“Look at the scenes behind the goal! The agony is finally over!”

We all know what happened on Sunday 15th May 2016.

Grimsby Town beat Forest Green Rovers 3-1 in the National League play-off final to win promotion back to the Football League after a six-year absence.

We’ve seen the goals a million times. We’ve replayed them again and again in our minds, and on YouTube.

I think it’s fair and accurate to say, I could never get fed up of watching Nathan Arnold slot away our third goal in injury time.

But as I was at the match – and not listening from a hotel in Seattle (as I was in 2015) – I always wondered what it would be like to watch the TV footage but with John Tondeur’s commentary.

So, ladies and gentlemen. After a few hours of trying to work out how the hell you put something like this together, here you have it.

Grimsby Town’s play-off victory as you’ve (possibly) never seen it before. Enjoy.

Take it away, JT!




The jinx continues: Macclesfield v Grimsby Town match report

I know, I know. I should’ve stayed at home. Maybe next time I will.

Every now and again, Town have this tendency to throw in a tardy performance – normally when I’m in attendance – and the one at Macclesfield on Monday was another example.

Whatever tactical points Hurst won against Wrexham on Saturday were discarded in a shambolic first half in which the Mariners treated the ball like some kind of ticking time bomb that none of them wanted to hold onto for more than a millisecond.

Clay couldn’t even get the ball under control to get rid of it.

I was surprised Hurst dropped Hoban for Bogle for this one. The pitch looked bobbly and the wind was swirling. It was a game for players who were brave enough and strong enough to hold the ball up and look after it. Forget the fact that he hasn’t scored for us yet.

The first half was utterly, utterly forgettable. It was clippy, clippy, clippy, hoof, hoof, hoof. Slice. Throw-in. Repeat.

Bogle had a shot from distance, and Podge fired wide. A Clay header looped and needed touching over the bar, but generally there wasn’t much going on.

Fittingly, the opening goal didn’t come from any ingenuity. A solid tackle from Town in the centre turned into a great through-ball for Macclesfield, and as McKeown rushed out it was squared for Sampson to tap home.

There’s a naughty analogy about first touches, but I won’t stoop so low. Suffice to say, not one of the 22 full-time professional footballers looked capable of trapping a bag of clay. Talking of which, he went off, Jennings came on and Nolan went into the centre – not that it made a difference.

Hurst, presumably, had words at half time – words like ‘pass’, ‘shoot’ and ‘stop being dicks’ up his sleeve. They must have come out, because they had the desired effect.

We were a little bit sharper, we were braver in possession and we deservedly levelled in the second half when a McKeown punt was held up by Bogle, helped on by Amond and finished nicely by Nolan.

It came in a 20-minute spell where we just looked the part. Macclesfield were reduced to speculative punts – which was no different from their first half tactic, except now they were seeing less of the ball.

I remember a time when I spent ages making myself a lovely meal, only to catch the cuff of my dressing gown on the handle of the kitchen door as I carried the plate through to the living room. The food went everywhere. It was an utterly weird event that ruined all my hard work.

The football equivalent happened to Town.

The nature of the winner was ridiculous, and having not seen a replay of it, I’m still trying to decide whether it was dozy from the linesman or dozy from Toto. As someone suggested on Twitter, it was possibly both.

Styche nearly fell over laughing when he was allowed to chase a ball from what appeared to be a position 20 yards offside. Toto, who runs lazily and yet would beat me and you in a race hands down, looked like he’d just about recovered the situation, only for the ball to drift over McKeown and roll into the empty net.

Styche celebrated like he’d been getting abuse from the Town fans all game. I don’t get it when goalscorers run to the opposing fans cupping their ears. We weren’t giving you any shit because we don’t know who the fuck you are.

Using Glenn Hoddle’s theory of reincarnation, Town must have upset linesmen in a previous life because they’re sure as hell messing with us this season. The ‘goal’ at Altrincham; the ‘no goal’ at Guiseley; and now this. I don’t know what the green is, but we’re not getting the rub of it.

Town had chances, yadder, yadder, Shaun where’s-he-been-all-game Pearson came on too late, Macclesfield could’ve grabbed a couple more when Town went pushing for the equaliser… it was all a bit messy, a bit disjointed and, if I’m honest, not quite good enough.

As for Macclesfield, well, it’s hard to describe them. I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’ve settled on a bag of shit.

A big bag of shit, with the shiny head of Danny Whitaker at the centre of it.

They’re absolute cloggers – and there’s nothing wrong with that, if it gets you three points (it often does in this division). It was good enough to get the better of us, which is kind of worrying – but we did give them a big helping hand by being a bag of shit ourselves.

