Can't buy a thrill

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

1 April 2018

Grimsby 0 Stevenage 0

An afternoon of creeping cold and creeping menace of daytrips to the torpor of Eastleigh. Here we are again, unhappy as can be, waiting for the inevitability of destiny. Do you believe in historical determinism or determination?

Can we change our own record, or is it stuck in a groove?

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Mills, Clarke, Collins, Fox, McSheffrey, Summerfield, Rose, Dembele, Wilks and Hooper. The substitutes were Killip, Hall-Johnson, McAllister, Berrett, Woolford, Clifton and Vernon. Times are hard, and we can't afford a fee, so we found ourselves somebody who can do the job for free. The left-footed McSheffrey played on the right and right-footed Dembele played on the left. Yeah, they'll never work that one out. Which they, though? Us or them? After all they're all just ordinary men.

I've got a feeling inside of me, it's kind of strange like a stormy sea. We need Akheem Rose, whatever happened to that likely lad? We definitely need a brand new Rose in Town, but we do have Mitch Rose.

Stevenage turned up in all blue with King and Henry in defence of their realm. Oh, and a King in goal. Not any old King but The King of Braintree, the boy who let Omar snuffle us to Wembley. That's just taunting us with our past and future.

Up and down and in the end Town are going round'n'round. And round.

Let's freak out in a Stevenage daydream, oh yeah.

1st half –  the thick of it

Stevenage kicked off away from the 110 brave trippers into the northern hell of metal-brassiered Gorgons. The wind swirled and McKeown punts curled. A biff and a bang and Summerfield chugged into a gang of muggers by the dug outs. Amos sprinted through the soft cheese and into the penalty area, rolling, rolling a pass across into the absence. Kennedy awaited ten yards out and Mills slid across to block. Whither Clarke? Yes, he withered.

Wilks greedily sliced towards the covered corner after the promise of a better life was glimmered through the medium of making two passes to each other. Hope. Yes we can!

Yes we can what?

Life is a mystery but must every Town striker stand alone?

Ah, Mills again. Again what? Blocking blue after shocking shoddiness from the weather-beaten Clarke. A blue free kick, count them steps before the spray painting begins. One-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight. Hey, that's two short! The free kick was short and sweetly nothing.

Flibbles and flabbles and Townites moved parallel with blue. Newton becrawled to the near post, Jamie Mack stooped and plucked the grumbler. Some other time, some other blueboy befumbled lowly to the same spot. McKeown repeated his action. Safely, without sorrow, there is a better tomorrow.

A Town free kick, count them steps before the spray painting begins. One-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine. Hey, that's one more than them! Life ain't sweet and McSheffrey cribbed against the single blue wall for a corner of underhit nothingness.

Behold the harrying of Hertfordshire. Hooper chased the block into the left corner of the Stevenage penalty area. Without a thought or a look the Hooperman swung the ball back into the vastly vacant centre. Wilks waited, took a spin around the car park, swung his left boot and from the penalty spot shinkled vastly wide as a defender definitely defended with decisive diving nearby.

It's nearly Easter, isn't it. Mmmm, chocolate.

Passing. I am prepared to call it passing. And then McSheffrey indulged in some crosstown traffic to Dembele. A wiggle and giggle between two blocks of cheese and King fabulously flipped over. The corner cornered in, then out, and Summerfield swung a big dripper farly. Mills sneaked around the back to volley across the six-yard box to the unmarked Rose in front of the unmanned goal. Poor old Mitch, always better without the ball. His legs moved, the ball didn't move into the net but did move into the covered corner.

Another blue free kick; count them steps again. One-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight. Hey, that's still two short! Martin heavily undisguised his intentions and slowly curled a pass back to Jamie Mack at the nearer post.

Moments, just moments, of things that nearly happened. Monochrome boots swiped air, heads nodded off, and King dropped a drooper under an intense striped stare and the peeper peeped.

