Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
21 August 2010
Grimsby Town 1 Hayes & Yeading 2
A beautiful, sun-drenched afternoon on the Costa Del Moan with an air of chuckling expectation enveloping the cheap seats. Then it rained and rained and rained with rain. And when the rain comes you should run and hide your head with Town. And the sun too. And probably when it's a bit cloudy.
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: Arthur, Samuels, Kempson, Watt, Cap'n Ridley, Bore, Hudson, Leary, Eagle, Connell, Coulson. The substitutes were Wood, Garner, Cummins, Corner and Ademeno. Will Dwayne be Dwonderful, or will he sulk in strop because the scoreboard made an ass of him by spelling his name 'Samules'? Have we got the right Charlie or a proper Charlie? Will Town stop wellying high balls to midgets?
And through the Pontoon window I can see John, Jim, James, Steve, Gregory, Sarah, Ferdinand, Oswald, Hermione, Michael, Mickey, Mick, Babs, Sid, Charlie, Ken, Dick and Dom, Mick and Keith, Ron, Reggie, Mycroft, Mertle and not forgetting Chas and Dave in the corner. Oh, and Andy, there's always an Andy. The Yeading 27, we feel we know you all. There's loads of us, not many of them. Come again for tea and a slice.
Ah, Town woke up in a non-League doorway and a policeman knew our name. Yayes and Heading who are you? A smattering of the vaguely remembered and a vaguely dismembered. Ben Wright... Ben Wright... he was the other wrong Wright for us last season, wasn't he? The iron Nicky law of clod is: the more useless a Town player, the more likely he is to be useful against us. Shall we see?
It's still mizzlingly wet.
First half: In the bloop
Town kicked off towards the Osmond stand and Wright plunged under a Kempson death stare. Daft free kick, crowd rage. Nothing happened.
Town walloped long and high, quickly and sickly. Yuck.
The Headsters just sat back watching and waiting to head. They fought, they sought, they caught Town in possession. They broke and Town awoke. Eagle spun inside the Town half, Bore soared, Connell tapped and Samuels' cross-shotty-cross type thing was lunged away for a corner. Yay for us. Football.
Biffing and banging, arging and barging; Town were dim and their flam was flim as Yayes did full court bench-presses forcing Arthur to drop kick and the baldy boys at the back to smack their foreheads in frustration.
In between the dross, the moss gathered on Town's rolling stone. Town flowed again with Bore waltzing and Connell schmaltzing a too-clever-by-half chip into the vast expanse of red plastic. Nice video, shame about the song. Ooh, Bore smackerooned a couple of feet wide from 30 yards. Fits and starts, horses and carts, Town playing like tarts.
The Yaymen finagled themselves down their right, crossing sloppily. Arthur came out to gather, Watt stood and wafted the ball out for an unnecessary corner. The Pontoon growled and audibly panicked. Kempson grazed the corner out of the area but to a blueman, who calmly laid the ball back to the holding midfielder, 30 or so yards out. Hand took a stride and scrivelled an unstoppable shot, which rose inexorably and drifted inevitably across Arthur's clawing fingertips and into the very top left corner of the goal. The entire Yayes team ran off to join their fans for an impromptu pyjama party, as the locals lamented and applauded the strike. Basically he hit it and it went in; these things happen sometimes.
Town imploded with players freezing in the humidity and hiding in the drizzle. Isolated moments of almostness barely papered over the cracks in their fragile minds. The Headsters retreated and waited for moments to break. Pritchard skinned Ridley; Deen skimmed a low cross which Arthur excellently plucked off the turf.
Ridley, Coulson, Ridley, Eagle, Bore, Connell, Coulson: magnificent one-touch spinning and grinning, turning and gurning as Coulson's shot sprung off the keeper's foot directly to Pritchard on the halfway line, who hared off causing a minor moment of concern. Connell flick-headed and Harrison tipped the drooping swinger over the bar. Watt missed Eagle's corner and Leary sprinkled way, way over the bar. Ah, sumptuous passing, Connell hook volleying against Harrison, but offside.
And then the worm turned, as the referee realised Yayes were thumping into clodding tackles, finally giving Town some free kicks and waving some yellow cards. Coulson was scythed horribly and with a minute left was replaced by Charlie Ademeno. The one minute of added time lasted forever. And nothing happened.
People booed. Others went to the toilet. Town had had occasional purrsome seconds and frequent loathsome minutes. They played like fools, launching long balls and generally failing to match the mental and physical intensity of the opposition. They played like they expected victory by dint of their existence.
Second half: The thick of it
No changes were made by either side at half-time.
