Give us bubblewrap

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

21 October 2013

Why so few? Has there been an outbreak of vitus gerulaitus down near Stroud? I counted 15 of them in and 15 out. The Gloucestershire Old Sports have fewer followers than Wolfie Smith. Power to the people. Yeah, right on.

A bright, breezy, muggy day in the home of moan with the home stands thronged with the literati and glitterati of showbiz. Who's that girl with clumsy boots and peekaboo roots that people think so dashing? It's time to stand and deliver a decent game.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation (subject to contract) as follows: McKeown, Hatton, Pearson, Doig, Thomas, Colbeck, Kerr, Disley, Rodman, Cook, Hannah. The substitutes were McDonald, Neilson, Jones the hairstyle, McLaughlin and Hearn. You can only guess at the pools of sorrow and waves of joy that drifted through the empty ground at that team. Two old diddymen with wingless blunders beside them. No pace, no height, no strength, no-no-no-no limit to the mundanity in the muddling middle.

Forest Green were big, clad top to toe in that lurid lime monstrosity of a kit and had Russell, the fading silent scream star, in a fetching luminous orange outfit. Losers on a losing streak. They'll be Big Friendly Giant Rovers then.

Think llamas in pyjamas and you'll be instantly calmer. Or you could go to the farmers' market in Caistor. Let's get the end of the pier show on the road, right here, right now.

First half: The light at the end of the tunnel (is the light of an oncoming train)

The BFGR kicked off towards the Pontoon by going backwards to Christmas. Straight back to Russell, straight up in the air towards Wright, the wrong stuff up front. So what have we learned from the glut of Grim memories hitting bookstores near you? John Fenty isn't the chairman, but is a man obsessed with chairs.

Sorry, what? Oh, it's just another throw-in. Don't worry, you've missed nothing, unlike Andy Cook, who missed everything, including his tea. You could use the phrase 'balletic mid-air tumbling and stumbling'to conjure up a synaptic simulation of the Cookie Monster's contribution to this world of sport. But I don't have Dickie Davies' eyes.

I could murder a Cadbury's Flake, or Joe Colbeck. But then I guess they wouldn't let me into the Main Stand. Distracted? I wasn't paying attention to your shower curtains when I went to London to see a nightingale sing in Trafalgar Square. What? Eh? Indeed, what the 'eck is going on?

The ball tripped up Rodman, then cynically whipped away a lime sock in full flight. The ref didn't even book the ball. Dirty, dirty sphere.

We have no scoreboard. The players have no means of navigation. They keep aiming for something that isn't there. Kerr: he would have hit the scoreboard, but hit the thinnest of air. Someone did a cross once that may have been of interest to a stoat. You don't hear much about stoats these days. It must be global warming.

They didn't do anything. Then they did. A surprising cross from their right swizzled afar. Wright noodled against Pearson's ears from five or so yards out. The ball sighed sadly wide. A corner. The end of the moment.

Klukowski slid and bundled in from a yard or so out. Cue McKeown bottle throwing and massed indifference. A major multiple Mariner mess-up

Sadly there was widespread sighing. Colbeck failed again with an attempt to resemble a footballer, passing directly to a limester. Town were all of a twitter; Doig dropped litter straight at Wright's feet a dozen yards out. The Big 'Un carefully placed a shot towards the bottom left corner. McKeown brilliantly sprawled and clawed away, arose and magnificently blocked the rebound.

Alas, all competence ended at this precise moment as Aswad obstructed Jamie Mack and flustered himself into a clownish toe-poke across the face of goal. Klukowski slid and bundled in from a yard or so out. Cue McKeown bottle throwing and massed indifference. A major multiple Mariner mess-up.

Without bothering much, BFGR were sauntering to victory. Town. Nothing. Just dreary and ineffective, merely men in shirts. Doig hobbled off and McDonald bobbled on to the sound of silence. Burgerboy spent the rest of the half volleying the football as high as he could possibly hoof, like a pumped-up turbo Tony Crane. Not all footballs died in the making of this immovable feast.

And the BFGR found a way to avoid victory. Russell shanked a punt directly to Disley, who miscontrolled awfully. The ball rolled and rolled as the Dizzer pursued and Oshodi shoddily lunged, sending the little man catapulting and caterwauling away. Red card out and lime green pouts.

With a numerical advantage Town held on almost adequately, restricting the Nailsworth nutters to long shots and flowerpots. Oh, look, it was utter tosh, I can't help it if my mind is drifting into vague word association to drown out the screams of my fellow fans. There was loads of space and you could hear the screams from space. Hannah miscued. That was about it. Urgh.

