The Gong Show

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

2 October 2016

Grimsby Town 0 Hartlepool United 3

A bright, still afternoon with 532 Hartlepuddlers looking for fun in the sun in the land of make believe. Is there something nasty in our garden waiting impatiently for Toto, the heart of their defence? Of course, this is Cleethorpes.

Town lined up a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Davies, Collins, Pearson, Andrew, Chambers, Summerfield, Comley, Vose, Bogle and Tuton. The substitutes were Henderson, Mills, Gowling, Berrett, Tombola, Jackson and Vernon. Ah, Tuton the tractor to terrorise Toto in his dumb thumb-twiddling moments. Good thinking. Let’s put the ball in the groan zone then.

Mmm, we’re Dizzerless today. No safety or surprise; is this the end?

Hartlepool. Well, we've always had a deep respect and we mean that most sincerely. Those shirts are just fantastic, that’s really what we think. Oh by the way, which shade of pink? Some brimstone baritones in the Dentists Stand were blinded by the sight. Let's get the colour chart out. Somewhere between Fandango, Folly and Hot Magenta, I’d say. So that’s Fuchsia or Hollywood Cerise? Ah-ha, it’s the old hex triplet #DE3163. Wasn’t that an Aphex Twin track? Let’s just cerise the love we had with Amond, maybe not quite so for Toto, who was very so-so on his la-la afternoons. No need to be so po-faced about them. Let it go, let it go, that perfect goal scorer has gone. Omar has risen and so our old Town Titans will clash.

Here we sit and here we’ll stay. The cold shoulder shouldn’t bother Toto anyway because, as every schoolboy knows, Isaac Newton invented gravy because Archimedes invented the pie. But who invented chips?

1st Half – Wet Cheese Delirium

The Pink Puddlers, the rinky-dink Puddlers, kicked off towards the Pontoon.

A bit of this, a bit of that and Vose launched a sputnik towards Chambers, cartwheeling down the right. The ball dropped, and Chamber’s toe arrived a micro-second before their full-back’s. Down he plunged and all players around immediately waved on Dave Moore and demanded the stretcher. The appallingly pallid pall bearers eventually arose from their slumbers to amble over. Four minutes later Chambers was carried off to the waiting ambulance to the requisite ovation, with Tombola bowling on.

Omar stood over the free kick and pokey-flip-curled over the wall towards the near post. Carson shuffled across and muffled oddly aside off his midriff for a corner. No elevation, no elation: near-post naffness and nothing to get hung about for the Puddlers. Neither monkeys nor corners get hung, we know that.

Twenty minutes of Town. Well, I say Town, I mean Tombola terrorising their left back with zippy, zany, zig-zagging and straight line za-zooming. I say ooh, you say ahh and Tombola crinkled lowly after a typically tropical romance of a dance through the pink mist. Carson held the daisy-dribbler closely to his chest. Tom Bolawinruns causing panic and minor peril. A corner finally elevated and Pearson awaited but a pink head tweaked and someone turned the tap off.

A back pass passed back to Jamie Mack. Where else would a back pass be passed. It’s not a tongue-twister but a gut-wrencher as McKeown with a clear blue sky above him and a sea of green around him, tapped the ball ten yards to his right, straight to Laurent. The startled starlet simply chipped it straight back into McKeown’s arms.

McKeown threw the ball out and Pearson fluffed and flapped in ever-decreasing circles. The Pink Pounders pounced and Town floundered. Alessandra nibbled and nurdled in the shadows of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand. Pearson was perplexed and Summerfield stepped across to block. Ah, Summerfield facing McKeown is never a happy moment in our lives. Look to your right side Luke! The ball ran through his legs and Allessandra ran around the feeble roadblock, into the penalty area and poked goalwards. The ball smickled against the right post and onto Amond's awaiting thigh as he walked away smiled apologetically and didn’t celebrate as chums chucked themselves on his back.

That man knows where to stand in Blundell Park, having pleasure in other people’s leisure. The Short One will have no time for those spuds who, through lack of care, simply stand and stare. The Pontoon indulged in a bit of blamespotting, but there’s still a fraction of a faction who can’t tell their Lukes from the elbows.

Oh, you poor dears down in the Osmond. Smoke bombs. So last year’s fashion, so non-league. They are the goon squad and they’ve come to Town.

Town corners, the pink ‘uns broke. Tombola kept rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ and giving the left back a rawhide and rare hiding. Town corners and the deep pink thinkers kept on breaking to the other side of the halfway line. There ain’t nothing goin’ on between the creeping tears of ennui as we creep towards tea-time.

