Yesterday I blogged about Grimsby town’s record in 2014. If you missed it, you can read it here. It’s a grim tale of inconsistency and disappointment, but then we’re used to it all by now. The blog received a decent reaction on social media, with even some of the more pro-Hurst supporters not realising just how poor the record has been over such a sustained period of time. I’ll re-iterate what I said yesterday though, I’m not anti-Paul Hurst. I’m just fed up of the poor run we’ve been on and the consistent inconsistencies we’ve seen since New Year’s Day. I want to see us play well and win, regardless of who is the manager. Despite what I suspect Paul Hurst thinks (based on his post-match reaction on Saturday), I don’t think the sane and rational Town fans are using this as a personal witchhunt against him. The buck stops with him and we need someone to stand up and be counted, to take responsibility, that’s all. Continue reading
Since Dartford took the lead on Saturday, social media and Grimsby Town forums have been abuzz with statements and suggestions that Paul Hurst’s tenure as manager should come to an end. Hurst has had his critics for some time now, although it should be argued I think the majority have backed him until now. Although John-Lewis rescued a point for the Mariners, there’s certainly been a change in the general view. For the first time, it appears, the majority are getting restless. Paul Hurst and Rob Scott have faced calls for the sack on several occasions – just after Wembley in 2013 and then again at the end of last season. But this time it’s more vociferous than ever.
Two mediocre teams huffed and puffed until Dick Dastardly popped up and blew the Mariners’ house in. Let’s face it, Richard Brodie’s late winner was inevitable by half time. Town were beaten by a side that hadn’t scored in four matches and hadn’t won away from home in over 400 days. Worryingly, they were beaten by a team that simply wanted it more than we did. Southport were no great shakes, they simply worked hard, got in our faces and the men in black and white, bar Magnay and McKeown, simply couldn’t deal with it. Richard Brodie was arguably the best player on the pitch – he made more effort than several of Town’s attacking players combined. Richard Brodie wanted it more than our players did.
I’m not going to prattle on about what happened because it was a match to forget. Too many black and white shirts played as if they’d met in the car park before the game, strangers who seemed confused at their role and what their team mate might do next. The front two hovered and loitered but never moved far, Mackreth looked too scared to take on his man (until the last 15 minutes when, shock horror, he realised he was quicker than their full back) and Craig Clay played the game three minutes behind everyone else. I like Clay, he’s been great so far and proved every doubter wrong, but last night he was cumbersome and reckless with the ball. He typified Town’s lack of tempo and plodding style. I don’t want to single him out, he’s not to blame. They were all off colour last night, for whatever reason.
The Mariners have become frustratingly inconsistent, good points picked up on the road (Kidderminster, Halifax) mixed in with dismal home performances (Torquay, Dover, Southport, Nuneaton). At times we looked shapeless, like the players didn’t really know what the gameplan was. Was it a hoof down the middle (how many headers would Ross Hannah win against Clayton MacDonald, really?), was Scott Neilson left wing or in the hole, why did Jack Mackreth play so deep? We’re 13 games in, sat in mid-table and I’m beginning to lose confidence that we can match the teams at the top who, don’t get me wrong, will slip up at some point. Everyone beats everyone in this league, some people will say. And yes, they will. But if we lose 2 or 3 more games this season the likelihood is we can’t win the league (based on historical evidence). 2 or 3 more defeats and we’d concede the title in OCTOBER.
There were glaring tactical holes at the end of last season (the golden 20 goal a season striker being one) that haven’t been addressed. Town simply are not clinical enough. They need 10 chances to score once or twice (Chester should have been 6 or 7 nil really), or once in a blue moon there’s a hot streak where everything they hit goes in (Gateshead, Alfreton). Pittman and Arnold’s injuries are unfortunate and who knows where we’d be with them fit. But they’re not. And we lack serious options for a plan B as last night showed.
I left Blundell Park last night seriously wondering whether we have the fight and desire to be champions. Do we have the leaders, the men even, to grind out results in games like last night? Luton didn’t play well in every game last season, but they still managed to pick up points. They didn’t throw games away like we seem to do. On paper, we have a good team. We’ve made some good signings and we have good individual players. But it’s not coming together. October is a HUGE month with some big games. People will be playing or managing for their futures over the course of the next 31 days, that’s for sure.
Grimsby Town won’t be promoted this season if history is anything to go by. No team that’s completed 10 matches without winning four games has gone up as Champions in the Conference – and Town’s draw at Halifax means they’ve only managed to gain maximum points on three occasions. Of course records are made to be broken and there’s still a long way to go, but this will now have to be a record breaking season if the Mariners are to reach the Holy Grail of promotion back into the Football League. Continue reading
One step forward, two steps back. If Gateshead and Alfreton showcased an attacking Grimsby Town, a team that got in people’s faces and dictated the tempo of the match, this was the complete opposite. It was slow, turgid, sloppy…everything the previous couple of home performances wasn’t. Players made costly mistakes, chances were missed and two potentially serious injuries were picked up leaving Ross Hannah as the only fit forward left. It also once again highlights the fact Paul Hurst spends too much time worrying about other sides’ tactics than his own, which continues to be baffling. Continue reading