The Never-ending Story

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

11 November 2019

Grimsby Town 1 Newport County 1

You clean the outside of the FA Cup and wish, but inside football is full of greed and self-indulgence.

Through the floods and mud we came on a cold clear day for the chance to see... what? Town play football? I should coco pop.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: Russell, Pollock, Waterfall, Öhman, Gibson, Cook, Hessenthaler, Whitehouse, Robson, Green and Hanson. The substitutes were Battersby, Davis, Rose, Starbuck, Clifton, Cardwell, Ogbu. Nobody knows where our Jimmy has gone, but Elliott's left out at the same time. Three centre-backs, four vaguely central midfield scufflers and shufflers, two ageing hipsters up front: and a partridge in a pear tree. Picture yourself on a boat on the Humber with tangerine knees and a couple of cheese pies. It's one of those days and one of those games best seen on what yer grandad calls a LSD TV.

The ambermen? Ah, Jamille and Padraig's just walked through the door like a knave with his king, oh what a birthday surprise, and Town are still without Seb Ring.

The FA Cup? Oh-oh-oh it's magic. Never believe it's not so; it's the law.

First half: Can't stand up for falling down

Town punted off towards the 59 urbane Uskovites with an urgh to Hanson's head. And there be Town. Our style of play? Urghball, not even hoofball. Town urgh forward and pfft sideways in the hope that something turns up.

Piddling passing around nowhere at no speed and our snoozing Swede dawdled, dithered and withered as his sweep made us weep and the referee did beep after some golden panhandling of Wilmot. Öhman be booked to be sure. The free kick was kicked freely, heads arose and no-one knows anything in this town, kid.

Minstrels waltzed hey-nonny-no through the wheatfields on Town's right. A cross crossed as Whitehouse gathered moss. Matt slide-headed lowly and Russell saved rightly as Öhman creaked and cranked into inaction on the penalty spot.

It takes Newport longer to kick the ball out of play. That's the secret of their non-failure, yet.

Town, bereft of imagination, leaving Pollock as creator, the most accurate pass-chipper on the slidebar of shame. Robson a fey flutterby, an ephemeral wisp, a piggy in the middle, Whitehouse working on the chain gang, Cook reading a book. Green was having one of his Mr Grimsdale games.

Hoo ahhh. Hoo ahhh. Whitehouse's extra strong mints were too hot to handle and he shot off shins. A corner? You're a mourner at a funeral for failed chips.

Time: elastic yet rigid, just like Jamille Matt's legs. A bimble, a bumble, a stumble and Matt swept low across Russell from the penalty spot after a mis-hit muffle from a boy with a hazelnut truffle. Oh c'mon, it's Matt, of course it was disallowed for being so improbable.

The amberites kept falling over holding their faces. Again and again and again. Do you think they practice assaulting opposition elbows with their foreheads? The boy Pollock showed them what a man does when flattened by a steamroller and used as a trampoline. He shook his head, slapped his thigh and just got on with the show.

A Town free kick for something, sometime, somewhere by someone was pimped deeply, whereupon Waterfall headed back, slapping amber thighs. The ball trickled down inside the six-yard box and King picked it up. They’re trying to do our misses for us.

Tiresome, diresome, let's be having some. A chuck in on the left, some higgling, some piggling and Gibson chuntred a cross deeply dipping in the very centre of the Newport penalty area. The remarkably unmarked Waterfall stooped to steer through and under King's fantastic flounder.

Oh how we laughed as the Uskovotes cried. How did that happen? We bored them into complacency.
Lolloping and lollipopping as Labadie lobbed into the deepest reaches of the uninhabited regions of the Pontoon, where missionaries wander in search of the lost tribes of Buckley.

Two minutes were added. Thanks for that, it just means we spend more time together as the slivers of the fancy new floodlights shine in the cold November air. Can you hear the tolling bell? Hold on to the dream.
There was nothing in this game. Absolutely nothing.

Second half: The accidental tourists

Neither team made any changes at half time.

Aye-aye, what have here then? Just Town heading back to them, them heading back to Town. We're heading for Venus, but can we still stand tall?

Pollock head, Pollock block. Pollocks to you Newport. Just get up and stop writhing around like your head's fallen off.

Oh I say, it's tough, we have nearly had enough Jolleyty. On came Amond and another for the amberites. Can we stop their cavalry?

Just Town heading back to them, them heading back to Town. Cook was roasted by an open fire and Bennett crossed deeply beyond the far post. Amond calmly stepped back and steered a loopy plopper back across the face of goal. The lights went out, the clocks all stopped. We all stood still, standing still and the ball boinked nicely off the post.

Ups were undered and unders were upped. Amond sneaked behind everyone and pokey-proddy-lobbed against the bar. Flags were upped for he was offside. But that's the Amond we knew and loved: simple stuff, sensible fun.

Rose replaced Green, our farcical frontman, and stuttered and started, then stuttered and snarled as King the keeper trolled out to slap away a Hanson tickle. Big Jim intercepted stray rubber bullets down in the avenues and alleyways and fizzled a flicker for Rose to run onto. Alas Ahkeem slapped unhappily into the side netting.

Rose runs, Rose falls. Occasionally the ref gave a free kick. Way out east a free kick floated. Waterfall arose beyond the thunderdome and thwonked spectacularly. King flew with fingers flipping and the ball air-kissed the angle of post and bar.

And another one gone and another one gone, another one bites the dust. There are plenty of ways that you can hurt a man and bring him to the ground, but standing still and blowing a kiss won't knock an Amberman down.

Crosses, crosses, crosses, crosses, crosses, crosses. Town were sinking, their football stinking and Medium Harry Davis stood on the touchline. Is this our Parslow Point?

Uppy-under bouncy-bouncy in the Town D. The Hess slid across on the edge of the penalty area, an amberite flung himself out from inside the penalty area. The ref pointed to the spot in the area for a penalty to barely a grumble from the Grimbleweeds. Amond awaited and calmly swiped low as Russell plunged lowly right and finger-tipped the ball into the side net.

Medium Harry sat down and Little Harry Clifton came on for Whitehouse. Little Harry ran around on the ground like an eager basset hound. Well, his ears were flapping. Rose runs, Roe falls, two free kicks and a packet of crisps please. An awful Robson coil, an awfuller Cook curler. One's a player with a growing reputation, the other will be the ticketman at Newark North Gate Station. What a waste, what a waste, and we do mind.

Faffing, falling, bawling. Grow up you custard tarts.

Crosses, crosses, crosses, crosses, crosses, chips and spam. Russell held Labadie's long volley and Big Harry entered to a chorus of shrugs, replacing the ticketman. Please stand away from the yellow lines, there's a slow train coming down the tracks.

Four minutes were added but no eggs were boiled. Town pressed in a half-baked way, as balls were bigged. A chuck and a chuckle, Clifton clipped, Robson swayed from the right, drifting past two phantom menacers. In the D, with no yellow barring his path to glory, Robson sliced across the ball and it swung and crawled over the angle of bar and post. Then he professionally legged up a scuttling yellowman as the Last Post sounded.

Oh I just don’t know where to begin. Town scored by accident, Newport accidentally avoided an accidental defeat. Accidents will happen, for Town only hit and run. We're still relying on the kindness of strangers.

Don't get excited, save your breath, cool it. No-one was bedazzled by this exercise in futility.