Being economical with the truth

For the first time ever, I think, Grimsby Town’s transfer activity on deadline day stopped me from going to bed at a sensible hour. I actually went to sleep believing that Omar Bogle was still our player, but woke up this morning to find he is not. Continue reading

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Match report: Tactics from the Steven Age

I’m embarrassed to think I spent more than one minute of last week looking forward to that utter shambles of a performance at Stevenage.

It was a performance completely fitting of our dreary and uninspiring third kit, which is as grey and as bland as what I saw of Stevenage between its train station and the football ground. Continue reading

If Fantasy Football points applied to Grimsby Town players: September

Padraig Amond in action for GrimsbyGrimsby Town might not be where we’d like them to be in the league table, so console yourself with a different type of league table – a table where players earn points based on the Fantasy Premier League system. Omar Bogle led the way at the end of August – who was top of the pile at the end of September?

It was an undefeated month for the Mariners. There were three draws and three wins, and at the 12th time of asking we finally kept a clean sheet, which gave the defenders some much needed points. Here’s how the table’s shaping up:

Top 10 best performing players as of the end of September 2015With seven goals to his name perhaps it’s no surprise to see Bogle remaining out in front. There’s been a bit of jostling behind him, with Nathan Arnold creeping into second and Monkhouse slipping down to fourth. East has impressed and jumps to fifth.

Despite losing his place to loan signing Matt Robinson, Clay remains in a good position. Although the clean sheets at Wrexham and Southport were good news for Pearson and Gowling, they weren’t enough to help them into the Top 10.

Here’s what the table looks like based on points per game:

Top 10 players for September 2015 based on points per gameThis version of the table reflects well on Robertson, who pushes his way into fifth, while Amond overtakes Arnold into second. Pittman pokes his head in.

But whichever way you look at it, Bogle’s the man… which makes you wonder why he was dropped for the start of October. The very same could be said of Amond, who only started three matches in September and scored in two of them to underline both his contribution and importance to the team.

If you want to know where Tomlinson is, well, with four points from three games, and an average of 1.33 points per game, he’s all the way down in 18th. Only Josh Venney is beneath him.

There are six games in October (three have already been played). I’ll be back in November to bring you next month’s update – and I plan to do it before Football Manager 2016 is released, because if I start playing it I’ll never find the time to blog.

Also, don’t forget to order your copy of We are Town from the Mariners Trust website. There’s going to be a great launch event for it at McMenemy’s on Friday 13th November, so please make that if you can!

If Fantasy Football points applied to Grimsby Town players: August

Omar Bogle in actionLast season I used the Fantasy Premier League point scoring-system to measure the contribution each Grimsby Town player made over the course of 2014/15 and it finished in a tie, with both Shaun Pearson and Lenell John Lewis recording 193 points. Well, I’ve decided to do it again this season, and here’s how the table looks at the end of August:

1 August 1516
With three goals in his first two games, Monkhouse led the way at the start, but five goals in seven matches lifted Omar Bogle to the top, with Amond just behind. Given our inability to keep clean sheets, perhaps it’s no surprise to see the attacking players dominating the top five places.

If you want to look at the table in a different way, here’s how it looks on a points-per-game basis:

2 August 1516
To give you some sense of perspective, Ollie Palmer scored 52 points in 11 games at the end of last season, giving him an average of 4.73 points per game. John-Lewis averaged 4.10 while Pearson managed 3.95, so that’s an impressive start by Bogle.

When the defence improves we might begin to see the likes of Gowling and last season’s winner Pearson move up from their respective positions of 13th and 14th, but right now they already face an uphill struggle to catch our four best players, who have just started to create a gap between them and the rest.

I’ll be posting monthly updates, and since we’re well into September you won’t be waiting too long before next month’s tables.

The Guessing Game: Altrincham v Grimsby match report

Freeze frame of goal line incidentIf Hurst said ‘play like you played in pre-season for about 10 minutes before half time, then for as long as it takes you to concede a sloppy winner in the second half, and be totally average for all other times’, then the players carried out his instructions to the absolute letter.

