The Ballad of the Lime Green Berries: Forest Green (h)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

8 September 2012

Grimsby Town 1 Forest Green Rovers 0

A blazing afternoon in the theatre of screams with even the deepest Pontoonites forced to abandon their neckerchiefs and cardigans in the heat. Far, far way, as far as the eye could see red plastic glistened from the Osmond end. We counted them all in, we counted them all out and the moneyed marauders from England's Brigadoon numbered no more than forty three. Top of the league and they may be having a laugh.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Wood, S Pearson, Pond, Thomas, Colbeck, Disley, Niven, Artus, Cook, Elding. The substitutes were Hatton, Ford, Thanoj, Soares and Southwell. What riches defensive to behold. The best defender in the division isn't worthy of a sunbathe on the bench: Town were still Miller light.

Those vegetarian vagabonds from the vest country turned up in violently lime green shirtage and strolled around like truculent youth offenders on litter watch. The pitch had had a haircut, just like Reece Styche, who looked particularly aggrieved at his local unisex hairstylist's handywork. An Orwellian side-scrape and pseudo quiff may not have been what he wanted for the weekend to keep his aspirations flying.

It's a new age, it's a brave new world, it's another day in prominent John's way out café.

First half: bump and grind
The Limesters kicked off towards the Pontoon and straight into the Findus. These nouveau-riche arrivistes with their pretensions, eh.

Limesters? Slimesters, sir. Nudging and knocking with gay abandon: Styche in particular was taking out his barber-rage on Shaun Pearson's ribs. Within minutes of the start of this festive fun Town cleared a Fruits of the Forest Green corner. Colbeck cheekily, silkily spun and dried some lettuce to let Aswad roam freely in the shadow of the Findus. Stacy-lite sprang up like a jaunty carrot, teasing a ticklish cross beyond the penalty spot. The Cookie Monster arose and crumbled his biscuit high and wide.

Another minute, another Town flash-mob counter. The Monster was mauled, Disley dipped, Elding slowly slipped a dish and Wood whipped a cross to the far post. Artus awaited, Artus flubbily headed down and straight at a tangy marmalader's shin. Excellent refereeing, sir. Racine was booked for his unhygienic Cookie cutter. Perhaps Racine was deeply influenced by a sense of fatalism.

Another minute, another clobber. Pond indulged in crowd-pleasing hacking at the unlovely Styche. A yellow card. Less then ten minutes gone. An inebriated idiot ran on from below the Findus Stand, paunchily pursued by slow stewarding bears. The referee played advantage when the biggest bear legged up the nit and didn't even book the steward for the blatant trip.

Cook hobbled and hitched a ride around for a few more minutes. The Green Berries whistled a wicked corner in from their left, causing panic and pandemonium on the goal-line as dozens of bodies converged on the same spot. The ball hit Junior Psycho's head and boombled upwards only vaguely away from goal. Bodies converged again and Styche communicated his frustrations to Wood through back channels. Wood rolled off the pitch and rubbed his unmentionable soft tissue, clearly in pain. He got up, carried on and Pond was caught by a late arriving train. Three down, one off, Cook was replaced by Southwell.

Two off: Hatton eventually replaced Wood. The game was a highly organised line dance of occasional twirls and hand jives, but no-one broke through any ranks. A triumph of the will to defend. But all the while the crowd's dander was feathered into indignation as the ref reeled off a succession of crazy one-liners. It was wilful; perhaps he should have worn a hat to keep the sun off his thinning pate. Mad mogs and English refs go out in the three o'clock sun.

Here we go again. Styche shamelessly bumped Pearson aside while awaiting a drooping dropper, then dived under the sea as Town's motor torpedo boats appeared on the horizon. A free kick to them, when it should have been one to us, centre-right, 20 yards out. Dangerous. One of the wrong Wrights from our loathsome loansome past curdled a curving creeper around the wall. McKeown stood in exactly the right place, leaned left and parried away spectacularly, despite his shorts being far too tight. One has empathy for his tight plight.

More natty nuttiness from the black-clad madman. Crowd riled. Noise.

