Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
23 April 2019
Grimsby Town 1 Carlisle United 0
I wondered, should I go or should I stay, for Town had only a couple more games to play. And then I saw you out the corner of my eye, Ahkeem Rose is starting and so maybe I'll give it one more try.
The heat is on the street, but it's still a big jumper day inside Blundell Park as near 300 crumbling, grumbling Cumbrians rumbled around in the covered corner. The rest of us wondered why we're not checking out the post-Easter egg sales. My, my, my Mr Jolley. Why, why, why Mr Jolley? Forgive us, Jolley, we just can't take any more of this dead-end drifting.
Town lined up in a charitably simplified 4-1-2-3 formation as follows: McKeown, Hall-Johnson, Whitmore, Davis, Ring, Hessenthaler, Hendrie, Clifton, Vernam, Rose and Dennis. The substitutes were Russell, Pollock, Grayson, Curran, McPherson, Woolford and Burrell.
With the Davis Divot dumped, we had Hess in the hole and Hendrie scuffling and shuffling with Little Harry. Further less far back, Vernam and Rose were distant flankers with Dennis rolling around alone atop this bedraggled desktop Christmas tree.
Hush, hush, I thought I heard their fans calling their name. Ah yes, Carlisle turned up in deep purple. No matter what they get out of this I’m sure they’ll never forget the loverlee trip they had the day they went to Cleethorpes.
And the wheels went round.
First half: tell me when
Town kicked off towards the emptied Osmond with the usual Macca-whack. And the wheels went round. Slowly.
Are we happy or in misery? Are we happy to be in misery? It's gonna be a drag, oh misery. Oh well, we'll just have to remember the little things Town've done.
Zipping, zapping Townites yapping at purple ankles. Slim Charles va-va voomed and boomed against a crumbling Cumbrian, the ball spoondled ker-azily right as Collin ker-plunked left. No balls fell when Town pulled out the last straw.
Shazaam, shazoo our Ahkeem is a-coming for you. He walloped wide, he walloped against purple socks. Ah Ramblin’ Rose, where you ramble no-one knows as his muscular directness was directed into Cumbrian cul-de-sacs.
Little Harry lifted a lofter and Collin flapped a punch away for a throw-in. Hendrie was ethnically cleansed for a purple finger wagging. Things, here and there, now and again. Purple passing straight outta play. Purple shrugging, purple chugging, purple hugging.
Hall-Johnson cleared up the line, the ball audibly spinning off purple boots in a gentle lateral parabola straight to the linesman. Only two people on earth were deaf, dumb and blind to that pinball, for yes the pastel people erred. Shocking, positively shocking.
And from that throw-in: another and another and another, and what is the point of all this? Two teams with nothing to play for, complying with their legal obligations. A dead rubber between two dead-end teams on dead-end street. What are they playing for, these teams are strictly second class. Oh, hang on, Carlisle are one point off the play-offs. What are they playing at?
Etuhu sat down. Etuhu hobbled off. There really isn't much more to say. It was a sleepy day in the sunshine.
To liven up the afternoon Jamie Mack launched an arbitrary drop kick over the roofs and houses, right on to the top of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand. He's an old pro, he knows how to get a crowd going.
As Town snoozed, Carlisle bruised through Hope and his energetic elbows, cutting past the rusty Ring and bellowing wayly over. The living Ring; it’s a terrible thing to use as left-back. Thomas slashed and dashed past and through and around Ring and Rose. A-ring-a-ring and A Rose slip-tickling O'Hare into the nether regions. Davis was having none of that nonsense, sliding across the ballroom to sweep the damsel off her feet.
Snoozing, snoring, maybe it would have been better to lay some flooring. Two minutes were added during which Vernam flippy-dipped a droopy-floopy cross near The Hess's wafting toenails.
Town had done nothing, Carlisle had done less. You may as well have stayed home and listened to the distant sound of the costermongers.
A football fan watches with their gut and the gut tells them what is good and what is merely... adequate.
Second half: I pretend
Neither team made any changes at half time.
A few minutes of themness, themming away like lemmings.
A purple corner cleared by Rose, backcrossed and McKeown flopped upon the beachball at the near post. Ring was rung high and dry by Thomas. Jamie Mack stood tall and stood strong at his near post as nifty Nathan nipped in from a narrow angle. Shoddiness and sloppiness as Ring was exposed on their right. Poor lad, he's worn out his welcome with the random precision of his tackles. Rest easy, dear reader, for as Thomas steadied and readied for some grass cropping, Whitmore arrived as if by magic to be our horizontal hero.
Ring was on his last legs, possibly literally.
A clearance, a break, Townites nipping and nibbling at their toes. A bish and bosh, a cross and Vernam, centrally placed in the centre of their penalty area, slapped a half-ish volley downwardly. The ball boombled up and through the diving defenders as Collin finger-flipped over the bar. A corner. There is no more to this shaggy dog story for, like the story of the old empty barn, there was nothing in it.
Ring was put out of our misery and Woolford wobbled on. Yes, you guessed correctly, Hendrie moved to left-back.
Carlisle took off some chap and brought on the sneaky, snidey Cullen, who specialised in arriving fashionably late to all bad tackles and all good parties.
I suppose I'd better tell you about their other shot. Confusing themselves by being momentarily bothered and playing football, O’Hare scraped a drifter from the D that swayed across McKeown’s fingers and swept across the face of the right-hand post. Another successful goal avoidance scheme in operation. So it isn't just us then.
Whitmore headed twicely nicely wide beyond the far posts of varying stripes after crosses or corner or free kicks or something of something or other. Only the lonely would have any interest in these moments of nothingness. But that’s the chance you've got to take to break Carlisle's hearts.
Ooh, what's this? Ah, what's that? Dennis writhed as he twisted in shooting when flagged offside as Town got a free kick for a flash-mobbing several years earlier on the half way line. Confused, you soon will be with this soft soaping. On came Grayson for the forlorn forward, with the cramping Rose moving on up to keep on wishing.
Movement, things, infiltrations. Underhit crosses, overhit crosses. RHJ arose afar as Vernam clattered highly, RHJ muffled to the near post, Vernam spooned pathetically nowhere near no one or nothing. An RHJ rumblerama-run resulted in a Grayson corner causing much flappage in the mill. Whitmore retrieved, Hendrie coiled a curler just over the angle of far left post and far left bar.
So listen very carefully, get closer now and you will see what I mean. It isn't a dream.
As the clocked ticked on Vernam va-voomed vimmingly down the right, checking in, checking out the scene to cutely curl a dropping cross behind their right-back. Grayson side-stepped any inhibitions and side-footed beautifully across the orange static caravan into the right side of the net.
I believe they call this thing we have seen a goal.
Pollock replaced Little Harry, adding huge heftiness. The lad is growing, he's growing by the minute, for every time you look at him he's got bigger.
After that it got pretty late with seven mystery minutes mysteriously added, and some going to their wild week on Ilkley Moor, but it was great seeing Town again. We realized what a terrific win it was, and, and how much fun it was just winning. And I thought of that old joke, y'know, this: this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, "Doc, my brother's crazy; he thinks he's a chicken." And the doctor says, "Well, why don't you turn him in?" The guy says, "I would, but I need the eggs."
Well, I guess that's pretty much how we feel about our relationship with Town; y'know, it's totally irrational, and crazy, and absurd. But I guess we keep goin' through it because most of us need the eggs.
The eggs weren't off today.