A game of one half

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

15 September 2014

Grimsby Town 0 Torquay/Torbay 2

On a clear day you can see forever, or at least to Spurn Point, and espy a round hundred Gulls perched in the covered corner. Don't feed them – it only encourages them to come back and squawk for more.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 as follows: McKeown, Bignot, Pearson, Nsiala, Magnay, Neilson, Disley, Brown, McLaughlin, Pittman, John-Lewis. The substitutes were Walker, Doig, Mackreth, Clay and Hannah. On paper that looked like a team. Who uses paper these days? The return of the diminishing Dizz was greeted with a collective sigh, especially when we saw the size and sprightliness of the Devonian drifters and lifters. They had Young and were athletic, with tiny Tom Cruise at left-back and a few good men dotted here and there.

After last week's preening narcissism, isn't it time Town kicked the ice bucket challenge? Let's get back to business, let's get back to normal, let's get ready to grumble.

I hear the sound of distant hums.

First half: Faulty ivory towers

Town kicked off towards the void with some Brownian motion which simply proved the discontinuous structure of monochrome matter.

Yellowmen were twirling for freedom, bundling, sampling, clamping and doing some kind of prissy-passy thing involving feet. Magnay blocked, a corner was cropped to the near post, Bowman arced around non-markers and foot-flicked inches over the bar.

More twirling and curling from Toblerone Torquay. Bognit took an age to not clear, deciding to pass the buck and the ball to Brown, who was already drowning in custard. There's yellow matter custard dripping from this dead dog's eye. Tip-tap and Bowman toed it straight at Jamie Mack.

We've had our four-minute warning: sortage due. Town were just sitting in a Grimsby garden waiting for the sun.

Mugged and mauled; quite frankly, my dear, I'm appalled by the inversion of the way of things. Hargreaves' Happy Holidaymakers were playing football not as we know it, but as we knew it. This is very Buckleyball Mark I: it's just like watching Grimsby (1989-1991); other Grimsbys are available. How are we going to unpick the Devon locks? Do we have a plan?

Someone fell over and McLaughlin carefully coiled a free kick nicely-nicely over and around and into Rice's paper cups. It is something, I suppose. Neilson kept falling over, dribbling out of play and generally scurrying around like a boss-eyed scotty dog. This isn't going well, you know.

I've seen this before, I know what happens next – John Cockerill bursts pass Keith Alexander, receives a little flick and pokes past the keeper. Am I right?

A hoik and chase into the nether regions of the Gullymen penalty area. The Shopping Trolley sniggled past a defender and a-tumbled theatrically to the ground. A penalty claimed, a penalty denied, a corner cornered and Pittman stooped to steer a header over. It is something, I suppose.

Bognit bazooka-boomed nowhere when many men stood in hope. It was not something, I propose.

Released by a trio of rapid ra-tat-tat-tat passes, Pittman surged and snapped. The boy is broken, as broken as our hearts and hopes. On came Hannah with only ten or so minutes gone.

Look, this isn't about us, it's all about them. Magnay slid and scooped danger away under the Police Box. The ball remained in play. A little yellow chap looked up and carefully caressed a chip into the deep, deep heart of the penalty area. Long and lean Ofari-Acheampong held his ground and noodled the ball with his chest. A-ha, I've seen this before, I know what happens next – John Cockerill bursts pass Keith Alexander, receives a little flick and pokes past the keeper. Am I right? Am I right?

Brown watched the training video as Richards rolled past, took a flick in his stride and rolled the ball through McKeown's legs from a narrow angle, to the left of goal.

I was right. Town are very wrong. The Southport Two were the most guilty of the defendants for loitering without intent.

Town? Pearson headed over just like he did against Lincoln. Lennie the Loincloth crinkled a free kick through the miming wall and Rice carefully slapped the ball away low to his right. Nothing to get hung up about.

Town? Just a whole bunch of panic as the Torbay Trotters made us cross with their crosses and cleverness. Magnay magnificently averted with a sliding swipe and Pearson delayed the sobs with a bloodthirsty block.

It was embarrassingly one-sided, with a tutorial in old Town-style football from Torquay. In these dark times you have to look for the positives: I had a bacon bap in Biggleswade. You have to look for the good things in life to remember your days by. For me, 13 September 2104 will always be about that bap.

I really don't need to labour the point about how they were us from a quarter of a century ago; we were eating that humble pudding.

How could we compete against a team with a rookie manager, less money and being further away from footballing civilisation?

When are they going to bother to again? Brown dillied and dallied and was mugged and mauled on the halfway line. Acheampong curled a beautiful arcing pass with the outside of his boot into the flight path of the barundling Bowman. Bignot appeared, as if by magic, to whisk the ball off Bowman's toes. Panic over, the ball is on Toto's toes. No! The terrible toes of Toto tapped the ball straight into the feet of Young, waltzing up in support. Young took a stride and clapped lowly towards the far corner. Pearson slid across and toe-ended into the bottom right corner, as Jamie Mack ached left.

