The draws of perception: Bury (h)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

2 January 2010

Torvill 1 Dean 1

A crisp and white pitch on a crisp and bright day greeted the dwindlers and swindlers of Old Grimsby Town. Is it recherché or rococo to turn up in sunglasses in the snow? This isn't Val D'Isere, more Val Doonican at Val's Café: better the Arthur Daley look on sneakily cold afternoon down Mariners Way. Get yer trilbies out for the lads.

Town lined up as they should have done against Poor Vale, in a 4-4-2 formation, as follows: Captain Colgan, Bore, Atkinson, Linwood, McCrory, Nicky Feathercut, Leary, Sweeney, Coulson, Ak-Ak, Proudlock. The substitutes were Overton, Clarke, Widdowson, Hudson, Barry 'Jailbird' Conman, The Jarmster and our contribution to Pompey's economy drive, Paris Cowan-Hall, who is either a contestant on University Challenge, of the choice of venue for a romantic weekend for two in April. Go for Cowan-Hall: it's nearer and the waiters shrug less.

Bury turned up in two-tone blue halves, with some of our laughable rejects, which gave us a chance to chortle. Can you remember when Futcher was the future, and when we used to let Newey waste it? Those were the days, eh. So, so long ago; was it all a dream? This division can't be much cop if they're in a team near the top. On days like this you have to wear the cap of good hope.

OK maestro, cue the music, let's go dancing on ice.

First half
Town boleroed off towards a couple of hundred Giggers and Liggers in the Osmond Stand. A lovely triple salkow from Ak-Ak, followed by a double clutz. Bury's kids slid down the road, Town's defence forgot to salt the drive and Lowe skiffled through Town's Cumberland Gap to strum softly wide from the edge of the penalty area. Ooh, whoopsidaisy.

Lanky Linwood wore corblimey trousers, and he swiped Bury's Worral flat. A yellow card. He looks a proper narner in his great big hob-nailed boots as he can't stand up for falling down on the municipal ice rink. Got the drift? A game for push-me-pull-me tippy-tapping. And Bury like to tip their taps.

The teams traded corners in top trump footyball. And what did we learn from this infotainment? Ben Futcher has a head. Both teams seemed obsessed with Futcher's bonce, yes, yes, he's a big man and no defence has shape when he's in it. Proudlock scraped around the right post from 20 yards. There was passing. There was movement. There was intrigue. There was passion. There was a free kick when Newey neweyed Feathercut using his old Grim Reaper scythe. Some people wanted him off, most demanded he stayed. We know which side our bread is buttered.

Feathercut swanked and swooned a droovling shot from way, way out. Mr Brown went off to Town on the 8:21, carefully swivelling to pluck the puck away. We really should have someone playing an organ at this game. Ah, Proudlock jinking and dinking, Feathercut avoiding a tackle that didn't arrive. The moment passed. Again, almost, nearly but not quite: Town passed prettily and perkily, but blue meanies arrived, mostly in the shape of leading volleyball player Effiing Sodje, the bandana-ed Buryite.

Sodje's headband handballed danger away without the prosecuting authorities taking action. They may be below the ACPO guidelines, but not the Akpro ones. Miffed he was by being penalised for having his shorts lifted. And as for the linesmen: well, I ask you, a new winter coat and shoes for the...

Ooh! Bury just cleared it off the line after some nibbling on Horace the cheeseboard. Hard cheese Town, but you forgot the pickle. Always remember the pickle - it's the secret of life.

Oooh! Ak-Ak chased a lump of mature cheddar down the left; Brown waddled out of his area and chested the rubberman to the floor. Ak-Ak rolled, the ball trolled out of play and out came a yellow card. Just beyond the right corner of their area Sweeney feigned a chip, slapping the ball sideways to Coulson, who slabbered low through the advancing twiglets and into the side netting. The dilettantes revealed themselves by standing to acclaim the goal kick.

Get out your banjo! Di-di-di-diddle-didee, dim-der-diddle-dum-di. Yee-haw! The Gigmeisters pounced on a bit of knee-knocking on the ice field. Off they splurted behind the Town back four; some bloke rolled the ball across the face of goal from their left. Linwood fell, Morrell slipped, Colgan stumbled, Jones gracefully glided into the net with legs akimbo. The goal a-gaping, with everyone rolling in the slush, Town somehow cleared, with Ak-Ak surging a bridge too far. Back it wafted, skipping off the tundra and with Lowe suddenly behind Atkinson, shinning past Colgan, on to the right post and back into the arms of Old Nick. You see, that's what goalkeeping is all about - standing in the right places. What are you worried about? It didn't go in.

And finally Cyril, Newey was booked for slicing Bore into a fish finger in the shadow of the Findus. And finally Esther, Feathercut intercepted a clearance on the halfway line and chased it towards the open corner. The laughable linesman flagged for an offside - Proudlock was walking back towards the halfway line about 30 yards away. It was at this point we rang the gas board and they claimed it had nothing to with them.

Is that it? No, there's more. Bury troubadoured and tromboned down their right, hoopla-ed to the far post where Morrell spectacularly bicycle-kicked uninterestingly high and wide, neither too wide for a chuckle, or too near to buckle your shoes, or win a goldfish. Then some bloke tried to coil carefully around and about, but Colgan shuffled safely down the street. Cuh, won't they settle down for an afternoon nap. Isn't there a Columbo on?

