The mouse that roared

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

14 November 2021

Aldershot Town 2 Grimsby Town 1

I watch the birds fly south across the autumn sky, and one by one they disappear. Welcome to the very definition of the pit of despair, Aldershot, with Town dissolving in a Hurstian existential crisis. Vision, dreams of passion! There's grey skies and there's leaves on the white lines.

Striped and still black-socked Town lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation as follows: McKeown, Efete, Waterfall, Towler, Revan, Sousa, Fox, Hunt, Khouri, Clifton and Taylor. The substitutes were Crookes, Longe-King, Coke, Bapaga and John-Lewis. Revan and Khouri on the left. Mmm, now that's a very strange reaction to the carpetland implosion.

What are they gonna say about him? What are they gonna say? That he was a kind man? That he was a wise man? That he had plans? That he had wisdom?

It's nobody else's fault, so don't do it!

First half – A shot in the park

Town kicked off towards 671 scattered cushions and tattered dreams in the little corner of this foreign field that was temporarily Grimsby. And kicked straight out of play, no messing and no salad dressing on their sausages.

A red crinkle down the striped left, Andrews winkled around Towler's toes and crossed across the common land where rabbits hide down holes. Missiles flying over Revan's head. If you want to survive get out of bed! You're in armyland now lad, with adults. This is no academic exercise in aesthetics, you have to be athletic.

Nods and sods, rustling and tussling, and they're all crazy now as a noddy free kick was awarded for Towler's noddy holding on the half way line. Lumped and dumped to the centre right, Towler defeated, Town deflated. A stray tall poppyman headed on and high vaguely towards the left post, Revan dawdled, Willard stretched and hooked and we had our apocalypse now.

How did that happen? Town's defence were mostly kids; rock and rollers with one foot in their career grave.

Holes, holes, black and white holes, goldfish shoals nibbling at our toes. Efete roamed, Sousa swayed, nicking, knocking, ankling and socking it to 'em baby. Efete crossed, the keeper flipped over the bar. The corner zoomed, a red head loomed and lurched, Efete and Khouri tackled each other as the dropping ball dropped.

To our left, to their right, both teams swinging and dodging, for neither side has a left side, just tissue paper wrapped around some milk bottles.

Sweet and savoury pastry! Efete rumbled down the right and sexy Sousa swung his pants. Khouri passed the buck, Fox tried his luck, miskicking down into the ground. Clifton arose and steered the bedrumble highly over Walker. There's one thing I gotta say: hats off to Harry.

Those fallen leaves lie undisturbed now. Why? 'Cause Khouri and Revan are not here. A corner coiled, Glover arose alone and Jamie Mack sprang up to finger-flip against the underside of the bar. Bouncing, flouncing, falling and calling for the physio as a little red rooster held his hind quarters. Jabs and jibes as Town continued to subside. A long chuck hurled, Revan flicked on at the near post causing minor pandemonium all along the watchtower. There's too much confusion and only Efete brought relief, walking tall, walking away at the farthest post as red boots menaced.

We shake our heads and tell Hurst that things must change before something's lost. C'mon, there's nothing to beat. A cry from both sides now.

Thrust and parry, give it to Harry! Clifton back-heeled, Sousa salsaed, Sousa looked up, Sousa passed straight to red heads. Hunt ticked, Fox flicked, Hunt didn't shoot and Fox was caught on the hop. Town, all slickness and slackness as the Town fans stewed and seethed.

Two minutes were added. After two minutes of leaf peeping there is nothing to add.

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool. Fool if you think this is over with Revan and Khouri left to wither on the vine. It's only just begun.

Second half – The smallest show on earth

Neither team made any changes at half time. I shall repeat that. Neither team made any changes at half time. Revan and Khouri remained on the pitch. I shall repeat that. Revan and Khouri remained on the pitch.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

And the Aldermen worked out how to stop the rot on their right – kick Sousa into touch, literally. And Sousa did lose his plot, being a bit of a clot and standing on a Shot after early excavation. Kinsella wailed and whined and O'Sousa was booked as Town were given a throw-in. Where's the logic in that? The questions run too deep. There are times when refs are asleep.

Hunt! Shoot! Shoot! Hunt! Training ground triangles, all finesse and fine angles, but the boy just needed to give it some welly. Spaces in places we never knew existed as in striped absence Sylla slalomed through the centre and was crowded out by the Watertowers. Hacking when what we needed was a darn good whacking, too many clean shirts to play around with.

A nudge, a nurdle, the mood about to curdle.

Deep down the Town left, right by the lonely telegraph pole, a red man hurled highly, hoopily to the near post. Revan flailed and flicked on and over all, where Whittingham waited and hooked in at the far post. McKeown raged at Revan for repeating his failings. Revan shrugged, perhaps he needs a hug and some time with his family.

Ain't got time to wait. Something better change. I said something better change. Something changed. The Shopping Trolley and Bapaga replaced Khouri and Fox. Khouri off, but was he ever on?

A red corner half cleared, Bapaga dawdled, Oxlade-Chamberlain dippy-volleyed, the bar rattled and their spivvy manager prattled on into the referee's notebook.

Are we going out with a whimper before we play the Shrimpers? Clifton clattered from afar and over the bar. Sousa swooshed, Taylor lay back from the bye-line and Bapaga swiped across the face of the far post. Revan drooped, Taylor glanced, Sousa sneaked in and swept in at the far post as the travelling Townites erupted in premature adulation. I spy with my little eye something beginning with LF.

Ladle Furnace?

Nope, try again.

Ladies Fingers? Lactose Fishcakes? Leather Fetishists?

Give up? It's the linesman's flag: offside.

You know these right Charlie's didn't get much going near Jamie Mack. They were dug in too deep or moving too fast. Huffing, puffing, here we go. Lennie! Caressing to the keeper. Sousa! Took a touch too much, one step beyond. Lennie! Softly heading softly in to the arms of the waiting Walker. Crosses deep and shallow, wide and narrow; we had a wheelbarrow and the wheels fell off.

One last heave with a Sousa weave. Lennie free, Lennie walloping, Walker plunging and plopping. The keeper prostrate, the goal gaping, Taylor pounced, and two red duvets scissor-smothered. Pointless, hopeless this game is endless.

Five minutes added and added to with a Waterfall head clash, during which a steady procession of sad, weary women, their children stumbling in the street with tears, their men bitter and angry, headed into the hills. They weren't looking for anything more than a way home.

Lest we forget? Best we forget.

How do you beat Hurst's hapless heroes? Follow the Wealdstone Way - get stuck in, stick it in the mixer, and sit back. It sticks in the craw but there's an obvious flaw in Hurst v2, there's a single plan revolving around a single man. Without McAtee we're buttered scones for tea.

Even without McAtee the worst that should have happened was a soulless, goalless draw. The defeat was self-induced, hand-crafted at Cheapside. Stop messin' about.