Smoke on the water

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

16 November 2014

Altrincham 1 Grimsby Town 1

Autumn in Altrincham: follow the crowd and end up in Tesco.

Funky clouds were running overhead, silly kids were in the ground. Are we chortling near Chorlton, pulling wheelies at the wheezes of the over-exuberant teenage Town fans? Up to, nearly and possibly approaching, 500 Townites clumped along the terracing, swapping stories of train-based woes and traffic flows on the M62.

Town lined up in a 4-1-4-1 as follows: McKeown, Magnay, Pearson, Nsiala, Thomas, Parslow, Pell, Disley, Neilson, John-Lewis and Arnold. The substitutes were Mackreth, Brown, Clay, Pittman and Hannah. As they were then, just like Tuesday. No comment required – we'll let the emotion speak for itself.

Town played in blue, Altymen in red 'n' white stripes. The time has gone, this introduction's over, thought I'd something more to say?

First half: Smoke bombs get in your eyes

It started.

Up went the ball, out came the 'atmosphere' as Town attacked the Smoke Bomb End. Ah, those Tesco tearaway teenagers again. How come stewards always search pensioners but never those half a dozen lads who take smoke bombs and flares to away games?

And here's another, chucked into the goalmouth. And another. It's just like watching Juve: more like watching juveniles, than Juventus.

While you were distracted by the billowing plumes an Alty corner sailed over and beyond Jamie Mack. And perhaps another one as well. Who knows what is happening? Let's gaze through the haze and hope to be amazed.

Up in the distance, through the fog, red men chased blue men. Nsiala's knobbly knees knocked, and there were Alty opportunities to be mocked. The ball was an occasionally glimpsed jewel in the sky. Or is that the 15:03 Flybee to Majorca, where the water tastes like wot it oughta? Yes, I am distracted. Football? It's much better when you can't see it. Perhaps the Townagers are performing a Situationist critique?

Ooh, hello. Grimsby Town footballers! The coach has arrived!.Magnay diagonalled deeply, Arnie flibbled weakly at Coburn, staring intently at the keeper. He'll be back.

Tiresome, tedious and terrible. Town or the teenage mutant ginger hurlers? I have a cake and I am going to eat it. As Town finally managed to co-ordinate three passes and a counter-attack emerged, two more smoke bombs were chucked into the Alty penalty area. There's something here inside that cannot be denied, smoke gets in their keeper's eyes. The juveniles? We chafed them and gaily laughed.

Arnold short-circuited a corner, then crinkled a cross back into the groove. Pearson ducked and dunked a glancing header. My word, another save. A thing. It's almost enough to distract that man trying to buy a fridge on his phone. You know, I miss Tamworth and that house at the end of the terrace where you can see inside their fridge.

Flat. Sterile. Insipid. Half-paced ambling. Words you've heard before and others you've seen written on subway walls. This is normality, and normality rarely bites

Do Tamworth miss Kyle Perry? I suspect that there is more sunlight now.

Flat. Sterile. Insipid. Half-paced ambling. Words you've heard before and others you've seen written on subway walls. This is normality, and normality rarely bites.  

Apparently the fridge was out of stock; that's a shame. Can someone please chuck a flare on the pitch to liven things up? Or at least get it abandoned. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, all good children go to heaven. I can count. And Town can pass. Here comes the sun king. Neilson twisted his melon and walloped lowly straight at Coburn.

Great news. Mr Fridgeman found an e-shop with one in stock and it can be delivered on Monday! Well, I can't tell how much the terrace bounced at that news.

There's not much football going on, is there. No, there is not much football going on. Men in a field with a ball. You wouldn't pay to watch that, would you? Ah, Mr Scott Neilson volleyed and the keeper fingerstuck the ball at his knees. What does that mean? Exactly what you want it to mean.

Altrincham occasionally kicked the ball towards their own supporters. It even went near the Town penalty areas. They even got corners and free kicks. One has to be even-handed in reporting their dross too.

This was like a U2 album: unforgettably dire.

Second half: Inert gas

Neither team made any changes at half time. Noting changed. Nothing, nothing at all.

Ah, Lincoln's game's been postponed because their kit's been trapped in a hotel by an exploding sauna. Shouldn't we abandon this game as Town's kit is trapped on their bodies? Disley headed back to their keeper and headed off the pitch with Long Tall Harry, replaced by Feetov Clay and Mr Brown. Still half an hour to go.

You're going to like this, not a lot. Pell. A magician. He can make the impossible possible, making a ten-foot-tall footballer disappear for an hour, then reappear at the back of the audience, waving goodbye. Amazing.

Sorry, I blinked. Did you miss it too? Alty free kick, Alty header, Jamie Mack slowly plunged. Perhaps I should buy a new fridge too, at least make use of this time to do something useful.

Possession. Passing. Percy Parslow plopped a dinker, John-Lewis crept around his marker and carefully steered a header into the bottom left corner. It had to be, such is life's cruel twists. The one time Lennie was calm and lethal, he was flagged offside.

They thought we thought they thought we thought we had scored, they were wrong, they were wrong.

Arnold wibbled and dipped a screaming abadabber over defenders and into the bottom right corner. Phwoar, what a scorcher, a pearl among the donkey droppings

This is weird. Town: football, some pace, some intensity. Neilson scampered down the left and freckled lowly. Arnold loped and lapped a hooky steer goalwards. Coburn adjusted his feet and spectacularly flipped over from under the bar. If anything was happening, anything was happening down their end. The substitutions introduced some pep and vim into a torpid trotfest.

Cheeses, what was that? Thirty or so yards out, Arnold wibbled and dipped a screaming abadabber over defenders and into the bottom right corner. Phwoar, what a scorcher, a pearl among the donkey droppings.

Plump up the cushions, lean back and relax, for the mighty Mariners' sea wall will see out the sea. Nothing can go wrong. Yeah, right. Town on autopilot, adjust the Altymeter, there's a football descending.

Inert complacency. Arrogant dawdling. Town sat back and rested upon their magnificent rug. Crosses and corners, defending cabbages and Magnay the king. More corners, more corners, more corners, and Toto was going loco. Luckily Perry kept clearing, which was nice. A free kick kissed the side netting goodbye and… more corners, more Magnayficent glancing. What we need is height, strength and defensive nous. On came Mackreth for Neilson. Let's leave that sentence hanging there…

Tedious tosh, Town under the cosh and no time left. A corner glanced wide, a corner drumbled beyond the far post and Porky Perry cleared to Percy Parslow who wellied away from the penalty spot. But wellied weakly. Back out, back in, the ball drifted over Parslow, in front of Toto, onto Leather's toe and tickled on into the bottom left corner.

Three minutes were added and suddenly Town players began to move with some pace. Mackreth was teased free but took a touch rather than shot. And that was that. Arbitrary head tennis from the Shopping Trolley ended up with a big up-and-under from an Altyman. Perry barged into Pearson and fell pathetically. A free kick was awarded and tapped quickly, and Toto legged up a diving roaming raider inside the D. Densmore didn't break on through to the other side, but crinkled the free kick along the top of the net.

We can all go and queue for the tram now. What a waste of time.