Oh, just one more thing. In the corner of a foreign field Coulson whacked at Brown and Leary curled over the angle of post and bar. What's done is done.

All things considered, not bad at all. Town matched Bury everywhere, with ne'er a weak link in sight, allowing for Linwood's skating technique subliminally learned from watching Bambi. We can dance, but we can't sing. We just need to brush up on our scales.

Second half
No changes were made by either team at half time.

Do-re mi. Do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti . Do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do. So-do!

Doh! A corner, a female corner. No, that's not right. Far, a long, long way to run. That's better. Bore clankered past Newey to gain a corner. Sweeney drooped, and Atkinson noodled above and beyond Brown. The ball arced towards the very top left corner but Dawson sprung a leak and leapt like a gammon to head off the line. Which brings us back to doh!

Dawson was immediately replaced by another footballer wearing the same coloured kit. You know, in my book, that's almost cheating. But then again my book is 1001 Ways to Clutch at Straws Without Ruining your Appetite.

A-ha, we're back to top trumps again, or is it that swinging seventies game of corner swapping? I'm sure they only ever did that sort of thing in Surrey. Or Cricklewood.

Lowe toiled and coiled to Colgan. Lowe boiled some fish in a bag. Lowe had some pot noodles for his starter and finished with an arctic roll. It was a dive, I tell you! The free kick was wafted and wasted. Tush and gush.

Bore surged and surged again, Proudlock tickled and Ak-Ak sneezed once, sneezed twice, and someone called an ambulance to take him to hospital. Ak-Ak was through! Ak-Ak fell over his bootlaces. Forget the ambulance, call a taxi for Mr Ak-Ak. Town retrieved, Proudlock and Feathercut za-zoomed directly at the heart of the Bury defence, playing wall games. Our tousled rubberman wriggled beyond his marker as Brown rushed out and Ak-Ak stretched to poke above the keeper into the left-hand side of goal from eight or so yards out. We had joy, we had fun, we had a few minutes in the sun.

As the players emerged from the love-in, Proudlock staggered away and was led off the pitch clutching his head. Five minutes later Conlon came on with Proud Adam still in the changing rooms. Five minutes after that Proudlock emerged looking miffed that his place had been taken.

Hubble bubble, Lowe scrubbled softly wide. Hubble bubble, they're boiling up trouble - Leary intercepted a spot of derring-do by the Burymen within feet of the goal. Here they go again with their passing and movement: Bore roared to save at the last, tapping to Linwood, who screwed a clearance bizarrely into the dead zone between Colgan and life. Bore, as if by magic, leapt in to the canal to save the old lady's cat, spinning a volleyed clearance from under the crossbar.

Newey shoved Bore into the hoarding by the Pontoon. Oh shut up people, we need Newey on the pitch. Coulson bamboozled his way through tackles before Futcher clanged a clearance against the shins. Town flicked and Ak-Ak slithered his body in front of Sodje and shimmered goalwards. Brown flew out and the shot cannoned off the keeper's shins and away as the fallen ones indulged in some manly off-the-ball wrestling. The corner scooped in and scooped out and Sweeney dippered towards the top left corner, but Brown was ready with his gun.

Back they came, back Town went. Couslon waltzed and whizzed past two to the bye-line, his cross deflecting off the Charlestoning Futcher's heel as Feathercut and Conlon awaited. Bore roared and managed to cross to the only Buryite in the village. Sweeney passed to where Conlon wasn't rather than shoot to where the keeper wouldn't be. It makes no difference where you are, or where we'd like to be. It's all too much.

Lowe fell, Lowe prodded, Morrell skinned cats, Worrall dissected and Newey was taken off. No! No! No! How can we win now? Bury hauled themselves forward with... football, passing low and accurately, not resorting to crude hoiks. Crosses deflected, reflected, diffracted and Colgan punched Morrell as his header dragged itself over the crossbar.

And back they came, tishing and pishing around Town's skirts. Lift the hem up and run, run run! With a minute left Bury unwrapped their final Christmas present, first on the left then the right, sleekly slippering to Lowe, who spun around Atkinson into the area. Down he went, and after a moment's ponder the referee's arm slowly pointed towards the invisible penalty spot. After counting out the yards, the ball was placed down and Linwood got out his i-phone to show Colgan where to go. Colgan flew left, raised an arm and just failed to stop Lowe's penalty kissing the netting.

There were four minutes added during which Colgan punched a cross and caught a cross and Ak-Ak was replaced by Paris Cowan-Hall. He's as slender as the night and as tall as a small hat stand. PCH did one intriguing spin and pass and then that was that.

Deflation rather than elation.

It was the sort of game that would have been lovely to watch if we'd been in mid-table, where the non-victory could be seen objectively as a fine display against a good team in difficult conditions. All in all, a good performance by all. Young Mr Grace would have been pleased. But Town are not in a position where fairness is relevant. We need a lucky, undeserved victory rather than well-earned, admirable draws. Town had slightly the better of this game, for it was a point not lost for Bury, but two extra points avoided by Town.

Once again this set of players performed excellently together and individually. It's all in the head now. So keep on playing those mind games together, faith in the future out of the now.