Not too bad, all things considered

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

29 August 2016

Grimsby Town 5 Stevenage 2

What should I write? What can I say? The weather here has been as nice as it can be, although it doesn't really matter much if Town defend so awfully. Without Fenty's famous four, it might well carry on raining goals into September.

A hummingly humid day of looming showers with a hundred and a few Nabobs from near Knebworth gathered together to pray for small mercies in the old church of old football in an old town. Ah, the old home ground looks the same – but which team is the looming shower in the gathering gloom?

Town lined up a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Davies, Gowling, Pearson, Andrew, Chambers, Summerfield, Disley, Vose, Bogle and Jackson. The substitutes were Warrington, Mills, Boyce, Venney, Clifton, Tombola and Vernon. Is that it? Yep, there's no-on else left in the building.

Stevenage turned up in a dark blue ensemble with yellow off-the-shoulder summer pants and kitten heels. Just blokes, standing around here and there, dressed for the beach but without a paddle.

This season is already down to the wire and it isn't even March. This is Blundell Park, gentlemen, the gods will not save you.

First half: Down by the river

Omar comin'.

Town kicked off towards the Newtownians with an immediate Bogle barge. Newtownians should know the first fundamental laws of football: every action has a reaction. A southern man fell. Then another and another. It must be the sea air.

Omar juggled and jiggled, wiggled and diggled and set up Stevenage with a misplaced jingle. On they tinkled down the Town left, with Andrew salted like a snail by their quickness and slickness. A cross repelled and rollingly returned and The Dizzer rolled back the years, attacking the near post. Four thousand proletarians in Grimsby, Lincolnshire thought this news was very sad, but then they had to laugh as Disley had big toe-prodded against the pole holding the net up. The ball rolled along back of the back of the net, not the back of the net. The net effect was back to square one.

Omar comin' but things not going quite right. Bogle barging continues and the visitors were visibly perturbed.

Slickness from Stevenagers, Town's ukuleles twanging. Gowling leaning on a lamppost on the corner of the penalty area. Oh me, oh my. A runty pig of a back-pass and Pearson appeared by magic to sweep away.

Omar comin', but only long shots of nothingness from Town. Mere details. Ponder ye not any more on such fripperies. A quarter of one whole hour had passed.

Disley stood still and waited for the day trippers to pass the ball to him. They did. A tickle right and Chambers cantered goalwards, rolling a cute trickler into the Great Wall of Bogle. Omar spun and curtsied as he cha-cha-cha-ed past two woefully wafty legs to proddy-poke through more wafty legs and into the bottom left corner.

Omar, indeed, has arrived and the dude abides.

And with that Stevenage switched from being pretty to pretty ugly hoofing. It's Charlie Lee and the chuckball challenge. Jamie Mack missed when mugged, mis-punched when hugged and clutched a wallop from Gooden when bugged by butterflies. What else sir? A mis-sliced free kick from the halfway line accidentally almost crept into McKeown's near post. But didn't.

They collide, they collapse and everyone has a drink. Every five minutes, like clockwork.

Godden, a latter-day Tony Daws. Like an echo of that former Scunnyman, he worked hard and never, ever looked like scoring. A workaholic miss-aholic

Are you sitting comfortably? With collywobble Josh flapping around, you really shouldn't be. Gorgon haired and Gowling feebled under the Frozen Beer Stand. Godden scuttled infield and coiled a curler around McKeown and safely around the far eastern post. Settle down children.

Godden, a latter-day Tony Daws. Like an echo of that former Scunnyman, he worked hard and never, ever looked like scoring. A workaholic miss-aholic.

Vague Vose-based Town triangles dissolved in a drudge of deflections. Summerfield's spectacular swipe swooshed up, up and away for a throw-in. Chambers curled wide after some mind-boggling Omarness. Dynamic dangerousness. I hear the sound of distant drums.

Eh, what? Football? From left to right in a swooping sweep of passing and movement, Vose strolled a roller, Summerfield used the Bogle Wall and coolly, cleverly volley-steered the return pass into exactly same spot from which Omar had scored.

See, these cheeses are crumbling. Jackson hassled and hoe-downed, flicking lowly right. Chambers lowly lamped between Omar's boot, keeper's hands and far post with a perfect dissection of all interests.

Oh, they've made a change: McAnuff came on for some young chap or other. Why should we care with four minutes added for all their tumbling and stumbling.

Relax, we know that in 'ertfordshire 'urricanes 'ardly hever 'appen.

