No fairy tales needed here though…
Anyway, the sour taste that Chesterfield left in our collective mouths thankfully got washed out with Haydon the Womble 1 Harry the Haddock 0.
In a game that admittedly felt a bit, well, odd…
Whether it was the 12h30 start time, the gloomy weather, the weirdness that having a World Cup at this time of year has brought in, I don’t know.
And you know what? I don’t really care, either.
What is it now – seven league games without losing? You would have snapped ligaments off for anything half that run in recent years.
Not that it was a particularly great start, it has to be said. We obviously forgot it was a half-twelve kickoff.
Add to that Grimsby looking quite potent up front, and them thankfully having their goal disallowed, and it was setting up to be a very long afternoon.
Presumably somebody on the bench reminded the players the game had started, because we did finally get going.
Not spectacularly, but we did pass it about better than we had done. Although that wasn’t too difficult…
I missed their player getting injured, and it must have been nasty as it was a genuine surprise to hear the injury time board being announced while on the south stand concourse.
I wasn’t the only one who briefly lost all sense of time, put it that way.
It didn’t seem to do Grimsby much good either, as we came out a lot better after the interval.
And maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise that we went ahead. We were certainly looking threatening.
Chislett is one of those type of players who you miss when he’s not around, and his sliding goal was a moment of beauty.
Not quite as beautiful as Harry Pell’s attempt to get their goalkeeper sent off soon afterwards, it had to be said…
Seriously – we love the shithousery version of AFCW, it’s partly why we’re doing much better in the league, but that was a bit embarrassing.
Thinking about the melee afterwards, we might have seen a situation where one of our players ends up getting sent off.
This is the negative side of our newly found gamesmanship – you have to know when to cool it a bit because it can backfire.
Their goalie was definitely pissed off, especially with somebody in the crowd who he kept pointing at.
And a better team than Grimsby might have used it as motivation against us.
Still, with a couple of cameos by Jack Currie saving the day late on, it ended up being one of those satisfying wins.
OK, most wins are exactly that, but we weren’t at our best yet had enough about us to see it through.
I could get used to that.
Oh, and Kyle Hudlin came on. Where his most notable contribution was to get offside from our free kick.
As the bloke behind me said, it’s like watching a baby camel.
Helpfully, as I was typing this, JJ’s post game comments appeared on t’internet. Even though he’s started to do Ardley’s “listen” at the beginning of each reply.
It was interesting he mentioned the spirit, as the post-game reaction of the players hints they’re in a good place right now.
Seeing Pell jump on one of our players, and Currie’s fist-pumping gesticulations to the crowd, says more about us now.
Where will it take us? Who knows, but it could be fun finding out…
Plus points: We won. Clean sheet. Chislett’s goal. Currie. Responding to last week.
Minus points: First half hour was shit. Only one goal. Lousy kickoff time.
The referee’s a…: Wasn’t fooled by Pell’s dying swan act, and did well not to get carried away in the “discussions” afterwards.
Other than that, he wasn’t great. At least he allowed our goal, and not flagged us up for putting a foot into play during the throw-in.
Them: Started off well, could have gone ahead then faded for some reason.
I didn’t know that Brendan “Barcelona” Kiernan was slumming it up in Cleethorpes, but he did remind us why he’s no longer our player.
Guess they’re still trying to find a pen at the Nou Camp to sign his contract.
Like so much of L2 they’re much of a muchness, and I suppose in the cool light of day they weren’t really threatening.
Still, it was a very good turnout from them, 1071 to be precise, especially given the awful kickoff time.
None of them are particularly fans of Harry Pell, it seems. And that’s before he went hunting for worms on the ground.
Obviously, Grimsby at Plough Lane is best known for Harry the Haddock, but was this the first game where “Sing when you’re fishing” was sung..?
Point to ponder: Will our “experienced” defenders be able to get back into the side?
Lee Brown is still crocked, Pearce hasn’t been able to become a starter, and Gunter obviously overcame jetlag to be on the bench today.
When you consider Kalambayi, Tyler, Biler and Currie are effectively second choice, it’s still difficult to justify dropping any of them.
Especially when they’ve managed more clean sheets than any AFCW defence in a good while.
In Gunter’s case, he’s only here until the end of this season and he may well call it a day now he’s played 0 minutes in the World Cup.
Pearce made appearances but probably didn’t expect to play second fiddle to the youngsters.
Brown seems to have a lengthy injury, but again – do we miss him?
No doubt they’ll force their way back into the starting XI at some point, due to injury/form/us selling players.
But it’s a good sign that our own products are able to start games and not look out of place.
Even more of a good sign when you look at who they’re keeping out…
Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) The cherry picker behind the away end in the second half. Is Danny Macklin already finding new ways of getting people to watch the game? 2) Only one turnstile operating for the south stand on Greyhound Parade. Doesn’t sound like it’s a recent thing either.
Anything else? This week, we announced our new Head of Football Operations, one Craig Cope.
A few seem to find his appointment a bit underwhelming, considering his background, although Solihull Moors aren’t doing too badly in the National League.
Obviously, we hope he does well and like JJ grows into the role.
It’s something that’s been talked about for quite a while, and I suppose we tried something a bit similar last season**.
** – I haven’t listened to it, but there’s an interview with Ollie Palmer from this week about how much we fucked up our transfers last campaign.
Put it this way – no matter how bad you thought 2021/22 was, it only manages to get worse.
Then again, Cope sounds more like an actual HOFO rather than some bookie who gets his knowledge from a cracked copy of Football Manager.
It’s another step towards looking like an actual professional football club though, and that’s only to be welcomed.
Jackson himself is only in his first twelve months as a first XI manager, and it’s easy to forget he’s still a relative rookie.
Cope isn’t taking over until January 9th, so he steps into the chair when we’re in the middle of a transfer window.
A window that, as JJ said before today’s game, we’ll be looking to strengthen in.
One suspects we’ll try and add to what we’ve got up front. Hudlin manages to impress less and less with each appearance, and we’ve got a better striker on loan at Dundee right now.
Only JJ and co will know who exactly they have in mind, but one presumes there’ll be a plan going forward.
And if there is, it will be one helluva contrast to the last few years…
So, was it worth it? Why, I would say so.
In a nutshell: Here, fishy fishy.