Kemp and Watt wifted and the Headmen had a shot from inside the penalty area. Wake up Town!
Phwoar! When Charlie sheds those dowdy feathers of unfitness and flies a little bit, we're in for something wonderful. Ademeno did a highland jig through the Yayes defence, running across the face of the penalty area and releasing Bore. He crossed and Connell miskicked on the penalty spot. A minute or so later Ademeno cut some more mustard with his now legendary trademark twizzle and burn, flicking away to Eagle, who dinked a delightful arcing cross into the six-yard box. Bore sprinted and ducked as the ball arrived at his head at the same time as Harrison's hands. Good goalkeeping or a lack of courage: you decide.
Eagle chucked a free kick onto Kempson's head and a Blueman poked away from the post for a corner as Ademeno lurked behind. Eagle swimpled the corner with loving care into the centre of the penalty area, directly onto Watt's head. Watt nodded firmly; the ball slid off his forehead down into the ground, and up on to the face of the crossbar. And away.
Woah baby! Ademeno flickered through the gaps in Heading's picket fence, looked up and carefully rolled a cross into the flightpath of the hovering Eagle. Roly-poly Rob stood legs akimbo on the penalty spot, as if admiring some enormous trousers, and slid a shot a foot wide as the goal gaped and the Pontoon gawped.
The dilatory and dozing Leary was replaced by the old head Cummins, who played his maracas in time to Town's beat. He stood in the right places, so he didn't have to move too much.
Well hello there. Yayes whacked high and long, the ball stumbled off Wright's backside and Deen immediately swept a shot a couple of yards wide from a million miles out. A bit of bibbly-bashing goes a long way.
And still Town throttled without choking. Eagle swingled in a free kick from the left as Connell, unmarked ten yards out, stooped and firmly noodled goalwards. Harrison was so old and slow that he was accidentally in the right place, arching back to flick over the bar as the ball flew over and across his zimmer route. Yeah, we know, it's just one of them days. Again.
With 20 minutes left Yayes had a second attempt at getting inside the Town half. No-one noticed them creeping upfield and Holmes stepped across Watt to tickle the ball into a huge vacant space on the left of the Town area. Pritchard wellied a low first-time drive from a very narrow angle which went faster than a speeding arrow into the very bottom right corner.
There was very little positive emoting from the Town faithless.
At this, gangly Tom Corner replaced Samuels and Town moved to a 4-3-3 formation, piling on even more futile pressure. It was all Town, but never going to be Town. Ademeno cheesed some toast and Corner hopped over a lunge, Harrison advanced and the Cornerboy weakly passed straight at the keeper's ankles. Eagle curled a free kick in from the right and Kempson thundered a header into the roof of the net. Game on! Game off: the annoying linesman annoyingly flagged for offside. Corner flicked on the right and Ademeno skipped inside-outside-inside, chewed a Yayman like gum and spat him into an industrial-sized bin. With Harrison creeping forward Charlie softly curled like an old Cheshire cat into the keeper's arms from a dozen yards.
Listen, lads - we can still do this. Arthur sprinted into the covered corner seats to retrieve and the ineffective dominance continued. Eagle chipped and Ademeno glanced wide form half a dozen yards out; Hudson wasted over the bar; Corner fell and Bore flickered briefly. Connell coiled a free kick onto the underside of the crossbar and Ademeno's follow-up volley struck Hand's torso, rather than Hand's hand, which would have been handy.
And still Town attacked. A minute of so into added time Connell swayed like the Hofmeister bear, spun and swung a tremendous cropping curler into the top right side of the goal. Listen, lads - we really can still do this!
The Headmen tried to waste time, but Town got the ball back and roared forward. Down the left, down the right, up and in, down and out, back to Eagle and a low cross evaded everyone. Bore retrieved, Bore crossed, Cummins ducked and dived to head a foot over.
Listen, lads - we can still boo this!. The end. Boo-hoo.
Town played poorly, without cohesion or a sensible plan, but even then should really have scored four or five. Hayes & Yeading had no more than a couple of chances all game, but their goals were most excellent strikes of the football, both unstoppable once ball had left foot. They clinically took advantage of mistakes, whereas Town were generous hosts, not wishing to upset the guests.
It's clear how teams are setting themselves to stop Town: make us kick it long and high and have a man playing deep in front of the back four to cut off the dinks to Connell. Town players were too willing to hit it long and high and no-one came back from midfield to collect the ball from the back five. Oh for a Wayne Burnett, eh. Small tweaks are required, not panic and howling.
This isn't the time of the season for leaving.