The keys of the kingdom: Macclesfield (h)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

27 October 2012

Grimsby Town 0 Macclesfield Town 1

A cold, lonely day of bitter winds and bitter recriminations with a coach load of Cheshire cats stalking the Osmond. A thousand disappeared mariners in just a week is a magnificent achievement, we can all agree on that.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Wood, Pearson, Pond, Thomas, Colbeck, Disley, Niven, Neilson, Elding and Hannah. The substitutes were Miller, Artus Thanoj, Cook and Southwell.

Up ahead in the distance I saw a shimmering blue light - it's the Maccers' rangy rovers, Homer-Barnes and Amari-Morgan, their double-barrel, double-diamond forward line. Woah, it's a whole team of double-barrellers. They all look very athletic, like 11 triple jumpers, which is handy for a triple jumper day of bitter winds. And then there's Kissock and Winn, more barrel organ than double barrel.

I like me football on Saturday. Double u, o, o, o. Wooo!

First half: More fun boiling an egg
Town kicked off towards the hollow Osmond. Hey! Work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work. Build it up! One time. Work it, baby. Pondy hit him one time. Ugh, ugh, ugh, ugh, ugh.

How was that not a penalty? Pond slashed Amari-Morgan after The Macc Lads trimmed hedges down Town's left. A minute gone.
What a mush, mush, mush, mush. The porky linesman under the Findus made two staggeringly laughable Town-friendly flaggings. Oh, we were laughing all right. Wood chipped, Pearson chested and thwackled through a dense forest from a dozen yards. As if by magic, the goalkeeper appeared. Cronin plunged low and left, thrusting out an arm and prodding aside. A brilliant save. Three minutes gone. Action! Stuff happening.

And then the players noticed the wind, the wicked windy-windy-wind that coiled and curled and swirled into Cronin's face. They passed it out of play, they whacked it out of play, and Macclesfield kept passing it to Town. Town kept passing it to Macclesfield. The potato was hot, the label said not. Martin, unmarked, headed nicely wide as Pearson confused his life with Pond and frogspawn. Hey, that doesn't make sense, but then neither did Town's attempts at man-marking.

Town retreated into non-musical chairs as Kissock river-danced from side to side, hop, skip and jumping between gaps in his ego. Kissock ran the show. The show was an am-dram musical production of Driving Miss Daisy composed by the local vicar during a drunken reverie. No-one wanted to see it, it was all very embarrassing and we all clapped politely knowing it would end soon and we could all go home. Wood and a triple jumper had an accidental collision requiring some rubbing and rolling, with Wood needing a new shirt after a split lip. We were waiting for something to happen.

Thomas tippled to the near post, where Hannah ducked and flicked a scraper. Cronin was not fooled by such flummery. It was a moment when something almost looked like it might happen, but it didn't. We were enthralled. Sorry, I misheard the murmurings and mumblings - we were appalled. Woah, an unexpected Colbeck big dipper dipped a foot over the bar. Disley spread strawberry jam upon the stale loaf, Elding flicked, Hannah swayed around Cronin and hit the post... offside. Forget that. What a waste of Eldingian adequacy for, like elephants' heartbeats, there are only so many in a lifetime.

The Maccermen had moments: Thomas dive-headed a cross a foot over the bar. There were blocks and chocks aplenty, but nothing, nothing, nothing that made McKeown raise even the hint of a quizzical eyebrow. Kissock's header? Hah, you jest.

Town were equally adept at avoiding prolonged competence, mostly, but did menace momentarily. A Wood whopper-cross hung in the wind, tantalisingly hovering above the floating Pond, bumping off his bonce and bouncing off the very top of the crossbar. Sounds close, but then so does a cow on a milk float. And then there was that Pearson heading a free kick over thing. The wind, the wind, blame the wind.

What windy nonsense.

Second half: Moaning and Cronin
Neither side made any changes at half time

I didn't expect that. No-one expected that. Colbeck za-za-zoomed down the touchline, flinging a zinging cross curling into the near post, near Elding. Near Elding is more dangerous than to Elding. The ball loopled off a blue shirt and boombled away. Pearson retrieved and released Thomas, whose cross was deflated straight to Niven. The Scottish Stacy shaped himself like a mambo in a mangle and side-foot-swooshed straight to Cronin. That was like football.

Town's dander was up and the ball was played more quickly, often on the ground, frequently to Town players. There was pressure, there were crosses, there were corners. That was football, finally. So, of course, Wedgbury ran off with his silver spoon, crossing, panicking and Jackson slashing highly wide, highly satisfactorily as a wall of Townites slid his way.

