Wrekin balls: Telford (h)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

28 January 2012

Grimsby Town 2 Thomas Telford 0

We're feeling OK this morning and, you know, we're on the road to paradise. Here we go.

A bright and snappy day in the wind tunnel of love with around 80 lucky Buckers lolloping around in the opulence of the Osmond Stand. Is it true that they're going to build a tapas bar for the away support as we go all Catalan comparison crazy? Gotta keep the customer satisfied, for the customer is always right, John; the Two Ronnies told us that. Stay one step ahead of the shoeshine.

Town lined up in a thoroughly vetted and constitutionally sound 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Silk, Miller, Garner, Townsend, Coulson, Disley, Thanoj, Artus, Elding, Hearn. The substitutes were Pearson, I'Anson, Church, Duffy and Hughes-Mason. Whatever happened to Serge and the Psycho? Did Dave Moore give them an ice pack that made their knees burn? Come to think of it, whatever happened to Craig Shakespearo?

No, no, not the comfy chair of history. We have to live in the now. Wasn't it Tony Ford who said history is funk?

The Telfordians limbered up in a lot of yellow with a couple of lumbering losers. Ah, Ben Futcher: their future, our past; the bumbling Colossus of roads to nowhere. Ooh it's porky pie Perry; no longer the Tamworth terror, just a limp former Imp. Kyle Perry's gone large.

The clock still stands at ten to nine. Come take a ride. We'll deal with Dave Moore's suspicious sock situation a little later on if you don't mind.

First half: Paintball's coming home
The Canalmen barged off towards the Pontoon with a hoik and hump right outta play. Such pretension to Football League standards. Titter ye not, for the yellowmen pressed Town's trousers, forming sharp creases and a strong urge to fold.

Town clear, Telford head back. Town clear, Telford head back. Town clear, Telford head back. Turn to Freeview channel 82: it's a 15-minute news cycle.

Telford full-court pressed Town into lobbing basketballs out of play. Wahey, a Town break. Coulson felled on the edge of reason, the free kick wasted into the wall, not even wafted or lofted. That was all.

Hesitant, dilatory, desultory: Town were drifting, shifting sand dunes in the Telford tides. They stood near us, often. That was all.

Hearn almost had a shot once. Their keeper punched an Artus free kick away as Elding placed himself in theoretical proximity. That was all, that was beyond everything that could have nearly happened. That was scraping a barrel full of dry rot. Let's blame the pitch.

Keep it tight, use the flight: Telford took to the towpath. Jackson flickered left and flattered right, Sharp twizzled and fizzled safely straight at the unsighted McKeown. Garner messed as he missed, Miller shuffled sanely across to block Jackson. Miller rose to graze away danger once and nicely twicely as Telford pulled Town's cardigan apart. Silk and sometimes Townsend were isolated as the yellows doubled up on the wings and played the accordion in the centre.

After about 20 minutes Action Jackson, the human pipe-cleaner, sat down and was helped off the field like he was James Brown. He even had a cape on. Hey, it was an accident, no Townite castrated this rooster.

And on came Kyle Perry to immediately rub Garner's shoulders. Gnarling and snarling, the man induces rile and bile. Let's just think of him as a maguffin: the trouble with Perry is that he's away with the birds, a notorious footballing psycho, a saboteur for any team he signs for.

The game was a scrap metal yard, full of clanging and banging and rusty sharp edges. The ball squirtled from the halfway line. Garner hesitated, Sharp slipped by and McKeown hurtled out to block away. Garner's legs did not move quickly and this was noted by the yellow perillers.

Ooh I say, Town. Coulson finagled himself free, striking low to the centre. Hearn hooked around his marker and missed, as some other guy took the ball away from Anthony. Oh yeah, some other guy was sipping up the honey like a yellow dog. Let's reciprocate the positive. Hearn did a minor Pouton step-over and pootled a cross lowly through the middle of the penalty area. No monochromer met this inflated object of desire. Coulson may have done an air kiss as it passed; after all, he is from Scarborough. All airs and graces up there, you know.

That was our five minutes of fun, gone in 300 seconds. All the while it was them, them, them rigidly concentrated, using mobile phones while Town used the landline. Little Jones ran off with the ball from the edge of their penalty area. He carried on and on and on, leaving Townites flailing, wailing and trailing. Into the area, out came McKeown to narrow angle and eyes. The shot caboomed away off the big-bottomed blocker with much scramblage in the park as yellow swarmed around the rebound.

And who can forget the time when the ball kept drooping and arcing, ricocheting en croute in front of Jamie Mack. It's a fact that Perry is too fat and slow: there was a no show to see, the hoofer failed the audition.

A half of diverting divots, bimbles and bombles, stumbles and fumbles, but no-one crumbled. Parity begins at home.

Second half: Telford's change
Neither side made any changes at half time.

