Sat 26 March 2016, Grimsby Borough v AFC Emley (NCEL D1)


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Match Details: Grimsby Borough 1 – 1 AFC Emley (NCEL Division One)

Goalscorers: [Grimsby] Renzie Lobendhan (90+); [Emley] Steve Cooper OG (71)

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Location: Bradley Road Community Stadium / Football Development Centre, Grimsby, .
Admission: £4 (Programme £1)
Attendance: 85
Ground Overview: The complex is a good 30-40 mins walk from Grimsby Town rail station if coming by train (buses runs every 5 mins though to the roundabout at the end of Bradley Road), otherwise there is ample parking at the ground for drivers. Originally the Bradley Community Stadium and now know as the Football Development Centre instead, the site is currently home to both Grimsby Borough and Cleethorpes Town, who share what has been designed as a community resource. My tour guide for the afternoon told me that before its redevelopment a decade or so back, t’was all just pitches marked out on fields here, so the work included enclosing and railing a pitch, installation of two stands, and the building of a clubhouse / changing rooms, as well as installation of an adjoining all-weather pitch as well. It seems like it gets well used by a variety of local teams, also including the ladies side which Grimsby Borough now run.

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Match Report: The mighty mix of wind and rain that was ‘Storm Katie’ hit the region in the usual timely Bank Holiday manner on Good Friday afternoon. The rain wasn’t too bad, but the wind blew a continuous gust across the game which made silky football all-but-impossible to play. To wit, dead balls began moving; good passes became throw-ins; and anything much over head height was destined to sail out of play over the dugout side, as the players fought a losing battle against the elements. As an aside, why do the Met office always seem to pick women’s names when warning of the likelihood of a sudden occurrence of havoc and destruction? (Rhetorical question, natch!)

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Today’s game pitted promotion-chasing AFC Emley versus relegation-threatened Grimsby Borough. Whether it was the weather I dunno either, but there certainly wasn’t much at all between the two sides today. Emley were considerably below par (or maybe they were sublime but for the wind making most things wayward) and an uneventful first half saw perhaps the only real chance (a close range shot  from Emley’s Ash Flynn) expertly saved by Scott Drury in the Grimsby goal.

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That the only winner thus far was the wind, was confirmed by the increased proportion of the crowd who opted to watch the start of second half through the clubhouse windows, rather than venture back outside. Things improved slightly on the pitch though, and midway through the second period, the visitors managed to snatch the lead, albeit fortuitously. Ruben Jerome skipped down the right, sent over a cross towards Ash Flynn, which Boro’s intercepting Steve Cooper could only manage a to slice goalwards, and it promptly whizzed past the keeper from all of seven or eight yards out. Emley would then fancy their chances of holding out for a slender victory, but reckoned without the intervention of a force even more powerful than galeforce Katie.
If ever a player was aptly named for providing a lob at the end, Renzie Lobendhan would be that man. So perhaps Boro’s managerial duo knew what it would take to match the gods this afternoon when sending him on as a second-half substitute. Deep into stoppage time, there was really nothing on when ‘the Lob’ (as I am now referring to him as) picked up the ball only just inside the opposition half. He then unleashed an almighty meteorite of his own, which would need to be inch perfect to be anything other than the last kick of the game. Against the odds, at the last minute came the realisation from all around that it appeared to be sailing over the Emley keeper’s head yet maybe low enough to stay in play. Emley’s number 1 Adam Lawlor I think managed to get a fingertip on the shot, which then hit the underside of the bar and bounced round about the goal line. From my vantage point back near the halfway line, it looked like it had maybe crossed the line, but then when the keeper caught the ball as it dropped back down again, I’d assumed he’d managed to save it. However, the officials gave a goal, and Boro’s hi-tech 100% accurate goal-line technology (i.e. one of their fans who was stood just behind the goal) confirmed in as unbiased terms as possible that the goal was “good”. Definition of a wonder goal: “I wonder if I can score from this far out?” “I wonder whether it’s in or not?” It was.
Mayhem ensued, as the ref immediately blew for full-time and the home side piled on ’the Lob’ in front of their dugout, and formed a human pyramid which though technically wouldn’t win any cheerleader awards, seemed entirely fitting to celebrate what must surely have been the home club’s ‘Goal Of The Season’ winner.
Later that evening, England won 3-2 in Germany and people gushed over Kane’s Cruyff turn, Vardy’s disguised backheeler, and Dier’s headed piledriver. If only they could have witnessed Lobendhan’s lob from so far out he was practically in the car park, then, and only then, could they have justifiably claimed to have seen the highlight of the day. His profile on the club website currently has the tagline: “more fines than minutes on the pitch.” Surely he now deserves a Get-out-of-jail-free card, and a re-write?

Full Photo-Album at:

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