There won't be snow in Accrington this Christmastime

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

28 December 2016

Grimsby Town 2 Accrington Stanley 0

Over the wild and windy roads, 108 stately Stanleymen and women wandered on a weirdly windy day of brittle stillness. The Grimsby wind was back, pinning ears and eyes, while trees were as motionless as Vernon on Vimto. The casual Christmas Mariners were back, clogging up the streets with their hats, hope and fickleness.

Pah, these people don't know how and when to grizzle.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: Henderson, Davies, Collins, Pearson, Andrew, Bolarinwa, Comley, Summerfield, Chambers, Vernon and Bogle. The substitutes were McKeown, Boyce, Gowling, Jones, Disley, Vose and Jackson. Eh, 4-4-2? That's a riddle wrapped up inside an enigma that no modern manager could possibly solve. The Berrett beraters were bereft, for they had lost their baitman. Ooh, hang on, no Jamie Mack, but having been some days in preparation a splendid time is guaranteed for all with Henderson resplendescent in orange, beating his chest and roaring at the Pontoon.

Santa had brought Accrington some yellow and blue striped pyjamas, a very tall goalkeeper and a misheard present. They asked for an Omar Bogle, but they opened the box and found an Omar Beckles. Sad face, what's that face? Scott Brown? Who's he?

OK, let's get ready to mumble.

First half: Watching without interest, volume 1

Town kicked off towards the Osmond. That's a true story.

There is nothing, just a blur of blue on the yellow brick road. A bananaman skipped a light fandango through the seasick sieve of Town's midfield and scruffled safely into the arms of Henderson. A plastic bag cartwheeled across the floor. The crowd called out for more.

There was no rhyme or reason but the truth was plain to see as Omar Beckles wandered through the playing cards. Davies would not let it be. What a marvellous block.

Summerfield whipped out his signature dish early, that sponge-pants-square pass across the pitch. A yellowman woofed off and scrubbled widely. Henderson caught a cross, caught a free kick and wellied well under fire when Pearson bashed a bobbling back-pass.

One banana, two banana, three banana, four. Accy bananas made Town defence split so Henderson was forced to paw away for a corner. Henderson caught the corner.

Four banana, three banana, two banana, one. Accrington bananas playing in the bright cold sun. Flipping like a pancake, popping like a cork, Henderson thrust out a hand and beat away a Boco blaster at the near post. Henderson caught the corner.

Mr H will demonstrate, ten summersets he'll undertake on solid ground.

In the 24th minute, Mr Ross Joyce awarded Grimsby Town Football Club a free kick. In our world of emptiness he spread a smile of joy. Throw your arms around this ref at Christmastime

In the 24th minute, Mr Ross Joyce awarded Grimsby Town Football Club a free kick. In our world of emptiness he spread a smile of joy. Throw your arms around this ref at Christmastime.

After a half an hour of bananas, Town threw a cucumber into the pot. Hibble-bibble-bobbleness all over the place and Summerfield hooked away from a yellow chest towards Tombola. The Sutton Flyer flew in from the wing and dinked into the centre, shinning and shanking past one banana, two banana, three banana and a final falling banana. A wonderfully wayward kaleidoscope of miscontrollings straight through the middle and into the middle of the penalty area. Adjusting his many feet and many arms as Chalmers stood and stared, Tombola calmly passed around and under the keeper into the bottom left corner.

He's happy, hope you're happy too.

Oooooh. A Comley scruff-volley that is only mentioned because there's nothing else to tell you about apart from a polystyrene burger carton attacking Henderson's shins and Omar heading the ball and Vernon, but he was offside anyway. Vernon remained on the floor, clutching his head. Call the ambulance and take him to hospital immediately! Better be safe than sorry. Alas dear reader, he arose and remained on the pitch.

Tombola bundled and barged past his marker at will, crossing lowly, highly and mediumly. Alas dear reader, they were swatted away.

Bananas continued to peel and Townites kept slipping up on the basic principles of passing and movement. There was little of one and none of the other.

As all eyes moved towards the contents of sandwich boxes, Summerfield dived over an invisible leg inside their penalty area, then wafted his boot into a yellow thigh for a yellow card. As the half ended Andrew tapped a yellow ankle, there was an exchange of gifts and a huge hugger-mugger muddle in the tunnel, which didn't include a wassail, just many a wail of woe from the Lancashire cheeses.

One shot, one goal. What a muddled mess, a right hotch-potch of left over stewed vegetables and cold turkeys.

