Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

14 August 2017

Grimsby 0 Coventry 1 (+1 administrative error)

Ah, the inglorious twelfth: it's International Elephant Day of course. Where's Scott Vernon? Isn't he the elephant in the treatment room? Stop grousing.

An unwet day of drifting clouds and drifting minds and 1,300 maudlin Midlanders drifted into the Osmond End.

Town lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation as follows: McKeown, Davies, Collins, Clarke, Dixon, Rose, Dembele, Berrett, Summerfield, Jones and Vernon. Eh, isn't that Cardwell? Yes it is, what an observant fellow/fellowette you are. Everyone was nervy, oh yeah, and the message was spread that the effervescent elephant was injured in the warm up. And so the substitutes were re-jiggled as Killip, Keeble, K Osborne, McAllister, Tombola, Jaya-Jaya-Jaya-Jaiyesimi and Hooper.

I say 4-1-4-1, you say 4-2-3-1, it is the modern way. For the lord said there are four defenders and one alone up top and the rest is a hill of beans.

Coventry: sky blue, some men, some boys, some tall, some small, and far too many Jordans and mis-spelt Kyles. And a little man called Jones with a silly ponytail.

1st Half – falling Mr Jones

They kicked off towards the Pontoon.

Do you want the condensed milk version? They've got one player, we've got one player. Jones missed. Shrug your shoulders, hitch your trousers up and have a sandwich.

Summerfield gently turned and touched the psychic aura of sensitive soul. A free kick. Pfft. Blue barges and charges, Townites scraped and raked: no free kicks. Sky blue squawking, sky blue squealing. A hubbub or harrumphing from the home stands.

Dembele swayed and swanked through the skymen, tippling to our ten. Hey Mr Jones put a wiggle in your stride, loosen up! Jones wiggled, woggled and befloggled a slow, low dribbler back across their keeper and micro-inchlets wide of their right post.

There you are, that's it. I'm not counting Berrett's hysterical slice of jam buttiness.

Jodie Jones is here in town and it's his unlucky day. Hold up your hands and shout, Jones is on his way to wiffling a free kick into the wall. Noodling nonsense and sky blue linking. Jones cut in from their right and crankled lowly to McKeown's right. The shot parry-flipped up and Summerfield - yes my fine friends Summerfield - saved the day with double excellence. Pitter-pat, pitter-pat, now his pants are falling down. Jones dived into the area as Dixon dredged the Humber. Penalty or dive? Neither and nothing from the ref, with Dixon and Jones booked for rutting after Dixon body-checked in exactly the same spot.

Is that it? Yes, that was it, and more than you needed to know. Both teams wanted to play on the counter-attack and, in essence, both teams had a scary right-winger and nothing else to write home about.

Mmm, the referee. We can hope that he takes his medication at half time and calms down

2nd Half – against the law

Neither team made any changes at half time.

Berrett was booked for getting in the way of a free kick. Dembele za-zoomed, Davies tripped over the ball and was tripped by blue feet. The sky blue shoals began to nibble gently on Town's toes. Davies timpled up the right, Cardwell flicked, Rose muscled a tinkle behind the left-back and Cardwell crinkled a cross into the corridor of uncertainty. Summerfield hoovered up the yards and… and… as if by magic a blue boot appeared.

Feeling good, feeling hopeful? Forget it Mac, this is Grimsby Town.

Coventry decided to attack the weakest link. Dixon was overrun, crosses and all sorts of this and that. Jones jazzed infield and swankled hard and fast and straight at Jamie Mack, who flipped over. Vincenti arose at the far post to head the corner back across the face of goal. Mm ba ba de, um bum ba de, um bu bu bum da de... Pressure pushing down on Town. It's the terror of knowing what the world's all about. Grimmer sneaked on the left and the cross hit a stripe. No penalty, no surprises. Town were slashed on the right, McDonald passed back behind the last line of defence. Scrambles were egged as Vincenti squealed and plunged as Berrett slid.

Let’s take a break, let's eat a Kit Kat.

Long slow triangles of the soul, Berrett winkled and Jones meandered in a straight line down their right and right into the penalty area. A Sam the Man flabbergasted high and across the face of the far angel of far post and far bar.

Right, you've had your little treat, let's get back to life, back to reality.

Nowhere in particular in Town's half, something of no interest to anyone happened. A free kick for whatever. Everyone ambled back towards the Coventry goal. Clarke stood on the ball, with a single midlander standing right beside, espied the vista before him and nincompooped a tiny nudge back to the advancing McKeown.

We stood still. We all stood still. Still stood still. We're standing still.

McNulty sprinted the full yard to waltz past the startled salmon stopper and walk the ball into the net

The lights went out. The clocks all stopped. The programme's wrong - what can we do?

In the courts, if a judge makes an error of fact or law that materially impacts upon the outcome, the Appeal Court will order a retrial on the basis the original judge has "misdirected himself". In football, they shrug their shoulders, hitch up their expensively triple-stitched bespoke trousers and continue to snuffle their truffles.

And Town crumpled and dissolved into a mushy mess, just like our tickets on Tuesday night. Hey, did the Ticket Office accept that papier mache ex-ticket you moulded into the form of Bobby Cumming?

Hooper replaced Cardwell. Town had less presence and less botheredness ambling around vaguely up front.

No, nothing happening. The aimless artisans of angst were a string vest and Coventry were the soup in that equation. Hooper jumped near the ball, people were booked, or it may have been later. Sky bloaters flung themselves floppily, stripes hung their heads soppily.

Off trotted Summerfield, on bounded an eager puppy, Diallang Jaiyesimi. Yes, I know you thought he was a Sri Lankan batsman. Far too many syllables for modern life, far too long and complicated for a fish supper. We need a shorthand, how about DJ Jinky? That'll do until we have some inspiration… inspiration, we need inspiration. You won't get it.

Oh, they've scored again. A corner on their right, clipped flatly to the penalty spot. Grimmer flew, McKeown doobidooed and pawed as it flew by into the right corner. Ah well, there we are then, shall we go home now? Pah, only the morally weak and those with a train to catch leave early.

Tombola replaced Dembele. And why not? No need to risk our one and only truly original rinky-dink panther being clattered into the dustbins.

They had attacks, they didn't score. Holes filled by old heads with old fingers in the old dyke.

One more non-thing: a Clarke long chuck, bibbling and bobbling and a bunch of cobbling. Tombola twizzled, the keeper flapped under armed guard and Jones swingle-volleyed over from 15 yards. One more thing: nothing, nowhere on the halfway line. Tackles missed and an invisible touch, Berrett arrived on the late-running Trans-Pennine Express and was booked again. Off he trudged. At least there's a happy ending.

Seven minutes were added, five were played. And finally to dinner. Tandoori mixed grill. Mmmm.

Two teams without an ambition beyond not losing and nicking some slim pickings from the dustbin of dross. Whoever accidentally scored first was going to win. They were better at Sladeball than Town; a little bit stronger, a little bit faster, a lot more organised and with more humans having basic footballing skills. And Jodie Jones who is all their eggs in all their baskets.

You know what, it was just an ordinary fourth division game between ordinary fourth division teams. It was all very dispiritingly dull and… normal.