Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
24 August 2015
Grimsby Town 2 Torquay United 2
A blooming bright, broiling afternoon in the home of the happy howlers with 70 Torbay trippers skipping a light fandango and doing cartwheels in the aisles. Let us be calm and mellow after the angst of Altrincham. Don't panic.
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 as follows: McKeown, Nsiala, Pearson, Gowling, Robertson, Mackreth, Disley, Robinson, Monkhouse, Arnold, Bogle. The substitutes were East, Clay, Marshall, Pittman and Amond. Oh dear, he's panicked. Toto at right-back had everyone jumping for joy. Robinson looked uncomfortable in his shirt, never a good sign. The absence of Amond was noted, and will be used in evidence later.
Torquay turned up in yellow with Master Quigley and Dolly Tearsheet up front. They're just a bunch of big blokes. We're sure in for a treat of tiki-taki triangles. Pass me that telescope, Uranus is passing the sun.
First half: The yellow peril
The giant daffodils kicked off towards the Pontoon. Long throw, long throw, long throw, long throw. McKeown punched off Pearson's bonce. Long throw, long throw, long throw, long throw. It's the Torbay mantra. Chip and chase, hustle and bustle. Miserable mid-table mufflers scuffling around waiting for a set piece and it was all too much for Town to take. Is it last year already?
Over the top they go! Pearson flagged after Fisher was flipped free, McKeown flushed danger away. Long throw, hoik! Long throw, b-voom!. Whack and wally, this selection's off its trolley, this game's a dolly for the Devon locksmiths.
There's no flotsam to cling on to in this wreck.
Exodus, movement of Jah people, oh yeah. No, that's something else, isn't it. Exodus Geohaghon, with the movement of a weeble; oh no, he's bestriding Bogle. Monkfish and Mackreth missing through inaction; Disley disturbed by his charity-pick partner in midfield grime. Toto off the rails and Robertson a rusting oil tanker run aground: this is not a new Town.
Well, finally. A Town triangle down the right and Wee Jacky Macky cut in and lullabied lowly from afar. A pass, some movement, some pace, a shot. Finally something, but something of nothing. Disley headed a corner over; yeah, whatever.
We're waiting for their dreary train to enter the stationary Town box. Hurst, their peskily effective right wingy-back type, crossed deeply from the under the Police Box. Gowling ached back, Toto twizzled his thumbs, Master Quigley headed over and across Jamie Mack. A deep cross to the far post causing Town to concede? Haven't we been here before? At least someone called Hurst knows what they're doing.
Toto sat down at a throw-in, rubbed his shins and walked off. On came East. East is just East, but at least East is a full-back. Generally speaking, we like horses to be on the right courses.
East surged and thwacked. Hurrah! Action! Intensity! A monochromer not moping.
Good to see that team spirit: no-one spoke to Robinson, no-one even looked at him; he was just ignored and left to drown in the crowd's pity
Geohaghon hurled his flatiron deeply from under the Frozen Horsemeat Stand. All rise. Robinson arose in front of Disley to beautifully arc a glance over Jamie Mack. Good to see that team spirit: no-one spoke to him, no-one even looked at him; he was just ignored and left to drown in the crowd's pity. Poor lad, he'd been terrible, we actually felt sorry for him. A little boy lost.
And Town stopped being doormats as Torquay decided to put their towel on their sun lounger and go off for a little dip.
Finally, the boy did something. Robinson coiled a woozy cross low through the area, arcing gently away from the keeper and teasing the orange flapper with a cheeky spin. Monkfish and Arnold sneaked around the back and the demon barber wellied way over from four yards.
In context there was more, in reality it was less of the same. Mackreth crossed low; something nearly happened. But it didn't. Nearly is much better than never, though.
Hubbling and bubbling inside the Torquay penalty area. A blond boy dipped his shoulder, the ball dropped and the crowd erupted for a penalty hope. Well, a diversionary moan before half time speaks to our deflated ego. Off the Devonians ran and rolled a pass into an East-shaped hole. Heslop, a dimly remembered disappointment from a decade ago, remembered his sister's beautiful begonias – riot of colour, they were – and descended to Earth over Pearson's obligingly placed thigh. A free kick a yard outside the area was snacked a yard over the bar.
It's time for our tea-time snack.
Robinson and Robertson were not fit to start, the wingers irrelevant and invisible, while Arnold was wasted leaping for punts against two tall poppies. Town's structural imperfection was matched only by its passivity. Wrong from the start and getting wronger all the time. And we can complain.
Second half: Restoring order
Neither team made any changes at half time, though the Mariners did change their mojo and modus operandi, which was nice.
Tippy-tappy Town. Robertson flat-floated a cross to Monkhouse on the left edge of their penalty area. He swished a spectacular volley against the top of the crossbar. The volume went into the red zone, and Town got some feedback. Yeah, let's have some rock 'n' roll!
Bogle started to boggle, Nathan nipped and tucked over the bar. Torquay sat back, were pinned back, and Amond replaced Mackreth – we're back to the new Town. Omar unleashed his skyrocket Ajax, caressing a curling, dripping free kick into the side netting. Let's get ready to rumble.
Who'd have thought that things would get better with a right-back playing at right-back rather than left-back, or a centre-back playing at right-back, or a right winger playing at centre-forward
Who'd have thought that things would get better with a right-back playing at right-back rather than left-back, or a centre-back playing at right-back, or a right winger playing at centre-forward. We're right back to where we should have been. And we're here now.
Pressure, pressure, pressure, crosses, corners, incisive insertions and diversions. Amond, with his back to goal, tippled up Pearson, whose slice-volley swizzled and spun across the face of the far post. Corners, crosses, pressure, pressure, pressure. A slow tourniquet applied to Torquay.
Robinson bundled and trundled through thick and thin Torquayistas. Way outside the area, centrally placed, Robinson drambled lowly. Speiss wibbled to his right as the ball wobbled, dribbled over his body and into that thing we call the goal. There was cheery cheering and hearty hey-hos emanating from three sides of the ground. Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah.
All Town. Torquay had a shot, probably; Torquay had a long throw. So what? Torquay? History. Almost prehistoric.
Rolling, raiding, roister-doistering and thundering on to the beat of the tambourine. We're waiting for vindication. We're just waiting for our Oirish rover to hover. Ah, the waiting is over.
Teasing and pleasing and easing forward, East advanced and lapped a cross deeply from under the Police Box. Amond arose at the far post to steer staunchly over and across Speiss. Off Amond ran, slapping his forehead like a berserker as the ground bounced in a frenzy.
With less than ten minutes left, Marshall replaced Monkhouse, and tickled our fancy with a couple of swizzy dribbles causing minor mayhem. Nothing else of note happened, except the lemon drizzlers feigned and fell and squawked and squealed and dawdled near Dawlish, but we all felt a lot better. Shame Omar had ground to a halt; shame we didn't start with what we ended with.
A point gained, but two points lost. Should have been worse, could have been better. An error finally rectified to rescue the management mistake.