Handle it with care

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

28 November 2018

Grimsby Town 5 Tranmere Rovers 2

Tuesday night and the gates are low, it's raining. Tuesday night people just love complaining as they haven't got anything better to do. The trouble is these days you never see a dog upon the pitch, guaranteed to make you smile.

A wild wet and windy night with two hundred neo-Scouse wits and witterers sitting back to relax and watch us cry for entertainment.

Oh Tranmere, we've swerved the Checkatrade like you.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Hendrie, Davis, Whitmore, Fox, Embleton, Clifton, Hessenthaler, Pringle, Vernam and Thomas. The substitutes were Russell, Welsh, M Rose, Woolford, Cook, Cardwell and A Rose. With Elliot Embleton having phoned home to find he hadn't been forgotten, big Harry had to roll over into the bed of Roses.

Tranmere turned up in subtly, suitably retro dark blue shirts. They all look rather sturdy.

It's very, very wet, it's very, very, very windy. Will Town's tots just get blown away downstream?

First half: Waiting for the punchline

Tranmere kicked off towards the Pontoon. The wind howled and swirled into the Dentists' Stand. McKeown's fly-kicks scowled and twirled into the faces of the dentists in the Dentists' Stand.

The Wirrallers worried us. Bigging their bigness with hard men and hard running. Fox flailing and fouling. Head tennis from the free kick and Jamie Mac star-jumped. Flag up, danger flagged up. Mullin drivelled afarly, Davis thighed and McKeown changed horses mid-stream to satisfyingly sigh upon the spinning top.

Fox dripping drippy balls onto McNulty's head, ad infinitum I may add. It isn't adding up to much. Man Mountain Monthe mudslided Thomas the tank engine. It's going to be a long night.

Town drowned in a muddle in the middle. McCullough fizzed a daisy cutter through the eye of the stormy noodle bisecting, dissecting Davis. Norwood gambolled gaily on, lilted softly over the dithering slithering McKeown, and watched the ball slowly, slowly trickle into the bottom left corner.

Town slapped and slipped nowhere, skittishly skipping in ever-decreasing circles. The Trannies trotted through twenty minutes of Town terribleness. Here come the fudge. Jolley pointed and pawns moved on the chessboard. Town had tweaked to a 4-1-4-1 formation. Vernam swung out right, Embleton swung his pants into the centre, and The Hess camped out in the central plains.

Crash! Hessenthaler screeched through a sauntering pseudo-Scouser. Bang! Little Harry swept away some detritus. Wallop! Vernam weaved and wafted from wayly out against Crème de Monthe. The corner was shortly dummied and Embleton's sweet sweep struck blue socks. Out again, back again, nodded down and Vernam mis-muffled straight to Thomas, who steered the ball in for a free kick to Tranmere. Offside. The flag was up ages ago. Do pay attention, 007.

We have our daily dose of Maccanificence. Unsighted and moving right, Jamie Mack took flight low and left to parry aside. It's just normal now

Mottley-Crew was a real live wire, braising the Fox and caressing carefully into the centre. Norwood hooked around monochrome and we have our daily dose of Maccanificence. Unsighted and moving right, Jamie Mack took flight low and left to parry aside.

It's just normal now.

Bobbing and dobbing and suddenly lobbing, Mullin's speculacular ICBM whistled down the wind. McKeown was alive to the sound of music, taking a couple of steps back to leap and paw away from the top right of the goal.

It's just normal now.

Town ticking by the dug-outs, Embleton suddenly pinged to Hendrie in the shadow of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand. One touch, one tickling triangle and one Charles Vernam scampered down the line, cut in and curled a flat dripper in towards the penalty spot. Little Harry stooped to steer a golden glance into the bottom right corner, with Davies legs akimbo and flapping his arms like an overweight goose.

Ah, so that's the solution to the problem: passing + movement + pace = a goal. Tried it once, it worked once, shall we try it again sometime?

Mottley-Crew flew past Fox, pulled back a pass and Norwood, near the penalty spot, spooned his sugar over the bar and far, far away.

Oh the wind and the rain, what a pain, there goes the last train to Donny. Don't worry, we'll have time for some Harry-flavoured misses and a bit of conversation.

