Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
6 May 2017
Grimsby 1 Plymouth 1
Isn't it nice to see some people in the Osmond for once.
On a grey, cold day of mizzling drizzling, almost 1,900 kilted and quilted devoted Devonians jitterbugged expectantly with a smattering of second-hand inflatables. Yeah, we did all that two years ago at Barnet, including the zimmer frame. Hey Gargoylers, it’s a bit rude to have a party at someone's house and not invite them. Can we come too? We've brought along a dead parrot to mark last week's stuffing. We deal in self-referencing inflatable metaphors and allegories up here in the Costa Cleethorpes.
Town lined up in a sly 4-4ish-2ish formation as follows: McKeown, Davies, Pearson, Collins, Andrew, Tombola, Disley, McAllister, Clements, S Jones, and Dyson. The substitutes were D Jones, Boyce, Gowling, Comley, Osborne, Yussef and Vernon. Tombola was way out west, while Clements hung around vaguely on the leftish. But what is that? It's a box, a musical box, wound up and ready to play. But this box can hide a secret inside. Can you guess who is in the midfield today?
Ah, how lovely, the figurine pirouetting in the middle of the music box? It's, it's Sean McAllister.
Now we've rid ourselves of Mr Bignot with his modern mechanical farm we can get back to the clanking, old, but efficient, windmill to grind our barley.
Plymouth wore dark green shirts and white shorts. With socks and boots too. There was nothing remarkable about them, not even any comedy hairstyles. How very professional.
Deep by the Pontoon a deep puddle and three men in a huddle. The great British workmen stared into the abyss and scratched their heads. A-ha, a plumbing problem solved using a big mug. No, that's not a metaphor. Gavin Gunning was not part of that sentence, and never would be.
What can you do to fill in the time? I saw a Plymouth Argyle fan eating hard-boiled eggs on a beach without Blue Flag status. Perhaps a cream tea around half three would be splendid, then some crazy golf with a Sheffield couple you befriend.
Tea-time football? Not for me, Clive. Let's get this over with.
1st Half – it's not easy being green
Town kicked off towards the Pontoon with a humping hoof down the right. Tombola turned and singed the full-back's beard. A corner. Well, we linger and we gawp when the council dig a big hole. And we cheer for a corner, I don't know why, we rarely score a goal. Andrew repeated the new mantra and coiled a big dripper into the heart of the six-yard box. The fuchsia fumbler flapped, the ball dropped into a vacancy and Pearson turned around to poke a prod into the top of the net. 42 seconds of happiness.
Rolling, rolling, rolling. Town rolling all over the pasty patsies from Plymouth. Davies roared a cross through the six-yard box and Clements tried to look like he was jogging after the ball.
Tombola's tickling our fancy today
Oh, we forgot: it's Ross Joyce, every Mariner's mortal enemy. I hear a wail from the West Country. Of course they got a free kick. Didn't they realise, they only had to ask?
Plymouth punting and twisting and reversing on their right. Carey swayed and swooned and McKeown sprawled to chest-o-fect narrowly. Forget them now. It’s all about us.
It’s all about Tombola.
Clements clip-chipped into the "D" and Tombola sneaked beyond and across. Alas, a final green toe looped the ball high but perfectly for the fuchsia flapper to retrieve. Wahey, there he goes again, crossing low and hard to the near post. Bradley's boots beat McAllister's moccasins and the corner faded away like a cheap t-shirt.
And there he goes again. Tombola crossed highly and Clements faked a trot to not get near the ball as it squirtled out for a throw-in. And there he goes again. Clements quick-chipped a free kick for Tombola and another corner in another hall.
Look, I'm ignoring the minor moments of tumbling and stumbling that got us grumbling.
Plymouth pitter-pattered around the periphery and Carey was clamped as he entered the twilight zone. A half-hearted handball shout, so of course a free kick within the "D". A dummy dummied and Carey cracked a creeping creeper across the wall. McKeown slunk low and left to push out. Stuff and things and Taylor bicycled to Wonderland.
A big booming ball and Bradley panicked near the Pontoon as he smelled the blood of a Tombolaran. Disley scooped and Tombola snickled across, but again green boots blocked. Jamie Mack punted straight down the middle, then it started to hook just a wee, wee bit, the centre half lost sight of it and Jones slapped low and early. McCormick ached left and parried aside for a corner. A corner, well, it's where two sides join hands and sing Kumbaya.
Disley stood halfway up the stairs and cushioned a green clearance to Pearson. Clang those cowbells, here's comes da judge! Pearson slalomed in a straight line through three clotted creams, hit the bye-line and crinkled to the hear post. Dyson Hai Karated across Bradley to proddy-poke just past the angle of near post and near bar. Even the raspberry fool was smiling.
Jones scooped the ball off green toes, Tombola crossed and Jones headed wide or high or something or other of some sort. Take it as a serving suggestion rather than verbatim. Have a flavour of our tasty treat.
