Bye-bye, black and white sheep: Tamworth (h)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

17 March 2012

Grimsby Town 0 Tamworth 0

Could it be? Yes, it could. Something's coming, something good!

About 50 free range Lambs grazed in the lush and fertile downlands of the Osmond stand on a still and warming afternoon. After Tuesday's wonders we can't wait! Something's coming - I don't know what it is, but it is gonna be great!

Town lined up in the usual 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Silk, Pearson, Miller, Townsend, Coulson, Wood, Disley, Winn, Elding, Hearn. The substitutes were Garner, Thanoj, Soares, Hughes-Mason-Highes and Duffy. Wood in central midfield. Wood. In midfield. Bradley Wood. The prosecution calls no more witnesses, your honour. The evidence before the court is incontrovertible. Reckless, I tell yer, reckless team selection.

Bradley Wood in central midfield. That's what was coming. Oh, great.

Tamworth had a bunch of beefy blokes and a load of tiny teenagers whose shorts were far too big. There really isn't anything else to say about them. They were on the pitch, occupying space.

Isn't it time we moved on?

First half: Static caravans
Tamworth seeped off towards the Pontoon with nothing of consequence.

The Redmen stood. The striped men walked. It was like watching a village hall production of West Side Story by the Arthritis Society. Go man, go, but not like a yo-yo schoolboy. Townsend and Winn clicked their fingers playing it cool boy, real cool, and Elding sighed rather than tried. Another cross, no-one there. Another cross, no-one there.

Disley wellied, the ball hit Elding's head, Coulson surged, Hearn unburdened himself in concentric circles and The Hedge flipped away from the side-netting for a corner. Winn winked it in and Elding, unmarked, dozed very wide, very badly, very typically.

Another cross, no-one there. Another cross, no-one there.

The crosses were fine. No-one attacked the near post. No-one stood on the penalty spot. Moments lost through inertia and enervation. Elding. Or was it Duffy in an Elding spray-on mask? Movement optional. He could have been shopping.

Tamworth wore red shirts. This was their sole contribution to the gaiety of the nation. At some point midway through this half a red-shirted male moved in a northerly direction towards the Pontoon. Wood dithered, Taylor swung his right foot and the football harrumphed several years wide after a stroll through the daisies and dandelions. That was their moment. Not worth seeing, not worth going to see. I mention it simply to confirm that Tamworth were on the pitch and theoretically posed a threat to world peace.

Do something useful with your life. You could compile next week's shopping list.

The referee irked many with his refusal to book the ball for cynically hitting the players and making them fall over. This would have been a much better game without the ball. Mime football, it's the future! It's what Duffy and Soares do anyway.

Ah, a thing. Townsend Townsending, Elding flicking Eldingly, and Hearn lobbed over the advancing Hedge. Out came the cordless hedge trimmer to pluck and swipe aside for a corner.

Pressure, crosses, clearances and Hearn whacker-dacker-dooed through street furniture and grazing pigeons straight into the Hedge. It all sounds so fluid, but think of it as a cheap clockwork robot trying to breakdance.

Do a doodle.

Ah, almost another thing. Coulson crossed deeply and Winn volleyed as Oji performed his world-famous Max Wall impression to double-block and spin-swivel-swipe against his own shins and pratfall for a corner. You have to clutch simmering straws of mirth when they float by.

You could delete some of those texts you've left in your phone's inbox. Watching Town needn't be a complete waste of time.

Winn wellied high after passing quickly and moving. It did happen, now and again. And when it did it nearly worked And in the end Silk crossed, Elding flickled on vaguely and Disley sprang up like a daffodil to spectacularly bicycle-kick from near the penalty spot. Hedge plunged right and claw-flipped away from the bottom corner. Wood wappled the cleared corner and a red back loopy-looped the ball on the top of the net.

You know everything there wasn't to know about the first half. Town were collectively and individually just too lethargic against standing stones. It all seemed a chore.

Second half: Immobile homes
Neither side made any changes at half time. Why would they when it had all gone so wonderfully?