A flying Fox high drooper dropped dead in the wind. Clifton felt the rain on his face and was in no better place to turn and slap. The flapping flying Davies smothered superbly. Town were clamping, ramping up the pressure. Say yes to the Hess!

Davies shanked a kick sloppily, Caprice carelessly cantered, Hessenthaler slid and hooked off the Tranmeric toes, setting Vernam free to improvise some jazz chords down the left. The Count of Caistor dribbled through a collection of sodden shirts and teased a flat cross across the face of goal. Well, my friends, the time has come to raise the roof and have some fun. Thomas, caught unawares by the sudden activity, collided with the ball while swiping left on his iPhone. The ball plopped into the empty net.

Shocked and stunned, the day-trippers stared into the void, waiting for the whistle. They waited. They waited. Every Tranmere arm and voice was raised in unison, and the referee was flash-mobbed. Ooh, they were angry.

Oooooooooh, we were laughing. Revenge is a dish best served on a wet Tuesday in Cleethorpes. After your haddock and chips, of course.

Let's just chuckle on to half time. Two minutes were added. We carried on chuckling.

Town were punching above their weight.

Second half: Some call it codcore

Tranmere replaced McNulty with Sutton.

Lipsmacking, thirst quenching, ace tasting, motivating, good buzzing, cool fizzing Town. Slick ticking, tocking and mocking, Town irrepressibly pressing. Crème de Monthe thigh-slapped divertingly, Pringle dangled deeply, Whitmore winkled wonderfully, Davies fantastically finger-flipped from under the bar.

Pringle prangled, Thomas tangled, and a Davis pokey-prod squirmed and wormed its way through blue legs akimbo as the keeper was nutmegged by a final blue sock. Though there be deflections and deviations, we arose without hesitation to acclaim pinball wizardry.

How do you think we do it? I don't know.

Town promenading and in their pomp. Embleton swooned and swayed and a shot looped over; another swerved widely. Put on your party hats and let's do a conga through the Tranmere line.

Town trickery, hickory dickory dock. Thomas standing on wings, striped stodging, complacent catwalking. Vernam wanted to cross, but the centre was bare. He tinkled to Pringle, who was menaced by a minor and mugged. Off they ran down their left. Mullin droned on, cut in and whacked a booming mortar into the top right corner.

Norwood was booked for taking Whitmore's parachute off in mid-air. Norwood dived over an invisible foot, Town got a throw-in. Naughty-naughty Norwood.

We're at the Triple Harry Point where Town's three Harrys co-exist in team dynamic equilibrium

Here they come again, emboldened, enlivened and the game engrossing. Biff-bang-oof. Pinball slapstick inside the Town area. A slap-shot skewered through, a blue leg poked at the ball, diverting it 90 degrees. Everyone stood and watched the ball trickle slowly past the left post.

We're at the Triple Harry Point where Town's three Harrys co-exist in team dynamic equilibrium. On came Cardwell for the Thomas, who'd bounced off Man Mountain Monthe for over an hour. There's only so many times you can roll the ball back up the hill.

C-c-cavalcades, accolades, what giddy escapades. Do you recall when Mitch Rose came on for Vernam?

It's Town time. A Pringle dangle dropped from outer space; Davies poke-prodded away from Embleton beyond the far post. Pringle coiled the corner, bumbling barundling nonsense in the centre. Boys chased the ball. Yakety-yak, don't look back. Davis began to fall over a leg that hadn't yet arrived in Cleethorpes. A leg arrived in a parallel universe, and the referee pointed perfectly. Well, he was perfectly placed and pointed to the penalty spot. Mitch Rose swept the ball into the top left corner as the keeper flew below the radar.

See their keeper hanging rancid by the post, hoping for answers in the distance.

Now, the big book of Jolley Good Science says the Parslow point follows the Triple Harry Point. On came Welsh for Pringle. Four minutes were added. Welsh mugged a blueite and tinkled precisely down the centre. The scampering Embleton skipped past waifs and strays and passed around the crestfallen keeper into the bottom right corner.

You want more? Greedy aren't you. More midfield disrobing and Embleton sprinkled a tinkle from afar. A spinning deflection and the ball was flipped away from the foot of the right post.

The end.

And if you ask me, did Town play alright? Well I'd say, in the end we were wonderful tonight. Tranmere looked immensely solid until unhinged by being the punchline to a joke goal.