Ready steady Cook

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

14 August 2019

Grimsby Town 1 Doncaster Rovers 0

Full price for a reserve team friendly?

On the thirteenth of never there are two hundred Donnys in the Osmond. I'm leaving it all up to you to work out what's going off out there and why we're here.

Town lined up the functionally adequate 4-3-3 formation as follows: McKeown, Hendrie, Davis, Pollock, Gibson, Cook, Hewitt, Ring, Wright, Ogbu and Vernam. The substitutes were Russell, Hessenthaler, Green, Cardwell, McPherson, Painter, Hope.

Is Jolley a secret dadaist? The joke's definitely on us tonight. We boycott the Rogue Traders B Team Cup, so the club boycotts the League Cup. How can we take it seriously when the reserve full-backs and the fifth-choice forward are the entirety of the midfield? Seven changes from Saturday and a raggle-taggle mish-mash of mush beyond the defence. And some ball boys on the bench.

Donny lined up with men and boys in shirts and shorts expecting Big Town to turn up, not the flotsam and jetsam of what was and will be.

We're only here for the illuminations.

First half: I've seen the lights

Doncaster kicked off towards the Pontoon and kicked straight out of play. Nice.

A biff, a bang, a barge and charge, Ogbu shoved himself free. Ring alone, Ring piffled poorly and the moment was gone.

Hoops hopping, I'd rather have gone shopping. Ring a ping to Moses, who then fell down. Redmen roaming and monochrome hampering their scampering. A slap high, a slap wide. What a bunch of slappers they are. 

Town a blancmange, a Mariner muddle in the middle. Donny triangulating through the debris but hitting a dry stone wall behind the hedge. The crowd barely bothered by the goldfish drifting in the fish tank. Shall we write a folk song about the iconic hedge o' Keelby? Right, OK, tune your ear… well, I went for a ramble in the bramble on a sunny day, and saw the council workmen cut the hedge away...

Slashing, dashing, slipping and sliding. Shots to the left of him, jokers to the right, Jamie Mack flew low and parried from Sadlier.

A rare flight from the bushes by a lesser striped Mariner. Moses stretched and, try as he might, he missed a low cross from the right.

Swat-shots and pot-shots from Donny tots as they continued the missing practice drills. Corner, corners, corners and Jamie Mack battered a swirling dripper uncomfortably off the line. A header headed wide by hoops, probably. Was anyone watching?

Behold the brilliant beams from the Subbuteo towers. You can actually see the Osmond end now. Of course that may not be a good thing

Sadlier smickled badly, sadly wide after ping-pong noddling set him free behind Gibson. Missing, missing, always missing. A curl wide left, a slap wide right, a hoik highly, a swishy drifter.

All together now: one, two, three, four, can I have a little more light? Five, six, seven, eight, I can see you. Wow, let there be light indeed. Behold the brilliant beams from the Subbuteo towers, shards of light casting giant shadows. You can actually see the Osmond End now. Of course, that may not be a good thing.

No more darkness, no more night, I've seen the lights, boy, aren't they bright.

As thoughts were drifting towards soft furnishing catalogues Halliday passed the parcel and Cook grabbed hold of the present as the music stopped just inside the Town half. A flick to Ogbu, who turned and ran straight down the middle. Cook overlapped into the unmanned no-man's-land on their left, accepted the perfectly weighted pass, and weighted a perfectly acceptable pass across Dieng into the bottom right corner.

Oh how we laughed.

The game awoke, Donny miffed and biffed Town with pace. A man alone beyond Gibson and a cross passed into the dead centre of the penalty area. Solitary Sadlier steered and McKeown magnificently manhandled the shot over from pointish blank. A Town break: the Wolds Panther shimmied and shammied and twizzled a blockbuster goalwards. Dieng arose to spectacularly finger-flip over. Vernam broke and blasted; Dieng pat-a-caked down to scoop a fumble bouncing over the advancing Ogbu and collect on the other side.

Them? Don't concern yourself with piddles.

Well, that could have been worse.

Second half: I can see for miles

Doncaster replaced Whiteman with Sheaf at half time.

A Town attack. I'm sure there was a Town attack. I remember music and fashion, that's always a passion. Vernam, yes Vernam, he va-voomed with Oggybu with passing and movement. Was there a shot? Maybe, maybe not.

A Donnyman ducked and flicked a header across the face of goal. When? At night. Where? Down in the Town penalty area where the lights are bright. Just listen to the rhythm of a gentle bossa nova as Sadlier slapped a slippery eel from afar. Collies wobbled and McKeown managed to mangle the wild wibbler aside. Ennis pounced and flounced to the floor. Sit still, the boy was offside.

McKeown punched Pollock when clearing a corner. Five minutes later Massive Matt scratched his head and wondered what that itch was

Men. Movement. Crabs remained in their pots. Meandering mumbling and fumbling in satisfying nothingness. Minds drifted, conundrums were contemplated. Here's one for the teenagers. Was Joe Longthorne the poor man's Dickie Henderson? Answers on a saucy seaside postcard please.

Ch-ch-ch-changes were made, from both sides now. The stiffly struggling Gibson was replaced by The Hess, with Ring moving to left-back… nothing can go wrong now.

Ring was replaced by Green and Hendrie moved to left-back, Hewitt to right-back.

And for Donny? Alfie May? No he won't.

Donny crashed against strategically placed pebbles. They know they've been Pollocked. McKeown punched Pollock when clearing a corner. Five minutes later Massive Matt scratched his head and wondered what that itch was.

Hewitt hurled hugely and slapped the return into the mass of Marinerdom gathered at the near post. The ball hit Davis and trundled to Dieng. Green never gave up the ghost in the covered corner, winning hearts and minds with his pesterpower.

Donny hunted high and low, Town headed low and high. Cross after corner, corner after cross. Slapping high, slapping wide.

Four minutes were added, a corner cleared and James riffed a fizzer through the advancing hordes. Pollock stuck out a foot and diverted past the foot of the right post as Hendrie stretched to cover and Jamie Mack watched in faux fascination. Keep feeling fascination Jamie, looking, learning, moving on.

Up came Dieng, out went the clearance, panic and posturing with everyone in the Town half. Ogbu felled, a free kick, time is on our side, yes it is. We're searching for good times, but let's just wait and see.

Dear Darren, thank you for the music. Apart from the last five minutes of each half Town were nothing but non-speaking extras in Doncaster's epic fail. But Town's mish-mash of odds and sods didn't implode: they kept on trying. Staunch in spirit, willing to work. That'll do.