Oh, no-no-no-no-no.

Omar chased back and ran into the back of an insurance fraud, way out west. The ball humped long and long and beyond the far post, Pearson was tangled up in blue, Andrew sandwiched between spreads. What happened next? I'm telling it to you straight so you don't have to hear it another way. The ono-ono-onomatopoeic Fraser Franks looped a gently floating header back over Jamie Mack into the opposite corner.

Hey, sausage time.

What a strange half, for the Stevenagers mildly unravelled Town, but abandoned that mine when the first trickle of water started to leak through the rafters. And they were a bit of a collective shambles in defence, even worse than Town. Two infirm jerry-built garden fences, made from the cheapest materials and coated with a thin sheen of an organic creosote substitute.

Which would fall down first? It depends which way the wind is blowing.

Second half: After the goal rush

Neither team made any changes at half time. The weather changed, water descending in drizzles and drabs.

Yeah, let's just get to the good bits. Four minutes in if you're watching in black and white. Passes, wiggling, passes, waggling. Davies threaded the needle, Andrew tied the knot, Vose bounced off Omar's wall and sweetly steered a first-time pass around various toadstools, around the keeper and into the left side of the net.

Marvellous. Magnificent. Very Buckley mark 1 in its first-time passing, movement and simplicity.

The Hertford hillbillies just lost heart. From the off a hoik, hustle and harry. Townite's robbing and rolling in the centre, Jackson tickled and teased to reverse sweep Omar into the right side of their penalty area. Ah, Omar, doing the Omar back-flip in-step in-cut. It never worked in the Conference. Ah, but it works in the League. Bogle schwingled as a defender schwongled and carefully passed the ball through yellow legs and into the bottom left corner. This site of special football interest rocked with universal joy. Yeah, even the Stevenagers were happy to see us happy. Of course they were – that's how football works, isn't it?

Well, there's a point in the bag, if the Standard Operating Model is 'four to draw'.

Doo-bi-doob, la-la-la-la-la. Coasting by the coast. The pancake has been tossed, the soufflé has been shuffled. Jackson wafty-walloped way over, Disley drippy-clobbered over the Pontoon and into the void beyond. Fifteen minutes of waiting for an alibi.

Ah, maybe they've found their heart.

Nibbling nobbliness nowhere of note and Gowling ailed badly, waiting for the bouncing ball to go where it never went. McKeown chiselled out right outside of his area to hoik away. Jackson was swallowed by a whale, Vose airily wafted and missed, Andrew disappeared and everyone stood around hoping that the ball would run out of play. Godden sneaked to the bye-line, calmly rolled past McKeown and McAnuff wuffed into an empty net.

That's enough McAnuff and stuff. Let's enjoy ourselves. Vernon replaced Jackson, Tombola replaced Vose.

A two-man wall, a hum, a thrum and rolling drum. One step, one clip and a stadium as one in love with Omar

Ooh, Summerfield coiled from afar and Jones the Keeper flew high-high-high and left to brilliantly claw away from underneath the top left angle of post and bar. You have to say that's magnificent.

Oh Omar, what a slinging arrow, what misfortune. Bogle latched onto a nibble and lashed a coiling dripper from way out right. The ball bonged agin the face of the crossbar, and just look at his face, just look at the faces in the crowd.

Oh Omar, what a snorter. The monochrome swarm swamped the commuters and Bogle cut infield and cut a forlorn figure as the ball simmered across the face of goal.

Chambers walloped at the keeper. Yeah, yeah, this is all about Omar.

More movement, more madness, and Chambers dinked over the prostrate keeper and across the face of goal. Cue Vose whistling Sweet Georgia Brown.

Oh Omar, 'tis a cruel world. Summerfield plotted a route through the North-West Passage and Bogle swayed infield from under the Police Box and drippled a curler towards the top right corner. Jones the keeper soared and saved to stifle the roars and soak up the applause.

And the referee dropped his cards.

Five minutes were added and, in the penultimate moments, Omar crumpled, beyond the top left corner of the area. A two-man wall, a hum, a thrum and rolling drum. One step, one clip and a stadium as one in love with Omar. And Omar in love with us. A Bogle hat-trick.

And the moment was milked: Boyce replaced Omar so the whole nation could ovate for the man.

Well, that's better.

Stevenage were weak and Town finally got around to nailing their coffin. Once they were underground there was much dancing on the grave. It was far from perfect, for the defence has not really improved. It was just that the opposition missed their moments and then gave up.

What a rubbish division.