The problem with Thursday night football in a town that’s 239 miles away when you have a full time job is that it makes it really difficult to get to. I also don’t have BT Sport, so I listened to Grimsby Town’s first leg play-off match at Eastleigh on the radio. Unlike the Mariners, I didn’t get off to the best of starts.
The team bus got stuck in traffic, again, and I was led to believe that kick-off would be 8.15pm, so I tuned in at 8.07 and missed Arnold’s opening goal (and two other clear-cut chances that should’ve put us 3-0 up).
But due to the wonderful world of technology I was able to see the goal before it was even half time. BT Sport tweeted it in a mildly desperate ‘come-and-watch-non-league-football-with-us-it’s-really-not-as-poor-as-you-think’ type of plea.
The next hour was an excellent example of how to sit back and let inferior opposition who play hoofball bollocks worm their way back into a match that should’ve already been beyond them. The equaliser was inevitable (I saw it on Twitter a few seconds before I heard it on the radio, which was an odd experience – although it did kind of take the edge off it) and all the Town fans on Twitter and The Fishy went into a bad mood.
Then Arnold scored a second 20-yard cracker and we were all happy again. Well, the Town fans were, obviously, but the same couldn’t be said of Eastleigh manager Richard Hill, who told one of his substituted players to ‘go on, fuck off’ when the microphones were on him, and who whinged in the post-match interview that we got all the marginal decisions because we’re the big team. Hill’s been sucking on lemons ever since he got sent to the stands in the league match at Blundell Park.
The game got a bit scrappy; a bit niggly; a bit naughty. But there were no further incidents and Town held on through five minutes of injury time that were somehow conjured up from the absence of any injurues whatsoever. But let’s not go all Richard Hill on the ref here – we’re better than that.
I can’t afford to get my door frames widened so I’ll keep this short. In my preview I predicted that we’d win, narrowly, and we did. I also said that the home leg will be a nervy affair and I don’t think we’ll win it – so it’s important that we don’t lose it.
No one should be putting a gun to anyone’s head in this country, but if I were to find myself in that situation, and forced to predict the outcome of Sunday’s second leg, I’d have to say that we’ll draw it.
You’ve got just under 24 hours to grow your fingernails.
On a slightly separate note, it’s a pity that Grimsby’s goal of the season competition was decicded on Monday because both of these goals would’ve been strong contenders.