I told you I was leaving out all the nit-picking nonsense and fiddlesticks from Ross Joyce. A free kick for sitting down near a monochromer was splayed left and shivered deeply. Slew bulletteered a header wide at the far post. They did no more, no less, all their movements have been recorded. Plymouth were simply the wall against which Town kicked.
The truth? You want the truth? They couldn't handle Tombola. What a corking half.
2nd Half – drink up thy zider
Spiderlegs Blissett replaced Slew at half time and Plymouth moved to a 4-4-2 formation, abandoning their mixed fruit and veg approach. Boom-bang-a bang, loud in our ear, boom-bang-a-bang-bang all the time.
Plymouth. Balls. Big. Booming. Booming. Big. Balls. Pressure, pressure, pressure rotating around Carey, their central core. Carey this, Carey that, long-shot fiddled around the penalty box, be-dumbling and stumbling off shins of many colours and sniffling into the path of the unmarked Carey, a dozen yards out to the left of goal. The Plymouth play-station carefully placed the shot towards the bottom right corner. What about the orange? McKeown sizzled low and firmly pushed aside. What an excellent save indeed.
Shall we indulge ourselves and linger on the single Mariner moment? Carey diddled and diddled and Tombola plundered as the Plymouth poltroon pondered. Pearson flick-scooped over Carey and the eager puppy was away, chasing caterpillars. A big green slug slid but Tombola rode the king's highway, baby. On and on and past the last man, Tombola carried on in a straight line and slapped straight at McCormick.
There you are, ladies and gentlemen, Grimsby Town in the second half. I'm not counting Dyson’s fey flopper from afar. That was a back pass. Why such a paucity of progression? Well, you see,
Davies crumpled and Boyce came on at right-back. Plymouth had the sense to let Boyce have the ball, so that they could have the ball. Think of it as a short term loss leader, like supermarket milk.
Here we go. Free kicks, free kicks, free kicks and Disley booked for a normal challenge. Hoofs and hoiks, McKeown punching, McKeown crunching, falling, falling, green men dropping like stones. Ups are undered, unders are upped and on the hour Plymouth made a substitution, flinging on Spencer, another forward and moving to a 4-3-3 formation. And abandoning their previous subtlety, of course.
McCormick walloped straight down the middle. It started to slice just a smidge off line,
heading for Blissett but it bounced to their nine, Spencer. How did that happen? Blissett out-boinged Collins, Taylor sneaky-flicked on and Spencer sauntered past Andrew, poked around and over McKeown, whose outstretched arms were at a quarter to three as he lay prostrate on the floor. How did that happen? And why is Frank Ifield jumping up and down on a windmill? Oh. That's just their manager happy at his super-subbing.
Booming balls again and again. Hold the fort, hold the thin black and white line. Taylor slunk and spun and Jamie Mack slithered lowly left to parry-push.
Corners, corners, free kicks and corners. Blissett winning everything by extending his legs and whistling Dixie. Free kick? You want a free kick? You Devonites only have to ask. Osborne replaced the now defunct Tombola. They'd worked out our trick pony.
Clements daftly arose near Sarcevic and a free kick was awarded in the "D". Carey caressed and McKeown double finger-flipped from under the crossbar. And the corner za-zoomed through everything and everybody. Move along, nothing to see here.
More tumbling. more mumbling, but Town's wall uncrumbled. Chortling chuckles at their long and short chucks. And their medium chucks. Aw, shucks, the time ticked on and the Osmond's burbling was curdling. Time ticked, the helicopter was booked for the trip to Pompey. A corner flicked at the near post and the ball crawled over the crossbar. Carey collapsed in three pre-ordained stages in Burger Bar Corner, nearer the corner flag than Disley. An utterly pathetic decision from the shocking peeping poltroon in shocking pink. Carey coiled a clearance and return, McKeown waddled out and flapped down the wrong line. Howzat? Collins retreated and slashed off the six-yard line as a multitude of greenness converged on his toe area.
As five minutes were added for no good reason on this earth, Comley replaced The Dizzer. Three quarter of the ground arose to acclaim six glorious years on the throne. Mr Craig Disley, we thank you for your service.
They bigged their balls, but Town's polders remained intact, for every good boy did his duty with his thumb. A final hoik, a final panic, a final Collins fall and back-stumble volley. Bradley clapped, McKeown slapped his chops and that's all folks. There is no more, this season that never started has finally ended.
Town were excellent in the first half, stoic and staunch in the second. There was method and a collective will. McAllister and Disley were a really fine old-timer double act of solid sense, well-timed gags and functional tap-dancing, Tombola terrorised and the central defence was competitive. Looking at this, you know we coulda been a contender, we could have been somebody this season. Instead we got to play half the season like a bum.
There's always next year.