Common People

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

26 September 2021

Maidenhead United 1 Grimsby Town 1

Here is a box, a musical box, wound up and ready to play. But this box can hide a secret inside. Can you guess what is in it today?

Ah another day, another strange new world where no Town fan had gone before. Maidenhead, a place so middle-claaaas the local beggars wears cravaaaats. How will the Maidenheadcases cope with hordes of northern oiks roaming the streets? Keep Mrs Honeyman right out of sight! There's much tutting at striped strutting in the local civic society gazebo. They don't want to live like common people do.

A strangely greyly humid afternoon punting by the Thames in a shunting yard. Be careful, don't lean back against the stand it may topple. A proper non-League game in a proper non-League ground, like Tamworth but with less well-maintained pig pens. If you strain you can watch the telly in the last house on the left.

Chirpy Town lined up in a cheeky 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Efete, Waterfall, Towler, Crookes, Sousa, Hunt, Coke, Clifton, McAtee and Taylor. The substitutes were Pearson, Revan, Fox, Bapaga and John-Lewis. Who could argue with that?

Town turned up in the washed-out blue kit because those Magpies stole our colours! Yeah, there they were in 1919 sipping sherry in their gentlemen's club and they predicted we'd still be playing in monochrome a century later, so we'd have to play in an insipid away kit. Typical southerners.

What's that got to do with the price of fish fingers? The mind wanders when there's nothing else to do as you watch the 14:53 to Paddington slide out of view.

First half – More paths, less ring road

Maidenhead kicked off away from 828 travelling Townites of varying heights and mental plights. There's a thick line between exuberance and arrogance. Boy, do some Town fans walk that thick line.

Ah, the purring power of the midfield pivots. Town ascendant, dominant, superior and superb. Marvellous yet magnificent, smooth and silky. A corner cleared and McAtee wobbled from centrally afar. Lovett semi-flumbled and Taylor lurked.

It was a cracking minute.

And then the mirror cracked.

Biffing, barging, haranguing with hanging crosses, the Magpies mished and mashed up the middling Mariners. Ah, rhyme without reason, you have to alliterate to accumulate. Are you distracted from the [redacted]. It's simply non-League. It was simple, they played non-League football in non-League and the Princes of the Pontoon were discombobulated.

Oi Lovett, hurry up, we haven't got all day, you know.

Drop kicks to the far stick, Jamie Mack patter-caked a cross amid much malarkey in the middle. What a muddle, we're all befuddled.

Oi, Lovett, replace your divots.

Behold Blondie Barrett's short long throws. One thing is for sure, he's not a tosser like Tozer. A Maiden flicked his forehead, McKeown stretch-flipped off a high flying home head and Efete, at the far post, thighed, sighed and glided away from near the line.

What a waste, what a waste, but I don't mind.

A Magpie plunged to earth free, a wall assembled, McKeown dissembled, and a routine free-kick routine beflummoxed off the wall for a corner that was cleared. We didn't need to worry, they'd be better off being the driver of an articulated lorry.

Pressing flowers, travelling glowers, what a shower. McKeown flung low and right to clasp a far off driveller. Sleekness and slackness combined on Town's left as Acquah freely headed further wide at the far post.

You know, half the town team could have yawned and be withdrawn and watch the world go by.

Well, here we are in 2021, society is driven by a virtual internet. Mega corporations control much of the world, intensifying the class hostility. Well, here we are in Maidenhead. McAtee. Twenty yards out, sixteen yards wide. Triangulate and calculate the angles. Please show your workings. Remember the mnemonic, Johnny, SOH CAH TOA.

The correct answers are a=38.66 degrees, b=51.34 degrees.

Are we here or have we sent along some holograms?

Ooh, something. Efete roamed on the right and arose alone to head the corner over at the far post. That don't impress me Mich; shoulda scored lad.