At some point that is alleged to be just ten of your Earth minutes after the Keystone Cops paid Town a visit, a free kick was given near the halfway line, close to the gathering point for dentists and chiropodists. As the limesters trudged off towards the Osmond, Town produced a slow-motion quick free-kick. Tic-tac-toeing down the left, Thomas roamed and roared lowly to the near post where Hannah swept away the hours of monotony.

I really can't remember anything else happening. I'm sure I dreamed an impossible dream where Burgerboy wellied an unstoppable welly straight into the creeping saltmarsh.

Who was the more listless and joyless of these two dreary offerings? Total and utter tosh. Town had no offensive plan other than Cook falling over. It was certainly offensive.

Second half: Moody chops

Neither team made any changes at half time. Ah, you've just got back to your seat after having a natter with a nattily clad chap. What did you miss? A series of uninteresting throw-ins. The ball stayed within Blundell Park and applied for asylum. It was fed up of being beaten up and pushed around for no reason.

With more players, Town were constantly, permanently understaffed on the right. BFGR always had a man unmarked and free, lurking with intent.

Oh, they've scored. Oh, they haven't. A free kick floated, grazed on, glanced in and officially offside. Oo-er, narky harking and haranguing will get you nowhere. They weren't happy, though by happy coincidence we were.

Disley almost got inside the penalty area and almost had a shot. Town crossed it once and someone almost, possibly, got near to thinking about booking a holiday in Latvia. It was that close.

Hey, I told you that Town were heroically overcoming their numerical advantage. Norwood dribbled this way and that, dragging a shot wide, then sneaking a pass behind whoever wasn't on the right. Chief moaner Stokes snapped a crackling pop agin McKeown's looming frame. Another little lad bedraggled near after meandering freely across the wilderness. A dangerous cross through the looking glass of the six-yard box was met by no white rabbits, or mad hatters. Actually, this may have happened later after other things happened. Oh, so what. Only winners write history.

Neilson replaced Colbeck and went to the left. Instant access, instant success: things happened

And finally, something must be done. Neilson replaced Colbeck and went to the left. Instant access, instant success: things happened. Thomas was transformed into a rampaging terror. A shot, a cross, a jink, a stumble: a penalty. Neilson didn't fall over as Turley's toes touched, but the fickle finger of fate pointed spotward anyway. Hannah battered down the middle as Russell plunged right.

BFGR sat back and waited for Town to inadvertently wilt under their own inverted pressure. Balls were tipped and tapped this way and that. Burgerboy varied his routine with slashing diagonal punts: pinpoint accurate ones. My, my, those were rather decent footballing moments. Pearson trundled forward and rumbled on and on and on and on and panicked and slappered straight at Russell.

Town slowly tightened the tourniquet. Kerr mugged a mug and glided a graceful pass into the spaciest of space to the left of their goal, deep inside the penalty area. Cook clanked and whirred and slashed lowly and the toes of Russell spectacularly arced the ball up across the face of goal and away for a corner. Neilson caressed to the near post and Rodman glanced down. Russell scooped off the line onto the post and off the line again as the ball bumbled back. Later on in the evening, via Twitter, the linesmen claimed that the ball had crossed the line. Oh how we laughed as the slime green anger rose. Oh, yes, Rodman had scored. It be there in that black and that white, so it must be true.

And on that bombshell Hearn replaced Hannah and the referee embarked on a personal quest to book every slimester. They fell, they were felled, they were chopped, they were stopped, they ran after the black-clad loony toon accompanied by a jaunty saxophone solo.

Enter the dragoon. Thomas broke their hearts and lungs with pitch-long runs. We'll draw a discreet Victorian laced veil over the earlier penetrating swish that left Cook red-faced after an air shot and a scuffed shot. And off Aswad advanced: run Forrest run! He looked up, espied Hearn haring to the far post and perfectly dinkled a cross onto his luminous boots. Hearn carefully volleyed goalwards and Russell brilliantly parried up onto the crossbar. The ball arced achingly to Cook on the penalty spot. He miscontrolled, then volleyed weakly, way left, possibly off Hearn's backside. No banjos physically present.

There were other moments. A short corner was wheedled to Kerr, whose slapshot boinged off a diving defender's bonce as Russell flew the other way. That was nice. It almost nearly happened again, straight after, but didn't.

There was added time. There's nothing else to add. It ended. Three goals, three points and the Grimsby Reaper's scythe is sharpening, for the seeds of Hockerdoom have been scattered, like his defence and the collective brains of his team.

Don't get excited, it was because their tempers were short. The daydream believers imploded and Town eventually won. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.