Southwell pestered persistently causing occasional moments of almostness which foundered on the foundling happy whistler. A-ha, nice Town; nice Town possession with passes! Colbeck fell in the area between two slices of a lime marmalade sandwich and Town carried on pressing and pressuring the cooker. Niven tickled, Elding fudged and a Southwell shot was saved by Russell's foot. Forget the moment, delete it from your inbox. Offside. Still, nice move, real football.

Yet more whistle-based wallying. A free kick to the Foresters minutes after one for Town with the opposite outcome from identical moments. Whereas Town weren't allowed to take it quickly, with a claimed rolling ball, the Gurning Greens tapped immediately, from the wrong place, with ball still rolling. Hatton stepped across to block, Hatton was booked. The kick coiled in deliciously from their left and was grazed on from the penalty spot, through a thicket of humans. And Forest Green players. McKeown plunged left and superbly parry-punched aside.

Stupid refereeing, lime green set pieces and monochrome reconnaissance. A half full of effective mass defending, for both sides knew where to stand to stop the other, and neither had any creative juice.

Second half: A slow waltz
Neither team made any changes at halt time.

It carried on carrying on: the trampling, crushing, elbowing, and treading on each other's heels. A very stale mate of a chess game. It took 53 minutes for Elding to eventually be caught offside. Now that's what I call stale. The passionate Preston-lover was noticeably absent from view.

Ooh, hang on! No, that wasn't anything to do with Mr Falsley Fistpump. A lump, a chumpy steer by Colbeck and Southwell was mugged away unshoddily by Oshodi. Something nearly happened. For that we can rejoice.

And they do say three is the magic number. All from the same spot this lot coming up. A rubbish Artus free kick wafted into Russell's awaiting arms. A minor groan was emitted. A much less rubbish Artus free kick swingled and dingled to the far post where Elding turned his back and gave up as the ball landed on his foot. A minor moan was emitted. Artus floated a distinctly not rubbish free kick into the corridor of uncertainty, ten yards out, nearish the near post. Old Bertie Russell came out with his granny's pinny, but the majestic ornamental garden Pond, like a great spurting fountainhead, floated by and floated a flick into the emptied net. A major noise floated out of the old park.

A free kick coiled in from their left, right into the centre of the six-yard box. Pearson stopped and dunked a clearance inches over the crossbar. Corners arrowed, free kicks emerged from the ref's imagination and into the heart of the Town area. But heads and chests and legs and necks appeared in glorious monochrome again and again and again.

Whoops. A clearance safely tinkled to Hatton on the halfway line. His ego got the better of his ankles as he twisty-stumbled and a slimmer was free. Pond smothered himself near and the little man shot straight at Jamie Mack at the near post. No worries. Oh worries. The ref turned round and awarded a free kick 20 yards out and booked Pearson for some off-screen dodgeball. A big lad nonchalantly strode forward and carefully side-footed into the car park of the Memorial Hall. Ah what memories he'll have. We won't.

Ooh, there's posh. The slimey ones indulged in Yorkian tip-tapping triangles, releasing some lad or other to slap high into the side netting. Did I tell you Styche had gone off? Do we care?

And pray, what of our heroes in this novella? Hath they excitements? A Town break here and there, frequently foundering on the floundering Elding. With all this going on The Management decided to bring on Thanoj for Artus, moving to a formation some may claim was 4-3-3. As Elding was on his own up front, that was a fantastical aspiration. Elding ceased moving and Town retreated. Ah, but not until after the corner. That's THE corner .Yes, after 83 minutes Town had a corner. It was rubbish.

The wantaway wanderer had stepped inside and wafted against a lime bottom instead of tapping to the unmarked Southwell. The word is selfish; the next word is greedy. You can choose your own word to follow. Colbeck powder-puffed the corner to no-one at the near post and cleared to the halfway line where Hatton missed the ball completely. Orf they jolly well ran. What are you worried about? Aswad was there, easing Norwood, green bug-eyed monster, into slicey nothingness in the emptiness.

Too much sun I reckon. Shorty had a bit of nur-nur-di-nurdy-shove ball with some greensters at a throw-in and the ref sent him away to do some detention. The FA later confirmed he has to write out "I must not do Shouty impressions" one hundred times.

And finally at some point they tried some more tippy-tappy, one-touch triangulation through Town and a little lad slap-shot straight at McKeown at the near post. That really was a final nothing.

One corner, one shot on target, three points.