Ifs and Butts

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

11 April 2021

Bradford City 1 Grimsby Town 0

Town in blue but we're not feeling blue for there's a church bell ringing, hear the song of joy that it's singing. Ding-dong the itch is scratched! The Defentystration is almost complete. The future is now-ish.

Yes, a new day is dawning, a new world beckons where there will be brotherly love, democracy and peace in our land, even without the third man. Everything's coming up roses, especially without Danny Rose in the squad. Everything is beautiful in its own way, even the pitch; green it was. Don't worry, Dull Matt's only on the bench.

We've got ambition, we're on a mission, we'll aim to reach the top of the tree. Or at least a shrubbery. We are but a swallow's flight away from something.

Oh here's something, a football match. Here be Bradford City, the mightiest tree in the forest, let's try and cut them down with our herrings.

First half – Put your head out

Town kicked off towards where we weren't in the usual casual manner.

Sloppy, scrappy, snappy but we're happy enough to watch the wheels go round and round. Now that Williams is on the ball we're doing fine watching the shadows on the wall and, ah, a weak waffle wiffled along the ground.

Aimless Bantaming, Town taming these harmless banterboys. If they won't amuse us we'll have to make our own entertainment. Tonight, ladies and gentleman, we open the show with Jamie Mack's slapstick non-stick pan handling - his jiggling and juggling will have your mind buggling.

Shall we have a little dance between the comedians and jugglers? Matete crossed deeply and Habergham pulled the corner back to the waiting Williams, left alone by the penalty spot. Little George dummied to no-one, Morais retrieved and Hanson headed high.

Bantamites. Long balls, long limbs and a long throw. That's all folks.

Town tapping out a tempo. Triangles and tea parties and Little George fell inside the penalty area for a Town corner. Near-post nonsense again. Elevation's what you need if you wanna be a corner kick taker, yeah.

Head tennis at a Town free kick. Two of us chasing paper getting nowhere.

We know Town go better with Coke. Calmer Giles, the fulcrum, swept and Little George swayed through amberites to the by-line. The cross swamped out, the corner coiled and Coke arose six yards out and headed over.

Long balls, long limbs and another long throw. Much hacking in the long grass. This too shall pass, unlike them. They don't do passing. Actually, I'm not sure what they do. Actually, I'm not sure they know what they are supposed to be doing. That's the actual factually.

Oh hello Rollin. Rollin rolling, rawhide! Hewitt zipped a zappy cross, the ball sailed over Payne and hit Williams on a shoulder. Hewitt and Menayese taking turns at roller-skating through Bradford. These boys are wired for sound. Let's switch into overdrive.

Ah, Town parked up in the lay-by, pulled out the deckchairs and had a little picnic watching the locals drive by.

Long balls, long limbs and pinball blizzardry. Donaldson rolled back, Evans swivelled a hook, and Jamie Mack saved at the foot of the left post. Home free kickery: blocks by socks. Swinging, swaying, anticipating, it's just an invitation across the Yorkie nation, a chance for their folks to meet inside the Town penalty area.

Long balls, long limbs, a petty local insurgence and cross from their left. Cook ducked at the near post and Habergham Sam headed behind. The corner cleared and an in-swing from their left-wing flicked off Matete's forehead, over blue heads towards a trio of locals hanging around on a street corner up to no good. O'Connor leant back and carefully steered a volley into the bottom right corner.

Of course we've found a way to puncture our own balloon; it's the Grimsby way.

Hibbling and bibbling, ups and down of no consequence. Williams stretched and stepped on by stripes. And booked. Everyone wants a cup of tea.

One minute added. Morais tippled down the wing, Payne stood, stared and flailed his arms around as the whistle blew and the screen buffered. Time for a break, time for a Kit Kat, I think'll I'll go turn the mattress in the spare room.

There's nothing to beat. With a couple of tweaks and a stirring speech we could still do this you know.

Second half – House of pain

Williams, Morais and Habergham were replaced by Clifton, John-Lewis and Waterfall as Town moved to a 3-4-2 formation. Surely that can't be right. Hang on, why is there a little red dot next to our name? Where's Payne?

Oh woe, woe and thrice woe.

Computer says Arsene Wenger - I didn't see zee incident.

Everybody's laughing. At us. Everybody's happy. But us. We are the sinking Sun Kings of Comedy.

The football? What football? Two teams wandering around in a daze, confused, the ball played so long, and that is true. 10 minutes of gentle waveball lapping against the sea wall.

A home corner, a home header straight and soft into McKeown's rubber glovage. So this is all you have to do to be a play-off contender. Lobs and blobs and bits and bobs are passing by. They mean a trip to Woking, not Rome. Huge hurls and Hendrie manicured our lawn with a hand-held mower and keen eye for a dandelion.

And all the while Little Harry was hustling and harrying, flying high and low, here, there and everywhere. Scrapping and scraping, Clifton clamped and scuttled goalwards. Lennie smacked high and wide. And O'Connor was booked. A series of blue free kicks were overhit, underhit, rarely hit to a blue head. Remember, movement is merely a series of still images.

Halfway through the half Bradford double subbed, bringing on the Wolds Panther for The Hollow One's special friend, Billy, who is no longer a hero. A break, and an overload of amber on our right and Slim Charles tickled into the emptiness. Wood strode on into the penalty area and slapped over Jamie Mack and against the crossbar.

It's all dribbling away...

The remaining Townites were still trying hard to please us, triangulating down the right and Coke swept to Hendrie steaming down the left. A little snick slipped in Little Harry who winked past a woeful West Yorkshire waft and walloped high to the near post. O'Donnell, the long forgotten temporary Townite, flew right to parry aside. Little Harry swung his pants, Hewitt headed highly widely.

Dribbling, dribbling away...

Hoiks and humps and Vernam va-voomed into the area. Meyanese stretched to steer away from the near post.

With less than 10 minutes left Spokes replaced Coke, completing a full complement of Lukes. Do we have faith? Have we lost faith? A mish-mash of mush as the watching world wondered what Big Jim actually does, actually. He's an immobile Matt Rhead in reverse.

The plughole is gurgling...

In the last minute Matete marauded down the right, passed lowly across the face of goal, behind their back line, behind the men we call "our strikers". The ball rolled on to Hendrie, was passed back and through the thicket of legs. Lennie tapped back and Spokes, in the "D", carefully curled a curler into the second tier of emptiness.

And now the end is near, we've reached the final curtain...

Three minutes were added and Lamy sneaked on for Matete. Three minutes is not enough to boil an egg, but is enough for Big Jim to foolishly foul. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the end.

In isolation this was a perfectly adequate performance, perfectly mid-table, and in some ways quite admirable given the way they collectively coped with the the Payneful memories of the ghosts of Rees and Watson. But the Mariners' millipede hasn't run out of feet to shoot yet.

And as we leave Valley Parade what do we see? All systems failing, the placards unroll. Town on the skids.