One lump or two with your tea? The pinksters were definitely milk first, no sugar types. Virtuously dull, utterly Allessandra drifted infield and carefully dinked a delightful drooper right into the heart of the Town penalty area. Collins and Andrew were listening to Perry Como and watched the world go away. Amond glided to glance as Jamie Mack plunged low and flipped the ball up into the top left corner. Amond repeated his ostentatious no-celebration walk with a suppressed smile of satisfaction. The Pontoon rolled out a wave of applause to drown out the small minority of small-minded mealy-mouthers.

What’s that I hear in the distance? There’s a brand new Hartle-talk, but it’s not very clear. Ah, now it’s loud and baseless and we’ve heard it before.

Tombola slaloms and swayings brought the crowd to its feet and Summerfield swept just over the bar. Laid back Vose, the ephemeral ersatz Ozil, entered the void and laid back to Andrew as Carson superbly tipped over a swishing, dripping thwack. The corner elevated and eventually mingled wide by Omar after a brief melee in the middle with Tuton wafting by the post.

OK, what’s next?

Five minutes added. Omar fracked a free kick into the Osmond.

OK, what’s next?

Nothing, it’s time for tea.

Three crass errors, two Amonds conceded. Nothing from them apart from Town mistakes. Town in a hurry with much fluff and flurry, but just frustrated fury at our recent past catching up with us by standing still.

2nd Half – Going Going Gong

Neither team made any changes at half time.

OK, what’s next?

Ten minutes of Townery, huffling and puffling furiously flinging against the fuchsia. Andrew raided and crossed near non-pink people, Tombola scribbled wide as Carson waved his hands nearby. Big booming balls! Andrew applied some science onto Tombola’s toes and Omar carefully coiled around shins, around the gloves of Carson and around the right post.

And then the moments that ended the affair, a double-dealing death knell. Vosian trickery and dickery all the way down the left up and along the bye-line. The pinksters lined up along the line and Vose rolled the ball to the far post, into the path of Tombola. The wacky racer placed a shot lowly and Toto scramble-scrunched away from near the line, across the goal into the centre. Muddling and cuddling and the ball rolled to Summerfield, twenty yards out. A sly slap slipped through the gathering ankledom and Carson flew left to magnificently parry. The keeper prostrate the goal agape, Tuton spun and belted the ball down from five yards out by the right post. Carson arose and spread himself like fish paste to block smother and…

…and that was the end of laughter and romance.

On the hour Town lost the power. Ticking and tocking, slowly, slow possession and triangles from the plucky pink plunderers. Here and there, now and again, left and right they wandered as Town’s minds wondered about whether to cut the lawn one more time before winter sets in. I’d suggest mid-October at the earliest for that final cut, but you may as well bring in your garden chairs.

Oh, did I miss something? Why are they bob-bob-bobbing along in the Osmond? Faffing about on the edge of the right Town penalty area, bodies in a bundle and a pink elephant in the room, going nowhere, slowly. Thomas stared the dentists and chiropodists in the eye and performed a reverse dink chip that arced agonisingly, obviously and perfectly over the aghast McKeown and into the top left corner. Perfectly executed and Town dead and buried.

We are no match for your untamed wit. Yes, we know you’ve got Amond now and you’ve only just got the point of him.

OK, what’s next?

Bogle wobbled wide, Vose drove all night and smickled straight to Carson. Tuton tractored and tanked and on came the replacement fillers for a double subbing soufflé. Vernon and Berrett for Tuton and Vose. Town were a bit of a dumpling after the changes, a collapsible chair without a paddle, the back door creaking.

Jamie Mack sighed at absent friends as Town half-hearted in attack and defence halfway up the stairs. Allessandra danced right and left and brilliantly avoided scoring as McKeown sprawled to maintain his dignity. And Amond was substituted with ten minutes left, the surround sound applause drowning out the monotony of a small minority of small-minded mealy-mouthers.

The game is over, way, way over, why are you still here?

Three minutes were added, and not many were still there in mind, if not in body.

Hartlepool simply did to us what Town spent the Bananarama wilderness years doing – turn up and smother for a comfortable victory without looking particularly terrifying, simply effective.

As always with Hartlepool if you take away the goals, it had 0-0 all over it. Town were efficiently despatched by professional pilferers, who capitalised on 66.666% of all known errors, rather than causing any terrors. 3-0 flattered them, but the victory didn’t.

OK, what’s next?