, and we are away this coming weekend with a trip up to playoff place chasing Mansfield Town on Saturday. Anything out of that game would definitely be a bonus.
Come on you reds.