The Max factor

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

5 May 2019

Grimsby Town 2 Crewe Alexandra 0

So, this is how it all ends for Danny Collins. Out, not with a ban but with a Crewe game.

Ah, such memories. In these floodlights the withered leaves collect at his feet, and the wind begins to moan.

It's ironic that the iconic tower of strength falls on the day the iconic© floodlights shine just one more time, for old times' sake. It's a cold, wet thoroughly miserable day between mid-table mumblers and fumblers with howling hailstorms messing with Josh Gowling. Ah-ha, heroes from back in the day back for a day: Hearn, Arnold and Gowling, reminding us of what we had and what we've tossed away.

Hall-Johnson. Oh, oh your hair is beautiful. Ironic.

Town lined up in a bellowing diamond 4-3-3 formation as follows McKeown, Hall-Johnson, Davis, Whitmore, Grayson, Hendrie, Hessenthaler, Clifton, Vernam, Cardwell and Wright. The substitutes were Russell, Ring, Collins, Pollock, Woolford, Curran and Burrell. At least we're powered to the Max today. Some oomph.

Crewe. Yes. Crewe and their 329 fans kindly shunted into the covered corner.

Let's just get this thing over with.

First half: the wind and the callow

The game started with Town and the wind attacking the Osmond.

The wind, the wind, the wicked, wicked wind blew straight into the Osmond, straight in from Norway and across the Osmond in great swirls and curls. Junior Jaaskelainen sliced and slapped fly-kicks into McDonalds. Pegged back, pinged back by their wing-backs, they couldn't get out of their own half as the ball bounced along the beach and out to sea.

A shot, so early in the year! Jamie Mack fly-kicked and Junior Jaaskelainen jumped to attention.

Town had these spaghetti roosters on toast.

Slipping, sliding, whining, dining, every cloud has a silver lining as Ng held Wright close for an official yellow waft. Wright's positive immediacy flummoxed these cheesy Cheshire cats and his zooming flap-jacker was deflected. A Hall-Johnson sweep shot sailed straight in to deep long leg's hands.

Windy, windy, windy woo.

Between the squalls, when the wind died down for almost three seconds, Crewe passed their time passing and moving through the void. Tubby-chubby Reilly stooped to soft soap slowly and straightly to our serene shot-stopper. 'Twas so easy he saved into Sunday morning.

Another red booking for some Wright stuffing and Vernam: well, verily did Vernam Vernam a Vernam Vernamly. Well, it is a Bank Holiday, so someone rang the BBC and claimed they'd seen the Wolds Panther. It's traditional.

Ooh, Crewe, what did you do? A title–tattle rattle through their gears as Town failed to deal with a red surge. And from a Crewe shoe the ball flew into the loo. Oh dear what did they do, Crewe are in red and now they feel blue. I say, oh, what did Kirk do? Well, let’s just say that on earth we call this missing.

Oooh, Crewe, what did you nearly do? Piddling and prattling, a corner shortened and Green steamed in to head centrally, lowly, and the knees of McKeown saved our cured bacon.

Windy-windy wafting and wobbling from Junior with flaps and slaps between the naps. Hall-Johnson nibbled, Slim Charles Vernam wiggled and woggled, and clapped a crinkle hard and low. To the undelight of most present, five Finnish fingers flipped aside. Delight deferred.

Corners and corners, big dripping corners. Grayson hoiked h-hi-highly from the right. Up it arced, down it dropped with Junior arising and awaiting alone at the far post. He fumbled, he tumbled and Davis prodded at the opened wound to wind up the Creweites by showing his delight at their dismay.

What about the orange?

Dynamic dribbling and sly slippings. Wright surged and slippered a stiletto behind the right-back, Grayson pounded on and passed all along the western front. Cardwell, standing on the edge of history, mis-mumbled a spin, back-heeled against Junior and slapstick scrambled along the line, hacking and thwacking at ever thinner air. Yes, we had no bananas.

Corners, corners, Junior flying-punched, Grayson roamed on the Town right, retrieving and believing he could fly. Jinkin' Joe crafted a cute coiler that flatly curled into the centre. Cardwell arose to dummy-flick and the ball sailed on, on, on…catching the wind, and drifting into the far right corner as the Anglo-Fin flapped, failed and simply got his angles wrong.

Who got the last touch? Was it the 4-1 shot Jinkin' Joe or the 150-1 outsider Big Harry? Hang on, we're waiting on VAR: Grayson.

