Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
24 February 2009
Grimsby Town 2 Morecambe 3
John, Paul and George, John, Paul and Fred. Peter, Paul and Mary. Brian and Michael. Althea and Donna, David and Jonathan. Rod, Jane and their little boy Freddy. Ray and his brother Dave. Andy (there's always an Andy). Eric and Ernie. Hello to every singly one of you. You're on your own: you are Sammy's twenty three.
Town lined up in the 4-4-2 formation as follows: Barnes, Clarke, Bennett, Atkinson, Newey, Jarman, Kalalalalala, Sinclair, Heggggarty, Llewellyn and Forbes. The substitutes were Monty, Bore, Boshell, Proudlock and Elliott. Concerned and consternated: Lulu up front and Newey back with Heggggggarty on the left. We can see pitfalls and pratfalls ahead.
It wasn't raining, it wasn't cold. Morecambe turned up and so did some Town fans. Shall I name them
Morecambe kicked off towards the Pontoon. In the entire first half they had a flick header and a cross that drifted wistfully through Barnes' discomfort zone. Yes, his penalty area. Morecambe, that was you, you did nothing but give us a twirl with a big, cheesy grin. We shall call you Anthea from now on.
Kalalalala pressed their shirts, Sinclair chipped mud off their boots and Anthea panicked. A shot blocked, a header dropped, a shot blocked: Town, Town, Town, bright and breezy, these lemon pips are being squeezied. Jarman jinked and dinked a cross, Forbes swayed and his header strayed over the far post. Nice. Town moving and hoovering the living room. Hegggarty crossed behind all once, twice, but not three times a lady. Nicer.
Anthea accidentally had a corner, but Town soothed clear with one-touch passing inside their own area. Sinclair and Kalalala exchanged glances before belting a show tune to Lulu, who swung his cape and everything was coming up roses as he fliggled a pass into oodles of emptiness. Jarman surged down the centre, pursued by three little pigs. Fat Barry zoomed right as Jarman swaggered his shot right. The ball arrowed straight, then veered at the last to smackle against the post.
Aaaaahhhh. Worth the wait.
Kalalala mugged and shrugged a perfect pass from the centre spot. F-F-F-F-Forbes slinkied away, flicking Artell aside, opened his body and rolled the ball under Roche and in. These slippers are comfortable.
Anthea is an airhead, completely defenceless and in a tizz. Town clamped hard and clamped often. This was our game, this is our time. This is it. Our weekend of recovery starts here.
Who'd have thought it, eh. Lulu rampaging adequately, Hegggggarty being ample, Newey being acceptable. It's all going so well. Easy, easy, relaxing how many shall we win by? Four or five?
Just when you thought we'd got out, we dragged ourselves in again. With about five minutes to half time Lulu miscontrolled a nothingness way out on the left, deep inside Anthea's half. Lulu jumped and stretched as a red shirt slid towards him. They collided, the boy squealed and his big brothers ran up to ruffle Lulu's feathers. Out came the red card.
Enraged and energised Town dominated even more. Sinclair whoopled a snifty snorting volley that Roche parry-punched aside. Jarman ticked a short free kick to Newey who, from the left edge of the area, be-doobled a snivelling shot down the centre, which Roche finger-tipped over the bar. The corner dropped inside the six-yard box and a little man hooked it away from the line.
That was it.
Apart from Lulu's loopy lunge, Town had been impeccable. Everything you wanted was there. Passing, passion, and the persistence of rhyme. The centre of midfield had been an immense, omnivorous machine gobbling chicken legs and rabbits ears and spitting out tasty ready-packed dinners for two at surprisingly acceptable prices.
Gotta keep movin', gotta keep groovin'.
No changes were made by either team at half time.
Town continued with the full court press and Anthea simply reached for a bottle of gin.
From a non-descript caravan of mundanity a holiday was hatched. From a throw-in on the left Hegggarty flicked the ball over a big lump's head, strode on to the bye-line and carefully clipped a cross in to the middle of the area. F-F-F-F-Forbes causally leaned back and stroked the ball in to the middle of the net with Roche raging against the dying of his defenders' lights. 2-0, game over.
Stop reading now. No need to stare, the emergency services have been called. Leave it to the professionals to deal with tragedy and disaster. Move along please, follow the diversion signs and you will get home.
Town started to flag with Forbes almost at a standstill after he ran out of uranium; Sinclair and Kalalala just a fraction slower to react. Anthea changed her outfit and wore a skimpier dress with tassels and bows.
Tip-tap-tip-tap, they started to play the ball slowly from right to left, retaining possession.
Tip-tap, drip, drip, drip, Town not noticing their comfortable jumper had snagged on a twig. Wainwright feigned a cross as Jarman and Clarke leapt to block, dragging the ball infield and dinking with his right boot to the far post. Barnes pac-manned across his line, the ball floated over Atkinson and Newey ducked. Twiss headed in from about six yards out.
With 20 minutes left Bore replaced the wonderfully perky and persistent Forbes. In theory this had logic. In practice this meant Peter Bore mark II was on the pitch - the diffident drifter without purpose. He jogged here, jogged there and jogged nowhere. Anthea was able to beat out a rhythm with a tambourine, tiring the ragged army before it.
They started to get near Barnes. They started to cross. They started to shoot. Town's board started to wobble. Can you tell what it is yet? It's the sound of the sixties - Town sinking towards the sludge, but there ain't no re-election these days, we can't persuade the butchers and bakers with a crate of haddock. The crowd roared and Bore eventually trotted towards Roche as Jarman ran past the befuddled Bore once, then twice, to do the job of two men.
A shot was deflected at Barnes' head which he pushed aside. Barnes fell to pluck a cross, then plunged to shovel a shot. Newey headed clear and Bennett blocked. Slowly, slowly the water torture eroded Town's dam.
It's breaking, it's breaking - run for the hills!
With ten minutes left an ugly Anthea stood under the Main Stand and chucked a throw-in towards the near post. It bounced up and Atkinson half nodded away, but straight to O'Carroll. We are such fools. As he poked a shot goalwards, Barnes fell and, yet again, let a shot sneak in at his near post. How many times is that in February?
O'Carroll you hurt us and you made small men cry.
Nothing changed, we waited and waited for the inevitable Town triumph out of disaster. We waited as Anthea ballet danced left and right. We waited as Anthea high-kicked down the centre. We waited as corner followed corner as the clock ticked to the 90th minute. The only question was how the murder would be committed, not who the victim would be, or the perpetrator.
You want the facts? A corner from their right was clipped to the edge of the D. Hunter leant back and steered a Scholesian volley into the top right corner.
No-one spoke again that night.
Town lost because they didn't believe they would win and because a mistake was made in replacing Forbes with Bore. Lulu's sending off is a smokescreen - without him Town had been just as dominant and easy on the eye. For an hour Town were tremendously decent. Town ceased defending from the front when Forbes departed and ceded the initiative, for Anthea had been moribund until allowed out of her dressing room.
A cheque for three points was tossed into the waste paper bin by a careless office boy. The overdraft has already been exceeded. Survival depends on the banks now. We need Chester to be liquidated if we can't be bothered to do it ourselves.