Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
21 March 2009
Grimsby Town 3 Gillingham 0
Mmmm, smell that sweet sea air. Another week, another new day is dawning as the shadows are falling over Our Town. Is this the fourth or fifth new team this season? There is something in the air; everywhere you look around there's a Town fan in the ground.
Town lined up in the 4-4-2 formation as follows: Henderson, Stickdale, Atkinson, Bennett, Widdowson, Llewellyn, Hunt, Sweeney, Heggggarty, Conlon, Ak Ak. The substitutes were Lund (no relation, Hollyoaks hair), Heywood, Proudlock, F-f-f-f-f-orbes and Bore. We're back to basics, again. Sweeney has height and Conlon has lost weight since his wobble-bottom Valley jogging in January. Lulu-Llewellyn played on the right, Heggggarty on the left with the Sweeney and Hunt patrolling the mean streets between. They were the inner city to Lulu and Nick-Nick's outer ring road.
There is no Newey, Newey is no more. No more Newey, we are Neweyless, less was always more with Newey, Donald Duck's embarrassing fourth nephew. Life without Newey, there is life on Mars. Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice!
Fumigation what's you need if you want to beat the rest.
Town kicked off towards the Osmond, gleaming in the sunlight as 250 Gilly-gilly-Hessenthaler-love-and-loathing-people scrunched into the covered corner by the sea-ea-ea-ea-ea. Stickman McCammon pushed over The Sweeney, the referee ignored this crime against the state, and after a bit of nurdling nonsense nothing happened. Except the crowd were riled, and that's always a good way to wrench up the rumble-rama to warp factor five.
Sweeney swiped wide and Sweeney swept up in Town's box. He hadn't had his dinner, so unless they wanted a good kickin'... don't mess with The Sweeney.
The Gilly-men hit it high towards Stickman McCammon, and Action Jackson, the Priestfield pest, swivelled and shot around Atko and Hendo pluckedo to his lefto. The Gilly-men hit it high towards Stickman McCammon etc etc etc.
"Shut it!" Sweeney and Hunt, rhyming slang and clanging and banging the prison bars.
After 11 minutes Town got a free kick; the referee was ovated standingly. Town cleared, but the referee blocked Hunt. Town broke away, but the referee intercepted and set up a counter-attack. Stickman mugged Atkinson, Bennett was hugged, Hunt was clobbered and Ak-Ak was pole-axed, pole-vaulted and pole-danced. Nothing. Oh, it's him! All is explained: the ref is the ne'er-do-good nerd from that Scunny game in 2004.
Town were holding a line and were fine, with hints and accusations from Conlon and Ak-Ak in a series of almosts. Conlon is a cushion, an old-fashioned, delicately bruising centre-forward, standing tall and rigid, yet bending supplely with dinky deftness. There was the beginnings of a connection. Hunt rubbed out a pencil mark and Lulu ran around like a peckish squirrel. Both sides prodded and probed, but the drains were blocked. Call Dynorod! Sweeney and Hunt swiping, sweeping, bleeping and crushing underneath Newell's nose. They Shall Not Pass. They didn't.
The Gilly-men hit it high towards Stickman McCammon and bashful Basham hooked over from the centre of the penalty area.
Three passes, two flicks, one trick and Lulu poked wide and widely high. A Town shot; the jelly is setting nicely. Slowly, slowly the game was moving further and further away from Henderson and Town took a grip and took a trip far, far away. Who will be broken-hearted?
Just after the half-hour a thing happened. Stockdale and Llewellyn surged down the right after a magnificent snowplough tackle by Bennett on the swaggering Stickman. Lulu and Sticky exchanged glances and a cross from the bye-line was loopily deflected to the back end of beyond, the far side of the penalty area. The ball fell off Conlon's body and Heggggarty poked goalwards. Royce was motionless, the crowd emotionless as the ball hit the left post and rebounded to the unmarked Ak-Ak, who stretched and prodded from a few yards out. The crowd was emotional, and a burger bun fell off a shelf in McDonalds.
