Emotion sickness: Cambridge (h)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

12 February 2011

Grimsby Town 1 Cambridge United 1

Here we are again, unhappy as can be at having the golden slumbers of winter interrupted by a footballing occasion at Blundell Park. Once a month is pushing our patience. And memory. Who is who?

Around 120 Fenland funsters tootled up from the flatlands for fish-themed frolics as the season began again in sunshine and apathy. The rest was just the usual suspects, stuck in that Town rut with the game a backdrop to a social whirl of chats and spats. It's just a habit, like going to the same pub every third Thursday, or mowing the lawn.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: Arthur, Wood, Atkinson, Kempson, Ridley, Coulson, Hudson, Sinclair, Eagle, Kinnell and Duffy. The substitutes were Croudson, Watt, Leary, Makofo and Peacock. The Riddler returned from his extreme stomach ache and Coulson's peskiness was placed on the right today. Ah, yeah, that biggish bloke there. He must be Duffy the vampire player. Or is it Mr Fluffy-Duffy? You, the jury, decide.

Cambridge turned up late and in a two-tone blue ensemble looking slightly discombobulated and dishevelled. There was nothing else of note, pomp or circumstance to see. Just some rather bland chaps in blue doing bland warm-ups on a bland day.

They may punt by the Cam, but we slumber by the Humber. Here we go, hold your nose and see if something blows.

First half: Magic moment
The Cambridgians kicked off at five past three with a chip and chase towards the Pontoon. Town swatted the fly away and chipped; Coulson chased towards the Osmond. Past one, past two and poking from the bye-line, the ball rolled to Connell near the edge of the area. He scraped, he scrolled and the ball rocked and rolled through legs, hitting something by the post and bibble-bobbling away.

Nice start.

Town kept possession along the back-line and Kempson walloped vaguely forward; Town lost possession. Cambridge lumped it back. Town kept possession along the back-line and Kempson walloped vaguely forward; Town lost possession. Cambridge lumped it back...

Ooh, some passing! Hudson roamed and a blue leg wrote a poem with the working title 'Oh Gerald, they have a corner'. It wasn't a very good poem, but they tried again. Groundskeeper Woolly Brown flap-punched away and Sinclair cleaned up the spillage with his mop of many colours. Town tapped and tapped and tapped and moved and tapped with the Bluesters tantalised and teased into a tantric trance. Hudson tickled his brushes and Sinclair was free on the right corner of their penalty area. He stepped inside and Dalglishingly coiled a perfect chip over and around the keeper into the top left corner. Sinclair had purred a corker. Eight minutes - two eggs boiled and the party can begin.

Town kept possession along the back-line and Kempson walloped vaguely forward; Town lost possession. Cambridge lumped it back. Town kept possession along the back-line and Wood walloped vaguely forward. Town lost possession.

Someone was fouled, Connell swimpled low from inside the 'D' and Brown lowly parried away. It was something.

Town kept possession along the back-line and...

Hmm, we're still waiting for Duffy to do something. Apart from not marking at free kicks, that is.

Ah! Something, but not by Duffy. Town took a quick free kick, Hudson flicked and Connell swinked a flat chip goalwards from the edge of the area. Brown stut-stut-stuttered backwards and fingertipped the ball onto the underside of the crossbar, the ball bouncing down and out; then Town kept possession along the back-line and Kempson walloped...

Woeful Wood was booked for a silly and cynical clip on the ineffective winger and our King Kenny indulged in some slapstick with Atkinson as a swinging punt skipped between and over both. Cambridge did nothing, nothing. Absolutely nothing. One single wayward shot from way out was all they did. Nothing I tell yer, nothing. It's a cakewalk in the park. One-sided rather overstates the Cammers' presence.

Oooh, Eagle slippered from Spurn Point and Brown tippled away for a corner. Oooh, Duffy chased a chip and plunged to earth under some blue-handed action. A goal kick? He dived or he was fouled. One or t'other Miladdo Madley, one or t'other: not neither.

And in the last minute Cambridge awoke. Some identikit lad walloped from 30 yards out. Arthur watched and waited and wafted his right hand enough to flick over the bar. Kempson scrimped the corner away and Town got a throw-in for kicking it out. Wood hurled long and hurled early. Connell chased, Connell was alone, Connell saw Brown off his line and, from a disgustingly cheeky angle, lob-volleyed across the face of goal.

