Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
23 March 2014
Nuneaton Town 0 Grimsby Town 1
A squally, windy afternoon in the Tamworth tribute stadium with 500 Townites meandering without meaning across the galvanised steps, dodging drips and dropping chips. Get ready for an avian invasion.
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Bignot, Boyce, Pearson, Thomas, Rodman, Disley, Kerr, Neilson, John-Lewis and Jennings. The five guys blamed for being slow were McDonald, Thanoj, Hannah, Cook and Tounkara.
Up above the streets and houses a rainbow climbing high, and down upon the bus shelter seating a rainbow alliance of striking triplets sat: Rod, Jane and Frederique were on the bench, dreaming of being on the beach.
There is nothing more to say, for the grass was long, the day was long, and nothing can go wrong now with The-Manager-Formerly-Known-As-Shorty remembering to play two wingers and two central midfielders. At least if they're rubbish they'll stand rubbishly in the right place.
Let's see action.
First half: Black and white narcissus
Town kicked off in a hush towards the distant Nunnery. Don't be concerned, it will not harm you. It's only John-Lewis pursuing somethin' he's not sure of.
A boy wandered by with mayonnaise-smothered chips. Has the world come to this? Why-oh-why-oh-why? Didn't This Proud Land fight a war to stop This Sort Of Thing? Something might happen soon, maybe. How long gone? Four minutes. Will this never end; has it even started?
Is it teatime yet? Doh, still only eight minutes gone. I could have boiled two eggs or waited for the world to end twice. I think I have been, or was that just waiting for Aswad to throw a throw-in in? Some people don't like twice with t' curry. My mind is floating in a most peculiar way, as is that cross down there in the distance. Is something finally occurring in this game they claim to be football?.
Kerr tickled, Sinclair twinkled, Thomas wrinkled and wrapped a deep dripping cross beyond the far post. Rodman lurked alone to carefully steer a volley over the green man. Now, if it looks like a pig and quacks like a duck we're happy. Oink-oink quack, we're delirious.
Finally released from the existential shackles of fear, Town imperiously wellied the ball nowhere near anything but the nearest pub. See, you part-timing interlopers – our incompetence is far superior to your incompetence. Anything you can't do we can't do better.
Ah, you say. Nuneaton. What of these midland men? They play in blue. That makes them Blue Nuns. Wahey, we love a cheap whine at Town! Those silly people running around don't worry me. They really should fix that hole in the roof, where the rain's dripping in. It'll stop my mind from wandering.
Let's ignore that handball. The ref did. So it never happened, whatever it wasn't
And if the sleep has left your ears you might hear footsteps running through an open meadow. What midfield, what defence? Nunnies won every header and flick, and things almost nearly happened a few times now and again, if you closed your eyes. You might have seen Brown runnin' through the long-abandoned ruins of the dreams you left behind. And past Pearson. Let's ignore that handball. The ref did. So it never happened, whatever it wasn't.
Do you want to know? Do you really? There was mild panic in the Town area now and then when they dumped diagonal dross vaguely goalwards causing Aswad to weirdly prod and poke away from near goal a couple of times. And they had a shot, which is nice. A single, solitary moment when the soporific shoddiness and slackery nearly came home to roost. Town snoozed on the left, a Nunny crocked a cross, Pearson's knees knocked and moany Hibbert walloped a volley straight at Jamie Mack's head for a semi-spectacular parry.
That, ladies and gentleman, is the first half. There is no more and that is far more than you need to know. Town had one attack, the Nunnyboys had one shot. Long ball versus no ball, the weary against the dreary, the hopeless against the toothless, dummies against the gummies. You get the drift as the day drifted by.
Stu's nostalgic toilet talk
"And the egg added 10 calories."
"Whatever happened to toilet talk?"
"Are they worse than us or are we as bad as them?"
"If Pentangle reformed they'd be Quadrangle."
"Why is every player we get from Scunny so useless?"
Second half: Nuns on the run
Neither team made any changes at half time.
