The right to roam

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

7 September 2014

Grimsby Town 2 (TWO) Welling United 0

With the c-c-c-cool cats away on their foreign holidays, we poor church mice will play. Welcome to life in the slow lane, the Ma-na-ma-na Conference. Doo-doo-di-doo. It's an oddly warming day of slitheringly occasional drizzle with 40 scatting Wingmen huddled in the dark, dark corner of our world.

How do we expect to score without the Fireman?

Town lined up in a 4-4-Neilson-1 formation as follows: McKeown, Bignot, Pearson, Nsiala, Magnay, Mackreth, Clay, Brown, McLaughlin, Neilson, Pittman. The substitutes were Walker, Doig, Disley, Arnold and Hannah. Ah, that's how we expect to score when the Shop is closed. Nielson has been given the freedom of the borough to roam like a Knight of the Round Table slaying dragons, demons and defenders with footwork impeccable.

The Kentish Men turned up in blue with much baggage in the shorts, especially broad-beamed Brush, a local barman familiar with cakes and ale. The keeper was slightly chubby and squat with a beard of bees upon his chinny-chin-chin.

If we huff and we puff we should be able to blow this house of straw down. Right, shall we get this thing started, referee? You know how to whistle, don't you? Just put your lips together and blow.

First half: The silent men
And we're off. Town kicked off towards the sea of emptiness and passed and passed and passed and passed and as Magnay sneaked there was a blue back pass picked up by the beekeeper. Carry on, nothing to see here.

Town passed. Town passed. Town passed sideways, upways, downways, and down Britain's waterways. Wingmen niggled as Townites wiggled. The whistle-happy referee was determined to not apply the non-disadvantage rule. Free kicks here, there and everywhere, delayed and deterred by Blue spoilers. My memory of Welling is that it is full of blue spoilers in souped-up Corsas. And in keeping with the local entertainment these Kentish Men had go-faster stripes down their shirts and shorts.

Ooh, chase me, chase me. Who's a naughty northern kettle then?

I'm sorry, I don't know why Duncan Norvelle was booked for a guest appearance in the middle of that sentence. We shall have words with our online pop reference service. They must have a problem with their algorithms, like a middle-aged man at a wedding.

Passing left, passing right, passing out. We need a bit of oomph, everyone is waiting for a train. Neilson's freedom leaves Pittman alone atop and Town devoid of even dead foxes in the box.

I still have a stick of celery left from last week's shopping. I have visions of soup. Is anyone going to bother having a shot?It does rather appear like Town have awoken from their golden slumbers, for smiles await them when they rise from the tepid torpor of trotting and tapping

The ball skipped and skidded, crackling agin Magnay's hand. No, no, no sirs, ball to hand, look at the eyes, that could never be a penalty. Welling were occasional accidental visitors to the Pontoon. The ball skidded and skipped, Pearson gently levered loopily back to McKeown. Blue shorts advanced, Jamie Mack stood on his line, considered the options and gently clasped the ball to his bosom.

Shocked! I'm shocked! Pass me a handkerchief and mop my feeble brow, for I may faint. It's a cataclysmic calumny. A back-pass? How can passing the ball back to the goalkeeper be a back=pass?

The ball was placed on the six-yard line, dead centre. A thick wall of stripes jostled with blue interlopers. A tap, a slap and Nsiala glowered at the ball, causing a delightful deviation.

In the 27th minute a decision was made – vegetable soup it is then. A shot! Yes, a shot, the very first. Neilson wiggled after some trotting and movement and waggled a dipper straight at the beekeeper. Ambassador, you spoil us. Another shot so soon? Pittman bedraggled slowly lowly widely rightily after more trotting and plotting.

Welling? They wellied the ball downfield a few times and Nsiala's manly aura caused St Aimee, the official team hairdresser, to dissolve in pain. He had a lovely smile when he hobbled away past the Pontoon, who of course were full of bonhomie towards St Aimee. What a generous spirit we have.

It does rather appear like Town have awoken from their golden slumbers, for smiles await them when they rise from the tepid torpor of trotting and tapping. A quick one-two, surging Brown nicking and knocking a sweet curve into the middle of the penalty area. Neilson, alone, advanced and miscontrolled, allowing a Wellerman to wally away. Another minute, another Chubby chip slipping yards wide.

Well Welling, who'd have thought it? Slip-shod under the Police Box, a clip, a clop and Day Neilsoned two yards wide from the 'D'. That's your lot this half, blueboys.

