Merely this and nothing more

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

16 March 2016

Guiseley 2 Grimsby Town 2

Once upon a mid-March dreary, a thousand Town fans pondered, weak and weary from the Sussex wreck, over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten beer. Down the lane, past the burnt-out sheds to a land of magic and awe. Where are we? Nethermoor Lane, a foggyless bottom in the boondocks between Bradford and Leeds, where all our kettles are black.

Town lined up in red in the red Riding in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Tait, Pearson, Nsiala, Horwood, Jennings, Nolan, Disley, Arnold, Amond. Hoban. The substitutes were Robertson, Nsiala, East, Clay, and Bogle, the man in the pink boots. Red-hooped socks? Shocking, positively shocking. Hoops are so unflattering for calves.

The ground is nought but pigsties and outhouses, a basic bare bungalow barely coping with the invasion from the east. Errant kickabouts sent the ball into the trees and East was despatched behind the bike sheds to search for the lost balls.

Guiseley turned up in white sheets wearing ghosts of our past, former chief anchors: Blond Bob and The Bosh. Guiseleyites had just a little more physical substance than Townites.

The weather report? Just like home: a windless breeze shivered timbers. It's a three log night to roast your chestnuts. Oh what lucky men we are.

First half: Diary of an empty day

Town kicked off towards the barely populated popular end with a waddle and a quack in a flurry of eiderdown. A cross, a corner, heads and tails, nears and nothings, almosts near goalposts and bemusing triangles led to the keeper kicking away a Nolan scrubbler.

Town, Town, Town, Town, oh-no Town. Tait-based airy-fairyness on the halfway line led in the thrice of an eye to Boyes barrel scraping around Pearson. McKeown plunged low and left to slap aside. Junior Bosh waddled across and coiled an elevator beyond the far post. While Blond Bob nodded Town were napping, and suddenly Atkinson was a-tapping into the empty net. McKeown had simply patted the ball back.

Arnold swayed to the rhythm of his own tambourine and wiffled from afar, the ball wibbled and wobbled and keeper Atkinson cobbled together a phantasmagorical parry straight to the offside Amond.

Town, Town, Town, Town, oh yes Town. A corner cleared and Jennings jingled a rinky-dink into the centre of the penalty area. Disley leaned back and steery-looped a header back across the keeper into the top left corner. A roar, dissipating in the roofless air through the shimmering trees and distracting local bus drivers.

Nolan bejingled and bojangled and a leatherly lamp was deflected up, up and away for a beautiful ballooning corner

Danny Boshell limped off and was replaced by another human being of similar comportment and upbringing. They lost us shape without him, though they did once have another attack. A free kick taken five yards out and with ball still rolling ended up with something that only local newspaper stringers could possibly have the vocabulary to describe with the poetry such moments deserve. It takes a hack to see a hack.

What pressure there was, what dominance existed, emanated from the red stuff. A header by someone, let us say Pearson, was back-flicked wide. Nolan bejingled and bojangled and a leatherly lamp was deflected up, up and away for a beautiful ballooning corner. The keeper flapped around and we were invited to an evening of musical sketches from popular London shows. Hoban stooped and lashed his unquiffed hair. The ball bumped down off the crossbar, behind the keeper and was smuggled away by local ruffians before the forensic unit arrived to brush for fingerprints and take DNA samples from all males in the local between the ages of 16 and 45.

What? There's more? Yes. There's more. One of the high-numbered borrowed boys slivered a slash and after triple Jennings jinking Disley arose to head over from nearby.

More things happened than has been usual lately. Town were weakly dominant, airily flimsy, and alarmingly spatially unaware.

Second half: Hang on to a dream

Neither team made any changes at half time.

Town, Town, Town, Town, oh-no not again. Repeat the first five minutes of the first half. Arnold did things that didn't happen. Crosses occurred. Gowling befuddled his own feet to Mr Grimsdale wide from a Town corner. The illusion of control.

And then they awoke and broke. A slow swizzle through the Town penalty area rumbled and rolled without interference. Boyes stretched and slapped straight into McKeown's midriff from eight yards out. A punt was punted deeply. Tait allowed the ball to bounce and Town stood back admiring the enthusiasm and persistence of these part-time loafers. And Townites stood off, stood away, stood back and watched as Hatfield wellied from just outside the D. McKeown pushed the ball away from his face and back down the middle and N Boshell swept in.

Horwood and Tait ached and croaked, shots slithered wildly through the letterbox and on and on near Boyes' boots. Horwood dallied and was charged down by rampaging locals, Boyes softly scrubbed and rolled nicely wide.

Shuffling soufflés Batman.

More vague Town-ness and things. Arnold wandered around and burbled a bit. Jennings carried on jinking. Disley leant back and headed over from a corner. Possibly things of a similar nature may have occurred at various times.

On came Bogle to the approval of the massed ranks of Marinerdom, and a little hug from Amond. And immediately things nearly happened

Town tuned the tourniquet with Nolan ticking box to box. A shot was repelled and Horwood returned with a swinging dink into the centre of the centre of the penalty area. The ball plunged and poured onto the magnificent head of Amond, who purred a thwacking header directly into the top of the net, without passing GO.

And finally Hoban was replaced. On came Bogle to the approval of the massed ranks of Marinerdom, and a little hug from Amond.

And immediately things nearly happened, frequently. And often.

Arnold and Bogle bundled Amond free. Ah, offside. Arnold shimmered through the haze to overhit a cross, to underhit a pass, to hit a white leg and away for a corner. Omar boggled and befuddled, attracting white shirts to his shorts. Gowling arose alone to head over from six yards, dead centre. Too much bounce in his hair. Use a different conditioner next time Josh.

I did promise not to mention Jennings' shot that went out for a throw-in.

Omar twisted several lemons, did a double stepover and was denied by the sliding Blond Bob as redemption beckoned. What the heck is Atkinson doing slumming it down in the valleys? Arnold thricely wasted time with over-indulgent nonsense when a good old-fashioned welly was required. Jennings and Horwood overhit crosses as the wafting waned. Jennings woefully over-hammered a cross deeply, way beyond the far post. Amond superbly chased and levered back to the penalty spot where Omar rose. The keeper adjusted his stockings, took out his curlers and plumped atop the ball as it skittled towards the left-hand corner.

Oh, is that it? It surely was. Time to queue. Hail, Caesar! A naysayer bids you beware the ides of March.