The way we live now

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

3 March 2014

Grimsby Town 2 Sainsbury Kwik-E-Mart XI 0

A bright and still noontime fun-time in the Stadium of Sighs with a round dozen Trollopetown travellers hanging around with their rotund bus driver in the darkest recesses of the Osmond corner. Look, there's another one! Ah no, my mistake, it's a paper bag.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Bignot, Pearson, Doig, Fyfield, Rodman, Disley, Thanoj, Neilson, Jennings, John-Lewis. The five marooned in misery on the bench of bewilderment were Hatton, Kerr, Southwell, Hannah and Cook. Ah, the new boy, our friend Jennings. A loan that looks good on paper, and in reality he looks like a pumped-up Hannah and a reduced Cook. Will he fit in, is he fit, is he bona fide?

Ah, two for the ladies. The slinky Sarumites had a pair of brothers sporting the full Italian beard and pony tail combo, and let's give a warm welcome to the camp goalkeeper. Short cropped skin-tight top in vibrant purple matched with figure-hugging cycle shorts with a comic twist in his hair. Purple is so this year's colour, don't you think. He looked radiant and sublime. His name is Puddy and he became aware this year.

Well, will we lose the plot again against Old Sarum's lot? I know the local Spar shop has. Life without corned beef? It's unthinkable, Burnsy.

First half: Fixing a hole

The blue and yellow Wiltshire wanderers kicked off towards the Pontoon without fanfare or fine fare. Didn't that become Gateway? Didn't they become Somerfield? And they got taken over by the Co-op. Where's this leading? Well, Mick Co-op scored for Coventry against Town in February 1973. Oh hang on, Town are leading!

Hubbling and a-bubbling in the hinterland of the Dentists' Stand was Fennel John- Lewis. His name is a greengrocer's shop and Sainsbury's had sprung a leek. Boom-boom, Mr Roy. The self-styled Shop turned and the world turned too as the ball boombled through the slenderest of gaps and into the land of the blue. The Dizzer roamed free, and thought he saw Will Puddy that was creepin' up on he. He did! Puddy was as plain as he could be and Disley carefully caressed a clip over the Puddy cat and into the bottom left corner.

Purring. Purrfect. They're puddy in our hands. It's easy. Are you listening on your online?

Ah, the scoreboard is on time this time. What a big coat you have there, grandma. Ships passing, groans massing. What am I doing here? Just keepin' track of the pack watching them watching back. That's what makes our world go round. Oh, "what's that sound?" Each time you hear a loud collective sigh you know it's Town being Town. The music to watch Town stay down is inside your head.

Pearson drooped and dithered, McKeown slithered on his line, Bignot blathered and a cross slithered into the near post. Pearson dummied and let the ball go by, forcing the old Doig himself to noggin away for a corner and have a moment of meaningful pointing.

Neilson filled a space, Fyfield filled a meat paste sandwich, Rodman Rodmanned along in his sweet Rodmanny way of almost doing something wonderful

Their world is like an apple, whirling silently in space. The truth is, Sarum, that you had the ball, but did nothing with it. Cute reverse passes were reversed cutely as Pearson dallied. Danger flickered but Townites splattered these little bugs on the windscreen of their mind.

The Sinclair twins took it in turns to fall and bawl. Boo-hoo, as soon as they got the free kick they flipped up like the pop tarts they are. Nothing comes of nothing: Sainsbury's were nothing. And neither were Town. Thanoj passed, Thanoj passed to Town players, Thanoj passed to where Town players should have been. They frequently weren't. Neilson filled a space, Fyfield filled a meat paste sandwich, Rodman Rodmanned along in his sweet Rodmanny way of almost doing something wonderful.

What do you want to know? What happened? Nothing really. Take Jennings, for instance. The trouble with Jennings was that he fitted in perfectly with Town. Sluggish of foot and mind, he rarely controlled the ball, ran into the same spaces as John-Lewis and was generally a cross between the least effective bits of Cook and Hannah. He was very clearly a long way from full fitness. He tried an audacious clip from 20 yards which chuntered safely over. He tried a spectacular volley which blimped agin' a defender's backside. Nothing that Hannah doesn't do.

Let us be calm and pleasant to our visitor and avoid rash and hazardous speculation that he'll be just like every player we've ever taken from Scunthorpe.

I'm filling the cracks that ran through this bore and kept my mind from wandering where it will go. My mind is wandering. Stop Dave, stop… stop, my mind is going.

For goodness sake, the hippy-dippy shakers of Sarum were getting on our nerves. Mammy's heroes, those two hairy squealers, should have been rock stars but they didn't have the money for guitars. What a waste of our time.

Corners. Loads of them; all terrible, except one. Thanoj chipped to the near post and Puddy punched off John-Lewis's head. Not literally, my dear chap. He punched the ball from the vicinity of the bare bonce of Lenell. And finally, in added time, Neilson had a shot. Someone, somewhere had finally had a shot that actually factually would have gone in had either of the keepers been taking tea at the Ritz (other providers of fancy-dan food experiences are available).

