Coq au vin

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

7 December 2004

Grimsby Town 3 Notts County 2

Still, chill, pleasant evening, around 200 Countyians murmuring in the Osmond stand. The Mighty Mariner's pulled; two little chicks all of a flutter. What crowd? This crowd: everyone arrived late.

Urgh, 4-4-2 again. No Jones! Williams, McDermott, Whittle. Forbes, Bull, Crowe, Fleming, Pinault, Gordon, Cramb and Parkinson. Substitutes were Coldicott, Reddy, Sestanovich, Jones and Hockless. Four full-backs good; two wingers bad?

No Town hug, County huddle. They wear Babycham Blue. They look tall.

Dish of the day : l'escargot aux grenouilles with garlic butter. That's easy for you to say. Coq au vin. That's easier for you to cook.

First half
Town kicked off towards Osmond stand. Pass left, pass right, sideways, upways, downways, alongways, ways and means, ways to win? Two minutes tick by, Macca fouled. First stop in play, not even a throw-in. Weird.

Ah, sumptuousness and simplicity, Jane Austen's unfinished novel. One touch, two touches, pass, move, Pinault flicking, Parky rolling, Cramb stroking Crowe free down the right. To the bye-line, back, Cramb, first time, thwack, ooof. Ball hits keeper, no royals involved. Parky wriggle, Parky shot, keep your socks on, keeper unruffled.

Six minutes gone, Bull intercepts and roams down the left. To Gordon, a scuffly flick with the outside of his boot and the ball dribbled slowly, slowly towards the corner of the County penalty area. Bull ambles, Baudet agonises over his choice of cardigan. A mis-hit backpass, Bull sliding, the ball in the net. We laugh, we happy, we happy few.

A County shot! Wide, handsomely wide.

Not much going on baby.

Wake up Town! Crowe trots back, winger waddles on, ball played up their left, Town stretched. Eh up, what's this? A floaty floater floated floatily from left to right. Pipe free, Bull and Gordon dozing, crossed, cleared, no danger. Danger! Oakes traduced the ball forward from about eight miles out. The ball wobbled to Williams' left, then dropped to his right. Right over the flapper and into the net. Advice offered to keeper, not taken. "We want Lehmann on."

Dive! Dive! Dive! Enemy planes at eight o'clock. Corner, corner, corner, off the line, through the line, away from near the line, bodies flung, hearts strung, grumble, mumble, not so humble pies thrown at Town. Panic, fury, furious panic. Terrible.

Fifteen minutes of nothingness, Town had their 15 minutes of blame. Route one nonsense, route one to oblivion central. Stop it, pass it, move on.

The bad dream was over, football returned. Passing down the left, through the centre, Cramb turned and Crowe was free down the right. Running on, running on, from the halfway line, to the area, into the area, drifting wide, drifting wider, shooting, rolling the ball against the keeper's legs. Town, Town, Town: surging, sweeping, swishing, crushing. Corners, crosses, blocks, hacks. County sinking. Gordon crossing low, Parky pokes onto the post. More crosses cleared, shot! Handball! Shot again, another handball! Ricocheting across the area, Gordon free, ball bouncing, keeper plunging, Deano lifto the ballo overo. Crowe, wiggling his hips, past three, into the area, blasting over. Seagulls winged in Market Square.

Scoreboard stuck.

Ah, more old-style Town, County ripped on the right, ball pulled back the from bye-line, purring Pinault prangs the ball against the post; throw-in to County.

Could have been six, should have been three, was only one. Not great; adequate.

Stu's half-time toilet talk
"Indolence is art."
"Who needs verbs when you have emotion?"
"Where's the toilet roll?"

Second half
No changes at half time. On with the show

County slashing Town, pace, power, pathetic shot. Over the hills and far, far away. Sort it Sladey!

Flickery and trickery down the right. A Pinault scoop, a loopy Macca cross, a Gordon header blocked. Some sabre dancing in the area as limbs were locked, the ball rolling towards Parkinson near the penalty spot. Pipe dived, blocked and watched as the ball wriggled like a dying worm towards the bottom left hand corner... and in. Let's party.

Oh, close. Cramb crossed, Gordon stooped and headed quite wide. Teenagers happy - "Deano". Town broke, Macca raiding, crossed, cleared, Gordon floozied the ball goalwards from 25 yards. Henderson tipped the ball aside. Nice. Teenagers happier still.

Time ticking, what's happening? Was I asleep? Babycham battling down at the Osmond. All limbs and leg-ups, their big Gordon flicking anything that passed his way. Shots, call them shots? Higher than a speeding horse, wider than a tumbling woodpecker. Will the scoreboard survive the pounding?

County substitutions. They brought players on and took some off, who was watching, who cared?

Care. Twenty minutes left, Town steamrolled. Corner, corner, corner, corner, corner. Thighed off the line, skimmed clear, glanced clear, headed wide, headed goalwards, off the line, out, the wrong Gordon hooked the ball under Fleming, through some stray Christmas shoppers and in.

A minute later, Gordon out of position, right winger crossed, Hurst nodded, ball in net. Flag up, offside, County joy ended, they thought they had scored. They were not correct. Off came Cramb and Bull, on came Reddy and Sestanovich. 3-4-3, Town flowed, Town poured, they passed again. County torn. Town defended. Better.

Reddy fouled. Well, Reddy fell. Free kick, on the right corner of the area. Pinault seduced, Whittle stooped, glanced and rolled as the ball trundled into the bottom right corner. County whacked long, Town held on, what chances? None. Town broke, Parky wasted, Sestanovich slapped wide. In the corners, Sestanovich showing off on the edge of the Town area. Peep, peep, yeah. A win.

I'm going out now. I may be some time.

Nicko's man of the match
Two men to shower with flowers. Pinault the terrier, the pinnacle of calm. No, this time, more than any other time this time, it's Justin Whittle for a big bruising battle and a goal.

Official warning
Mr A Penn was noticeable only for his refusal to book, which is hardly the most heinous crime. Extremely OK, 7.231. Sleep well.