Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
29 September 2021
Bromley 3 Grimsby Town 1
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in not-so-bleak September that we were due to play Bromley. Look up to the skies and what do we see? Rain coming.
Town lined up in a 4-3-3 formation as follows: McKeown, Efete, Waterfall, Towler, Crookes, Clifton, Coke, Fox, Sousa, McAtee and Bapaga. The substitutes were Pearson, Revan, Hunt, Taylor and John-Lewis. 4-3-3? Never fails. Well, never fails to fail. Still, there is always an exception to the rule.
Town in red, Bromley in white. A tin shack for a home end, an open terrace for the 688 travelling Townites. At least it's not raining. Yet.
Is this the Bananarama skin? Are we going to be able to say we were there when Town eventually lost under Properly Positive Jase?
Someone told me long ago there's a calm before the storm.
First half – Nocturne
Either they or we kicked off. That's a fact. Town attacked the end nearest the travelling Townites. That's a fact too. Two facts in one day, we spoil you.
Snap, crackle and pop-pop-pop of passing from both sides now. Sousa foxtrotted past a white blur, Efete swung a cross and the lagging, flagging linesman guessed incorrectly for a goal kick. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
Chip and chase, Alexander at pace, sneaking beyond Waterfall and double-tapping against McKeown for a goal kick.
En garde! Thrust and repel! No-one is repulsed by this sexy ball swinging and swaying. Sousa sashayed, Bapaga's header was hooked away from the left post by big Bush. Coke plonked over from afar, Waterfall noddled a corner straight into the hands of Cousins. Arthur's mis-hit cross hit the far post, hit Efete and boinged past the post for a corner.
This and that, or was it that and this? Was it now or was it then? Scrambles, scrumbles, fumbles and Towler blocked the road. McAtee floated down the right, fleecing the sheep and Cousins slipped the slap into the side netting. A corner. Yes, a corner, and what follows next is of no relevance.
Bapaga caught Bush's toes, Fox fended off squealing Hairboy and out came the yellow card. And the ref was turned.
Moments, fleeting, here and there. Bapapa and Sousa silencing the lambs as McAtee provided the fulcrum for some fantasy football. Our eels are slippy.
Ah-ha, esquive! A feint, a thrust, and off they went. Under pressure, bearing down on Jamie. Pin-point precision as passes were pinged and Town were pinned back. A shot slipping wide, a header hooping high. A snip and trip into white wonderland, but red shorts snapped upon the looseness.
Sousa clattered, Sousa clobbered, Sousa arising to tease. Their left-back? He's indecisive, he can't decide, he keeps on lookin' from left to right. Town broke like lightning from a Bromley free kick. McAtee chipped as four red shirts flew into the penalty area. Clifton hurled himself at the near post and the ball kissed the outside of the net.
Back and forth, the ball heading north.
Bapaga glided through Ravens, teasing with a feint and dredged by a dim-witted defender, just to the right of the penalty area, a dozen yards out. McAtee, watched, waited, then cutely curled under and through the non-wall and the ball rolled in off the muffled Cousins. McAtee and the entire Town team ran as one, not to us fans jigging on the concrete jungle, but straight to the septic tank opposite. Are we taunting their plumbing?
These are the happy steps - we're happy here on the happy steps - oh it's such fun.
Two minutes were added. Titillating triangles, teasing tickles, Bapaga slalomed through surrendering white flags and passed against Cousin's chest.
What larks, what joy, what fun, what a tremendous training game in front of the Trappist monks of Bromley. Oh what a lack of atmosphere, what do we care as we dance in the cool night air.
What do want of the second half? Merely this and nothing more. And no rain please.
Second half – Wet Wet Wet
Neither team made any changes at half time.
Tip and tap, but much more slap from the homesters. Their boots were made for walking and walking over Sousa is what they'll do. Sousa clipped, Sousa tripped, Sousa sent into space and Sousa off. Taylor came on and McAtee went wide right.
Harmful elements in the air, symbols clashing everywhere with lightning flashes over Crystal Palace way. Oh dear, here comes what the Met Office labelled Storm Git.
The rain fell alike upon the just and upon the unjust, and for nothing was there a why and a wherefore.
Deep into that darkness peering, long we stood there wondering, fearing, as Trotter and Alabi, those grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt ominous birds of yore, bounded on. Duck and cover! Here comes the rain, here comes the pain. Biffing and sniffing as Bromley pumped up the volume and lumped down their left. Cheek swayed infield, swung his pants and the ball deflooped off red thighs, arced over McKeown's flying fingers and into the top left corner. The Cheeky boys ran as one, not to their fans hiding beneath their bus shelter, but straight to the soaked mass of Mariners.
The heavens opened and so did our defence.
"No Rain, No Rain, No Rain, No Rain". Where's Wavy Gravy when you need him?
Hey man, there's always a little bit of heaven in a disaster area. Coke shot wide. OK, maybe there isn't.
With the wind and rain behind 'em, Bromley big-balled and bullied their way to their version of heaven. Bang-bang-bang, Big Bush bashed from afar. Fire in the hole! The Ravens played to the pitch and the conditions, letting fly from somewhere near Calais as they let the wind do their talking.
Town keep playin' where Town shouldn't be playin'. Town keep thinkin' that they'll never get burnt. A shortened goal kick and faffing about as Fox was caught in a trap he couldn't walk out of. Alabi brushed through, slapped over Jamie Mac and so an old friend we know stopped by to say hello. Oh how we shared his joy as the entire Bromley team ran as one, not to their fans still hiding beneath their bus shelter, but straight to the seething, soaked mass of Mariners.
Rain pourin' down, blindin' every hope we had. This pitterin', patterin', beatin' and spatterin' was driving us mad. A roar as a Raven hit the floor, Efete sent off but what for? Who knows, it was just curtains of rain. And curtains for Town. Mayday. Mayday. Send a lifeboat, we're swimming on the terrace and sinking on the pitch.
Little Harry moved to right-back, Lennie replaced Bapaga, McAtee pulled a string, Fox unravelled with a slice of cheese. Little Harry, big heart. Cousins clasped a Clifton clip and Crookes was replaced by Revan.
Them, things, attacks, just noise. We can't see a thing dodging the deluge.
As we peered behind the upturned umbrellas we noticed the game was still going on. How long left? Always far too long. A surge and sweep down the left. Whitely boomed his beat box from Broadstairs beach over McKeown's sad fingernails and into the top left corner. Fearlessly, the idiot faced the crowd, smiling. Oh how we shared his joy as the entire Bromley team ran as one, not to their fans still crowing beneath their bus shelter, but straight to the seething, soaked and shrinking mass of Mariners.
Our life is bare, gloom and misery everywhere. Stormy weather, just can't get our poor selves together.
And the elephants are dancing on the graves of our squealing mice. They're making a substitution. Who? Anyone for Dennis, wouldn't that be nice.
One by one the travelling Townites left the ark, forming a snake of saturated sadness shuffling back to the station. Five minutes were added. Timewasting, time wasted, Alabi slipped in and slipped.
Oh the irony that until the storm came it was an exquisite example of pass and move counter-attacking. Town at their most slinky with sexy swings up the wings. Then that rain washed our men right out of their hair. We couldn't cope with a bit of bad weather and some basic bully boy tactics.
You know the nearer to our destination the more we're slip sliding away in the South.