The moon on a stick: Lincoln (a)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

21 November 2009

Lincoln City 0 Grimsby Town Reserves and Trialists 0

Ah Lincoln, the city where young boys dream of gaily coloured vacuum cleaners.

As the jalopy awaits a jump-start this week's New Town lined up in an old 4-4-2 formation as follows: Captain Colgan, Bore, Lancashire, Linwood, Widdowson, Featherstone, Leary, Sweeney, McCrory, North, Coulson. The substitutes were Overton, Wood, Clarke, Shahin, Forbes, Conlon and Ak-Ak. Ah, Stan and Ollie at centre-back, the 'Ull refusenik and Pilgrim full-back on the wings with swinging Danny North and dodgy-kneed Coulson up front. All the new boys are small. That Town team is really a reserve team bolstered by a couple of old pros.

Lincoln: some of them are big, some of them are small, some of them were hoping that they'd get to see the ball. Pulis played: no-one cared.

The worst attacks, the worst discipline, the worst teams, the worst referee: nothing can go wrong now.

The wind blew and Town were in blue.

First half: The dead eyes of a shark
Town kicked off towards the cathedral, seeking inspiration from the divine. They got a throw-in.

Lincoln had a throw-in. They threw it in.

Lincoln had a free kick. They kicked it.

Mary had a little lamb. The referee booked Peter Bore.

Ooh, that's nice. Sweeney pirouetted, Feathersterrrrn tipped, Coulson tapped and Sweeney big dippered a loopy, droopy shot a foot or so wide of the right post. C'mon people! It's a shot!

Lincoln had a throw-in. They threw it in.

Lincoln had a free kick. They kicked it.

Lancashire swallowed an Impy who disobeyed orders and moved with the football at his feet, on the ground. Colgan caught a cross, caught a cross, Colgan caught a cross, he caught a cross. The linesman minced and the Town fans winced as he missed two offsides and a packet of crisps behind Bore.

Ooh, that's nice again. Town Tobleroned up the left and North spun and swung a shot straight at Burch. Ooh that was really nice; that was like old times. Leary went skating on the thin ice of modern life, dragging behind him the silent reproach of the referee as he arrived a couple of years after Kerr had raked his lawn. Of course Leary was booked; Leary always gets booked, that's what he does.

Coulson crossed high above Leary, Coulson turned spryly and North nearly poked at the near post. Coulson was interesting.

And after half an hour Leary fell over his own feet on the edge of the penalty area and Pulis tackled the shot way, way above the bar. That was Lincoln. They'd had a shot! Well, a tackle, but that counts, doesn't it?

Lincoln had a throw-in, they threw it in. Lincoln had a throw-in, they threw it in, they threw it in, they threw it in, they threw it in...

And the referee refused to give Town a penalty. A sublime sweeping one-touch passing movement up the right saw Feathersterrrrn slide a pass into the penalty area. Sweeney swished, side-stepped the keeper and was flattened by Burch and a hurling, hulking defender. It's the type of penalty that is always given. But not by this referee. Darn his smelly socks! Sweeney had knocked the ball away from goal and it was going out of play as he, and the incident, were swept into the dustcart of history.

In short: Lincoln have big men, but they are not in shape. Town played like a team.

Second half: the deader eyes of a clown
Neither team made any changes at half time, though the rain started to beat rather than sheet.

Lincoln had a throw-in, they threw it. Lincoln had a free kick, they kicked it. Town passed to each other then fell over. A triple Town corner sensation! The big men walked together like the Jets, clicking their fingers and dragging their jackets along the ground. Sweeney tipped his fedora forward and Lincoln panicked as Lancashire murdled onto Burch's gloves and over the bar. Sweeney swung too high, Feathersterrrrn lopped it back and Linwood growled a glancing header inches wide.

The Town fans rose and spent the rest of the game bouncing. This was support.

Ricochet, rebound, riggly-diggly-do. Gordon boombled through a Lancashire stretch and pulled the ball back to Clarke, unmarked a dozen yards out. He swiped. Colgan fixed a steely glare and the ball dare not pass. Reader, he parried it.

Just after the hour the monstrously haired Ak-Ak replaced North, who had been in his one-touch-good, one-touch-bad mood. Ak-Ak at least adds rubber limbs to the comedy troupe.

Sometime around this point Coulson flipped away from his marker to the bye-line, got up as the cross was blocked and was deposited into the Wash by a full frontal stretching jump tackle. Town got a corner. Sweeney muddled and duddled and four Lincolnites ran from the edge of their penalty area, straight down the middle. Howe ran and ran and ran and ran and hilariously snuffled a pathetic dribbler wide, wide and wider still.

The ref walked off. He'd had enough, or maybe he had a cake to bake.

As is traditional, Town dozed and allowed a short corner; Gordon rolled a cross through the six-yard box and just one man moved. Big bald Watts hurtled in and collided with the ball, shinning it goalwards. Sweeney, dawdling on the line with hands on hips, dipped his knees like Betty Boop and back-heeled the ball over the bar.

Passing, passing, shooting! McCrory sluiced a drive from 25 yards which caught the wicked west wind and lifted just enough to squeak an inch or two over the angle of right post and bar. Hey, stop churling - it was a shot, and after some exquisite first-time passes too. When the ship is sinking you should hold on to any old flotsam that passes your way.

Coulson was replaced by Conlon to no discernible benefit and Ak-Ak started to run amok down the flanks, hauled to the ground in the penalty area, then a cross blocked suspiciously by the striped bulldozer. Widdowson surged, Watts squashed mighty Joe and after three minutes they both went off. Shahin replaced Widdowson with McCrory going to left-back. Shahin shuffled through a blancmange of biffing defenders and had a face-off with the keeper.

Ak-Ak crossed over all, Burch flapped and slapped behind Conlon. They ran upfield; Sweeney upended some bloke and was booked. They tried to be clever with the free kick. Lincoln shouldn't try that - it's not clever. They had some frantic hoiky pressure and then the game ended.

Lincoln were absolutely rotten. At least Town had passed to each other fairly regularly, sometimes with pleasing cohesion... until the penalty area. Town were organised and committed, with rarely anything approaching a worry in defence. Lincoln had just two chances, one emanating from a missed tackle and lucky rebound, the other from doziness at a corner.

You could see what Town were trying to do. Lincoln fans will be holding a séance in search of their missing mojo.