Nicky the Roofer bedraggled straight at Henderson. Hey, how could we forget the man who wasn't there? A decade of dross has caused us to erase you from our collective memory. Or maybe that you just weren't rubbish enough to stick in the craw.
In the craw? In the raw? Eurgh. Cretinous fool! Don't look, Ethel! Too late. She'd already got a free shot from the Main Stand, right there in front of the home team. As Town attacked, a be-shirted fool ran out of the Pontoon, threw his underpants on the ground, pranced around the park and was confronted by Sweeney. A few years later the stewards decided to act, eventually waddling on and carting him off. Get your trousers on, you're nicked.
His pants remained in play.
The game resumed and his pants stayed inside the Town penalty area. They were offside, but not yet interfering with play. No-one wished to touch them. The Gilly-men hit it high towards Stickman McCammon and the ball went out of play. Henderson ran across and gingerly lifted the huge purplish pantaloons high above his head and a female steward was despatched to take them away.
Action Jackson swiped slowly wide, Conlon wiggled and Hegggarty stylishly leapt and volleyed inches past the left post. This is good, this is Town as it should be. Hunt devoured turf and toes, before being felled on the right edge of the penalty area. Sweeney plonked the ball down, watched rosy-cheeked Royce hop around behind the wall and carefully coiled a dipping whippersnapper. Royce arched his back and arched his eyebrows to fingertip over the bar. Very nice.
Many minutes were added on for no reason other than that foolish streaker, the slowest thing on two feet other than the stewards. The Gilly-men hit it high towards Stickman McCammon... oh, no they didn't; that's what confused everyone. Jackson wriggled down their right touchline with the ball bumbling out of play right under the linesman's nostrils. The flag stayed down, the cross came over, McCammon pushed Bennett and the ball fell to Southall. We expected it, you expected it, it was expected. But this is a tale of the unexpected. Southall stumbled over his punchline and the ball mumbled straight to Henderson. Offer solutions, offer alternatives? It's the end of the half as we know it.
To a chorus of cheers for the team and jeers for the officials they all wandered off to cogitate and discombobulate. Apart from Stickman being 20 foot taller than anyone else and Action Jackson being a rapid but vapid pest, Town had coped easily and started to set riddles in the Gilly-sand. This is no time for slackers and there were no slackers, with the demon barber Sweeney Hunt being ruthlessly effective, and the latest Jean-Louis partner having a ball. Don't stop him now, he's having a good time, and so are we.
As false dawns go, this was pretty bright with a lot of birds chirruping.
Neither team made any changes at half time.
With this trick and that trick, it's a whole lot of magic. You're gonna like this half.
Vroom-vroom, screeeeech. Town put their foot to the floor and the reconditioned supernova belted around the estate, clattering and shattering the day trippers. Conlon rocked, Ak-Ak rolled, Bentley squirmed and Sweeney slashed a surprising shot against the outside of the right post.
The Gillingham defence tried to be dead poncey like with some passing among themselves. Conlon mugged King, flipped the ball over his head and rampaged goalwards. The raggle-taggle defence were sucked towards the magnetic force. Conlon throbbed and repulsed these little iron filings. Ak-Ak waited on the right alone, free of humanity, waving and hollering. Conlon kept his head down and bumbled a shot through his claque and straight at Royce. Ak-Ak expressed Gallic disappointment in a Gallic way.
Llewellyn tangoed through two tackles and poked a delicate pass down the centre, missing Conlon by an inch and Ak-Ak by a centimetre. Hegggarty crossed, Ak-Ak Monty-Pythoned down the wing and the ground vibrated in simple harmonic motion with the new-found verve and vim of New Town (mark 5).
Gillingham belted in a high cross from the other side which Henderson dropped. A mad moment for someone. Gillingham belted in a high cross, Henderson missed it and McCammon headed well from wide beyond the valley of the far post. A sad moment for no-one.