Mackreth chipped as Bignot hurtled. The ball hit Bignot's back as their full-back slipped and hilarity ensued for all the family. Neilson clipped curvily and cutely to the far post. Pittman hit the hyperspace drive button, appeared magically in front of a Wellerman and precisely steered a volley low into the bottom left corner before anyone remembered who the Reverend Canaan Banana was.

About time too. No point in waffling on any more. This half is over, matey boy.

Town dominated possession, but were undermanned atop. That's what happens when your playmaker is your other striker and no-one else bothered to mind the gap. Just a little bit more ooh-and-ahh would be enough, a little more fizz, a little more pace in passing. Town were putting in just enough to do enough to get enough. Keep on with the force and don't stop until you get enough.

Second half: The beekeeper's fear of the penalty
Neither team made any changes at half time.

Welling seemed to have had a good old chat about things over their milky tea and chocolate digestives. You know, like how to stop Town, how to get around Town, where the weaknesses are, that sort of thing. Wellermen passed precisely to each other and moved between Town players. Then they passed back to other people in the same coloured shirt who moved to a space not occupied by Townites.

Oh dear, they'd twigged where Town's dark secret lay, buried on the right.

Monochromatic dawdling, near the covered corner. A blue arm allowed to wander and wallow in shallow flipping. Some kind of canal barge slipped its moorings and walloped wastefully wide from eight or so yards out. Much Bignot-based finger jabbing was espied in the Town penalty area.

Magnay snickled to Brown who ticked to Neilson, who spun infield and tocked a beautifully weighted stiletto behind their left-backAnother minute, another show of sustained drivel as Welling drove down their left, up their left, around their left, back and forth and back again. On their left. That's Town's right. There are plenty of holes in the desert, and even more in the centre of Town's defence. The Welling waltzers cartooned through the chimera and some chap eased our pain by sniggling highly from the 'D' while alone.

Welling. Moments. The flim-flam of football, the nearly ifs of almostness, lost in the mists of time, memory and filler sentences that skate over a load of tosh from Town. A Welling moment that came to naught but half a page of scribbled lines between half time and the hour.

Cometh the hour, cometh Ross Hannah. Well, almost, but poetry needs a licence these days – it's political incorrectness gone sad, I tell yer. Hannah Offside replaced Junior Joe Mackreth, and Town immediately moved to a more formal 4-4-2 formation, with Neilson on the right wing. Town immediately made the move of the match, pleasingly precise one-touch passing. And movement. At pace.

Paddy the Goatman gnawed the ball off a blueboy. Magnay snickled to Brown, who ticked to Neilson, who spun infield and tocked a beautifully weighted stiletto behind their left-back. Bignot raced on into the area and was upended crossing the bridge. The referee pointed spotward as the screaming southerners shouted nonsense in his ear. Hannah picked the ball up and waited, and waited as the Kenters caterwauled and a yellow card was flashed. And waited.

Big-beamed Brush stood on the penalty spot and dug for worms. Walked away and dug a bit deeper. Now laddie, you really should pay attention, there are signs up telling you digging for bait is prohibited. Out came another yellow card and more delay and moans and groans. Hannah waited. Hannah put the ball down and did what he always does – wallop it straight down the middle, the ball flying in off the beekeeper's thighs.

Let's get their thing over with right away, as they cheekily tried to keep up the illusion of there being any jeopardy. Welling. A corner. Nodded goalwards, a blue boot wafted and missed in front of McKeown and some Townite scrunched it away. There, that wasn't anything to worry about, was it. You can go back to sleep now, all is well with our world.

The Wellermen just ended up booting Town. Big-beamed Bush felled the Hannah tree, halfway up the trunk using his biggest axe. Well Welling waited and wondered why that red card was not smelling the salty air. Official fingers waggled and the worm wriggled out of sending BBB off. He was instantly substituted.

And Town took off the cramping Pittman, as on ran Arnold. His first touch was a sublime needle-threader which was on the brink of brilliance, but for an unnecessary blue boot. And old man Disley came on for McLaughlin. Oh dear. Poor old Dizzer.

We're all just waiting for the whistle. There is no contest, just time ticking by. Arnold spectacularly dippy-volleyed from somewhere near the Memorial Hall. The beekeeper stooped and scooped bizarrely and re-scooped the ball back into his area as Hannah lurked. I suppose I could use that celery in a stew. Celery goes well in a stew.

Ah, yes, this football thing. The scoreboard showed four minutes of added time, which turned into three the moment it was lifted in the air. And five were played. The very, very, very last kick was Welling's only effort on target. A free kick shovelled up unconvincingly by Jamie Mack at the foot of his left post. Then a man came onto the pitch in his underpants and we all went home. To our tomatoes.

T is T.

That'll do.