Nolan was good, though.






A bit of zip: Grimsby Town v Welling Utd match report

Action v Welling at Blundell Park from the PontoonThe Mariners were made to run around after a bag of wind, in the wind, up in Barrow on Tuesday night, which forced them to adjust their tactics – something they did well, especially in the absence of a recognised striker alongside top scorer and all round good egg Padraig Amond. Against Welling on Saturday, the cold November rain seemed to grease the typically lush Blundell Park pitch sufficiently to aid the sharp, crisp passing that opened up the opposition at will, particularly in the first half.

Grimsby won 3-1, as if you didn’t know, and it’s a scoreline that probably reflects the order of the game. After a bright opening five minutes the Mariners fell behind to a well worked Welling goal. Their response to this, rather refreshingly, was to forget it ever happened, and they continued to work the channels, turn defenders and keep the non-league welly to a premium.

I watched the Barrow highlights earlier in the week, and I was impressed with certain passages of play. There was some slick movement on show, and I’m glad to say it popped up in this match too.

Welling’s keeper, Tom King, copped it from the Pontoon fans after he celebrated his side’s early goal rather rigorously. When the equaliser went in – a clean volley from Nathan Arnold, following up Amond’s spooned effort – he was taunted by the Town fans. And after Conor Townsend’s intelligent and perfectly executed free kick put the Mariners in front, he got both barrels. Eight-year old boys made him come and collect the ball from their gang for goal kicks, which he didn’t enjoy one bit.

Bullied, by unofficial ball boys.

There was a certain zip about Town’s play. Arnold flashed a shot wide, Clay weaved away and saw his shot blocked, while Townsend – sensing King’s bad day – tried an audacious 40-yard lob direct from a free kick, which drifted a few feet over the bar.

Town pressed from the front. Alex Jones, making his first start on loan from Birmingham, looked lively, twisting and turning and slicing his one half chance wildly wide. Monkhouse flicked, Arnold tricked and Amond made a nuisance of himself. But at the break we all said it:

Town should be more than 2-1 up. I hope it doesn’t come back to bite us.

We played the second half like a team that didn’t know what to do when 2-1 up. Do we keep it going, do we calm it down, or do we sit on it for a bit? Do we see what Welling do? Well, Welling did bits and pieces, occasionally threatening without offloading. Their best spell of possession ended when George Porter blasted wide from 25 yards, having given up hope of ever getting into the Town box.

With a bit more belief, they could’ve got their equaliser. It was a travesty that they remained just one goal away from stealing two points off us, but then we’d hardly done much in the second half to warrant an extended lead.

We hoped for a third goal before we entered the final 10 minutes, but it didn’t arrive. Amond saw a header tipped over the bar, and from the resulting corner substitute Marcus Marshall swivelled eight yards out and shot straight into King’s midriff.

At the other end, Gowling gobbled up loose balls and Nsiala did some occasional sweeping, easing out any threats. Townsend was immaculate, Tait similarly so. Mackreth came on and did his drifting-to-the-corner-flag thing. A cross flashed wide, and on the one occasion he cut back in on his left, the door opened and his shot got blocked (and his follow-up was deflected wide).

After two of the three injury time minutes had elapsed, a strong block from Toto spun away to the left. Monkouse picked out the storming run of Clay, whose cushioned header fell into the path of the surging Amond. His poke slid past the onrushing keeper, and little Jack was on hand to help it over the line to complete the scoring.

Welling kicked off, and the referee called time. He was a decent ref, you know. Kept his cards in his pocket and let the game flow. Like Townsend, his intelligence would be more fitting higher up the leagues (on Saturday’s showing at least).

Welling weren’t great, but we’ve seen worse. They should have enough about them to stay up, comfortably – a squad of 47 players (including six goalkeepers) must help. They lacked a cutting edge in their forward line, but the table suggests they’re not bad at the back – which makes our first half performance all the more impressive.

Town don’t keep as many clean sheets as they used to, but we’re seeing far more goals at the other end. Another three today – and not one of them was from 16-goal Amond.

Our great run towards the end of last season began after we lost 1-0 at home to one of the most organised teams in the division, in Bristol Rovers. This season we’ve won three out of three since that dreary 1-0 defeat to Cheltenham.

Having beaten Eastleigh four times last season, we should be confident about our chances. But last season we had John-Lewis and Ollie Palmer, whose physicality up front played a huge part in the play-off wins. We beat them at their own game. I don’t think we have that physicality available to us this season, certainly not right now, so let’s keep it on the deck, let’s keep moving, and let’s see if that’s enough to maintain this winning sequence.