Swells like team spirit

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

29 March 2015

Welling United 0 Grimsby Town 2

Did you eschew the Giggling Sausage on the way to the shoddy shack? Down the mean streets of Welling six hundred or so Mariners marched, marvelling at the recreation of Freeman Street, but with red buses.

Town lined up in blue in a 4-4-2 as follows: McKeown, Magnay, Pearson, Nsiala, Robertson, Mackreth, Brown, Disley, Arnold, Palmer and John-Lewis. The substitutes were Parslow, Clay, Jolley, Chapell and Pittman. Bignotless on the bench, you can't avoid sighing at the Hannah-shaped void at the heart of the subs. Chapell looks like Mackreth v2.1. Three inches taller and three pounds heavier. I can see clearly now the train has gone to Dartford – gosh, that's Josh Gowling over there with his hair.

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Toto, happy birthday to you. What a lovely smile. The bricks are bonding.

Them? The locals were just a load of gangly youths wearing red, more a social club than a football club. The pitch was a bumpy, lumpy divotheap, ruining any possibility of some stylish non-touch rhomboids. You may need to go to the doctor for that and get some special cream. It's an age thing.

Well, the Giggling Sausage of Welling tickled me. It's an age thing. Wahey, Brizzle drew! We've got the Big Mo in the Big City.

First half: Mo' better blues

Well, Welling wellied off towards the trees. Well-a, well-a, well-a, uh! Tell me more, tell me more, did they get very far? I'll tell you more, tell you more, if you get out of the bar.


Like did they hit a car? No, they were kicking towards the Tree End, not the Bus End. New balls please. We said new balls please. Welling have only got one new ball. They may have two spares but they are grubby, grey and small.

Divotty bobbling, hooking and lobbing, Lennie chased the keeper in circles after a Brown up 'n' under. Wee Jacky Mackreth wandered to and fro along the bye-line singing to them with a guitar he borrowed from a coffee bar. You didn't know that? Well, what you don't know doesn't hurt you. Crosses. Corners. Elevation Mr Arnold, elevation.

Holy schmoly! Brown caressed into a gaping void. Arnold sneaked in stroked lowly to the near post and Palmer swept into the bottom right corner. Put on your red shoes and dance for the blues. Let's dance.

Bobbling divots, Batman. Battling dobblings, Divotboy. Wellboys wept as Arnold swept through the middle and was sandwiched by two slices of pitiable bread. A penalty claimed, a penalty denied. Let's not get to the Parslow Point too early, let's show some mercy.

A chip and chase, a Lennie lay-back and Arnold thwackled towards the top tier of the number 89 to Greenwich. Some old grandmother, who might be decked out like a Christmas tree, ducked instinctively.

The linesman flagged furiously for a penalty as the marvellous man in black walked towards him shaking his head and wafting the Wellymen away

Boblets of boombling, miskicks and misgivings. No sense and no sensibility being shown out there in the scrapheap challenge. Tooooo easy, Townites atrophied with boredom. Slowly, slowly the Wellies were on the other foot.

Palmer weakly wafted on the right and a redboy riffed to the bye-line. Toto ducked and Lafayette, unmarked six yards out, carefully grazed a glancer out for a throw-in. The linesman was stood next to the ball and flagged for a goal kick. We chuckled and chortled.

Helpless, hopeless hoi-polloi hoiking. Toto tussled and Adeyinka yanked. Well, the two men took to fighting and when they pulled them from the floor, the referee had a jigsaw puzzle with a couple of pieces gone. The linesman flagged furiously for a penalty as the marvellous man in black walked towards him shaking his head and wafting the Wellymen away. Deliberation's what you need if you want to be a Welling heartbreaker. Yeah! Pointing, prodding and perfectly placing the ball in McKeown's hands, the Town six hundred were pleasantly surprised. Some say astounded. I suppose we're the big team now.

