Tangled up in blue

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

30 August 2015

Lincoln City 1 Grimsby Town 1

How to break through the police lines? “Let me through, I shop in Waitrose”. Oh to be in Lincoln now that Town are here, clogging up their highways and byways, boutiques and artisan coffee shops with our coastal crassness. And not one of us wore a cravat! How uncouth, well, I'm not from Louth.

A hot summer day in the home of the humpers, the cathedral of cowpat clogging, with another 1,700 traveling Townites, sans inflatables, but with an inflated sense of superiority (when we heard they were Hearnless), clogging up one end with a fine mass of Marinerdom. Nothing can go wrong now.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, East, Gowling, Pearson, Robertson, Arnold, Disley, Robinson, Monkhouse, Bogle and Amond. The substitutes were Tait, Nsiala, Clay, Mackreth and Pittman. And who can argue with that? Much. Robinson barely passed water last week, let us defer judgement and hope his legs and brain move quicker.

The Hearnless hoofers rumbled around in front of the Town throng with two huge lumps of lard prominent. They never change, do they; they're still waiting for Percy Freeman. Drew Broughton, Kyle Perry and now Matthew Rhead – the Impishmen have a penchant for lairy lads on a permanent night out. Lincoln returned to their kebab shop, Town to their dressing room.

As the teams came back out a crooked finger of Imps waved some red and white cards. Quantity and quality were perfectly matched up there in Kidz Korner near the Kármán line, overlooking the DMZ.

We've done the dozy last minute goals. We've done the farcical keeping. We've done the comedic own goal. We've done the mad managerial selection. We've had the criminally incompetent officials, so what's left on the checklist of cack-handed ways to avoid victory? Nothing can go wrong now, again.

First half: Fake and the fatman
Town kicked off away from the Town support. Hot Town, bummer for the City, our passing so fine and looking so pretty. All around Imps looking half dead, faces beaming bright red.

Imps? One lump or two? Dizzer donked back upfield and Brown was stumped as he jumped. The ball bounced over the Brown cow and Bogle bounded away, tippling Arnold free behind their alleged left back. The Demon Barber cut into the penalty area and was felled by stray red boots. The ball rolled on and Amond swept against the Wood/keeper combination. The ball rolled on and Bogle blasted against the sprawling Wood/keeper. A corner coiled low and was scriffled skimpily for another. Elevation Mr Arnold! He elevated. Farman flapped with such supple wrists for some pinball and paintball frenzy. Scrambles, scrumbles and bumbles off red and blue ended with Pearson's leaping hook-volley into the fire station.

Three minutes. More action than a boiled egg.

Jamboy and Monkfish marauded slowly on the left, Amond persisted with pestering the Brown bunny and disrobed Nat the nascent nincompoop. From a narrow angle the Carlow Cracker walloped a mortar across the face of goal. Lincoln's defence was so poorly organised no-one was there to convert the own goal. Don't they learn anything in training?

Lincoln City. What of them? Bradley Wood chucked once. Pfft. A long punty free kick sailed its way through Town's penalty area with nothing of interest emerging. Sailed? No, we sail, they soil with their agricultural ways. It's the muck spreading season and Sincil Bank has rarely been so fertile.

On a warm Lincoln city afternoon walls move, minds move, let's have some pass and move. Town etch-a-sketched a doodle and Arnold hook-volleyed a couple of feet wide. These triangles are easy as a Sunday morning. Gowling stroked and Omar eloped from the halfway line. You know you can do it if you try, all you gotta do is set Amond free. Free, free, he's set him free. Farman careered out, swoop-spread like a polar bear and collided with the shot, head first.

A short time-out was called by the Lincoln City Knickerbockers and the arm wrestling began.

After half an hour of total cobblers from them, the ref took pity and awarded a free kick when Fatman feigned to jump, but stood still, causing a rear end shunt. Just think of those insurance fraudsters who constantly drive around roundabouts looking for the innocent and unwary.

As the ball was chipped in Fatman and Gowling were a-tussling and wrestling. As the ball squizzled out towards the left touchline, Fatman and Gowling were still rolling and wrestling. A small cheer erupted from our right? Eh, what? Fatman rolled around clutching his face and the referee was pointing towards the penalty spot, rewarding the man who decide to fall first. Well, I guess we just saw it from a different point of view, how Rhead got tangled up in blue.

And out came a red card, to much hub-bubbing and burbling, on and off the pitch. The brave and honest Rhead somehow managed to recover his health and rolled the penalty left as Jamie Mack plunged right. Off the Fatman waddled to taunt the Townites congregated along the barbed wire in the DMZ. Fatman was booked. How did such a huge lump of bone and fat fall? It must have been the Spanish Plume.

Nsiala replaced Robinson and Town played a fluidly rigid 4-3-2 formation.

Seething and simmering with indignation, Town were knocked out of their groove, with Fatman continuing to play to the gallery of goons, managing to crumple when so much as thought about. He really does need to go the doctor to sort out that inner ear problem.

Neither team made any changes at half time. Lincoln were still rubbish

There is no need to mention any other Lincolnites. They were a terrible team with no personality, no presence, no style or wit. McKeown hadn't touched the ball in anger, or even sorrow. He may as well have gone to the Steampunk Festival uphill.

Steampunk Lincoln: retro-futurist football. They still hanker for the days of Percy Freeman. Forget it Impies, it'll never be 1976 again.

There's only one football team here. Town: pressure, with corners and stuff.