Half a dozen moments and half an hour of complacent strolling. This was too easy. This wasn't a contest. This wasn't a big enough lead to start showing off.

Second half: If
Neither team made any changes at half time.

Town tippy-tapped up the left and something almost happened. Town tippy-tapped up the middle and Hudson volleyed uninterestingly wide instead of passing. Town stopped tippy-tapping as Kempson and Wood took it in turns to wallop vaguely forward; Town lost possession. Cambridge didn't lump it back. They carefully lumped it back: there is a difference.

Whereas in the first half Wright was a static lonely stump surrounded by hedge trimmers and chainsaws, in the second Wright was a mobile stump with chums, surrounded by old ladies with blunt secateurs. Cambridge punted down the flanks rather than down the centre. This was all too much for Slack Town. Cambridge had shots, they had moments of nearlyness. Wright scrubbled at Arthur when freed, some bloke bombled a volley and Kenny Fingers swatted away from his left post.

This was not a course of events that pleased the majority of the observers, though it was a course of events that had been expected by the majority of observers. It is typical of Town.

Ooh. Nice. Ridley pursued and headed towards Mr Fluffy, whose shot was deflected by blue toes for a corner. Oh. Brown flap-punched away.

On the hour we had a minute of 'After you, Claude' with both teams taking it in turns to pass pathetically to each other. Coulson passed to Coulson and Coulson scored. Yay! Doh, the wrong Coulson. Their Coulson stepped forward from the halfway line, passed, moved, received a pass, shot and skipped gaily away as the ball loppy-di-looped off Ridley's thigh, up, around and over Kenny into the top leftish of the goal.

It was only what they deserved.

Oh dear, Town's angled poise was just a trick of the light. Another save from Arthur, diving not waving at the ball. Town were a busted flush, an empty vessel, a dash of whitewash on a rotten chalet door. Duffy ambled after a dink and wobbled a sly left elbow at head height as he passed the keeper and defender.

Little Eagle was replaced by heap big Makofo and five minutes later Leapy replaced Mr Fluffy. In between these world-shaking events the Pontoon simply shook its head at the ever-decreasing circles of collective introspective panic and Connellian despair as he shot with ever-decreasing effectiveness from ever-increasing distance.

Oh dear, Arthur hared out to block a little lad who'd burst through. Good save? Bad miss? You, the jury, decide.

Ah, sometimes it takes a little Gallic mystery to make the stern hearts of Albion flutter: Serge surged magnificently and crossed hard and low through the middle of the penalty area, but there was nobody home. Wood crossed low, a defender sliced chaotically over for a corner and Sinclair volleyed Brown's flap-punch about a foot over the bar. Some DNA had been extracted from the fossilised bones and the experiments were continuing. One day we will bring the extinct Leagueorus Footballosaurus back to life.

And still the Cambers tugged our raincoat. Arthur plunged low at his left post as Wright bumped; Arthur plucked as a little 'un honked a hooter straight at his nose. Scrambles and gambles avoided the tourists getting a lucky pay-out.

Ah, that's more like it. Our Coulson surged down the middle, through one, two, three non-tackles and walloped from the D. The ball hit the right-back's backside and spindled in a comic arc over the keeper. Drooping, hooping and disappointingly dropping onto the roof of the net.

Forget all those Connell shots. It was increasingly annoying that he'd decided to release a solo album during Town's world tour.

In added time Town pressed with purpose, with intent, with Peacock at the heart of the affair. A bimble dropped by the near post and Leapy thrashed goalwards. A corner. The corner cleared, Town bumped back. The cross cleared, Town humped back. A free kick given, Town herded the sheep back into their pen. Sinclair hoovered up the dust and clever-clipped to Peacock, ten yards out with his back to goal. Leapy swivelled and curly-volleyed across from left to right. The crowd roared, Brown soared, the ball swerved and curved and coiled itself around the post and into the nether reaches of the Pontoon.

Ah well.

Kempson fell over the ball when no-one was near. They flung the throw, Wright sniggled free along the bye-line and passed back to no-one. That's it, you can go now.

Town were complacent, slack, mentally lazy and just a little bit too cocky. It was too easy at the start, when the sun was out. They lulled themselves into a dawdling coastal stroll, not noticing that the tide was coming in round the back.