Second half: Patience

Neither team made any changes at half time.

As attentions were diverted by a poleaxed poltroon, a Townite wellied downfield. The feigning faller leapt up as soon as the free kick was given and earth did rumble as the crowd did grumble. But where's welly? The ball was lost under the tarpaulin. Shush everyone, don't tell 'em. Alas, the ball was found again – we'd had the glimmer of hope of a ball-free afternoon there.

A rotten scrambled egg of thricely non-cleared woeful wibbling in and around and about the Town area. Choose your scapegoat from a cast of thousands, but it all started when Thatcher withdrew free school milk in 1971. A final chinkling chip, a yellow turn, a block, a bundle and Henderson's psychic aura diverted the ball to Collins, who turned and shepherded the lamb to the safety of a throw-in, under the shadow of the supersized scoretelly.

Flibbling and head banging with an inattentive toe or two saving our bacon. One, twice, three times they messed up with prods and pokes with blokes free but miscontrolling marvellously.

Let us wonder at the quick feet and clearances from the boy in orange. Let us hail the orange corner catcher, a rarely spotted migratory bird. Twitchers came from all around to sight this mythical Mariner.

Shall we have some Town attacks? Yes, we shall have some Town attacks. Shall we sing a song about it? Omar volleyed titteringly wide and we tittered. Tombola dripped a cross in from under the Police Box, and Vernon ducked and nodded on a slow, slow, loopy, slow looper which looped slowly into the arms of Chapman. Tombola shredded the weak and shovelled out of the bunker. Chapman loomed and leapt to clutch under the crossbar as the unmarked Vernon waited to miss behind him. A big boom and barundle from Omar with a twist of lemon. A rock and roll and the shot burbled and gurgled off bananas, spinning around the right post.

Town do short corners these days. Nothing happens from these short corners.

What next? Accrington Stanley, I presume. Never assume, never presume. But you're right, these twinklers twinkled. The galumphing muddle was held together by Comley's shoelaces and the old heads beyond. A flashing swipe and Henderson spectacularly, and unnecessarily, flew towards the setting sun. A series of corners. A series of most reassuring Hendo-plucks.

We could see the difference between stars and stripes. Henderson is more than simply a keeper of goals. Personality goes a long way

Gasp! The plot thickens with a twist. The monochrome sea parted and McCarten was free on their right. Henderson inflated himself into a Schmeichelesque star and firmly booted the cross-shot away. A small moment, but a big save. And in that moment we could see the difference between stars and stripes. Henderson is more than simply a keeper of goals. Personality goes a long way.

Yabbiddy-dab-dab-do. Stuff and things, facts of events and that. A bunch of bookings, including Omar for an omelette flounce at an offside. Tombola kept skinning their left-back, who was eventually booked for a full frontal tackle, which resulted in Tombola walking off wounded, replaced by Jackson. Comley was replaced by Disley and everyone was mightily confused by the withdrawal of the midfield. Again.

A rubbish Andrew crossfield pass made everyone cross, so Davies upended a banana. The free kick flicked off the wall over hoops and horses and crawled over the crossbar.

Ah, now is the hour. Yellowness, more yellowness, but the yellow press was no match for the black and white wall. A bit of to-ing and fro-ing and The Dizz calmly stroked a tickle upfield to Bogle. A chesty plumper and overhead hook into the great beyond, unmanned by many or any men. Chambers bundled on, chested down and bonked straight and true through the legs of Chapman, the static fritter.

OK, we can relax now, let's take the mickey: Davies was replaced by Boyce.

Five minutes were added. Five! OK, let's not relax so quickly. A yellow dink behind Boyce and a sneaky bananaman carefully side-footed a volley. Henderson plunged low to shovel aside from the foot of the post. Don't worry, Henderson caught the corner, then exaggeratedly plunged like they do on Match of the Day. Hey, he was entitled to go down, as men in shiny shirts and shiny heads say.

More yellow pressure, but no cooking going on. Just time for a double ear cupping from Omar and O'Hendo as the singing ringing tree corner serenaded their new and old favourites (subject to contract: the value of fickle fan favouritism can go up as well as down).

Hey, should have been worse, couldn't have gone better given the absence of malice in Town's attacking. It's nice to win badly, but not necessarily nice to see us win badly. Shall we stop quibbling about mere details and simply accept three points.

Sir, I accept the three points on behalf of the nation of Grimsby and shall celebrate with this chorizo and (melted) cheese tart.