They had a corner near the end of the half after Jamie Mack chased a ricochet way out to his right, the linesman on the left somehow managed to see through the thickets of legs and bodies. Lumped high, holding, pushing, shoving and McKeown kettled, Brown glanced inches over the angel of post and bar.

McKeown still hadn't touched the ball. They'd had a header, some amateur dramatics and a couple of Wood chucks. Town should have been two up and shouldn't have been one down. The afternoon was not progressing pleasantly, but it's not over until the fatman sings.

Listen lads, we can still do this.

Second half: Righting a pong

Neither team made any changes at half time. Lincoln were still rubbish.

Town pressure and a Toto teaser, not pleaser, with a header arcing gently to Farman. If there was anything it was ten men Town, dominating possession, hunting and hounding Impies into their panic room. Disley roamed and raided, hassled and harried, ticked over and ticked off any momentary lapse of Town reason. Disley raked Rhead's garden and was booked. It needed doing; how can roses bloom when there's an errant weed sneaking up through the petals.

Omar ailed and failed, looking lost, looking tired, and looking thoroughly disheartened. The change it has to come. Poor Omar, he's looking a little too raw and non-league.

A leopard cannot change his spots and neither can Muldoon. Near the hour the lumping locals replaced Spotty Muldoon, their impish goon, with an ageing Scunthorpe Sparrow. And now they had a woodsparrow on their right. How lovely for the twitchers in Kidz Korner.

Sparrow continued their timewasting tantrums, adding a professional twist, and was booked at a throw in. Robertson and Monkfish triangulated, with Jamboy lapping an up 'n' under near Omar, near the penalty spot. Half cleared sideways, the Wood/Sparrow combination's eyes were full of hesitation and they bungled it straight back to Omar. Boggling the ball on his big manly chest, swivelling and hook-volleying in one movement, Bogle biffed into the bottom right corner. Omar, we're all crazy for you now. Again. The understandably unstable, writhing mass of Marinerdom mashed and bobbed and swayed around like nitro-glycerine about to pop. We can all stop clenching our Bogle's now; whoops, Omar did it again.

We men who spur them on and sit in judgement of all Shorty's wrongs. Let's smile and grin at the lack of changes he made. Won't get to fooling ourselves again. Oh no. Not until Monday at least.

From the restart Lincoln wilted further. Off Town roamed and Monkfish flat-dinked delightfully, Amond peeled his apple, saw Farman off his line tried to glancy-dink a header. Like an old Fenland farmer his noggin did not nod, nor noddin his nog. There be rain comin' over the Wolds, me dear. Bogle boogied on the right and Amond swivel-swished way over.

Please stand up and clap. Really, go on, they deserve it. Lincoln triumphed through adversity, the outrageous misfortune they had endured, and actually, factually, and in reality made McKeown touch the ball. They had a shot! He made a save! At the same time! In the seventieth minute nsomnambulent Nsiala nslacked and was mugged by the monolithic mauler. Some kind of small Lincolnite scurried through non-tackles on their left and scruffed lowly. Jamie Mack half stopped, spun around and clutched the ball as it drivelled slowly along the goal-line. Drivelled slowly, how very Lincoln.

Last man Arnold tried to be clever and failed on their left. Their substitute Simmons swanked and swayed past McKeown and cranked high and wide of the virtually empty net. They only threaten when Town sleep.

So, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Wood chuck after Wood chuck; it's groundhog day.

Bogle wasted wide from way out.

Amond chased a hopeless lost cause down the right towards the corner flag. Sneaking in front of the defender he cleverly won a thrown in. Monkfish flung quickly, Bogle licked on, Amond flicked up and on and Disley, fifteen yards out, thresh-volleyed down into the turf. Farman, unsighted and moving to his right, adjusted feet, plunged low and left to finger claw away from the foot of the post.

Bogle wasted wide again from wayer out.

McKeown saved again, low and to his right when Lincoln accidentally managed to move the ball from one of their players to another. You think I'm being one-eyed, arrogant and cheeky? Listen up, pop pickers, Lincoln's inner inabilities and weaknesses were exposed. They couldn't cope with not hitting it long down the sides. They didn't know what to do when they had any time and space. We particularly appreciated their neat non-interplay on their left, when one man looked up and carefully passed ten yards behind his unmarked chum. Oh, and Eyore Brown's comedy donkey drop header to miss and nose off the bouncing ball in one fluid Wisdomian moment of slapstick.

Arnold and Bogle were replaced by Mackreth and Pittman. There were three minutes of added time.
This is juicy, real juicy junior. Pittman and Amond twinkled their toes, crimping a cross into the near post. Monkhouse arose, but Waterfall finally did something adequate for them and glanced away their heartache, glanced away their tears. The game ended with a Wood chuck going nowhere – that's this version of Lincoln.
You want to go home? Get out that M&S bag now if you want to break out of the police lines and get your train. Well at least there's no rain fallin' on our shoes as we're heading out for the east coast.

Town were superior to an inferior team who had numerical superiority. Even with ten men Town could have won; with eleven they would have won. Taken in its own context this was a magnificent performance and well-deserved point. No-one slacked and the errors and danger were only evident towards the end when fatigue finally crept in to limbs. The sending off was seen by few, and the referee was five yards away. Gowling was daft to wrestle at chest level, but as it was lardy lairy Rhead there is only thing to say: casus belli.

So we did find another way to avoid victory after all. There's only a plague of frogs and Martians in the Main Stand left on the checklist. So Martians it is on Monday against Macclesfield.