The Blue Nuns fizzed around, snipping and snapping at Town's ankles. Nothing.
But then lo, behold the moment. A pass, a pass, a pass, a pass and a trundling Townite whacked a slow big dipper wide. Whodunnit? Who cares?
Town sank into introspection and towards McKeown, inviting the blues, literally and metaphorically. York scuttled and passed. An unmarked man dillied and passed, an unmarked lad dallied and scraped low. McKeown scooped softly, like an ice cream man. Big booming balls, route one and a half scuffling and scuttling, going round and round and round in circles. Bignot blocked and slapped the turf in pain. The Town fans surfed the internet for the next train.
Trainer tried to shield the ball out for a goal kick, but Neilson hooked back and edged along the bye-line. He espied a monochrome mate and made a grievous and heinous error. The unmarked Mariner was Long John-Lewis, whose boots were made for walking, not football. The shins of the Shop shall be keeping local psychiatrists in clover for the next five weeks. At that moment the cordial cord of affection between the reliable misser and the travelling support went twang.
Probably best not to say much about Jennings. His mum would be most upset, and it is mothers' day next week. He's fitting in perfectly with this side.
However long had gone was not long enough, yet was too long. We saw this so you didn't have to. The locals made a noise as Ted Moult came on. Ah, the hero's return. Town narrowed their boats and a cross deeply dipped to exactly the same spot upon which Rodman steered to conquer. Oh Louis, Louis, a memory that is too painful to withstand the light of day. What an air shot. We danced and we sang in the sleet and the church bells rang.
Multiple Neilson mess-ups had the grumbles rumbling to a crescendo of shrugging when he did a Beagrie inside Town's area
Bignot finally limped off and on strode Burgerboy, with Boyce skipping over to right-back. In a trice a big Warwickshire welly was winked on and York was alone on their left inside the area. The little tinker poke-volleyed low across McKeown and inchettes wide of the left post.
Multiple Neilson mess-ups had the grumbles rumbling to a crescendo of shrugging when he did a Beagrie inside Town's area, perfectly tippling Trainer free. A stretch and poke went wonderfully and well wide. The chubby charmer was hoiked off, replaced by Thanoj, and at this Town moved Jennings back to left wing with just The Shopping Cart atop.
Town squeezed their box and left the periphery unmanned. Who'd have thought that the Nunnies would cunningly use their little wingers to cross the ball into the penalty area? Why, they hadn't done that at all before. Crosses, crosses, crosses, ugly crosses and blocks. Ugly, ugly, boring, boring, rugby. Rugby's for farmers and toffs. Ah, but Ted Moult's double glazing failed again, shinning a top-edged dolly to the wicket keeper from the Rodman spot.
Trainer cross-shot on their right.
Are Town going to try and do anything other than vaguely stand in the way a bit? Football? Not on your nelly. Where's your welly? Where's Wally? Aswad roamed and raided, the crowd stirred, and Kerr daintily dinked beyond the far post. Boyce arose and noodled straight into the keeper's arms.
There is no more Town to tell, absolutely nothing. John-Lewis stumbled and crumbled, the Shop about to be closed for a refit and a rebranding exercise. The game was simply an exercise in Nuneaton failing.
Brown drifted beyond Pearson and loopy-looped a header over the bar and… oh, why go on? it's just a series of punts and occasional idling. There's a squashed chip three feet from my shoe. Will the huge gull swoop or wait for the humanity and Town support to disperse? Is it a herring gull or an albatross motionless upon the waves of indifference and infuriating impotence?
The referee tired of Town's relaxed approach, booking Tounkara for something way off down the other end as he limbered up. The referee finally remembered to book Pearson for being Pearson. And at that the Blue Nuns remembered to bring on their own Pearson. Who among you can remember Greg Pearson? I don't believe you.
Five minutes added. Cook replaced Long John-Lewis. Nothing happened. You can go now.
Quick, let's go, we can be home by seven and pretend it never happened.