Town abandoned their patient snoozeball and resorted to honking directly on to the heads of the Tamworth centre-backs. This was not magnificent, but it was not war. It was a bore. Winn whipped a free kick; Coulson headed softly, safely wide. That's all you'll get if you shave with blunt razors.

At least one could safely eat a sandwich knowing nothing would impede the chewing action. There was no action on the pitch. Oh look, someone is looking out of their bedroom window in Neville Street. Beige doesn't suit you, madam.

Near the hour Duffy replaced Elding, his wind-up doppelganger for the day. Duffy was better than his mimic, but that is a very low fence to leap. Elding: back to formless ambling.

Tamworth nearly had a shot as their nominated driver, Patterson, bonked against Pearson's bonce. There was another time too, possibly in this year, when they crossed the halfway line and crossed the ball into the Town penalty area. I'm sure I'm not making this up. Or maybe I really am the Home Secretary, although my shoes suggests otherwise. Fact and fiction are so very hard to distinguish at Blundell Park.

Wahey, Duffy being adequate! The Duffster flicked on, Hearn bundled and barged and Winn overtook to cross. Coulson leant back and dived the ball high, high, high onto the roof of the Pontoon. Oh well.

Townsend suddenly ailed, batteries low. Another 50p was needed for his meter, but all the 50ps were used up playing a one-armed bandit at the slotties in Sheffield. How reckless. On came Soares for Winn. Soares, yet to soar. Soares, causes a roar of rage with his half-paced stumblings and powder puff passing.

There really isn't much point in going on. Who cares that Wood wellied well over after a bunch of crosses and crosses and crosses and crosses ended up near his feet. Town had the ball, Town did crosses, some of them good, some of them bad, none of them cladding any bungalows. Tamworth filled the airtime with muzak and Town just didn't know where to look for the off switch.

Coulson was felled while crossing and a few minutes later off he hobbled to be replaced by KHM. The free kick? Oh, mildly interesting for a few micro-seconds as players leapt near and far. Some shots occurred, blocked by bottoms and shins and knees and probably an accidental hand when Duffy had a swipe after a scramble. Pearson's head bobbed about near corners and long hurls and the illusion of danger was created simply by using shadows and a light box. I understand that moving pictures will arrive soon.

Oh. Something really did nearly happen. Hurrah! An event.

Miller windmilled some kind of clearance whack after a series of nonsense verses. Duffy flicked, Hearn turned himself into a sock and the ball rolled to Soares. In one bound he was almost free of the shackles as he scrapey-swiped lowly through thick and thin legs and against the post. Out it came and the turgid torture continued. Pressure, pressure, pressure, crosses, corners and blocks. The ball fell to KHM, who cleverly tinkled to the feet of Pearson ten yards out. Alas, poor Pearson was alarmed and surprised by this football as it careered off his shins and Tamworth panicked themselves into conceding a corner. You really do not want to talk about corners.

Vague, various vagaries and the vicissitudes of vimless vegetables. This velitation of verbiage, vamoose!. Whatever happened to the Good Old Days. A Duffy header was held on the line as the Hedge crumbled.

There were four minutes of added time and Town almost managed to confect controversy. KHM trinkled, Duffy touched on and Soares was slashed to the ground as he swept a pass out from right to left. Hearn was free bundling on to the goal. Up went the linesman's flag and the referee awarded Town a free kick. Somewhere in all that some managed to confect outrage. The free kick was dinked into the centre and Duffy arose before the creeping Hedge to gently glance over the keeper and over the crossbar.

And the game, and season, was definitely and definitively over.

A rotten game. Town were unable to rouse themselves and rout extremely limited opposition. Playing Wood in central midfield was plain daft, as Tamworth didn't provide any attacking threat. He can't control the ball regularly, he can't pass accurately and doesn't know where to stand. He's a semi-psychopathic full-back, that's all. Subtlety and guile were required and that was left on the bench. Elding did a superb impression of Fluffy-Duffy; he really got into character. The fact is that there were several excellent crosses which whipped and dipped into the heart of the six-yard box, but there was no intensity and desire. There was nothing, and nothing comes of nothing.

Team selection daft, players wilting, it's all dribbling drivel to the end of the season. What Town need is a Lincolnshire Poacher on the pitch, not in the boardroom.