I can hear the grass grow: Mansfield (a)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

19 April 2011

Mansfield Town 0 Grimsby Town 2

A still, snoozy evening in beautiful downtown Mansfield. There are people here and there, but glistening plastic everywhere. It's soulless in Stagsville at the dreg end of the sour milk bottle of a season.

Town lined up in a 4-3-3 formation as follows: Kenny Fingers, Bore, Garner, I'Anson, Wood, Oh Leary, O'Cummins, Thanoj, Coulson, Connell and Peacock. The subs were Croudson, Atkinson, Watt, Hudson, Mulready and Southwell. I'Anson has some height and hidden heft and looked comfortable in the company of men, while the other two unknowns were stereotypical Town tots.

There is no need to spin out this season, this game, this paragraph.

Only 12 days leftÂ…

First half: Sleepy Shores
Town kicked towards the 200 or so mad Mariners rattling their jewellery and sabres. Just play a little light jazz for a few minutes: you'll get the drift of this drifting game in a drifting season.

Boop-bah-di-doo-di-doo-wah-wah. YeeaaaaaaaaaaaahÂ…

Peacock chased, Peacock outsprinted Dr Foster and lobbed gently into the waiting arms of Grof, the fluorescent flouncer.

Shoop-do-wop, shoop-do-wop, uh-huh.

Tiny Higginson skiffled past the slip-sliding I'Anson, crossed to the near post and Briscoe-steer volleyed a la Connell mode. Arthur stood still, watched the world go away and parried aside.

B-dum, b-dum ting-ting, woo-woo-woo.

Town were tackling, shuffling, hustling and bustling the dainties from side to side. The crabs were caught in a well-set trap and lightly toasted with a side salad of seasonal vegetables. Peacock wasted, Peacock crossed near Thanoj, and for what it's worth things were nearly happening here.

Over in the main stand young people were speakin' their minds, gettin' so much resistance from stewards behind. What's that sound? Ev'rybody look what's goin' down. Ah, it's Coulson scampering and scurrying, turning inside and outside and crinkling against luminous legs. Connell volleyed out for a throw-in.

If in doubt get it out! I'Anson cleared into Row A of the old stand. There is only Row A in the old stand. And a hole in the roof.

Wood chip, flock wallpaper. No, no, that's your Auntie Winnie's front room. Wood chipped, Peacock flocked a header, Connell caressed back and Leapy precisely side-footed two yards wide. Mansfield kept passing the ball out of play. We were happy and another one's gone, and another one's gone, and another Mansfield teenager bit the dust. Will they end up with a minus crowd figure?

Diddle-diddy, shlurp-wurp, pom-pom. Careful with that sax, you're in a dream. Whack, flick, tick, click! Peacock nodded a punt, Connell scrunched to Thanoj on the left who hung a drippy curly-wurly cross beyond the far post. Coulson rose: Grof posed and froze as the ball snickled through an invisible hole.

The Staggers kicked in with a 6/5 beat, skipping and dunking Town's doughnuts. Briscoe shined his shoes, drumbling low across Kenny Fingers. Out popped the ball, out popped some Celtic fingers, and all's well that ends well.

And finally Cyril, O'Cummins dinked, Oh Leary sensationally swivelled and volleyed, and Grof the magic dragon toe-poked away for a corner.

What a pleasant amateur passion play. Town ran around quite a lot, that was all, and that was all that was needed. The central defence looked absolutely fine together, with I'Anson a rangy, determined poke-tackler who seemed to shout a lot. Everywhere else functioned adequately, in context.

Digested version: hoofy twiddles.

Second half: Sleepy Hollow
Neither team made any changes at half time.

Get out that wine bar soft jazz album again and order another cheesy dough ball. Mansfield were up their own personal Khyber, losing the intensity they never had while Town carried on at their convenience. Ooh look, Connell 30-yard lob-volleyed into the arms of the waiting bio-luminescent keeper. Ooh look, Connell loopy-headed over after a long throw. Ooh look, Oh Leary has just made a tackle without a free kick being awarded. Things can only get better.

D-ream on.

Staggers punted and legs flew. The ball poked itself back to Higginson off his arm, who half volley-whacked from a dozen yards out. Arthur steadily flew left like the Slimcea Girl and parried magnificently away. The men of Field Mill were absent from our thoughts for a further half an hour. They brought on orange-booted Medley, but he didn't have the time of his life with the mighty I'Anson scraping his barrels. Mansfield? No data found.

Peacock widdled and waddled in circles for O'Cummins to stumble-shoot. Peacock stoople-headed wide from an O'Cummins free kick. There was no art or artifice, just very basic organisation and determination. It was enough.

And Town did wish to make a complaint, pestering the Staggering shop assistants until they gave a full refund. Peacock chased Stonehouse in circles by their left corner flag, who promptly passed directly to Oh Leary, 25 yards out in the centre. Shocked and stunned by developments, Oh Leary ran forward into the vast open plains before him, ignoring Connell to his left and thundering goalwards. Grof leapt right and spectacularly finger-punched the ball away for a corner. Coulson clipped, Grof wandered the mean streets of Mansfield and I'Anson stooped: the ball bounced off his head and into the empty net.

This was too easy. Even Town couldn't avoid victory.

They kicked off and passed straight to Cummins, who meandered a pass to the shimmy-shammying Connell, who dinkle-lofted over Grof onto the post. Connell crinkle-clipped wide then chunky-chipped to Peacock, who lofted high and wide. How many gobstoppers are in the jar?

And Mansfield finally had a shot. Briscoe well well, well, well, wellwellwellwelllwide.

The navel was no longer being gazed at. It wasn't wonderful: it was simply alright, with some good bits here and there. People ran around a lot and the youngsters performed perfectly well, especially feisty and confident I'Anson. Oh yes, and little Messi-shaped Southwell came on for the last four minutes, even touching the ball once. Check out the hairstyle: sub-Torresian with a sand-wedge.

You know, there wasn't much to grumble about. Town did enough and never really looked uncomfortable. The sort of performance they used to call 'professional'.

Digested version : twiddly hoofs. hoofs.