In two titanic Toolstation NCEL Division One clashes spanning October and December, Hallam and Grimsby Borough have entertained 288 spectators with eleven goals and deservedly sit fourth and third respectively in the table; yesterday, the Countrymen came out on top, winning by the odd goal in five at Sandygate – and a frustrated Wilderness Boys Manager, Daniel Barrett got pretty much to the point as he assessed his side’s display, writes Colin Muncie.
In front of another 200-plus crowd in S10, the home side led by a single goal at the break, thanks to on-song Sam Smith’s 26th-minute opener. Jack Debnam levelled for Grimsby immediately after the restart, but Micah Bishop capped a fine all-round display with goals after 66 and 85 minutes to put Hallam 3-1 ahead. Debnam scored again in added time to set up a nervy finale for the home side.
Daniel felt that his players got off a little lightly. “I think 3-2 flattered us today,” he admitted. “We should have probably lost by four or five – Scott Drury was fantastic for us. Hallam deserved the three points.”
“We didn’t perform again today and something has to change and fast,” Daniel warned. “Andy (Liddle, Joint Manager) and I have to look at that. It’s back to the drawing board for us – and we need to get these lads back on form.”
Across the half-way line, the mood was understandably much more upbeat. Hallam’s Joint Manager, Stephen Whitehead felt that the score line didn’t necessarily reflect the balance of play. “I thought the lads – collectively – were top drawer today,” Stephen told us, “and they had to be to get the result against Grimsby. If I’m being ultra-critical, we missed too many clear-cut chances which would have made it more comfortable. It was disappointing to concede in the first and last minute of the second half, which made the result look closer than it was, but I’m happy overall to get the three points.”
Joint Manager, Scott Bates reaffirmed his high regard for Grimsby Borough in the build up to the game. “I thought that we were very good in bad conditions,” he told TBG. “We were very good against a very good footballing side in Grimsby Borough. We should have had a few more goals in the first half rather than going in at the break just one-nil up. Grimsby came out of the traps in the second half and pulled level, but we showed great character to then claw our way back to get the points.”
“I’m really happy with the lads today – they deserve full credit.”
Assistant Manager, Dean Bamforth was delighted with the three points, but took time to remind us – quite rightly – of those less fortunate than ourselves, especially at Christmas. “I’m over the moon with the result,” Dean told TBG. “We had a game plan and they executed it nearly perfectly. We could’ve been out of sight at half time against the team I rate as the best in the League. I was disappointed with their second late on, but overall it was very pleasing. There’s a long way to go yet – but we’re in the mix.”
“I just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas – especially our Charity, the Children’s Hospital Charity in Sheffield, which I drive past on the way home. It’s very sobering.”
The Bootiful Game would like to wish Steve Basford, and the management, players, and brilliant volunteers at Hallam, and Daniel Barrett and all at Grimsby Borough a Merry Christmas.