Thomas tapped and Neilson surged and splurged on, crackling a wibbly-wobbly, drifting, drooping slap which Cronin carefully parried aside. Elding was near but... Wood robbed and ran, froze, fumbled and tickled Thomas free after being given a second chance in life. Aswad advanced and crinkled a cross against a blue boot, the ball looping sneakily over the keeper, but up came a tattooed fist to punch away from near Elding. Always near, never there.

Colbeck wasted the world of witchcraft by being weak with Winn. They broke with a tip-tap and Barnes-Homer slap-shot towards the top corner. McKeown stood tall and parried for a corner. There was panic in the streets of the former Humberside as Pablo edged and egged his custard. Disley's thigh diverted danger on to the roof of the net.

Thanoj replaced Hannah as Town went to that winning 4-3-3 formation.

Hold your sneery horses, Mr Negative. Town simply rode over the top of the Maccmen trenches. Disley chucked Thanoj free down the left and the Albanian ambler serenely stroked a perfectly weighted pass into the flight path of Neilson. Thwack! Cronin watched, waited and wafted the ball aside as it zipped low to his right. Elding was near but...

Thomas slashed wildly and Thanoj drimbled safely at Cronin the barbarian. Disley sent a message by semaphore, floating Neilson away behind his nominal marker on the left. The crabby cock-er-nee twisted in, twisted out, leaving a blueboy sucking a lollipop by the pier. Cronin flew out and the ball crinkled against his chest, ballooning high. Elding was not near, but Town got a corner. Neilson coiled it in from the left. Elding arose unmarked ten yards out in the centre and noodled straight at Cronin.

And still Town swept on. Thanoj spread a little happiness and Wood swinked a low curling cross towards the penalty spot. Southwell's right foot sneaked out a huge bunch of flowers and steered the ball towards the bottom right corner. Cronin brilliantly plunged and poured scorn on such cheekiness by parrying away from the foot of the post. Something nearly happened from the corner, but it didn't. But it was an exciting almost something. The Big Mo was with Town.

I forgot, Southwell came on for Colbeck at some point between the 7First and 73rd minute.

And still Town swept on. A free kick bumped from right to left, dropping beyond all. Thanoj retrieved, his cross barrumphing off the back of a blue man to another blueman, who walloped away to another blueman under the Findus. Niven half stopped the tide, but did not bury his victim, for he'd long since been booked for services to charity. The ball squirtled infield and Disley block-slide tackled, toe-poking McKeownwards. A perfect through ball for a triple jumper. Thomas chased and the Macc Lad checked back. Thomas slid. They both fell. The ball stopped, the game stopped, the referee's arm pointed towards destiny.

Barnes-Homer crunched high and right as McKeown leapt lower and right. Well ain't that sad, less than ten minutes to save the world.

Town were an imploding mess of mushy, mush, mush, mush. Wood stopped and let a waltzer whistle past. Barnes-Homer slashed at the canvas, using long strokes in the style of a painter and decorator, not a Picasso. They had other moments that are lost in the haze, the mad fug of Neilsonian stupidity. He slightly lost control of the ball under the Findus and a Maccerboy hassled mildly. Neilson slashed at blue ankles and up went a red card. Off went the skilful idiot, tripping up and trooping off almost in one movement.

Cook had been on for moments, replacing Niven as Town moved to a blokes-standing-here-and-there formation. Cook didn't touch the ball until the third minute of stoppage time, as Town simpered to inevitable derision and defeat. But lo, there is still poultry to be enumerated; cease your vibraphone chimes.

McKeown long-hoiked, heads played tennis and the ball dropped to Cook, near the penalty spot. The Monster mashed low through a bucket of seaweed and Cronin, again, magnificently plunged low to parry aside, looping into an empty space. An empty space occupied by Anthony Elding, three yards out. He stooped, he failed to conquer, lapping a dinky header against the post and sitting on the rebound.

A Town corner, McKeown menaced as the ball was bleached clear, returned and scrambled into an omelette. Cronin picked up the ball and Macclesfield picked up the points as they jigged and jogged off the pitch.

A dreadful first half, an increasingly infuriating second half with the inevitable mugging. As Cronin's portfolio of perfection built, so did the expectation of failure. Town were generally poor throughout as a collective, with Neilson a particular culprit in this parade of rampant egotism and individualism. Yet, despite all that, only Macclesfield's goalkeeper stopped Town winning. It's what he is paid to do.

They did unto Town what Town do unto others away from home. The biter bit, and it does hurt.