Evans can wait: Crawley (h)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

22 January 2011

Grimsby Town 0 Creepy Crawley still nil

He's comin' home, he's done his time. We tied that yellow ribbon and four long years later, he's back for our consideration.

Around 80 crawled up from Gatwick to sample life in a northern town, all in black 'n' white with double back alleys where the people are loud and ever so pally. We're going to get colour television next year, and we won't have to burn our whippets to keep warm when we get that North Sea wind power. Or is that some kind of tribute band?

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: Arthur, Watt, Atkinson, Kempson, Wood, Bore, Sinclair, Cummins, Eagle, Connell and Makofo. The substitutes were Croudson, Garner, Hudson, Leary and Corner. Serge Makofo: a texted insult or Charles mark II? He's a small six foot, stocky and as perky as a perky Scottie dog. What! Watt was at right-back and everyone expected him to have an Argentinian inquisition.

Crawley, now where did you get that cash, where did you get that cash? All in red, not huge, not small, generally all about six foot, lean and mean, except Sergio Torres' pampered pampas hair, of course.

And if you see their little red rooster, pleeeeeese drive him home.

First half: A study in black and white
The Creepers kicked off towards the Pontoon into the teeth of a stiff northern breeze. Watt needn't have feared his Argentinian inquisition: the surprise was he just had to face some nice red uniforms, for Torres the toreador played more centrally.

The Creepers' chief weapon was efficiency... and an almost fanatical devotion to lumping the ball forward for Tubbs to snuffle and truffle around in the undergrowth. Pinned and penned, Town lashed themselves to the wheel of fortune, in came a corner, out went a punch, off ran Serge. Mills debagged Makofo on the halfway line when last man and up roared the crowd. Up went a yellow card and out rang a peel of boos across the nation.

Town lumped long for Makofo to chase, but the wind cried the ball out. Crawley lumped long for Tubbs to chase, but the wind sobbed the ball in. Wood waned, McAllister mauled and rolled to no-one. It's a windy wrestling match, so where is the granny with the brolly?

Oof. Humped, dumped by the cocky Redsters, Atkinson turned infield passing straight to Dance, who wizzled straight at Arthur. Mr mad ref gave a free kick in the 'D'. The wall slowly emerged from a seeping meander of Mariners, leaving a teasing gap, inviting Tubbs to tickle through it. Tubbs gave Kenny Fingers Mars Bar eyes and curved through the gap into the low arms of the canny internet glove seller.

These were their moments, there were no more. Other than the one time when they should have scored, of course. But that was the future; what of the past present?

Town occasionally passed. Not too many times, mind, for Serge had enthusiasm, dynamism, heart and soul. And very large shins. A bit like a new puppy, he likes to chase the ball when you lob it over his head. Hey, what happened there? Connell fell inside the penalty area and everyone jumped up and started to jitterbug and pogo, mixing their musical eras terribly. It was a mash, a monster mash-up, and the ref took the easy way out. It took us so long to find out, then we found out.

A goal kick and a chat with Connell.

Hey, what happened there? Bore shot wide when he could have lampooned past his full-back. Hey what happened there? Bore tickle-passed when he could have shot. Hey, what is going on out there? Not much, but an infrequent half a thought of a nearly thing, our lives spiced only by the fickle finger of fate. Would the ref's finger spin left or right? Does he know? Makofo wafted wide and we got a corner. Watt slid and Town got a goal kick. After hibbling and bibbling near the goal-line after a Town corner the linesman pointed for another corner, the referee for a goal kick.

There is no need to crowdsource for the unanimous verdict, for it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single referee in possession of good sense would be impossible down here in the wasteland. Forget the cry of gulls and the deep sea swell, we're in rats' alley.

Woah, Town passed! Oh, Makofo touched his void by attempting to control the footingball.

Oh hello, Crawley crept forward after some more official nonsense. Dance mishit and Tubbs steered over from eight yards. Their moment: gone.

Town got a corner, Kempson rose alone and Connell bounced away in frustrated fury. Our moment: gone.

The half gone.

It was even, partly thanks to Steven Watt, and partly due to the random decision maker. Crawley were disruptively annoying with Kuipers brushing his teeth before every goal kick and their worm-charming mud sniffing when tackled. The Creepers insisted on laying down on the ground wailing until the RDM gave them a free kick. Town seemed to be holding on a bit more than Crawley, but were holding on comfortably, for the Jeepers Creepers had nobody special, just a complete team of adequates.

That was better than it could have been.

Second half: Empirical evidence
Neither team made any changes at half time.

Town buzzed about ticking their tocs and flinging crosses into the box. Sit down at the back, they're worm-charming again to end their pain.

Oh well. Wave upon wave of Crawleyness. With the wind behind them they pinged and ponged with cold automation. The midfield was a minefield, a no-go area for them as they bonked high and long, and diagonally, seeking the knock downs and rebounds. It was efficient, it was almost effective as their midfielders followed up the humbling and stumbling airborne wrestling. Torres slashed high, McAllister wide, Tubbs swooped, scooped, stooped and slooped off.

It was all the same: long crossfield hoik, big man headed down, scraping shot or a cross and scraping shot. They had shots here, there and everywhere but at Kenny Fingers. Watt blocked, Bore mocked, Kempson knocked away.

It was them all the time, all the time, all the time. Town were repelling but not repellent today.

Ah. Off went Tubbs and on came Brodie the bruiser to form a gruesome twosome attack. The Creepy Coupé abandoned any pretence at passing through the four rocks. The Town crowd abandoned any pretence and started the ancient rhymes, for he is no match for our untamed wit: "What's that coming over the hill, is it a taxman?" Wahey! There's one bon mot for you, nineteen for me.

Connell spun and swished a yard over. That was the Town attack in normal time.

Watt tired, Hudson came on and Bore went to right-back and did an acemer block. Well done lad! Mickey O'Cummins was replaced by Dr Timothy Leary who added some psychotic daydreaming, with studs up tip-toes through the tulips. To add to the gaiety of the nation, the crowd was announced in the alternative on the scoreboard. Place your bets purr-leaze. Or perhaps it was an homage to our guests. In the style of the Dick Dastardly of non-League football, we had the official attendance, and the real attendance. Just to make him feel at home.

Suck up your fears and collect your bags: there's a row going on down near the manager's dug-outs. FFF was lectured by a steward and there were three minutes of added time.

Oh, what's the point? Connell twizzled like a turkey and wafted generally goalwards from oodles and noodles of yards out. The ball sailed, wobbled and rose on thermals way, way above Kuipers and heading for the back of the Pontoon. What a waste. What a save! The ball plummeted and Kuipers leapt back to spectacularly scrape over for a corner. Eagle muzzled the corner low from the left and the ball zipped through the six-yard box at chest height. Kempson chased, Kempson chipped back and Atkinson, six yards out, grimpled above a redman to firmly nod down and an inch past the right post.

And though he never would wave goodbye, you could see it written in his eyes: Evans still can't beat Town. The game was over.

A point won and the team played as a whole. It wasn't a match to look for silk, only to recognise some physical and mental steel. What of the mysterious Makofo? Maybe one day Serge will have adventures with Tin-Tin Connell, maybe he'll burn down the house with wingery. Maybe. Who knows? One thing is clear: he doesn't seem to be a 'technical' player. He was very keen though and he never stopped running and tackling: he tackled them, he tackled Connell, he tackled himself.

Hey Steve, get on the bus, forget about us, and go back to Creepy Crawley.