Fade to grey: York (h)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

25 February 2012

Grimsby Town 0 York City 1

On a day of sneaky winds and wild indifference, around 300 or so Kit-Katters cat-napped in the Osmond as Shouty collected his Shouter of the Month award. The indifference was infectious, possibly terminal.

Town lined up in the 4:4:2 formation as follows: McKeown, Silk, Pearson, I'Anson, Townsend, Church, Thanoj, Disley, Coulson, Duffy and Hearn. The substitutes were Croudson, Wood, Freeman, Makofo, and Southwell. We have seen the writing on the wall, don't think Serge will be here much more at all. Stodgy, sturdy Church roamed on the right, in an acid flashback of Stacy Coldicott's fish out of water routine, and Coulson was sent to the Siberian wastelands of the left.

Ah, York: so stylish, so elegant, so small. Except for the ones who aren't small: they're not small. Blair looks like he's been on hunger strike and Walker is built like a Weeble, apart from that they looked fairly humanoid. You could say the same about the Pontoon, if you were a poet, a writer or sage. They are old and they are young, but most are of no particular age. It's the wind.

There came a man of fortune, a drifter passing by. Oh no, that's just John Fenty promenading in front of the Pontoon.

Oh, they've started already, and I hadn't finished prevaricating. A prevaricator's work is never done.

First half: Tapestry
York kicked off towards the Pontoon with Walker spinning and running straight down the middle. Then he started to weave just a wee bit and that's when Town lost sight of it. York: just Yorking about. Their passing and movement were a tapestry of rich and royal hue, an ever-changing vision and Town didn't have a clue. Corner, corner and a soft header over from their big dog of a centre back. Them, them, them all the time.

Hmm, they have three small forwards snapping like cheeky oiks in an Ealing comedy.

Town occasionally intercepted, and just whacked down the fairway. Town started to slice just a smidge off line heading for Duffy, but it bounced off the ninth row of the Main Stand. York hassled and harried Town into a string vest and knotted handkerchief. Town played like a 1970s summer day in Skeggy. It was something to do to pass the time.

Wahey! Has Dave Boylen walked in front to the Pontoon?

Pearson walloped forward, Hearn turned and burned a fliggling wallop across Ingham, who parried aside. York teased with their footballing football thing, with little men sneaking into emptiness to tip and tap. Lovely, but McKeown could carry on sipping his can of Lilt, with the typically tropical taste. Sometimes those bubbles just go right up your nose.

Wahey! Dave Boylen did walk in front of the Pontoon.

Someone was felled a million miles out in the middle and Townsend slow-roasted a coiled free kick to Ingham's big flappy hands. Town walloping had found its range. Well, almost. Big whacks over the top nearly fell for Hearn, with Ingham coming out of his area thricely to head, kick and mumble away.

Town's chase-balling sometimes ruffled the Minstermen's hair. Town neared nearly, almosted occasionally and one time actually approached doing something. None of that passing thing, you know; we left that to the fancy-dan day-trippers with their camping stoves and wind breaks, their transistor radios and new-fangled coolbags.

Ah, York started to wiggle again, with Walker the chief waggler. Chambers scraped safely wide after some continental cheese-balling of fleeting interest. Town were just incapable, structurally, tactically and individually. York always had an extra, unmarked player at the extremities, always controlled the ball, always passed to their mates, always clamped any frilly Townites who tried to pass. Town were too slow of foot and thought. York always, Town seldom. The scoreboard fell asleep.

Wahey! Wallop! Town's rumbustuous route 1½ non-style subtlety ended up with a Church hoik wide. That sums up Town: shocking nothingness, then a moment of explosive almostness.

They should have scored. They didn't. A red dwarf collapsed on itself on the left corner of the Town penalty area. The referee stamped out ten large steps as three little red roosters stood with hands on hips. Rolled sideways to whack, the whacker sliced woefully, but straight to the head of the waiting Smith, six or seven yards out. Smith managed to avoid scoring, which was nice. He was thanked by the local populace, though not many hats were tossed in the air.

And here we go again. Whack and wallop, hoof and hope. The ball in the air, spinning vertically, Hearn hubble-bubble turned his marker and brivvled smitefully. Ingham flung himself low and left to lever the ball away from the post for a corner. Coulson corned that corner onto I'Anson's head, a dozen yards out. The ball shimmied goalwards and disappeared in a thicket of arms and legs. Ingham plunged his neckline and parried. Scrambled eggs were scrambled without any sauce. Pearson bonked a free header straight down and straight at the keeper straight afterwards and ran straight back home as York went straight down the middle. How the ball got to Blair is a riddle as he swiped a first-time dragger across Jamie Mack and a foot or so wide of the left post.

