Fun with flags

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

4 January 2022

Grimsby Town 1 Halifax Town 1

Is your faith flagging?

Are you still vexillologically vexed? Don't flagellate yourself over flags but do be deconstructive with your criticism. Wondering who is right, what are the chances? Doo-bee-doo-bee-doo.

Well here we are again, happy as can be, all good pals and jolly good company. Happy New Year everyone: it's big, we've got new branding, but we're full of tension and fear after the way we ended last year.

Who's that standing on the touchline, who's that making all the noise? Ah yes, it's the snappy BT boys playing with their toys. It's those dedicated followers of fashion: Aaron McLean, the Man at C&A whose clothes are loud, but always square; and Our Chris, March the Tailors dressed him well. But which Town will be going for a Burton today?

Ooh fashion!

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall, Pearson, Crookes, Maguire-Drew, Fox, Coke, Clifton, Sousa and Taylor. The substitutes were Revan, Longe-King, Hunt, Wright, and Bell. Left-footed Maguire-Drew on the right and right-footed Little Harry on the left, aren't we the fashionably sneaky ones.

What about them purple people eaters? They've got Waters and Gilmour up front, but we’ve got Wright up our sleeve. So where's Mason?

OK, let's progressively rock the boat.

First half: Purpendicular

Well bless my soul, rock and roll, these flyin' purple people kicked off towards the Pontoon, away from their 380 day-trippers. Is that all you take away on a Bank Holiday when you're racing away with the league?

Purple scurrying, striped hurrying. Ebbs were flowed and pans were flashed. Efete roamed, Efete rolled and was trolled. Slew knew he could beat Maguire-Drew and, as if by magic, Mr Benn appeared. This is Grimsby. A tiny wet place, lost and alone in the vast silence of the Bananarama where it is still teatime in 1972.

Woah, those wild horses couldn't drag Waterfall away from the centre. Slew slipping, Crookes sliding, Waters scrambling his eggs and double smothered by Waterfall and Efete. Good lad, Billy, don't be a hero, think of your granny and keep on prat-falling.

Cuts were thrust, guts were bust, Sousa salsaed for a word salad without a cucumber in sight. What happened where? Nothing, everywhere, nowhere, all the time, at once and never. What does this mean? Competitive Kabaddi has returned to UK TV.

You know, it's as clear as an unmuddied lake, as an azure sky of deepest summer, that Bradbury would like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, he'd also like to hold Pearson in his arms and keep him company. Hold on tight to your dreams.

After quarter of an hour Town clamped down upon joyriders, slowly exerting pressure, hints of something, moments of possibilities of potential, crosses plopped with slapstick blocks. It was still light, there were cameras and there was some action.

Sousa dribbled round like a circle in a spiral, Efete rumble-bumbled and stumbled to a chorus of mumbles. Maguire-Drew was bluffed and blocked as Town knocked three times on the ceiling, twice on the pipe, but the answer was still no.

Ahoy-hoy, danger lurks on the left. Slew flew, Warburton dummied and Waterfall hopped aboard the Nantucket Sleigh Ride to squish a purple grape. A surprising rake from afar twixt, around, over and between Waterfall and Pearson. Waters knocked knees and Waterfall wafted in on the breeze to please with strolling disrobing.

Coke! Gone with hurtiness. Was he ever on? Hunt fizzed on and Town's sink was unblocked. Much Michee in the middle ending with Efete effeteness. Passing, movement, Efete crossed, the flying Fox missed his cue as stripes queued up behind. Scrimbles, scrambles and Hunt sliced widely. Movement, passing, fizzing, whizzing and Sousa's slap-shot highly off the faintest of purple toes.

Flowing and glowing, stripes be a-swarming. Sousa, Sousa, Sousa, like a door that keeps revolving in a half forgotten dream, a ripple from a pebble tossed into a stream of consciousness, a candle extinguished by a double snuffer.

One minute was added.

After de-Coking Town's engine we began to purr.

Second half: Deep Purple

Neither team made any changes at half time. Down in the corners where the burgers burn, the people gathered round then scattered as the raindrops hit the ground. Ooh, the rain is falling.

Purples messing and purples stressing as Town implemented a full-court press. They're hacking, we're whacking, no slacking off now. Here we go.

Maguire-Drew shimmied, shammied and shimmied again, drifting infield and coiling off from afar. The ball whipped and dipped and smackered agin the top left angle of post and bar, then out for a corner off a desperate Yorkist limb.


Elevation achieved and Pearson arose deep and farly, thwonking downly. Johnson was motionless upon this wave of anticipation but Spence scraped a hook away from the line.

A momentary moment of not-us-ness. A whack away and Waters' shorts were fondled by Waterfall. As the wall played musical chairs Warburton wobbled down the middle and Crocombe wibble-wafted over for a corner of no consequence.

Town, Town, always and only Town. Left and right, up and down, in and out, and back in again. A Town free kick delayed as the ref noticed some molestation. Hoisted highly and deeply, Pearson was manhandled to earth by his stalker, Bradbury, Efete feyly fawned and in a trice they were free. Fizzed from left to right, Slew flew through and blasted a bazinga straight at our Kiwi custardian. Crocombe ached right and parried straight down the middle, straight into path of Spence who tapped into the void.

It's times like this our collective head goes down and the only thing we know is the name of this Town. Sometimes we feel like screaming. What have we done to deserve this?

Hold your head up high, it didn't change a thing that they're doing. There is only one Town, one team, one-way traffic. Wave upon wave of monochrome movement. Us, it's all about us, all in all they're just another wall to bang our heads against.

Heads up and Taylor manhandled, unseen only by whistling wally. Howls and growls and Pearson's volley skipped through the daze and slid past the leftist post. Heads up, up and away! Taylor arose and nodded sagely to the static keeper's left. An unwanted human suddenly appeared stage left, the ball struck a purple sock and bombled up on the line. Johnson adjusted his pants and fly-hacked away before stripes arrived.

The tide is coming in: remorseless, incessant. How long can they keep their fingers in the dyke?

Johnson punched piffily and was stranded betwixt and between but Fox, against advice, sought the treasure. The ball sailed to Siberia. Fox dribbled around the outer limits, prat-falling neither this nor that. Slickness, quickness, and Maher brilliantly swept away from Efete's toes.

Maximum Wright replaced Sousa and fuel was injected. Hush, hush, they're breaking our hearts, but we'll love them all the same. Shaymen are proving you can be what you want to be, they're blocking early in the morning, blocking late in the evening. Maguire-Drew, blocked once, blocked twice, curled thirdly and Johnson plucked the sad goose.

Oh, time just rolls on and on, hold on tight to your dreams.

Fox was replaced by Bell. A Maguire-Drew shot was head blocked with grappling behind and around as purple hands groped. With Waterfall and Pearson permanently stationed atop, Hunt and Harry scuttling and shuttling with Crocombe at left-back.

Three minutes were added.

One last heave. One more last heave, heave to, heavo-ho! In the dark shadows of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand Clifton slid to retrieve, Wright whizzed and fizzed deeply beyond the far post, Maguire-Drew arose... Redemption, resurrection; we're getting vibrations all down to our feet. Monumental and magnificent and Pearson hauling the celebrants back for one more go.

A final fall, a final chance with a free kick that Hunt overhit with mass manhandling of Mariners beneath.

A fantastic game, a fantastic performance of intensity and incision. Town made excellent opponents dissolve into desperate ordinariness and non-defeat was the very least deserved. It wasn't flawless but it was fearless.

We fail, we falter, but eventually we will succeed with our health and heart restored.