Musclebound: Luton (h)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

4 September 2010

Grimsby Town 2 The Luton Hoo Bodybuilding Club 0

The sun, the sea, the sanguine aahs of these former starlets meeting in the rest home for incurable tyrants and kings. We understand each other. We used to have class, we used to be contenders. We used to be somebody instead of bumming around on a one-way ticket to Palookaville.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: O'Donnell, Bore, Kempson, Watt, Ridley, Gobern, Hudson, Cummins, Wood, Connell, Peacock. The substitutes were Croudson, Garner, Samuels, Corner and Eagle. At last, what everyone has been crying out for: Bradley Wood at left wing. Why, oh why, oh why - oh I see why! The House of Orange has brought along a phalanx of bodybuilding bodyguards. Look at those muscles! Look at those Luton Voguers! They gotta work till they're musclebound all night long.

Luton was large in every way but support: just 300 or so for the big match between the big teams?

They've got Homer, the ref's called Simpson. Is Mr Burns up in the press box? Would he eat Town's shorts?

We're ready for our close up now, Mr Se Tanta.

First half: On the waterfront
Luton kicked off towards the Pontoon with a chip down their right. They pushed, they pulled, they hugged and they mugged Town for ten whole minutes and more. Orange shoulders brushed monochrome aside and wave upon wave of bullying bashings ensued. Watt grazed, Kempson amazed, and Ridley was pocketed by Gnapka. Hudson went after Claude, and swiped the galloping Gaul down. Gallen mushed the free kick straight and softly at O'Donnell.

Newton chucked and churned throw after throw into the valley of O'Donnell. Surrounded by one, two, three tangeriners the Pontoon gulped and wobbled as hurl after hurl caused merriment and consternation. He coped. We coped. Town coped.

Newton should really have been up against Ridley, shouldn't he. Where is the comic touch in team selection, Mr Money?

A chappie chipped and Gallen spun-flicked around Watt about ten yards out. The ball dropped and Gallen slopped a volley. The door was open; the candles blew then disappeared; the curtains flew; then Kempson appeared to get the merest of toes upon the ball, enough to divert attention. In came the corner, out went the corner, back came the cross and out threw O'Donnell and the ball was lost. Crossed and cleared, the ball jumbled up, up and away into the centre of Town's half. Murray did a dosey-do around dozy Gobern, rolling the ball along his shoulders to spin and thwackle a shot that dipped and dripped onto the toppermost layer of paint on the crossbar.

Town were hanging on, but with fortitude and a bit of fortune. Big men playing British bulldogs inside the penalty area has always been our achilles heel. And tennis elbow, athlete's foot and hanglider's hangover.

Kroca. He's big.

Slowly, slowly the tide receded and Town started to skip along the foreshore, picking up the flotsam and jetsam of this footballing life. Ah, a little taste of the Caribbean down the right, with some jerk chicken passing resulting in Gobern finagling to Peacock, whose cross was blocked. The corner sailed onto Kempson's gleaming bonce and sailed on into the sun, high, high, high and higher still.

Ooh, Town again. Passing. Hudson plucked Orangemen's eyebrows in the centre circle. Gobern tickled and tucked and Hudson headed into Connell's flightpath. One touch, one volley, one foot over the bar. Here's another clue for you all: the walrus was Paul.

Town cracked and crunched and Luton were forced further away from the pleasingly adequate O'Donnell. He even caught a cross. Town were ascendant, camping in the Luton half. A clearance, a bouncing ball and Gnapka didn't catch O'Donnell gnapping with a shimmering skiffler from 765 yards out. Woah, that man again.

A Town attack was turned into a Town panic attack as Gnapka dissolved Ridley, boiled Watt and carefully poured his home-made marinade onto the unmarked Gallen's leg of lamb. Ah, the good shepherd Kempson hooked his crook, whistled and bustled the ball away from the dangerous cliff path with a ferociously brave flying dagger leap of unflinching manliness. Kung-fu Kempson was as fast as lightning.

Hudson pinged right, Hudson pinged left, Ridley got on his moped and surged into a cul-de-sac, riding towards the Big Orange Wall. As the net closed he espied an alleyway, only as wide as his Vespa, and off he went, tipping beautifully into the path of Connell. The saucy scamp twizzled and flaked a low shot, which Tyler shinned aside at his near post. In came the corner, out went the corner, in came another corner and Kempson bazoomed a header goalwards. A big blanket of orange ploycotton fibres drifted towards him, with arm raised. The ball rebounded, Kempson volleyed, Tyler saved and ooh that's nice. A penalty.

