So when the dust settled on events at the Bradley Football Development Centre last night, Grimsby Borough had advanced to the “winner takes all” Toolstation NCEL Play Off Final against Eccleshill United on Saturday afternoon after a 3-0 home win over Glasshoughton Welfare in the semi-final-and by general consensus it was a night where one side took their chances and the other didn’t, writes Colin Muncie.
The Wilderness Boys were two up at the break through Luke Mascall’s double (5 mins and 24 ) in front of the 143 crowd at Bradley Road-and with Glassy pushing to get back into the game, Calum Lovett clinched Borough’s place in the final with a third six minutes from time.
Borough’s Joint Manager Daniel Barrett was delighted to advance to the Final, which he felt reflected, his side’s regular-season third-place finish. He told the Bootiful Game “Obviously, we’re very happy with tonight’s result. I think we deserved it. It was a better performance and the lads executed the game plan well. We go into Saturday on the back of a clean sheet also- which is always good. I am sure Saturday will be a very tough game for both teams and a really good advert for the two teams who rightfully deserve to be there”
Joint Manager Nathan Collins agreed “It was a very professional performance tonight against a very good side. We need to rest up now and finish the job on Saturday.”
Glasshoughton Joint Manager Lee Vigars felt that the scoreline didn’t do justice to his side’s display, bemoaning a couple of crucial defensive moments and a host of missed chances.” I’m Gutted with the result tonight as it’s not a true reflection of the game” lee told the Bootiful Game “We set up to frustrate Grimsby and for the majority of the first half we accomplished that; just two terrible errors on our part has let them in. We probably still had the better chances in the opening 45 minutes but we failed to take them”
Lee told his players at the interval that that next goal would be crucial “We still felt very confident at the break that if we could find the next goal we could go on and win the game. It speaks volumes when the home keeper has picked up the Man of the Match award as his numerous saves have won them the tie. Were we guilty of missing chances – yes? But credit to the Grimsby keeper who’s second half performance was simply outstanding”.
Lee pointed out one or two of the games crucial moments. “Our boys threw everything at the hosts and it was wave after wave of pressure and chances, but we just couldn’t convert” he explained “Conor Glavin had his free kick superbly saved at full stretch, Tom Carr had his effort clawed away, Adam Walsh’s header flew inches wide, Andy Horbury and James Dyson were both denied when going clear one on one, Dyson missed an easy header from 6 yards – the list goes on “.
Typically, Lee had kind words for the Finalists “It is a bitter pill to swallow and the lads were extremely disappointed in the changing rooms afterwards -but credit to Grimsby, they were clinical when it mattered and we wish them all the very best in the Final on Saturday”.
Glassy’s Joint Manager Darren Holmes reflected on a fine campaign which didn’t look great after a 4-0 defeat at Grimsby back in October. He told the Bootiful Game “Obviously we’re very disappointed about the result but very proud of the lads for their efforts this season. Everyone wrote us off at the start and it’s been an awesome turn round.”R
Darren’s assessment of events followed similar lines to Lee’s “Regarding the Grimsby game we went with a game plan and stuck to it. Unfortunately giving away two sloppy goals that we should have- collectively- defended better made it an uphill battle for us. We created by far the better chances and on another day could have pinched the result. Their goalkeeper made some key saves in the second half at the right times. If we could have got one goal back it could have been so different”.
“Goals win games and credit to Grimsby they took their chances. We wish them all the best in the final”
“.We look forward to preseason and we’ll be stronger for our experiences this season”.
Glasshoughton’s Connor Rollinson felt that those two first half lapses in concentration were pivotal in the tie. He told us “On last night’s game I thought we played better than the 3-0 result suggests. The plan was to prevent Grimsby from playing from the back – as we know they like to pass it around. So I thought we restricted them to the long ball, which for most of the night we dealt with. But two mistakes and switching off has cost us -and when you play a top side you can’t afford to do that. In the second half I thought that we started the brighter and if we scored any of the three golden chances when it was still 2-0 it could have been a different game”..
Connor looked back with great pride on a marvellous campaign, and feels that Glasshoughton have the squad to go one better next term. “As for the season as a whole we’ve been magnificent” he said “We were four points above relegation prior to playing Rossington away where we won 5-4 and I think that was the turning point. It’s a strange feeling playing for this side because I never feel like we will lose (although we did yesterday); the trust and belief is there and I think If we don’t split this group up and keep the nucleus, we have a good side.
“We finished eight points below Grimsby and we’re not the pretty footballers or the big earners –we’re grafters and play as a team, and that shows you how far you can go”.
The Bootiful Game would like to thank Lee, Darren, Connor and everyone at Glasshoughton Welfare for their fine contributions during the season.
We’ll see the Wilderness Boys at Saturday’s Final.