Slipping the escort

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

13 February 2022

Grimsby Town 3 Aldershot Town 1

C-c-cavalcades, accolades, oh those giddy escapades. Do you recall anything of Tuesday? But those worried demeanours as we went through the turnstiles were clarified later when we heard the announcement: John McAtee is still in the team.

Am I getting quite old or was it bitterly cold on a day of drips and drabs? The wind from the North blew into the faces of the fans from the South and, no, I don't mean Louth. It's getting wet, it's definitely breezy, but no one is feeling queasy without Coke.

Town lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation as follows: Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall, Pearson, Amos, Sousa, Raikhy, Burgess, Clifton, McAtee and Taylor. The substitutes were Smith, Coke, Scannell, John-Lewis and Abrahams. Town still experimenting with science fiction substitutes then, while keeping Coke back just in case the party needs a little Parslow pointing. The lesser-spotted Burgess, eh, a Little Harry doppelgänger, perhaps more silk than steel.

We're nowhere, they're somewhere dreaming the dreams they've dreamed of a wet weekend in Cleethorpes.

Okay, keep those restless legs under control. Here we go.

First half: Tediously comfortable

The yellowmen kicked off away from their 121 hardy souls on an Arctic expedition to the land of black and white. Glover and Willard fizzled around dopey Efete and what? A corner of so-whatness. Willard, we expected someone like you. What? An errand boy sent by grocery clerks to collect a dinky-wink into the spaces between our ears.

A minute passed by, so did a train. Then another minute passed. Then another. An empty bottle skittled over the hoardings and across the penalty area. Is this an illusion, an allusion or a ball of confusion? And oh, the beat goes on.

Town people moving out, Town people moving in, stripes swaying through the crowded penalty area to an empty place. Amos drunkled a corner lowly, the ball skipped past swishing boots and through Sousa's legs. So what happens now? Another corner and another ball coiled. Raihky's hoik was half-cleared and Clifton's cracker jerked off a yellow duvet and spun fortunately to the only striped swinger in Town. Here we come and there we go.

Snap, crackle and pop! Movements, moments, oh the magic we'll be sharing. McAtee sizzled in the shadow of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand. Efete sozzled, Taylor tickled against the near post and Sousa steered into the emptiness beyond the purple haze in goal. Ah, the way that we cheer whenever our team is scoring a touchdown. Oi, are you watching the rugby on the telly again?

League or union? The answer, sir, is neither.

Another minute passed by, so did a boat. Then another minute passed, then another. A lonely gull circled the centre circle, then circled the sands beyond the railways. There's a cold wind as the tide moves in and several Shotters shiver in the salty air.

Pay attention, stop watching that television in 92 Harrington Street. I know it's a big telly, but there's a whole lotta shakin' going on down at the Osmond End. McAtee spun a web of delicious deceit and tickled Eric O’Sausages free. On Sousa shuffled, scuttled and muffled against the advancing Barnes, the ball spoondling away for a corner. Followed by a corner. Followed by a corner. Follow you, follow me and finally they may feel safe and secure as a bouncy-bouncy-bouncy balloon bounced off Amos into Barnes' arms.

Tactical yellow spin-dinking to the touchline, playing for space and distance and the chance to chuck. Alderchucking thricely, Crocombe plucking. Stop mucking about.

There are many moments for ruthless action. But what is often called ruthless may in many circumstances be only clarity. A man seeing clearly what there is to be done and doing it, directly, quickly. Willard dragged wide at the near post after being sent on a classified mission 75 clicks up the Efete river. Except it's not classified any more is it Willard. It's just a miss.

Another minute passed by, so did a lass in a technicolour dream coat high, high in the Upper Frozen Horsebeer Stand. It was red and yellow and green and brown and blue. This astounding clothing took the biscuit.

Biscuits, mmmmm. Like Erico, I digress.

Sausages! Drat, drat and triple drat. Sousa went on a wacky race and be-dragged slowly across plunging purple fingers. Crocombe plucked and threw for Sousa to run, run away, away, away and you know for what it was worth we should have known better from this thorn in our side. Wibbling, wobbling, the ball bobbling. McAtee weighed his options and whacked way over. Well, what else could he do, pass to someone who was offside and then miss?