Town moved more quickly, moved closer together and stopped letting Garner lever and leather the ball on to Futcher's head. Hearn rocked and rolled, Elding shrugged factually and Artus swingled over a free kick. In and out, Elding lolled left, sauntered and swung a rinky-dinky cross into the centre of the middle of the penalty area. Garner noodled, Young plucked. Better.

It took over 50 of your English minutes for Ben of Futcher to be booked for being a clod. That's longer than normal. Disley was dumped, you see. Ah yes, it's a clinker-built barge, lots of gripes and thwarts can go wrong, me hearties. A young Buck was skinned, Hearn rolled around Futcher the Lunger and smished low through the six-yard box from a narrow angle. Various feet prodded and missed, Elding stood still and sighed.

The Telfordians remained inside their bivouacs as the breeze billowed gently, only sneaking out occasionally to clean their teeth and other important personal details that we don't like to think about this end of Town. Hearn swivelled and squiggled across from the left: he only had eyes for you, bottom right corner of the goal. The ball skipped and bumbled, Young plunged and flicked aside. A corner. "You've never seen a salad," sang the singing ringing tree corner. Blackburn chuckled, Perry pickled. No more news.

The game drifted on with Town sort of pressing, the Bargemasters hinting at thoughts of a quick sprint to the summit while our backs were turned. Town just had no guile. Was it now that flying Frankie went mad and ninja tackled thin air? He missed man, ball and the last train to Clarkesville, so the referee put the telescope to his blind eye. Flying Frankie Artus, lurking in some darkened doorway, or crouched on a rooftop somewhere; as an assassin he's second to everyone.

Townsend was crushed by a grape and Dave Moore ran over to dispense justice. Those are quite the most splendid silver stockings seen in the county since the Prince Regent stayed at the Nunsthorpe Tavern in 1812. A man has to have a certain je ne sais quoi to carry off the knee-high sock look with such brio.

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, McKeown's the man! Disley dithered by the dugouts, Jones jinked away and a yellow wave followed as Town were swamped. Sharp thwacked, Jamie Mack slapped and a little lad snapped a swipe into the ground. McKeown patted it back up, up and away like an extremely extravagant mime artist playing charades. Is it the moon, James? Porky Perry lurked by the left post as the ball dropped and McKeown ran over and patted away from the slab of slob for a corner. The ball was bumped high and long beyond the far post, where Futcher arose and noddled down, inches wide. You can exhale now. Breath in, breathe out, relax.

And at last, to everyone's relief, Anthony Elding packed his Samsonite suitcase and trudged off. He's had his hair cut and he's lost whatever strength he had. Mr Fluffy came on and within three seconds had given away a free kick for shrugging like a Gaul.

Flippin' Fluffy. What's he ever done, apart from making the Eldingophobes have a Damascene conversion? Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense, nonsense.

Artus tickled a few toes and tockled a pass to Hearn, who burned, turned, and dipped a perfect cross over the keeper to the far post. Up above the streets and houses Rob Duffy was rising high above a non-leaping Salmon to head down and in from two yards out. And that was all it took: two quick feet and two quick brains. The sluice gates were open at last.

From the kick-off Sharp spun and slip-lobbed McKeown for a spectacular pratfall of a goal kick. I think I heard Nelson Muntz in the background. Someone had let their tyres down.

Town were galvanised and energised and diarised a second goal for the afternoon. Townsend carefully stroked a pass inside the full-back, skilfully judging that there was a divot exactly where the yellow boot needed to be. You see, the boy has class. The ball gaily hobbled over the defender's left foot and Hearn ran away with a spoon, drizzling his coulis across Young and inches past the far post.

They brought D'Wayne D'Samuels on. This had as much impact as it always did at Blundell Park. Duffy and Jones had a hissy fit food fight, for which both were booked, and we all lived happily ever after as, in the last minute, something really quite lovely happened.

Telford bomped and barged, hurling and hoping crosses variously and vaguely. Thanoj intercepted once, intercepted twice and neatly nickled to Hearn on the centre-right. On he ran and Hearn flicked into space near the left corner of the penalty area. Thanoj looked up and waited, waited, waited as five yellows began to crowd around. With just a small unmanned corridor, only one stripe could be seen, far, far in the distance. Thanoj was patient, Thanoj was precise and Thanoj rolled perfectly into the path of the artful Artus, who rolled around and dragged the ball back with his right foot, before carefully stroking the ball into the net with his left in one sumptuous moment and movement. Magnificent.

That was all. Three minutes of jiving and we could go home to our fish and, indeed, our chips.

Town were at best mundane for most of this match, easily repelled by a competently organised team. But they never gave up and just wore Telford down through sheer persistence.

Well, we don't know where we're going, but we do know where we've been. The future's uncertain; given time we can work it out. Perhaps we're on the road to somewhere now.