Hey Foxy! See the Fox on the run after a striped swipe. On he roamed, through thick blue and thin blue and to the blue bye-line. A cross was rolled, nut-megging Hooper at the near post, and strolling on beyond the far post. McSheffrey stretched and shinned a scriffle against blue socks shuffling across the goal line. We're on the up! It's the opposition kicking the ball off the line this week.

Time ticked on, men ran into each other, a football was kicked now and again, here and there.

One minute was added. One minute passed. Nothing happened.

Messy, mundane and much, much better.

2nd half – in the gloop

Stevenage replaced Henry with the alliterative Franks at half time. Open up your eyes and look around. It's just an allusion.

Town movement, Town menace and Wilks espied a needle to prick their balloon. A sneaky little tickle between centre and left-back and Rose was galloping free. With his back to goal he instantly back-heeled the ball across the six-yard box into a fantastically vast ocean of unhumanity. And so King the Keeper donned his brown overall and swept up the shop floor as Hooper and Wilks admired the audacity of hope.

A tick and a tock and Fox on the run again. A corner floated and the imperceptibly nudged Clarke stooped to loop a header highly. King the Keeper flopped the ball over the crossbar and we shall not speak of such things for many more moons. Stevenage erected a wall of cardboard blue and Town were fathomably flummoxed, as is their fashion.

Them. A couple of things. Blocked and blasted over. McKeown swooped on the offside Reveller and Wilks lay down on Broadway. Clifton replaced Wilks with McSheffrey moving upfront and Dembele over to the right wing.

You may as well open your Easter eggs now.

C'mon, we're waiting for the sucker's punch. C'mon, let's get this over with. Blue wanderings and striped blunderings. In, out, sliced and diced Townites standing a respectful distance from the social superiors. A dinkle from their right and lonesome Whelpdale leaned back to arc a looper against the inside of McKeown's right post. The ball rolled across the face of goal as the old Reveller and Collins lunged at the line. Bobbles bibbled as two old men shuffled along on their backside playing pass the hot potato. Revell swished his right foot and wept as he swept the ball into side netting. Three sides of Blundell Park erupted in relief and belief. Yes, this is the moment, this is our time. We can still do this…

More blueness, your highness. A pass inside the fading Fox and Newton swished in along the bye-line. The Fox stalked its prey and lunged at the ferret tail. Down went Newton and on went play. Move along, nothing to see here.

McSheffrey moving with menace, swinging various pants and cross-shotting indeterminately generally somewhere near goal. King the Keeper parry-punched out and Dembele dimpled a dipper wayly over into row K.

Crosses hit blue heads and thighs, and once, just once, a blue hand at a minor melee, some say meringue, as Mills took over the short long throw routine from Clarke. A Townite plunged and, count them, one-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine. Happy now? No, that pastel poltroon counted out ten for them. Mum, tell 'im, it's just not fair. McSheffrey peered into the distance as King the Keeper crept right, and riffled the near post side netting as everyone awaited a deep drip.

And now?

There's fog along the horizon and a strange glow in the sky: Vernon replaced McSheffrey with ten minutes left. What does it mean? Oh, it's just a dream. Old Scotty Vernon came on. He's the nearest thing we have to Livvo these days when we need someone to sit on a keeper.

Sometimes I ask myself "What about that terrible Hooper header?" I shouldn't, it's best not to dwell on such things. It only brings sorrow and pain. Shall we move on?

With five minutes left Hall-Johnson came on for Dembele.

Shall we move on?

Oh yeah, alright. Are you going to be in my dreams tonight? Town could have done with a drum solo to get them going for that big finale, as, in the end, Stevenage finally had a corner.

Four minutes were added and Hooper lazily, crazily, passed a shot straight at King the Keeper.

Which straw do you fancy clutching today? Each team could convince themselves of anything for this ill-defined mumble of a game had isolated moments of non-awfulness. Town should have scored three and Stevenage should have scored twice, neither team looked like scoring even when the goal was open.

We ended up in the same place as normal: a total inability to create opportunities for non-scoring strikers to miss.

Plus ca change.