The coalminers' slaughter: Ashington (h)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

29 October 2011

Grimsby Town 5 Ashington 0

Ho, ho, ho it's magic, you know. Never believe it's not so on the day that the cup odyssey begins. Hmmm, Town have used that up and worn it out long ago. We're going back to the 1920s. We're back to our roots playing Ashington.

Around 161 friends from the north seemed to enjoy themselves down in the pit of the Osmond on a fitfully blustery afternoon. So would Town be a bit flustered or would the innate steely hard-eyed professionalism for which they are renowned win the day? You have to chuckle here; you can, you know.

Another Town mish-mash lined up in a 4-4-2 as follows: McKeown, Wood, Kempson, I'Anson, Townsend, Coulson, Disley, Thanoj, Makofo, Duffy, Hearn. The substitutes were Arthur, Silk, Pearson, Artus, Eagle, Elding, and Southwell. Hey, we remembered we can have seven subsititutes this year. And you chuckled at the thought of innate professionalism being linked with Grimsby Town. Shame on you unbelievers in the court of St John the Fabulist. We have an Eagle on the bench, they have a Deagle and a Buzzeo, and it's a Town start for Townsend.

Ashington turned up in skyish blue shirts and white shorts. It's just like watching Juve against Lazio. It's uncanny, pet.

First half: Walking, running, jumping
Town kicked off with an appatura alla sinestra as Townsend whirled his arms and struck a power chord. Downed, fouled, with a free kick whipped, Kempson sipped his latte and boinked over at the far post. The awaysters rocked with laughter as they mocked with their mochaccino in their maroon moccasins. They probably holiday in Morocco too. Do they alliterate and alliterhyme by the Tyne? Is this nonsense? Yes, just like the game.

Four minutes. Townsend spoondled a huge drooping, drifting cross that died several times above the roofs and houses as a rainbow climbed high over Spurn Point. Dryden edged out to clutch but the ball coiled backwards and away from goal as he chased the lucky lady. Duffy stood still and allowed the ball to hit his head and slowly, sorrowfully skulk into the empty net. He had the good grace not to celebrate. The fishy was on the dishy even before Town's boat had floated.

Town: fitter, faster, stronger; the game in a nutshell. You can stop reading now unless you are a total and utter completist and need the immersion box set version. Go and prune your privet. You won't learn anything you didn't know already.

Thanoj revelled in the freedom from muggers. Thanoj tackled, Thanoj passed over vast distances to the toes and chests of striped ones. Thanoj stroked, Coulson crossed and Duffy didn't score. Coulson croaked the blues and Thanoj whacked at Dryden. Dryden flapped a corner, Thanoj volleyed and a white bottom bumped aside. Duffy missed, Duffy missed again. Town passed to each other frequently while the visitors gawped in awe at such sophistication and bejewelled finery. Ooh look, Disley waltzed and wafted wide.

Easy peasy, these lemons were squeezy. Is there any acid reflux? Are there no pips to squeak? Sirs, you know Town so well - of course there is wobblage to be had on the sunniest of days. Oh dear, Little Johnny Godsmark, the Chopra of the Cheviots, tinkled to O'Dea who wimpled well from way out. McKeown was forced to move to his right, fall and parry aside. The ball would have gone into the net otherwise. It was a decent save from a decent shot and a decent move. A free kick under the Findus fell slowly to McKeown after Townsend befeebled at the far post. Kempson confused himself by existing and Townsend thwiped away from inside the six-yard box. Whither Kempson? Wither Ashington? That was them that was, almost doing something near Kempson.

We haven't mentioned the Makofonator yet. Best not to, really. He was unfortunate in that the ball kept tripping him up and the referee refused to take action, being indulgent of the cynical cylindrical inflatable. And then there were his shins. They too conspired to create the impression of chaotic calamity. If only he did not have to deal with the ball or his own body, then nothing could go wrong in his footballing life. He never stops trying to defeat these demons though. He's the spider that failed the audition for The Life and Times of Robert the Bruce.

Finally the baubles came out.

And, don't you know, they involved Coulson-based triangles of pretty passing. Dinky-dinky-dink, Hearn was dunked free. Dryden crept out, forcing Hearn back to spin around like a record thriceley. He shot again: the keeper saved well but Hearn shot again into the bottom left corner. It was almost like walking the ball into the net, so easy, almost embarrassing, so Hearn had the good grace to not celebrate.

