Magic moments: Accrington (h)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

30 October 2009

An Ongoing Concern 2 The Accrington Debtors 2

Grimsby Town came to the party dressed as a football team.

This week's Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: Captain Colgan, Wood, Lancashire, Linwood, Widdowson, Bore, Boshell, Sweeney, Hegggggarty, Ak-Ak, Forbes. The substitutes were Overton, Lairy-Leary, North, Clarke, Gray, Conlon and Shahin. Ah, we see now: an old-style formation with old style values. Players playing in their usual positions, right footers on the right, lefties on the left - we're conventionally normal now. If Woods' Town were a suit they'd have their tie straight and top button done up. Chairman Maiow would be pleased.

Is the acid bath full? Shall we start the apple bobbing now?

First half
The yellow splodgers kicked off towards the Pontoon. Hegggarty ran south as Ryan ran north and Widdowson spun on his little finger. Crossed low behind Town's L-plates, King slunk free and coiled over the angle of left post and bar. Oh.

Widdowson spun a yarn, Ryan called his bluff and Linwood stretched his pants in front of Old Nick. O-oh.

Widdowson swum offshore and spooned some sugar to a Stanman, who dinked without a second's thought. The ball curled airily and fairily in a slow, slow arc behind Linwood towards a solo Stanley stander, alone five yards offside. He stood still, Linwood stayed still and, as if by magic, King appeared to poke inside the near post as Colgan wandered lonely as a clown. O-oh-clango.

There's nothing to describe: this is Boyle's Law, not football.

Yawn, they had a free kick.

I opened my eyes and to my surprise Town had a free kick. Forbes hurled himself onto yellow polycotton near the corner of the area. Sweeney caressed one step beyond and Ak-Ak flumped a header against the bar. It bounced up and down, down and up as bodies jiggle-jaggled around the fire. Forbes rolled the ball along his arms and levered it into the net off the shin bone of an ass. There was some pleasure derived locally from this happenstance.

King flew in on Colgan with studs up. Naturally we came out of it worse, as Sweeney was booked along with the flying studsman. Header, deflected free kick, the end as far as they are concerned. They biffed and banged, pestering like shoe-shine boys, hustling for a dime.

Lancashire deflected a cross away with his forearm. Who cares?

If you want to score like Chris Jones, Nicky Heggggarty, you're gonna need a bigger bottom. Dunroamin' Dunbavin dunkicking against the enigma's backside, the ball rolling a foot wide. Wasn't Neil Woods the original enigma all those years ago? Ah, those old times, Woods the enigma, Jobling's spatial awareness, Lever's magic moments: when Town hearts were carin', such are memories to be sharing.

It's a shocker: Town are a footballing emu.

Bosh was booked for sliding; Symes was hugged with official kindness for sniding into Sweeney. The acrid Stanleymen cracked and hacked through Town's bungles as the ire was stoked under the burbling cauldron.

Suddenly, something happened. Ak-Ak spun and swivelled a swerving, dipping slapshot from way out. Dunbavin dunsaving. Then Town pieced together a passing move involving a whole three passes. Three! Wood was blocked, the ball ran loose, Dunbavin plunged and rolled and died several times like a louse in a Russian's beard. No free kick, no booking, but four minutes of added time.

And Forbes glanced a Sweeney free kick wide.

Those four minutes ended. There really was nothing here but human dodgems without the rock 'n' roll. This was all floss and no candy.

Second half
Neither team made any changes at half time. Nothing changed at half time. Nothing, except Accrington stopped attacking. So nothing at all happened inside the penalty areas.

Within a minute Ak-Ak surged down the centre and was crudely legged up. Don't even bother with Sweeney's free kick. Ak-Ak chased and swiped the ball back from the bye-line, but Forbes only reacted after a statutory notice had been placed in the London Gazette and fell over the clearing boot.

If cross-examined by a leading barrister I would have to admit that there was the possibility that someone deliberately moved the football to a similarly clothed person using one of their feet.

This wasn't a football pitch: it was a mosh pit.

About 20 minutes in, Accrington managed to get a corner. Half cleared, half returned, the ball bumbled off a Town chest to the unmarked Proctor, who had no distractions and couldn't hear those buzzers and bells. We could see those lights a flashin' as he thrashed across the face of goal. A ping, a pong, and someone hit a great big gong - the ball hit a Townite on the line and burbled out of play for a... penalty. Off went Lancashire, in went the penalty: Edwards slammed to the right as Colgan tutted left. Who knows what it hit; it's just the way of this world, this month, this year, this decade, this millennium.

Would Woods play Wood at centre-back? Woods Wood. No, that can't be right. Woods would, because Wood could. He would because he should - Woods, not Wood, that is. Bore, who everyone including himself had forgotten was on the pitch, went to right-back.

As tongues twisted, a big old Stanley knife leant into a bouncing ball inside their area. The ball jagged down off the upper arm as the Pontoon to a hairpiece, codpiece and mantelpiece bellowed at the ref below. We were not at peace with the referee.

On came the cavalry: Conlon and Leary on for Forbes and Hegggarty as Town went for a bit of oompah-pah-pah down the middle.

For one final time those debt-ridden chancers had a cross which was nearly a shot.

Town lunched upon stale crumbs from the duck pond - Conlon poked at Dunbavin from a gurgling burglary attempt. And North came on for ailing Ak-Ak. Punting up, punting down, poking, stroking, honked and tonked into touch by the Cotton Town clatterers, a shimmering light was espied in the distance. What is this light: do we believe? Do we believe in magic?

In the 86th minute Proctor hooked a clearance on to the referee's hooter. Down he went, and up went four thousand souls in Blundell Park, Lincolnshire. He swayed left and right, just dazed and confused. And when he awoke we were still cheering.

The game restarted in the 90th minute as the board flashed for five added minutes. The ref was mad. Symes slipped and Boshell swept the ball away only for Mr Mad to give them a free kick. A Town head was nearly decapitated inside their penalty area, but play continued. A yellowman ducked down near Leary's boot and surfed the turf, claiming a near death experience.

The crowd raged at the mental instability of the referee and a Pontoonite was reminded to pick up his bag as he prepared to shuffle out of this mortal toil: "Don't forget your wig." Wood heaved a free kick towards the area. BFC waited below, leaning, leaning, falling back on the edge of the area. He ducked and dinkled a loopy header down the centre as diminutive Dunbavin crept out then stumbled back. The crowd, the players, the substitutes and the man in the wig pursued Barry Conlon across the pitch, across the road, across the beach and across to Spurn Point.

The whole crowd traipsed out of Blundell Park with smiles across their faces. A point won. A point turned? It was a magic moment, filled with love.

Ignore the match, feed on the feeling, the moment. It's all we have, let's hold on.