Wind, rain, things, paper bags, paper tissues, big orange boats, rainstorms, hailstorms, sunshine desserts. Crewe were in the Grot Shop.

Two minutes were added, perhaps because the sun was out and the ref wanted to top up his tan.

Ah yes, beautiful Buckleyball. Fast flowing football with Wright and Clifton flicking and tricking from box to box. Grayson dinked and the Wolds Panther leapt like a poached salmon to firmly be-thwonk highly over at the far-far post.

Town: the Wright stuff at last, playing to the Max and the wind against some fluffy bunnies.

Second half: James and his giant reach

Neither team made any changes at half time, though Wright and Vernam switched wings.

It's a doddle and we're looking good.

After 10 minutes of diddling and doodling, Crewe made a double substitution, bringing on a huge, hulking Taylor-Sinclair to kick Wright and to amuse us to death with Bowery joining Lowery on the pitch.

Wright was duly walloped and Jolley immediately switched the Wolds Panther back to the right wing.

Deep, deep in the hinterlands Hendrie forgot he wasn't a right-back and a black and white hole emerged. A trot down their left, a dink to their right and Hendrie's chap sneaked beyond the far post. McKeown flung himself right and halted the progress of the ball. It dropped and plopped dead centre, the goal agape as the custardian squelched on the floor. Bowery pathetically prodded against Jamie Mack's wiggling extremities.

Wahey! Wright legged up a redster in the centre circle. As all awaited the big punt to the far post, Ng calculated the wind velocity, wind direction, the transit of Venus and carefully, precisely wallied straight down the pitch and straight over the Osmond. He went to fail without passing Go.

Wahey! Are you hungry like the Woolford? You betcha Crewe! He's on the hunt he's after you. Woolford replaced the curious Clifton.

Momentary Townness. A cross, a corner, some this, some that and the Hess dragged wide. Some that, some this, and a shot deflected for a corner that... that is of no concern to you or Crewe.

McKeown drop-kicked and Wright beautifully turned and za-zoomed down the wing in one sweet movement. Felled in full flow in the shadow of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand, Cardwell rolled on and rolled back for Vernam. Alas alack, the shot was deferred and deflected skitteringly over the bar. Hendrie thumped the corner and Junior parried up from under the crossbar.

Now, welcome to the flip side of goalkeeping life: a tall tale of Maccanificence.

Teasing Town, whizzing through the wheezing, a little red tickle through the mickle and Bowery was bounding through. Jamie Mack stared into his eyes, said a little prayer for him, and befuddled Bowery into bumpling straight to the mesmerising Mariner, the guardian of the Grimsby Goalaxy.

Wait, there's more, but first, a little cameo. With quarter of an hour left Burrell replaced Vernam. Moving to centre-forward with Cardwell sinking to the left. Burrell flicked, Grayson clapped lowly and Wright knock-kneed at the near post as Junior star-jumped in Wonderland. Burrell had his moments: positive, direct, a few nice flicks.

And we're back in Jamie Mack's magic room.

Crosses and corners, clattering, shattering, battering Town. Creweites fizzing left, fuzzing right, and a flying header flicked over by the fantastic five fingers of our flying favourite. Shots scraped wide and shivered high, crosses drooped and were scooped away with ungainly efficiency by a series of striped socks.

Kirk claimed to come in peace but fired a photon torpedo without warning through the hubbub. Jamie Mack plunged and pawed to claw aside, possibly off the post.

With five minutes left we had our chance to say goodbye to Danny Boy, who replaced Wright but went to left-back. Does it really matter where Grayson went and what the formation was?

There's more. They carried on fiddling away, stripping bark from Town's scraggy tree trunk. Lowery twinkled in from the right and, from the very corner of the penalty area, curled a crimper towards the top right corner. McKeown soared superbly to finger-flip against the inside of the post. The ball rolled across the line and some little lad ran up and wellied over. Relax, the tiny tot was offside. It was a save, not a miss. And, oh what a save.

Three minutes were added and the season ended with a metaphor.

A clobber out left, and head back in, a willy-wally-wibble. And The Hess was on the right corner of the Crewe penalty area. He jinked, he winked, he curled highly towards the top left corner. Junior flew and barely finger-flipped the ball against the crossbar. The ball dropped and Hendrie stooped down to nod in, for a disallowed goal. Offside.

Something that could have been something wonderful wasn't anything at all in the end.

The end. At least some of the lads said they'd be back next year.