Another minute, another walk in the park. Get your black forest gateaux out of the freezer, it's party time. Memo to tannoyman: where is that Horst Jankowksi LP? I reckon it's next to the James Last collection in the boardroom. Repeat action: Coulson and DIsley-based triangles, Duffy's angled delight and Hearn walked around several statues to limp the ball across the keeper from very near goal.

And now it's Coulson's turn to entertain. His party trick? Whipping the tablecloth away without breaking too many champagne flutes. More strolling bones in the Ashington mole museum: a Coulson deflector and fine Dryden save. Wahey, Mr Makofo comes to Town! He ran and ran and ran and ran and crossed and Coulson headed exceedingly wide of an open goal. Then Coulson crackled against the bar from just outside the penalty area. The ball bumpled out and against the back of the keeper's bonce and trickle-wickled towards the goal. Good lad! Dryden clutched the ball at the lastest moment and so endeth the first half.

It's a bit boring when it isn't a contest.

Second half: Standing still
Neither side made any changes at half time.

La-di-da this, la-di-da that. Men in motion, very little emotion. Time ticked by and sometimes something happened. Town pressed and pressed with little flutters around the edges. Kempson chimpled into nowhere; Duffy and I'Anson fell over themselves to back-head over. Tick, flick, Hearn free, Dryden blocked.

After one comedy caper too far the Makofotron was snipped and on came Eagle. Hearn was blocked narrowly after an Eagle reversal of fortune. Eagle? Innocence has always been his position as he explained away a two-footed jump tackle that missed ball and man, but disturbed a sleeping earthworm outside the Ashy penalty area.

It was just a training game with oodles of Town pressure leading nowhere but concentric circles of possessive occupancy. Variation on a theme: a short corner routine. Disley-Eagle-Coulson glanced over. Another way of not scoring, but at least it was only just not scoring. And here's another way of not scoring. Elding came on, for Hearn of course. Elding and Duffy, together at last. Now we have pace, power, passion and professionalism.

Interested in a windy-windy Townsend run which ended with a slurp comfortably wide at a comfortable pace? What about a stretchy-wetchy Thanoj looper which grazed itself over the bar? What about Eagle scoring expertly from the edge of the area? Oh yes, you're interested in the sexy stuff aren't you, the headline and highlights, not the grim reality of the drudgery of daily Town life. Coulson released the outer Wood into the penalty area after an interminable amount of poking and prodding. Wood crossed rubbishly way, way behind the awaiting crowd. Eagle braked, did an emergency U-turn and craftily and carefully swiped a right foot shot in off the inside of the near post.

Ashington were not bereft of moments. They carried on trying to attack, and caused many moments of murmuring and discourse through their ability to almost shoot. They exposed weaknesses but didn't have the wellington boots to walk upon our cabbage patch. Kempson was made to look a bit of a mug while Townsend's positioning was awry. Their bestest chance came for their number 7, who slam-dunked a side volley a yard wide after no-one could handle a bouncy, bouncy castle. They had crosses too that almost went places when Townites were in no place.

As the sun started to set they brought on Buzzeo and Southwell replaced Duffy. Twenty seconds later we had a new little local lad to lament in 18 months. Tippy-tappy stuff down the right saw Coulson freed and Coulson cross. Southwell stooped and headed in off the keeper's big white gloves.

Elding, pfft. Finished expertly from a narrow angle when offside and as offside, offside, offside and offside again as Town attacked at will. Then he wasn't offside and rolling like a rhino down the middle. Who among us can honestly say they thought he'd score? Yeah, three people, and they are all under the age of 9¾ . A pathetic, lazy, powerless scoop into the midriff of the frozen, fearful keeper.

And in added time Kempson fell over but their old striker didn't have enough puff left to reach McKeown before a monochrome blanket smothered his smouldering shins. The referee blew his whistle and everyone got up to go home. A-ha, a false ending, like when you pretend to throw a ball for a dog. Then seconds later it was the real ending to an unreal occasion. A fixture fulfilled.

Don't gloat and don't coat this victory in sugar. It was what it was and means nothing but a chance to get some money to be humiliated in a couple of weeks.