Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
16 February 2013
Grimsby Town 3 Dartford 0
A bright, clear day of warm air and warm feelings as 250ish daytrippers from Dartford danced themselves dizzy. Two hundred and fifty away supporters? This is dynamite! Tonight will be a boogie-oogie night for someone. Do you feel lucky? Well, do you?
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Hatton, Miller, Pearson, Thomas, Luton's Marcus Marshall, Disley, Niven, Colbeck, borrowed Brodie, Cook. The substitutes were Wood, Thanoj, Devitt, John-Lewis and Hannah. The goalmouths were sandy, Devitt's legs a little bandy, and a cravatted dandy strolled up the Findus Stand with a pint of shandy. Not all of those observations may be 100 per cent accurate. Ah, seat dreaming as the sunbeams blind me. Can't we dream a little dream of Wembley?
Are you sitting comfortably? Shall we begin?
To Grimsby a travelling circus came, they brought a very tall goalkeeper and Bettinelli was his name...
First half: Don't kid yourself
Town kicked off towards the Osmond with a roll back to Hatton, ready for the bog standard Neweyian lamp. Hatton misjudged society and misdirected himself. Harris harried, hared off and hit the road, Jack. Hatton didn't come back no more, no more, no more and Harris tinkered to the bye-line and tonkered a cross across, the ball rolling against Miller's upper arm. The Pontoon sat down as one and kept secret its little secret. Silence is golden.
They have the ball. They have the ball. Town have the ball. Oh, no we don't. They have the ball again. Triangular blueness, Mariner mundanity. Harris hassled Hatton into horsemeat, McKeown roamed and flap-slapped huge dunking donuts, Crawford dinked and jinked stylishly between Pearson's ears. It's was all going horribly the same as usual. What to do, what to do?
If in doubt, kick them out. Brodie slyly calf-kicked Harris, Hatton accidentally stood on Harris's head. Well, it was an accident according to the United Lincolnshire Health Trust. That's sorted then.
And what of this thing we call Town? Just terrible, Muriel. Brodie was offside, Marshall was offside, so why invest any of your life in imagineering what never happened and never could be? That was the sum of all Towns parts. Two offsides and a crisp packet drifting across the centre circle.
Slick, quick passing and Buckleyian isoscelesian geometry: Buckleyball in blue. Crawford flick- spun over and around the paralysed Pearson, loopy-volleying straight at McKeown from the edge of the area. Neat, nifty and nicely done, sir. He should have used his left foot.
We're rubbish, it's rubbish, everything is rubbish. Town got a corner. Life isn't rubbish any more. Colbeck attempted the new secret corner routine - the one we've used for the last month and messed up every time. Colbeck rolled it slowly as Hatton raced up to the edge of the area to miscue vaguely upperly towards the goal. Pings ponged and out the ball came to the lurking Townite, centrally placed, 20 or so yards out. Disley leant left, leant back and leveraged a zimmering volley into the bottom left corner as the keeper stood on his burning bridge, unsighted, unhappy and unhinged.
And now Town came out to play. Passing, passing, passing and passing, Cook wallpapering and Niven slyly poking yards wide. Miller slalomed between two sticks to smoothly intercept, Niven put on his hoverboots to glide forwards, exchanging glances with a stranger on the right. Disley swept a cheeky slider and Cook popped up between mushrooms. Bettinelli flew right to palm aside the stingray. A corner that was corrnered into the centre of the area. Miller bethwacked a strapping header from oodles out, but straight into the keeper's sock drawer.
Ah moments, here and there. One small glimmering twinkle in the farthermost edge of our solar system. Is it a meteorite, burning in the sky? Ah, 200 degrees, that's why they call him Mr Fahrenheit! Marshall shazammed a shuffle past a duffel bag. Brodie stood still at the near post, stuck out a leg and waffled high and wide. The ball didn't even go out of play.
And finally Cyril, as the half ended, Marshall bedazzled and bulldozed to slash and burn his full-back. Colbeck arose alone at the far post, perhaps eight or so yards out, the goal untended. Joltin' Joe crashed and burned, his Toblerone head sending the ball towards Bull Fort. Even the ref told him off as he ran back to the halfway line. There's nowhere to run baby face, there's nowhere to hide. Remember, in Immingham no-one can hear you scream.
Is that it? Yes it is, but that is more than enough toffee for you to chew. Until Town scored they were dreadfully disjointed, being slowly spit-roasted by the cavorting carousers from Kent. After neutering Harris, Town were in the ascendant and groping towards the semblance of comfort and joy.
