House of cards

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

29 February 2016

Grimsby 2 The Surrey Cringers 0

A still, chill afternoon in the Grand Ole Opry of opprobrium with 69 Wokingites gurning for glory, Wembley dreaming. The weather's warmer than Tuesday, but they are colder. Remember, Harry Hill means business today: this match is their season. They kept on singing to themselves, it's all or nothing. Oh yeah. It's sure to be a cracker then.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 as follows: McKeown, Tait, Pearson, Gowling, Horwood, Arnold, Disley, Nolan, Monkhouse, Amond and Pittman. The substitutes were Robertson, Nsiala, Clay, Straker and Bogle. That's a first team, well, somebody's first team. I remember Marcus Marshall. Marcus, I wanna thank you for all the happiness you gave so many people all over the world during many, many years. And now he's just a golden memory.

Woking made ch-ch-ch-changes. It's just gonna have to be a different man in every position, almost. There was more beef, fewer pudding haircuts.

It feels like 1936 all over again with those titfers in the Town stands and when every fixture had at least one Norman and Arthur, and a kitman called Arnold.

Hooray, what a nice day for sticking a button on a melon and saying how's that for an unnecessary and unfathomable allusion to metaphysical media management, missus. How can you have a chairman's challenge if you don't have a chairman? Is that the challenge, Anneka?

First half: A-bombs near Neville Street

The Woking dead kicked off towards the Pontoon. La-di-da, la-di-da.

Woking diddled and da'd around in circles within wheels. What they can and what they can't, this is what you need to know. Da-da-da. Town embraced this chaos and irrationality in yellow with an old world charm and knowing smile.

Yellow corner. Yellow corner cleared to the yellow Sole who cleared the bar. Yellow? Sorry, can I have a little bit more echo on that please. Yellow-ow-ow-ow, is it me you're looking for? Well you missed by miles and miles and miles and miles and miles.

Ten minutes of slow surrealist shimmerings and Horwood was punted free to cross carefully and lowly behind the wall of Wokingites. Monkhouse swished and mished. Arnold carefully side-footed back across goal and in off the broad backside of beefy Arthur. Easy. Easy as a Saturday afternoon against some blokes who'd rather be shopping for slippers.

Them. A bunch of free kicks out wide. Dinks and winks, no chinks in Town's armour. It was all so dreary and so dull. Pearson couldn't be bothered to pull the other one's shirt over his head. There was nothing to enliven, no contest, no game, no problems, nothing to do it's up to you. I've got nothing to say but it's OK.

Do you want a paragraph of illusion, allusion and delusion involving a convoluted buried cross-cultural reference to Jean-Paul Sartre, Valerie Singleton and Gilbert O'Sullivan?

A cross, or corner, or something. Ball in air, Pearson headed it. The ball went a little bit wide. Shall we "oooh"? Some flowingness of football: Nolan rolled, Monkhouse strolled, and Nolan stretched his pants on the penalty spot to slip-slide slightly wide. I'm stretching this out just to give you something to read over your straight croissants. Do you want a paragraph of illusion, allusion and delusion involving a convoluted buried cross-cultural reference to Jean-Paul Sartre, Valerie Singleton and Gilbert O'Sullivan?

Oh, alright then. I'll stick to the facts, Jack.

Piddling and pootling around the under the barely populated regions of the Frozen Horsemeat Stand, Pittman swizzed, swivelled and swished to the organically on-strolling Nolan. The tiny red terror sauntered goalwards, drew a defender forward and cranked a cheeky little reversible pass into the path of Arnold for a little roller into the bottom right corner. A roller, and Town coasting.

There really is no point in carrying on. They may be from Surrey but they're a little cringing up-top. They can't stand up for falling down. And so nothing happened for a further ten minutes. No toupées were tossed, no rivers were crossed, nor marbles lost. What shall we watch tonight before Match of the Day? Icelandic film blanc? Spanish surrealism? Morons from Outer Manchester?

O, it's now or never Sole! A cross and Sole arose to head beyond the stars from a couple of yards out. What a wonderful thing is a sunny day.

Boring in an acceptable way. A mild diversion from the crowdly chin-wagging.

Second half: That's entertainment?

Neither team made any changes at half time.

The occasional scrambled egg is never satisfactory. Where's the beef? Hello Arthur, rampaging on Town's right. He ran, he fell. A penalty? Not now Arthur, not now.

Arnold wallied lowly, Cole scooped up the delicious ice cream. Sole bent his head between the Twin Towers of Town to glance delicately, delightfully, de-lovely-ly into the arms of Jamie Mack. Technically that was a shot on target. Statistics, they only give you numbers. Antiseptic anaemic aardvarks to you, to me, technically.

Go away for a few minutes. Nothing happened…

Oh, you're back already. Err, just give us another five minutes and I'm sure there will be something to write home about. Please sip a sherry on the sun lounger. Or munch a macaroon in McMenemy's. Thanks, see you soon. Bye…

No, sorry, nothing to say. Have another sausage roll. They're delicious with a pickle topping and a pinch of paprika…

Eventually, finally and at last, the up-for-it-in-yer-face-totally-committed-to-the-Trophy Woking had an attacking moment of near discombobulation

Well, isn't that typical. You've just missed it. That thing that happened.

What was that thing? Some stuff of nonsense that can be drizzled with sauce and called a fish dish. Pittman crossed, Rickett's toe poked wide at the near post. Rickett collapsed, in need of vitamin D, and never returned. Pittman grazed a header wide, Goddard fell over a few times when well set to waste possession, and eventually, finally and at last, the up-for-it-in-yer-face-totally-committed-to-the-Trophy Woking had an attacking moment of near discombobulation.

Big beefy Arthur stepped out from the chorus line to waltz past the tottering Tait and wallop lowly through a half-imagined scene of humanity inside the six-yard box. There, that was it from them forever and ever and ever; ah, men behaving sadly in yellow.

Town barely bothered, so let us conserve energy now, what with five more coal-fired power stations being decommissioned in the next year. Arnold awoke to dribble and cross, Monkhouse swished and mished, Amond carefully caressed a curling pass a yard wide.

Whither Commander Straker? With two minutes left and Town two up, the always popular two full-backs thing was resurrected. Robertson replaced the hobbling Monkhouse.

Five minutes were added, five minutes were played. This wasn't a contest: it was friendly with a pre-agreed outcome. An afternoon of passionless and painless perambulation.

Right. I'm off to watch an Iranian feminist skateboarder vampire movie. It's the only way to celebrate success.