Two penalties in one week. Whatever next? Two Town penalties scored in one week. Connell swept low and to the keeper's right as Tyler also swept low, but slower than the ball as it carooned into the side netting. What an excellent penalty decision, what an excellent penalty, what an excellent afternoon. Excellent dude.

There were Town movements, there were Town moments. We watched the first stage of the metamorphosis of Gobern as he moved from embryo to lava stage. The elusive butterfly flicked and tricked sporadically. Wood just got stuck in and threw himself at everything and everybody. And Luton had a lot of throw-ins and corner. What happened next? I refer the honourable member to my answer earlier. Town did what they had to do - Luton created nothing but scrappy moments of almostness through their sheer weight. Cummins scooped a Lutonite and the free kick was dinkled down the centre towards their gaggle of giant giants. Kroca glanced down but straight at O'Donnell. It was nothing really, just hope; not art or craft.

And in added time one of their musclemen chased a punt inside the Town area. Watt clattered for a corner then battered O'Donnell's ears for staying on his line. Gnapka bonked at the near post and Worzel Hudson thrumped the ball off the line with his sensible head.

Phew. We got away with that. Intense action from the Indoor Leaguers of Luton. It was all about heave with them. This was turbocharged non-League football as we now know it. And Town were still alive.

Second half: The young lions
No changes were made by either side at half time.

And Luton carried on carrying on with their Carry On Up the Khyber football. C'mon Town, lift your kilts. Barnes-Homer rattled his sabres into the increasingly mad Hatters tea party in the Osmond stand. Kempson dug for victory with a ploughing block tackle. Watt glanced away his heartache and Bore hoovered up the dust mites.

Town attacked, Gobern was flimsy, B and H was away down their left, twitching Kempson aside with a bit of body-popping, swishing in the area and swashing low below O'Donnell and on to the post. And out and away. Luton's party's over and their background's fading out of focus. Does Richard Money fear the Grim Reaper in the Blue Square Oyster Cult?

And it's Town, Town, Town. Ridley chuckled a hurl and Watt was glancing with tears in his eyes as the ball drifted across the face of the goal. Worth an "ooh" of anyone's money. Wood reverse swung down the leg side and nipped one off the seam, beating Peacock's forward lunge. Wood deposited a Tangoman into the Lower Findus and their best player, Keane, was taken off. Ding-dong, hello. Vim and Vigourer, that unbroadcast seventh episode of Blackadder the Third.

Mr Linesman, Connell was not offside! And then he was booked by that drone from sector 7G. Connell, not the linesman; the ref was hapless, not that hopeless.

Gobern flowered in the late summer sun - or when Lutonites stopped shadowing him. Past one, past two, the weaving and wafting mesmerised Kroca into, to use the abstract technical term, 'legging him up'. And all the while Connell was the Duracell bunny metronomicly chasing every doleful and dilatory defender. Luton had no time to set up their powerplay and their grappling grapes were left to wither on the vine.

Wood spun and fell, Peacock sighed the free kick and an orange head diverted for a corner on Town's left. The crowd's dander was up, as were Town's version of big men. Gobern slaked a flat earther beyond the big men, beyond the far post into the perfect path of the soaring Cummins, who thrapped a bonking header back into the top right corner.

You can put you weary feet upon the footstool now. All is well, all is fine. We have 20 minutes to hang on to what we've got. As Luton attacked so Town had more time and space into which their paisley-patterned passing could be spun. Bore roared, Gobern rolled and Peacock spun-flicked around Pilkington, who had a heart of glass, blocking away the volley for a corner.

There were substitutions and things and stuff. Wood was replaced by Corner and the Hatted Ones did some too. Isn't that shirt too orangey for Danny Crow. Danny Crow? He used to play for Peterborough you know. Ooh they've taken Claude Napkin off. I guess Bo Ridley's got his own bag of tricks. The Lutes continued to strum and pluck, but medieval mood music had moved on from the use of bullying baronial power chords. Newton wellied over, Atieno headed straight at O'Donnell and Town carried on with their spirals and twirls, without putting the result upon the gallery walls.

There were four minutes of added noodling and doodling. Town just played them out with poise and the noise of happy homesters bouncing.

What a difference a week makes. Now, that was more like it. Luton were strong in every way, yet Town stood toe to toe, eye to eye, shoulder to ear, and survived to eventually impose their own style on the game. Yes, Luton battered Town for ten minutes. Yes, Luton piled on a lot of pressure. Yes, Luton nearly scored - but they didn't. Defensively everyone did what they had to do, and if they didn't Kempson was our Bobby Dazzler springing from the turf like a magic mushroom. Offensively Town unchained themselves, oiled the rusty wheels and began to freewheel. If you choose to look, there was something for everyone. Not perfect, but perfectly fine.