Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

6 March 2016

Falling Green Rovers 0 Grimsby Town 1

A foul, filthy Friday in Frumpywick Green with near four hundred Townites trudging up Numpty Hill through the sleet sheets and drizzle duvets to the clown cuckooland of The Bananarama. Automatic promotion for the people? What an absurdly over-optimistic fantasy in them clouds.

Town lined up in a standard issue 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Tait, Pearson, Gowling, Horwood, Arnold, Nolan, Disley, Monkhouse, Amond and Hoban. The substitutes were Robertson, Nsiala, Clay, Jennings and Pittman. Ah, I see Town are going for the double Irish, but without a Dutch sandwich. We're promotion avoiders, not tax evaders. Will the double Irish be our double fantasy? No Omar, not today. Perhaps he gets altitude sickness watching the wheels go round and round. Or is that attitude sickness watching the wheels come off?

Is there anybody out there? Town fans bring inflatables, they just have inflatable fans to fill out the stands. Barrage balloons ahoy! We'll need them to dodge the low-flying doodle-buggery from the Gloucester old spots, in hoops and garters.

Them Frumps are full of fleshy lumps. Forest Green are big boys, so Town will have to keep us shape. With Town it's a full time job you know; now behave yourself Mr Porkin.

Oh, it's started.

First half: Sludge

Town kicked off away from the hubbub of humanity a-singing songs to the host broadcaster. Oh what joy it is follow Grimsby away on a Friday evening 200 miles from home. Football, it's a fans' game, remember.

Punt, head, chase, chip, trip, stumble, tumble, fumble and fume in the gloom. It's a TV classic. Time sludge, the pitch is fudge and I'm not budging from this spot sheltered from the rain curtains.

Porkin rolled and Gowling pinned the pie to the floor. Definitely full-fat pastry in this porky pie.

Chip, chip, chip, chip, tomato sauce, chip, chip, Mars bar and Twix. A procession of rumbling stomachs marched to the non-meat concession spewing out goodness knows what.

Marsh-Brown mashed a cross, Jamie Mack plucked the scudding skidder neatly. I only mention it to break the flow of chaps towards the chips. No sir, let us not be sexist. Ladies lunched too.

Tait tottered and Pearson swamped Frear to allay all fears. Green men kept mauling and falling. Green free kicks kept whipping and chipping. Monochrome foreheads nodded. Nothing happened, except the divots got more divoty.

Do you think they've run out of chips? Do Frumpy Green ever run out of chips? That's their only idea. When they run out of chips they'll run out of ideas

Time flies by when you're the driver of a train. They're huffing and puffing through the countryside with so little to be seen.

Time is linear, memory's a stranger, history's for fools and the Hobanator muddied the muddled murky waters of woe by doing something. A turn and speculative wibbling wellython from fully 30 yards had their lugubrious blue keeper back-pedalling, arching and spectacularly tipping over, spectacularly. What a spectacle. A thing. Happened. And it was Podge 2.

Do you think they've run out of chips? Do Frumpy Green ever run out of chips? That's their only idea. When they run out of chips they'll run out of ideas. Forest Green are falling down, falling down, falling down. Forest Green are falling down.

Do I remember football? Do I remember two passes and some movement? Do I remember Arnold crossing and Monkhouse, alone beyond the far post, stooping to snatch-squeak a glance sadly wide? I don't know, do I?

And finally, after all that didn't happen, something else didn't happen. After some persistent prissiness from the Demon Barber, Falling Green Rovers had a shot. Sinclair, their jinking beard danced through the midfield and Carter, their sulking beard, coiled wiffily into the side netting. Hey, that was as good as it got from them. Something almost happened that if it had happened would not have been worth remembering.

Remembering what?

There we are, that's that. Go and get some chips. Both teams were equally incapable of doing anything but stop the other. But of course our stopping was better than theirs.

Second half: Fudge

Neither team made any changes at half time.

Horwood looped and Arnold missed completely. You can safely fast forward a further 25 minutes, you won't miss anything, just the hum and drum of the Frumpy Green hokey-cokey.

Oh, if you insist upon letting daylight in upon magic, here's what you should have missed. The fruitless Foresters moved their legs and kept kicking the ball into the Town penalty area. How delightful. Gowling diverted a dink over the bar. After some knee-knocking pinball Horwood scraped away from near Jamie Mack. What a miserable way to play – kick the ball into the opposition penalty area and all jump. Wrestlemania should stay at the NEC.

The Failing Green Grunters didn't have chances: they had moments when the ball went into the Town penalty area. Is that it? Yes, it was. That's them. All you need to know is that Shaun Pearson was playing.

And as the rain began to recede Town's tide crept in. Nolan nurdled on the left and levered into the near post, Hoban scrape-turned and Arnold flew low and right to paddle away for a corner. The ball was going wide anyway. Corner? Nope, forgotten everything about it except Nolan elevated appropriately under crowd instruction.

With 20 minutes left on a rainy night in Nailsworth, Town got a throw-in where the neon signs were a-flashing. If you look at it from our angle, you'll see Horwood and Monkhouse's bemusing triangle which makes defenders disappear. The Baron Monkhouse espied monochrome movement in the distance and delightfully dinked a floating hope vaguely towards the penalty spot. Gliding gracefully into the nether regions, the Dizzer glanced a ghostly header down into the bottom left corner as the keeper groped hopefully but helplessly.

I was not on the grassy knoll, but I was there when Amond missed. The T-shirt is already in production

As the inflatables bopped, Disley belly-flopped a turf-surf behind the goal and Big Blue Arnold stamped on a beach ball with an audible pop, just like their pretentions for top-spottery. Ruddy-faced hooligan!

Passing. Movement. Things. Hoban mugged a shook-up, muddled-up Greenster, and Amond scuttled away down the right. A low cross skittled through a menagerie to the unmarked Monkhouse, level with the far post, He took a touch, a touch too much and slapped highly. Up went a blue arm and the ball shot up vertically as the keeper flopped and plopped. Bennett raced around to stand near the post, mistimed his leap and accidentally cleared the ball off the line as it descended and dribbled down his shirt. It could've been something. It wasn't.

Passing, movement, Horwood crossed lowly, Amond hung back and made the impossible possible – he missed. He swished and the ball sailed over the lilo and beyond the shoals of Harry. I was not on the grassy knoll, but I was there when Amond missed. The T-shirt is already in production.

Other moments nearly happened. If only…

I really don't feel the need to dignify the homesters' 'attacks' with any detail. They lumped it in towards an ever-increasing circle of big men hanging around on street corners, up to no good, looking for trouble. Nothing happened. Town policed the streets professionally. So professionally that McKeown only had one save to make – after 87 minutes. A fluorescent fool fell and the lurid limeys got a free kick 20 or so yards out. It was rubbished straight to Jamie Mack, who scooped off the butterscotch sludge in front of him. Oh yeah, Pittman had replaced Amond somewhere in time.

Four minutes were added. What a bunch of useless big punts. Toto came on for Hoban. That's simply a fact.

The end. That's a fact. It was simple. Town simply replayed many an away day from last year – professional competence suppressed a mess of big blokes punting.