A Town attack would be nice. The Dizzer drove his bus down the middle of Welling high street. Arnold bustled on to the rebound and volleyed. Henly superbly saved low to his left. The corner cornered into the heart of the penalty area, Lennie ducked, Henly flipped and tipped the ball over. Arnold elevated, Pearson arose to leap like a wet salmon and softly plonk ploppily into the unguarded left-hand corner of the net.

Have you ever seen an airless balloon deflate? Well, Wellers, we know how it feels. You have our sympathy. Even Town couldn't throw this one away. Magnay won't let 'em.

Second half: Singing the blues

Neither team made any changes at half time.

With Robertson it was all bandages and badinage. A bloodied bonce required taping and re-taping with Arnold retreating. And what of all this? Nothing much. Welling wellied, that's what Welling do. Town retreated and sat on a two-goal lead. That's what Town do.

Danny Parslow warmed up.

Look, like any party, it's not about the spread: it's about the ambience. A few cheesy dips were enough to keep us going. We were too busy having an old-fashioned singalong. You hum it, I'll play it. We all want a team of Carl Magnays, a team of Carl Magnays, a team of Carl Magnays.

At number one is Carl Magnay

Oh look, Arnold wafted over the bar and into the trees.

At number two is Carl Magnay

A red man plunged to the left of Town's goal, 20 yards out. Jamie Mack adjusted his corset and Vose coiled with his right foot onto the face of the crossbar to McKeown's right. Worth an ooh. Wakey-wakey Town.

At number three is Carl Magnay

Lennie turned and burned, a-whacking straight into Palmer's gentleman's particulars. Worth an oooouch.

At number four is Carl Magnay

Welling were having a sleepover in Town's half. Healy smackled into the net above the fence beyond the steps behind the goal. Adeyinka hit the turf; Vose surfed the free kick into the net above the fence beyond the steps behind the goal.

At number five is Carl Magnay

The illusion of pressure, the fake photography of fear. A red corner deeply dipped to the far post, a big man ducked and dinked, Jamie Mack flipped. Vose flibbled longily and lowly. McKeown eased himself into position by the right-hand post.

Lafayette was an unsuccessful bully. A complete irrelevance, like a relegation Brodie

At number six is Carl Magnay. Stop, that's enough. Six Magnays can take on the world. Watch him roar.

So what about that Shack-attack? When does feel like the right time to mention 1980s jazz-funk? How about never. Adeyinka played in blinkers and was all arms and legs, while Lafayette was an unsuccessful bully. A complete irrelevance, like a relegation Brodie.

Ah and then there's Dominic Vose with his oddly courtly mock Tudor troubadour prancing. Like a classical pianist in a primary school band. He could only lead them so far up the garden path. I think he was wearing that beard to hide his disappointment.

What's going off in that Alfreton of theirs then? Oh well, maybe something will turn up.

How lovely, an attack or two. I suppose the players just want to be near the party animals in a little corner of Welling that will be forever muddy. Palmer roasted and coasted to the bye-line, pathetically flicking straight to the keeper as Lennie hid behind some wilting poppies. Magnay looped a big dipper. Palmer arose alone to head way over.

With five minutes left Chapell replaced Mackreth. A seamless swap. We hardly noticed the difference. Lennie was surprised by a rinky-dinky droopy cross. How? Chapell crossed, Lennie was surprised. You just don't expect that sort of thing these days.

Let's waste some time. Pittman replaced the Shopping Trolley.

What's that? A low hum deep in the bowels of the 24-minute party people. It's not the Giggling Sausage is it? The hum became a ripple of leaping, yelling and roaring unstoppable thunder. What, where, when, how and who? Could life be sweeter? A 94th-minute penalty for Alfreton. He's still one of our own, Bradley Wood he's one of our own.

Start spreading the news, Barnet aren't winning today. Are our little town blues melting away? The players could see, could hear, could hardly wait for the end. And here it is, this is the end for Welling, the beginning of the end of the darkness for Town?

When you hear this sound a-comin', hear the drummers drumming, come on and join together with the band. It's isn't the quality of football that's doing this, but the collective spirit of the players surfing the emotion. This is about something more than a little ball: it's a town reawakening.