It ended and the scoreboard kept time to the very end of time. Is McMenemy's the restaurant at the end of the universe or the restaurant at the end of our tether? It ended and the only thing to say is Town were leading.

Town were leading. It's the only thing to say.

Second half: Getting better

Neither team made any changes at half time.

What goes on? Town upped their intensity from somnambulant to slightly more bothered and Neilson slapped a slice towards the upper echelons of Pontoon society, where the nobs and nabobs nurture their nature. He disturbed a whist drive with his drivel.

It's so easy to get distracted during the long hours between accidental football and the occasional shot in the dark. The brilliantly brutalist water tower at Chapman's Pond looms like a giant concrete torch over the gloom and doom below. They've got a Brett and two Sinclairs in midfield. Hmmmm, should they sign someone called Lord? Are there more teams with 1970s crime caper characters in their squad? I'm not persuading you, am I.

Up sprang a single hand and the ball diverted up onto and off the crossbar, in a high loopy loop and back into the waiting arms of the magnificent McKeown. Utterly, staggeringly, superbly super

And then something happened. A propos of nothing, one of the hairy squealers suddenly bazookaed a thwacker from 20-odd yards. The ball went straight as an arrow towards the top left corner. The Pontoon sighed as the inevitable was about to inevit. Over flew the grey man, up sprang a single hand and the ball diverted up onto and off the crossbar, in a high loopy loop and back into the waiting arms of the magnificent McKeown. Utterly, staggeringly, superbly super.

Jennings ran out of puff and on bounded Ross Hannah like an eager puppy. Things happened immediately. Hannah swished down the left and swashed a sweet, sweet cross through the middle of the penalty area. The ball landed on Rodman's chest, eight yards out beyond the far post. He took a touch, waited and wellied against Puddy's chest. The ball returned. Rodman waited and smashled lowly across the face of goal. A corner, not a goal.

A Townite felled under the Frozen Metaphor Stand, a booking and a muddle. The referee counted out nine mid-price steps and a hairy squealer held out his arm across the referee's chest to obstruct him as he got to seven. Over it came, bibbling and bobbling as Puddy fluffed and flapped. John-Lewis flailed arbitrarily, accidentally poking the ball to Pearson who, with his back to goal, slowly constructed an overhead hook which ached high and groaned wide. Just add some jaunty saxophone to get the full flavour.

Sainsbury? Still restocking their aisles. Nothing to report.

Ah, it's time for you to prepare for the appointment at your hairstylist, Mr Neilson. On came Kerr and Town moved to a formation that vaguely resembled 4-5-1. More hints at passing, more threats at movement, more Rodman dilatory dawdlings in a mirror image of his previous faux pas, this time on the left. The chorus of disapproval was beginning to clear its throat for a full-throttle roar.

Don't worry, still nothing happening down thar yonder. Doig had found some old cheese and constructed a cunning plan to mousetrap the little squawkers. Worked every time, like clockwork.

Oi-oi, what's going on 'ere? One, two, three little flicks and tricks all along the touchline in front of the dug-outs. A sumptuous flowing river of football with John-Lewis finally fine-tuning his radio onto the right frequency to allow Rodman to burn through the centre. Hannah waltzed left and ran right, dragging defenders in his wake. The Rodman swaggered on and on and crackled a calypso cracker deep into the left of the net. What a ripper, what a beauty, phew Hugh, what a scorcher.

Well, that's that then. Let's have a little fun.

John-Lewis chased beyond the last invisible defender as Puddy hared out and the two sultans of swing collided just outside the left corner of the penalty area, with the Shopping Trolley careering into the nearest canal. A hullaballoo of hooting called for a red card, while the sotto voce sniggers barely concealed our merriment at the thought of John-Lewis and 'goalscoring opportunity' being in the same sentence.

What-oh! Fyfield roamed and raided, tickled through by Disley, tricking the blueboy and carefully rolling a pass to a totally and utterly unmarked Town centre-forward stood on the penalty spot. The goal a-gaped, and John-Lewis decided to take a slow touch and welly against the emerging blue bottoms. Pah, you fool, you thought Town would score?

With a handful of seconds left Thanoj was replaced by Hatton, who still managed to miss two tackles and permit mild panic among the perpetually perplexed in the Pontoon.

And it all ended with the Wilted Wiltshireites having another shot, in the end of the end of the end of the added time. Some bloke whacked it from a narrow angle and McKeown easily parried away. I'm only telling you to be kind to them, so you know absolutely every attack of any indistinction mustered upon McKeown.

Sainsbury just didn't cut the mustard as an attacking force. And you don't even cut mustard, you spread mustard. Nurr, nurr, nurr nurr-nurr you hairy squealers.

A pretty dull affair: like liquid cucumber, it was probably good for our constitution but not an enjoyable experience. We'll appreciate it later in life.