Is that enough for now? No, those pesky kids just won't give up. They broke right, they smote left and Chambers supertroopered past and behind I'Anson. McKeown advanced and blocked the shot with his shins and that, finally, was an end to that half a sixpence.

Never dull, never gripping. Things happened now and again sufficient to divert attention, that's all.

Beware: red dwarfs develop very slowly, having a constant luminosity and spectral type for some hundreds of billions of years, until their fuel is depleted. York didn't look in need of a refill.

Second half: Tapioca on toast
Neither side made any changes at half time.

Town started with a little more perkiness, actually tackling and standing near these little red men. It was enough to part the red sea, just for a while, at least. Someone crossed from something that may have been a free kick and Pearson headed straight down, straight at Ingham from nearish. Hearn roister-doistered down the right, hitting the bye-line and rolling a pass across and behind the slip-sliding sandmen. Duffy awaited, Duffy leant back and shin-skimmed annoyingly over from a dozen yards out. There were other moments when there was a suggestion that a cross may be crossed, a pass may be passed, but all we got was a lousy T-shirt.

And what did the Yorkists do? More of the same, more of the usual, more of that passing and that movement thing that often ends up in a cardigan, but a lovely patterned cardigan at that. Walker swished and swayed way over from the right corner of the Town area.

Church was replaced by Wood just after the hour. Yes, Bradley Wood as a wide midfielder. Lips smack in anticipation of many things. Bradley passed directly to a Townite! Just the once mind, just the once. It was an accident.

York, York, York doing the York thing. The bellows pumped, Town wheezed, McLoughlin waited and wafted a smickering volley, but Disley blocked brilliantly with his body. Chambers slalomed with his cowbells across the face of the penalty area and stab-chipped uninterestingly. They were doing things. They had pace, they had ideas, they were just a bit better.

Duffy: like a dead Livvo. Duffy: a man who can make Barry Conman appear hyperactively passionate about Grimsby Town. Duffy: falling pathetically to try and get free kicks, hiding behind defenders to appear near where the ball might have been. A man moaning, a wastrel walking, a man in need of substitution.

York brought on their mini-Moke to chase Town around the beach like a 1960s caper movie. Catch him if you can as he slithered betwixt and between Silk-Wood, the nuclear accident of a right side. Moke poked, another red bloke joked a header way and weakly wide and high. This was a game of occasionally interconnected events linked by longueur.

Ooh, Thanoj blocked bravely, blocked brilliantly and superbly swept a weighted pass that went zing down the middle for Hearn. Hearn befumbled over the ball and slapsticked beyond Coulson and it all went as pear-shaped as a pair of pears as Oyebanjo ran off with the spoon. Silk sulked and mulched the roaming redster and was booked.

Shall we be tiresome and fake faux fuming? Townsend crossed from the left and Meredith handballed with his chest inside the area. Who among us wouldn't have given a penalty?

Shall we be tiresome and fake a cake at our excitement with the introduction of our ersatz Mr Entertainment? Coulson was replaced by the Serge of Makofo, the Sergeanator. You have to laugh. The York fans did.

Ooh, rock and roll! Hearn hearned down the right to beefcake and barge, surge and swank lowly across Ingham, who parried. But no-one was there. That was Town today: Hearn or nothing.

And York and York and York and York. York yorked us again and again, passing, crossing, moving, tackling, tickling, don't mention Ashley Fickling. Rhyming's no reason to mention Ashley Fickling. Loads of pressure and Town not clearing, not clearing, still not clearing. A deflection spun across the face of goal, hoikily half-cleared back and back to their right and crossed and back and crossed and little Kerr snickled alone into the near post to loopy-flick a header into the bottom right corner.

Three quarters of the ground was a silent shrug of slightly disappointed indifference. The scoreboard had the number 82 on it, so there may have been half an hour left. Or maybe half an hour before dinner was served.

Town refined their approach from route 1½ to route 1, with Pearson and I'Anson taking it in turns to lurk upfield and await the big boot. The old Yorkers just ran away quickly with Moke and Chambers searing Town's plums, pears and other assorted fruits. There was a drifty, squiggly scramble somewhere deep inside the Town area and Chambers reprised his slalomy swooshing to swooshingly slalom a shot over and not out of the ground.

And in added time Duffy was an idiot, preferring to feign a foul rather than turn and shoot when six yards out. And then snarl and shove. Idiot.

It finished. The dream was over.

Could have been a draw, but it wasn't. York were just a bit better everywhere.