Wait, there's more. A bit of oomph and pressure amassing. A Sousa salsa and Taylor's near-post flick bumbled across the face of goal. Towler plop-volleyed a half cleared a free kick, then popped a vertical header that Lovett flipped over from under the bar. The Berkshire boys were narked into niggling, with Donnallan booked for thumping the ball out of the hands of Little Harry.

Two minutes were added for Lovett's riveting divotting.

In the context of this game what we shall charitably categorise as a Town attack was repelled. Sousa wimped in no man's land, stripes swooped and Kelly was a wally with a welly into Bungalow City, where the grass is green and there is no data on whether the inhabitants are pretty.

Forty-five minutes. What's the point?

Second half – Reversion to type

Neither team made any changes at half time. Oh hello, we're joined by the Maidenhead Ultras and their soggy sombreros. Fourteen 14-year olds hanging on the wall, and if one dim Town fan should accidentally call them names, there'll be fourteen 14-year olds laughing at us all.

Ah, the purring power of the midfield pivots. Town ascendant, dominant, superior and superb. Marvellous yet magnificent, smooth and silky. Crookes crossed, Taylor attacked the near post and shoulder-ducked wide.

Ducks? They're not ducks, they're geese flying in formation across the rooftops towards Pinkneys Green. Weren't they the support act for Jimi Hendrix at the Spalding Bulb Festival?

Homesters homing in on happiness. Corners. Clearances. Crosses. Balls. What a load of balls. A corner cleared and crossed back. Kelly ducked and plucked a header, McKeown slopped low and right, picking the ball off Efete's toes. Back pass? I see no ships.

Crossing, crossing, lumping and dumping. McKeown flew low and right to pluck again, but not slop again. Maidenhead, where fading rock stars avais un residence, got on their bikes and had a go. At least they're trying.

And Town? Coke's long-range grubber and Hunt's medium-range bubbler at least made Lovett work hard for his money. Waterfall rode his bicycle over the bar and Lovett spectacularly flipped Clifton's half-volley cross aside from under the bar.

Up and under, what a blunder. Acquah wandered and wondered what might have been as he turned and miscued a muffler at McKeown.

Ch-ch-ch-changes, there's gonna have to be a different man. Toot the bugle, here comes the Fox Hunt. A punt, Waterfall flailing and tugging local shorts. Everything is all right, Charleeeeeeeee Adams curled over and up on to the roof.

Humming and hawing, this is boring. A pass, a pass, a man moving. Efete ticked and Clifton tricked. Magpies missing, Mariners swishing, Clifton crossed and the unmarked Sousa safely steered in at the far post.

We know the key to unity of all Town people is in the dream that you had so long ago: keep it tight, keep us shape. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday the Returned One.

At this, Maidenhead abandoned all thoughts of prissiness and brought on Nathan Blissett. At this, Town brought on Pearson for Sousa. Is it official now? It surely is: the new Parslow Point is the Pearson Point. It's one way to make a point out of three, turning comedy gold into base metal.

Huffing, puffing, balls in the box, balls headed out of the box. Balls in the box, balls headed out of the box. McAtee dozed, Donnellan chipped the ball into the box. Waterfall stood still, Ferdinand ambled alone and noodled into the nettage past the irate but static custardian. The fourteen 14-years olds are going to feel like chicken tonight.

Balls in the box in oh so many ways. Three points seemed to vanish in the haze.

Tippy-tappy tosh from the teetering Townites. McAtee slapped his thigh and looked to the sky. Is it pantomime season? Tumbling, stumbling, bumbling and fumbling. What artlessness in the face of the hoi-polloi of the Bananarama.

What more? No, somehow less. Waterfall volleyed into the second row of bungalows beyond the cattle market and Lennie the loin cloth replaced Coke as Town moved to an unfathomable formation. Four minutes were added. That is all.

There is nothing positive but the point to draw out from this draw. Town's weakest, worst non-performance of the season showed all what should have been clear anyway – that prancing and preening like entitled princes leads to a very dark place, where a deep well of poison lurks.

Work hard, play hard or hard words are a-comin'.