Strife in a northern town

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

15 October 2017

Town 0 Crawley 0

It's a beautiful day. Let's do something exciting. Or we could talk about Town. Do we have to?

Let's meet the gang, the boys to entertain you, in a 4-4-2 formation: McKeown, Davies, Clarke, Collins, Dixon, Dembele, Summerfield, Berrett, Woolford, Vernon and Jones. The substitutes were Killip, Mills, Kelly, Rose, DJ Jinky, Hooper and Matt. With a red choir in the covered corner and Matt on the bench there'll be songs and laughter, with jokes old and new. With Crawley about we might feel blue.

Do you think the warm weather will play havoc with Town's low intensity non-passing game?

The Creepy Crawleys eschewed their red kit for washed out two-tone blue. My, what a little goalie you have. Who cares about Harry's hairstyles, let's get down to the nub and rub and very core of life: a football match at 3pm on a Saturday. Life doesn’t get better than this, does it.

1st half – it ain't 'alf rot, Burnsy

No, it doesn't, because Town kicked off towards the 70 Gatwick Flyers lounging louchely across the Osmond. Are there more in the choir? Is this displacement activity? Yes it is.

Nothing, absolutely nothing at all. An absence of anything, anywhere at any time.

Collins ached and Lewis limply lamped widely. Dixon dreadfulled a back-pass out for a corner, Berrett slept at throw-ins twicely. Jones wiggled and deflected softly into the arms of Morris, Dembele dribbled through mushrooms and waited to be blocked.

That's half an hour of stodgy porridge boiled into a paste. Even Thatcher wouldn't claim it as a tasty starter. Halfway through the half Dembele and Woolford switched wings. Yeah, and?

Jones almosted after walling with Vernon, Summerfield err, something. A shot you say? Sorry, I was staring at the floor. What fascinating patterns dried hot chocolate makes on concrete. Perhaps we should nominate The Pontoon steps for next year's Turner Prize? There's no art on the pitch.

End of the half, end of the road. Them. A cross, Collins passed to McKeown on the goal line, a throw-in, a corner, a header by beardyman.

Miserable, stupefying, excrutiating. Look, I'm trying to give you the good bits, a positive neck to hang your rope around. Watching Town is nihilism made footballing flesh.

2nd half – someday this bore's gonna end

Neither team made any changes at half time.

Three choristers remained. Go. Go now, before you see us cry.

They kicked off, they moved, Dembele kept fouling. Free kicks on Town's right, flat and flappy at the near post thricely. Heads and tails and nearlyness.

Woolford. He kicked the ball towards the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper picked it up. That is all, keep staring out to sea. Keep dreaming of a better life. If you don't see something then it never happened, right? Jones rolled around blue marker pens and scriffled lowly. Morris plucked a chicken's eyebrows at his near post. No I don't know why either, it must be a southern thing. They do things differently there.

And then the one, single Town thing that happened all day. 12 minutes into the second half, down in front of the Pontoon. There are numerous witnesses and it is understood that this was captured on CCTV, so we didn't make it up in a reverie.

Dembele tinkled beyond blue down the right. Jones out-mauled a flimsy flannel, hot-coaled into the penalty area and managed to fall into and across a retreating tubster. Oh yes, a penalty. Jones waited, and waited. And waited as blue men moaned and the referee made him replace the ball. Jones always hits it in the same spot. Everyone knows it. Everyone knew he knew that everyone knows it. Everyone could see Morris knew it. Jones could see Morris knew that he knew that they know that she knows that I know. What is it that everyone knows? When he finished the laundry he was all in a quandary. Ah yes, Jones always bumbles the ball low to the keeper's left. Morris dived left, Jones bombled the ball six inches wide of the other post. See Crawley, your Morris didn't have to be magic.

Mumbling and fumbling by Clarke, and Meite melted away and…and his escape was so urgent he forgot his detergent. I can't be any clearer than that, can I?

Jones barged around and something almost happened, slightly. A cross spun away and Summerfield clattered into the sewers. Distant dozing and a free blue head glanced wide.

Time. Memory. Town. What is real? Is this really a Grimsby Town team? Was this really a football match? Did we really pay money for this? Why are we using up the ever-reducing moments in our finite lives on this? Matt replaced Vernon. Vernon tries hard. Matt tries our patience. It's run out. Jones was replaced by Hooper. Like this was ever going to make a difference?

Crawley brought on a big bruiser with even more consonants than pounds round his belly. Are you listening? I shall say this only once. His name is Tajbakhsh. His first rule of thumb is he doesn't say where he's going or where he comes from. Blue pressure, blue corners, blue free-kicks and crosses and big blue heads. Wiggles, woggles, panic at the disco and a scrunched scramble slithered through McKeown's legs and against the near post. 

When will this end? After three added minutes. Dembele jinked and crossed lowly to the near post. If a Town player had been there and touched the ball then Rudyard Kipling made exceedingly good cakes.

It may have been better than the Lincoln game, but that's mainly because Crawley were not as good, which makes things worse. We had 15 minutes of football against Poor Vale, we may have had 15 seconds here.

Thanks Russ. We find a dead rat of a game and we're told it's a treat, in our Grimsby home.