Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
25 September 2016
Mansfield Town 0 Grimsby Town 1
Come gather round marketing men from all different brands, you cannot destroy what you don't understand. A whole game solution? Let's go back to the future. I like my football at three o'clock on a Saturday, corned beef sandwiches and all that. Oh, and Staggers go to Skeggy for their holiday to sit in the autumn sunlight, don't they? Lunchtime is lunchtime, not football time. This isn't Hollywood spangleball: it's English lower-league football. Sometimes you don't need to change things.
Fancy computerised turnstiles, hot water and soap in the toilet: the late arrivals were rattled by the rush of Mansfield modernity.
What is that grave architecture rising by the mausoleum on our left? It's unclear whether it's a nuclear submarine bunker blast wall or a huge heated towel rail, but the fifteen hundred marching Mariners can see clearly now the rain has gone. A low sun, westerly wind, errant sprinklers and an erratic sprinkling of distant Staggerers greeted our grand return to the land of ribbing and robbing hoodies.
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 as follows: McKeown, Davies, Pearson, Collins, Andrew, Chambers, Comley, Summerfield, Vose, Jackson and Bogle. The substitutes were Henderson, Boyce, Disley, Berrett, Bolarinwa, Vernon and Tuton. Daniel Lewis Collins is a professional. Surely he's reached the Cole Point, where youthful monikers morph into the gravitas of the fullness of time. Mr Collins looked comfortable in his shirt and so he should, having once played for Buckley Town.
Mansfield? Who knows, aren't they always just a hyperactive Lincoln? Wahey, a steward who looks like the bass player in Gillan.
C'mon, let's get this done with, it's Saturday, some people have a date with Ikea.
First half: Motion suggests itself
Town kicked off towards an emptiness of minors and ex-miners into 15 frenzied footballing minutes. Hither and thither the Stags slithered and slid. Chip and chase, chases and chips, cheesy, cheesy chips with no-one to dip inside the penalty area.
One of their Roses bloomed and Davies shuffled across this fertile soil to prune their Green. The other Rose, or perhaps the same, thringled from afar towards the top left corner. McKeown carefully ached left and jabbed aside. Infiltration on the right and Collins slid in from Friday. Sneaking on the left and Collins stood and stared, daring the ball to pass. The ball flinched. Balls: know your place.
Town moved towards them. A bit. Pearson hardly half headed a deep drizzle from Davies. Vose dribbled into a yellow bib. And these are highlights? This is everything, this is nothing, this is hanging on in quiet desperation against whirling dervishes.
Yellow splattered custards, dripping through Town's dead dog eyes. A Rose arose at a yellow corner and Davies Macca-ed off the line. Ha! He jests at scares that never left a wound.
A Town curl down the left touchline. Jackson spun around his marker and was bundled aside. No foul given amid much harrumphing and much muddling by the Mansfielders. Bibbling and bobbling around and about. Davies swung something simple. Omar swayed and jinked a link with Jackson in the D. The old one-two and Omar chased into the deep, deep void twixt keeper and clowns. Omar poked the ball towards the car park and successfully screeched into Shearer's outstretched arm. What is the plum pointing to? The penalty spot, dear Liza, dear Liza. Omar stood ram-rod still, hot-rod straight and crinkled exactly where it was obvious he would crinkle. So the keeper dived right as Bogle stumbled a bumbler lowly, centrally left.
Well. What's going on now then? A bit of arm wrestling and amateur kabaddi now and again inside the Town area. Don't worry, Collins and Pearson have watched Indoor League.
Kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi. Green flickered and flustered low and Jamie Mack tipped away from the near post.
Kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi. Green tinkled up and down the right and winkled a welly just over the angle of left post and bar.
Frantic vigourball foundered on the Great Wall of Collins. We're mugging a bunch of mugs
Had enough kabaddi for one day? How about Quizzlesticks! Remember three's a crowd, but not if it's a general knowledge question or inside the Town penalty area. What's this got to do with football? Hey, that's the fourth division.
Omar barely diverted a mishit Summerfield daisy-chain letter. Hang on, just let me check the bottom of the barrel. Nope, that's it, the barrel is bare and the cupboard has been scraped.
Time was added unnecessarily and Town conceded unnecessary cornerings. Clipped from the left, glanced to the right, that's your lot for this half. Frantic vigourball foundered on the Great Wall of Collins. We're mugging a bunch of mugs.
Second half: A date with Ikea
Neither team made any changes at half time, and the sprinklers were turned on the Town crowd.
Mansfield kicked the ball towards McKeown, Town kicked the ball back. Mansfield kicked the ball towards McKeown, Town headed the ball back. Mansfield kicked the ball towards McKeown, Town kicked the ball back. Mansfield kicked the ball towards McKeown, Town headed the ball back.
McKeown paddled flopped from under the bar for a corner. Mansfield kicked the ball towards McKeown, Town kicked the ball back. Mansfield kicked the ball towards McKeown, Town headed the ball back.
They brought on Hoban, apparently. No-one noticed. No-one cared. Whoban? Whyban?
Mansfield kicked the ball towards McKeown, Town kicked the ball back. Mansfield kicked the ball towards McKeown, Town headed the ball back.
Jackson ran down the left quickly. Nothing happened. Mansfield kicked the ball towards McKeown, Town kicked the ball back. Mansfield kicked the ball towards McKeown, Town headed the ball back.
Chambers sprumbled through the middle, into the penalty area, the keeper shivering… and aimed for the corner flag with a buck pass rather splattering some buckshot.
Tuton replaced Jackson and won a standing ovation for chasing the ball into the corner flag and winning a Town throw-in.
I could tell you that Mansfield kicked the ball towards McKeown and Town kicked the ball back, but that would be revealing the big plot twist far too late. Let's pretend that this was a football match, not pro-celebrity rollerball.
With about ten minutes left Tuton tootled through and walloped spinningly off a yellow toe for a corner. Vose elevated on command and Pearson glanced wide. And that was Town done for the day.
Mansfield kicked the ball towards McKeown, Town kicked the ball back. Mansfield kicked the ball towards McKeown, Town headed the ball back. Pinball wizardry in added time, there's got to be a twist – ah, the referee has supple wrists and pointed north for a Town free kick. Bogle was replaced by Vernon for some ineffective time-wasting and Chambers was nearly sent off for pushing his luck ploddingly pondering a throw-in.
Their keeper never made a save. McKeown barely had to touch the ball. Town never had a shot on target. Bare facts in a bargeball stalemate of stagnant sloshings. Nothing happened and Town won. How nice.