Second half: Nelli the heffalump
Neither team made any changes at half time.
Nothing happened. Dartford had the ball and Town watched them have the ball. We watched Town watch them have the ball. Then we started watching an aeroplane looping the loop and defying the ground. Marshall almost did something, but no-one was where there would be if there was a there. Thomas crossed, but no-one was anywhere near nowhere. Brodie and Cook kept marking each other at the far post.
I'm not even going to sully myself by describing Cook's rubbish dive for a penalty. You can apply some fake froth on your milkshake if you want to.
It was a sea of blue, slowly lapping against the giant immovable tidal barrier. The concrete and clay beneath Town's feet were not about to crumble. Dartford were getting nowhere slowly, for Miller's big strategically placed bonce kept repeatedly repelling their roams and raids.
Smoke emerged from the chim-chiminees behind the Main Stand, the traditional sign that they've appointed a new pope.
Nothing happened. Hannah replaced the latest loanee, and the Brodie bunch arose to praise his hour-long cameo in chugging anonymity. Devitt came on for Marshall at a point no-one can remember and Town played with a cardboard cut-out on the left wing. Fortunately Dartford were in a funk and didn't notice. Devitt has shrunk: he needs a few hearty meals inside him.
I told you nothing was happening. Nothing. Not until about quarter of an hour left did the ball approach either goal in a threatening manner. And then the game went a little haywire with incidents and accidents and hints and accusations.
Dartford started to fall over a lot and begat a Pavlovian response from the preening poseur with a whistle. From way out on their right Disley be-doinked clear but airily. Rogers, 25 or so yards out, just outside the D, leant back and swung his left boot. A perfect connection, a perfect swirling swayer flew over a thicket of varying heads and started to drift and drop. We sighed, we waited for the net to bustle with disappointing ripplage. McKeown stood still, watched, waited and magnificently flew to his right to palm away spectacularly, brilliantly and matchsavingly. An utterly incredible save. The whole ground stood up in awe or appreciation.
A minute later, another free kick from the same place for the same imaginary felling of a fine fellow from Faversham. The Marshmen had great expectations and a big chap arose at the far post, three or four yards out, to head three or four yards high. Wait, there's more. Breaking left, breaking right, a Darter swung a sumptuous flat crossfield pass over Hatton on to a blue boot boot, ten yards out. Rogers stumbled and sliced his volley onto the clackety-clack tin roofing atop the Osmond.
Hannah was offside. At least Town are consistent.
With five minutes left, and Town desperate and desperately clinging onto the unravelling pillow cases as the bedroom burned, there was what Professor Pat Pending would claim to be a Town attack. Tush and pish, sire, such is the anachronistic comedy of Craig Shakespeare, for this is much ado about huffing and puffing. A bit of this and that on the right saw Hatton almost get inside the penalty area. Repelled if not repulsed by the wall of two-tone blueness, the ball sauntered to awaiting Disley. Town's tickerman took a touch and speculatively swept goalwards from 20 or so yards. The custardian waited as the ball smoothly bent towards his waiting hands. He didn't even have to move.
As the ball arrived, the keeper sneaked a quick look to see who to throw it to. Whoooooops-a-doooooozy. Jugglin' and bugglin' and a-bomblin' out of his hands, the ball fumbled behind as he spun around and clawed at his disappearing world. The ball rolled over the line and Bettinelli had just become the clown with a frown.
Indeed sir, it is all your fault. Don't expect rich tea and sympathy. Now then, now then, ladies and gentlemen: they need a better Nelly in goal.
Another minute, another goal. Dartford disintegrated, their dreams turning to dust. Devitt fluttered near as Rose chugger-bugged away, but straight to Thomas. Aswad the ambler lofted hugely high straight back into the penalty area on their right. The Cookie Monster munched on a jaffa cake and menaced his marker. With the turning circle of a medium-sized van, Cook headed east towards Denmark, then lurched back to lever a shot into the bottom right corner. Simple geometry, and a simply delightful ending. Who'd have thought that five minutes ago.
And in stoppage time little Noble clattered across the clearing Thomas, who arose angrily. Out came the reddest of cards. Out of the Trophy thought the throbbing three thousand.
Just look at the scoreline, ignore the detail, then you'll be happy. Town were mundane at best for most of the match, being neither one thing nor another, and ending up as a blank canvas upon which Dartford sketched. But what a turn-up in the last ten minutes: Dartford'll feel like turnips tonight as Town count those Wembley chickens.
Town have a weird glow about them these days.