I wasn’t going to go, but a combination of being able to help out @psgmariner in Leeds and a little bit of encouragement by my Twitter friend @mrjpbarwick – who assured me that there would be no roadworks and no traffic along a stretch of motorway renowned for its roadworks and traffic, particularly at rush hour – I headed to Altrincham to make sure I didn’t miss us lose our first away game in ruddy ages.

Altrincham is a nice place, with big houses and tree lined avenues. The fact that a non-league ground is plonked in amongst it is rather quaint. We were made to feel very welcome – apart from the Altrincham substitutes, who took it in turns to systematically hit as many Town fans in the face with their wayward warm-up shops. Three more were skied out of the ground, and as skilful as James Lawrie was for the Robins, he alone was responsible for losing three more balls in the second half.

Hurst must have pondered tinkering, but tinker he didn’t. The same kids that bullied the new boys from Barrow and Bromley were given a chance to turn out the pockets of these Alty players for their dinner money, but outrageously they didn’t let that happen.

Altrincham can pass alright. They kept possession well at times, but they were about as cutting and incisive as I would be trying to hack through a plank of wood with a tea strainer. They were much more effective when they lumped it to their lumpy nuisance up front. Michael Rankine, who made three appearances for the Mariners let’s not forget (actually, let’s do forget – I’m sure most of you have anyway) was their John-Lewis. He tussled and tangled with Toto non-stop for 90 minutes.

Let’s be honest about this: I was stood in precisely the worst part of the ground to make a call on Altrincham’s opener. If the linesman was honest, he’d have kept his stupid flag down. He didn’t, and so he copped it for the rest of the match from the Town fans, who assured him that they would stick his fluorescent yellow flag up his arse at a 90 degree angle to the way he might have imagined it going up.

Meanwhile Bogle appeared more irritated by himself than any of the officials, but he got his reward late in the first half by tucking the ball past Alty’s keeper Stuart Coburn – who had earlier explained to a Town fan (presumably giving him an earful about his baldness) that he wasn’t the one who awarded the Robins a controversial opener. The Mariners pressed a bit more, buoyed by an away following of over 800 that were firmly back onside (unlike Bogle and Amond), and then the referee blew for half time.

We had about three good chances to take the lead when the second half began, but none of them were converted. At this stage there was no doubt who was in charge. Town. We’re in control of our own destiny. Bogle was going to hit the post with a great free kick, and then we were going to take a little breather. We were going to let Alty clip a ball to the far post which McKeown, under no pressure whatsoever, was going to palm back into play for George Bowerman to score. (He was credited with their first goal, by the way, but if the linesman was as eagle-eyed as he reckons he was, he’d have noticed that the ball actually came back off Nsiala, and if it did go over the line, which it didn’t, McKeown was the one who dragged it over – so credit one of those two with an own goal and not Bowerman.)

Hurst shouted ‘Plan B!’ but none of the players had actually been briefed on what Plan B was. Taking a leaf out of the lino’s book, they guessed. They assumed, incorrectly, that Bogle must really be John-Lewis, and began launching high balls towards him. Alty’s centre backs Scott Leather and Tom Marshall drank them up all night long – until Marshall’s nasty injury. Monkhouse had lost his aerial mojo and was substituted for Mackreth, who made his customary beeline for the corner flag every time he received the ball, figuring that left foots are a total waste of his and everyone’s time.

The rest of the match left you feeling as frustrated as using a Windows 8 laptop. Altrincham weren’t sure how to score, let alone win a match, so it was nice of us to show them how with our new found generosity at the back. And with that, naturally, we introduced our most consistent and accomplished defender of the past four years to play up front as an emergency striker for whatever time was remaining. With little effect.

In his efforts to be unerringly consistent, the referee only achieved the kind of inconsistency and general shitness that tends to plague these footballing depths. At least he was trying to make decisions on what he saw – unlike the linesman, who just resorted to pure guesswork.

To complete a fairly miserable night I got stuck in a massive traffic jam on the M62 somewhere near the twinkling lights of Brighouse (no one’s ever made that town sound so dreamy before) and got home way too late for my liking – but at least @mrjpbarwick was man enough to apologise for his ‘M62 and light traffic promises’. You never know what you’re going to see at a football match, Jim – that’s why we go. It’s in the lap of the footballing gods – who, evidently, are still pissed off with us for some reason.

At least we saw another good sunset.

Sunset at Altrincham's Moss Road ground