Winter is coming, most definitely, if the weather at Grimsby is anything to go by with the teams facing heavy rain and strong gusts of wind through the 90 minutes at Blundell Park on Saturday afternoon.
But, as you’d expect, manager Chris Beech refused to use it as an excuse for a performance he felt was slightly below par, despite his team taking a creditable share of the spoils.
“It was a horrible day, I agree, but we had to do that a lot last season,” he said. “We hit a storm every Saturday on many occasions.
“I think to get another point on the board is tremendous, it really is. Having said that, we’re not getting greedy, but we feel we deserve more points than the tally we’ve had, just because of our performances.
“We didn’t quite hit the same heights on Saturday for many different reasons, not necessarily just the weather. In the last 25 minutes it suited us more, there was more space, and the lads got used to the conditions.
“There were less mistakes from us, and more definite passes to Gime Toure, who was getting the other side of his man and taking people on.
“Jon Mellish was making runs, we had the long throw, half-shots, but never had the clear cut ‘there you go’, and when it did come, JJ took it off the toe of Gavin Reilly. That’s the type of day it was.”
There were periods of the game once again where the ball spent a lot of time in the Grimsby box, and the manager admitted that he was just waiting for the net to bulge.
“In the first 20 minutes I felt like running on and heading it in because it was there to be scored,” he told us. “We got the first contact but didn’t have the aggression on the second contact.
“We’ve had that even in games we’ve lost – Fleetwood, Cambridge – but in this one we didn’t have it in us to say ‘go on then’ and stick the ball in the net.
“The thing I was really pleased with at the other end was that in the physicality of a battle, when Grimsby did get down the sides, Rod and Aaron did very well in dealing with the one against ones.
“They used their bodies and arms, but not being ill-disciplined and giving penalties away, and things like that. They saw it off, got a goal kick out of situations, made the attackers turn around and come back out which allows you to squeeze out and stop the cross. They did that really well.”
“Overall it was just a grind for both teams,” he added. “I’ve played in a lot of games like this in the old days where we were average, or worse than average, but we still won.
“On the other hand you can just as easily get beat. That’s the kind of game it was. As the game opened up in the last 25 minutes we got into our flow, Gime Toure started to take players on, JJ started to get hold of the ball inside the box, and the half chances started to come.
“I felt like we were going to score, but we just weren’t quite right and if we’re grading our games, this will be eighth on the list of eight in terms of performance.
“Both teams struggled to keep the ball for more than six passes, if we’re honest, and that’s why it became that lower league slog that we saw.”
The point, of course, saw the lads take their unbeaten run to five games.
“It’s good that we’ve got this little run going,” he agreed. “We’re probably more disappointed not to have taken the three points at Oldham, because we can’t feel that we deserved a win as much here.
“We’re ambitious in what we’re trying to achieve, we don’t know what we’ll achieve, but we won’t achieve too much if we don’t keep our standards high. We’ve been good in recent fixtures and we need to get back to that.
“But we kept it going against a good manager and a resolute team. Ian Holloway is a fox, isn’t he. He knows what he’s doing. He saw Nick Anderton get booked and he brings on a winger to get at him, in the right way, which is just good management.
“They look to play out from the back but I felt that if we had a little bit more about us we could have gone on to win it. We were in their half a lot, but we didn’t test the keeper enough. We weren’t ruthless enough, and that’s frustrating because the dressing room has felt very energised.
“We carried that into the first part of the game but, like I say, it diminished and it became more of a slog.”
And on new arrival Micah Obiero travelling with the squad on Saturday, he said: “He trained Thursday and Friday, looked a lot better on Friday, but we’re keeping some good players out of the team at the moment with the way the starters are playing.
“That’s why those who have the shirt need to continue with those standards. Micah, along with everyone else, has to earn the right to play in this team. He knows himself he was quite a long way off looking like being involved on Thursday, but he was much better on Friday.
“He’s had the two sessions and he’s been with us at Grimsby to see what happens on a match day. A lot was thrown at him on deadline day so it can be a tough for a young man. He looked sharp so we’ll see where we go with him.”
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