Don't worry about a thing 'cos every little thing is gonna be alright. Ooh-la-la. Ak-Ak magnificently contorted himself along the right wing and delicately stabbed a cross into the centre, where Llewellyn cleverly stooped and flicked a header on to the unmarked Conlon, ten yards out. Thin Barry gathered the ball, pulled back his right boot and was flattened by a juggernaut which had failed to see his brake lights. The referee waved play on and the seethe factor was turned up to eleven. The whole ground was up, railing at the referee, exhorting the team on and on and on. An old-time rousing of the rabble.
Just before the hour another thing happened. Where shall we start, who shall we start with? Ooh, everyone did something somewhere. Ak-Ak spun and punned his way goalwards from the centre-left. Gillls were grilled, their pepper was milled and their soil was tilled. Two blue men were iced and diced and a sumptuously weighted pass was spiced between centre- and full-back. Hegggarty sneaked behind his marker, cut in, was pushed and pulled, stumbled and dragged a mishit shot goalwards. Royce fell to his right, clutched where the ball would have been and was aghast as the ball bombled inside the near post several days later. Who cares matey? Hegggggggarty, the veteran Vimto drinker, had scored.
The Gilly-men hit it high towards Stickman McCammon and Action Jackson, the Priestfield plunderer, swivelled and shot over and over and over and over the bar. At some point the distant Gillyfans groaned about something when Jackson fell inside the area. I saw no ships. They seemed to have misunderstood this referee - he avoids those big goal-type decisions; it's the bits in between the penalty areas that he fusses about. Know your enemy. As the Government says: keep panicked and don't be calm, or something.
Ooh-la-la Ak-Ak purred clear down the left and thwacked a swiggering drive towards the top right corner; Royce flew and parried aside. Conlon wryly grimaced unmarked and unremarked at the far post. Touché. Bennett softly headed the corner into Royce's waiting arms. Another minute, another Town attack. The ball sprayed left to right to right to left, with Hegggarty slapshotting slinkily towards the top right corner. Royce flew and clutched.
Town retreated into two solid banks of four and just waited to crunch for their lunch. Hunt...Hunt, what a man. Town broke with power and purpose, Gillingham couldn't handle the wrap-around kimonos in attack. Yeah, yeah, Stickman sliced well, well, well wide and they had a few crosses and blocks. Town did what they had to do; they got in the way, and Henderson had nothing to do except race off his line and scoop through balls and ricochets off Jackson's toes.
It's the little things that are important - Henderson was alert to anything rolling, rebounding, dropping and hopping behind his defence. They had confidence that he was there when they needed him. He was. Through sheer boredom he feigned a spectacular, long, belly-flopping dive to his left to catch a Stickman glancing header. He leapt so early that he nearly dived underneath the slow ploppy grazer. Less a save, more a still pose for a portrait.
I keep telling you - why won't you listen? Henderson had nothing to do. Nothing, nothing at all. Woah, what a save! Their slippery substitute, Oli, swerved and hooked a shot around Bennett and across Henderson, who sensibly plunged to his left and slapped the ball away from the foot of the post and for a corner. Mighty Joe headed off the line after some big Blueman boinged goalwards from that corner. Hmm, maybe the Kentish blue parrot isn't dead.
With Conlon barely moving and Ak-Ak conserving his batteries, finally, with five minutes left, a substitution was made. Proudlock replaced... Ak-Ak!
As the clock wound down Llewellyn swerved a sexy pass beyond the advancing defenders. Proudlock was free, Hegggarty was freer, neither were offside, up went the flag. Town still poked the hungover bear, with Hegggarty swinging his maracas to win a throw-in. This is the end, the time to mess around by the corner flags, to irritate and not irradiate. Hegggarty threw to Proudlock inside the area but right on the bye-line. Instead of heading for the corner flag to waste some time, Proudlock spun around and culled a cross back to the near post. Thin Barry Conlon ambled in front of a sleeping defender and steered a shot inside the near post. Goal that was. That was the win that was. That is the team that is.
Delirium, Dairylea for tea.
Two home games, eight goals, two wins, big crowds. It all adds up. So now you've heard the story of how it all begun, Do you think you'd like to go there? Is that a good idee-a?
We've got our spring back in spring. It is possible. It's up to us.