It's not like they didn't deserve it.

They could have had more, but didn't. More isosceles than scalene, Torbay tip-taps and back-heels had McKeown scrabble-flapping a low droobler. For the sake of the children, I won't mention more. We don't want to give them nightmares.

At least Lennieboy turned and swiped and made their keeper do a rather good save. One he should have made but, having done so, can be commended for it. Now that, eventually, was something.

They were just better. How could we compete against a team with a rookie manager, less money and being further away from footballing civilisation? They have so many advantages over us. You have to feel sorry for our management.

Town had one player: Magnay. Town had one method: slow, dawdling chips. Town had one chance: that Torquay go home at half time. If they could be bothered, them Devonians could get as many as they want.

They pass and move, they had pace, they had power, they have the players, they had a plan. They had the points already.

Second half: It's a hamster

Torquay made a rhyming change at half time: Yeoman for Bowman. They're not taking it, or Town, seriously any more, are they?

Hey, kid yourself if you want. There's not much point in going any further. Plot spoiler alert: we still lost 2-0. I don't mind if you go off now and do something more interesting instead, like stare blankly at the wall, or stuff your duvet.

They didn't have to do anything, so didn't; they'd already won and weren't going to put themselves out any more than they had to. They messed up a 3v1 and that was just about that. They chugged hither and thither with a zither making Town wither, getting in the way and generally having a competitive training session, working on shape and communication.

Dizzerpointing and our uninvolved Ulsterman were replaced by Mackreth and Clay. Poor old Dizzer, he used to be a someone, he used to have class, he used to be a contender. Now he's got a one-way ticket to Palookaville. It's a shame. His drawn-out demise is in danger of being accompanied by boos and jeers. He deserves some dignity in his career death throes.

Sure, things happened which, when put together in a certain way, can be made to look like Town were unlucky not to at least get a draw. It's all in the edit, you know. Here's the edit.

Brown dinkled a free kick dandily deeply into the penalty area. Rice stayed on his line. Toto dipped and dumped a headed downwards. Rice flew right and palmed aside. Maybe, perhaps, if…

The keeper flew out and squashed his doughnuts. A great save for those delighted Devonians, a shoddy miss for us grumbling Grimbarians

I'm going to gloss over the annoying dilly-dallying non-shooting from Neilson and LJL, as I have no wish to make their mums unhappy. Remember Lennie's job is not scoring – and there's no-one better than him in this league doing that job. Part of his role is to create the conditions for others to miss. McKeown punted, Lennie nodded on, Hannah was free inside the area, on the right. Hannah wouldn't shoot with his right, turned back onto his left and levered woefully over from ten or so yards out. See, TMFKAS is right: Lennie is the creator.

Free kick. Bognit headed, a yellow head diverted loopily over. Nearish, nothing more, nothing less. The Dentists' Stand got excited. Perhaps it was the sun in their eyes. Lennie juggled his domestic chores and stylishly missed the ball. It was his Martina Hingis effort – the swish miss.

You want more false hope? Toto passed, Lennie dummied, Neilson reverse-swung and Hannah was freed on the left. He waited, waited, waited and waited. And waited until he was fried by Rice. The keeper flew out and squashed his doughnuts. A great save for those delighted Devonians, a shoddy miss for us grumbling Grimbarians. Magnay bonked a header downfield, Hannah chased, Rice scrapped a scrumbling fly-kick straight to Neilson, who sand-wedged just beyond the green with flag untended. There, that's the potential goal activity.

With quarter of an hour left John-Lewis hobbled off and Town were down to ten men. Torquay were lovely guests and didn't draw our attention to the holes in the curtains, the scuff marks on the walls and that the front door was off its hinges. They thanked us for a lovely evening and promised to come back again one day. I don't think they meant it.

Actually, if you do want to have something to hold on to as we slide down the banister towards the coal bunker, Mackreth finally produced a cameo of wing wizardry. He jinked and dinked at pace with skill and crossed dangerously.

For reasons beyond the pale and fringe, four minutes were added, with the crowd pleading with the referee to euthanise this patient now. And what happened during this unnecessarily drawn-out water torture? A Mackreth cross deflected up and bounced over Rice. Ha-ha-ha-ha, urgh.

Torquay only had to play competitively for 45 minutes. Town were rudderless, formless and gormless. Individual mistakes exacerbated the structural inadequacies. Town were neither competent enough to nullify them, nor impose themselves or their 'style' on this game. This was like those dog days in the fourth division. Do you remember when Crewe walked past us 4-0? It was just like that. The better club won.