Robbing, bobbing, and yellow sobbing. McAtee over-pitched a slow in-swinging full toss but Barnes flew far too left, far too early and jazz-handed the ball onwards and upwards. We march on.

The plucky army dreamer schemers bowled beamers, would they get lucky? Mr Gloverman? Show me your bananas. Crocombe wheeled and peeled with his big fruity Kiwi hands. Effeteness from Efete, snoozing as Willard was oozing. Waterfall dithered then smithered a yellow shirt for a yellow card micrometers before it entered the penalty area. Raikhy peeled away from urges and blocked the shot.

One minute added. You can watch the telly now without distractions.

Without doing much Town had done enough to keep the home fires burning. I can't eggsagerate: enough is enough as they say in France.

Second half: Comfortably tedious

Aldershot exchanged Lyons Maid for Vennings at half time.

Ah, ooh, nope, there ain't nothing going on on the green, green grass of home. Look at the sky, look at the river, isn't it good?

Who'd live in a house like this? Shall we go through the keyhole? What are they watching in number 92? It's a bit too bright for Hettie Wainthropp Investigates, there's far too much sun and no-one is wearing an overcoat. Ooh hang on, something is happening and it started happening as Glover walked by and walloped into the side netting. It's changing everything, do you know why? Because it woke Town up.

Aldershotters fiddling about in the depths of winter, deep in the centre of their half. Clifton popped up from behind a toadstool to nick away from yellow toes and knock perfectly behind the left-back into the flightpath of Big John. Ah dear John McAtee who missed, then didn't, snackling straight at Barnes' nose then placing the return under the flailing flapper.

And to think some don't like the concept of Town being woke.

Right we've half an hour left, how shall we amuse ourselves? Shall we play Spot The Difference from the Town activity book? Well, The Mighty Mariner has one eye in the one on the left, and the gulls are missing. Yeah, the gulls are missing, where are they now? Where are we now?

Their keeper comedy miskicked a spinning slice to Burgess who was equally mystified by the big telly conundrum. Is it Holidaying with Jane McDonald and Friends on Channel 5? Nah, the hair isn't big enough.

Oh look there's a bloke watching the TV now. He looks like a Dave to me. It's the way he's standing, very Davish. He has the air of a man of constant sorrow with a garage in constant use.

Sousa was replaced by Big Scanz™. That is a fact. Scannell almost, once, nearly, dribbled past his own feet. He's an expert at winning throw-ins by crossing against foreign ankles though.

And the rain lashed down against window panes and what a pain it was to watch. They made substitutions, bringing on boys with longer names for boys with shorter names, or was it the other way around. Was it both at the same time?

Oi, Dave get out the way. There's a yacht on his window sill and according to some this alludes to a tragedy which rendered him numb. But is he comfortably numb?

Have we got it yet? I suppose it could be Evil Under the Sun on ITV3? No, surely not, there's insufficient parasol, or moustache, twirling.

Vennings disturbed some pigeons on the pier, getting further and further away with every free kick he took. The rain carried on raining, the wind carried on winding, the game carried on drifting.

Have we got it yet? How about Jess Wright: the Wedding on ITVBe? Who is Jess Wright? How is Max Wright, that's more to the point. Wahey! As the Mighty Mariner tapped the ball, two Shotterboys panicked, pointing furiously and dashing frantically to stop the famously foam fool taking a short corner. They're young, they're learning.

With a quarter of an hour left Smith replaced Waterfall. Sometime before, or sometime after, Willard low whipped wide from their left. Shoulders will shrug, whatever. There's only one mystery left in this match – what is Dave watching?

Ah, gotcha! It's a Place in the Sun triple bill isn't it? We all have our dreams, we should listen carefully to the sound of our loneliness. Michee!

Right on the end of time Abrahams chased the laddies, forcing them across from deep left to middle right. Clifton half pressed Oxlade-Chamberlain, who shimmied and swung up the line. And on and on and on and on, past one, past two, into the penalty area and past a third. Crocombe swooped, The Ox tapped and Glover swept in.

Well, that's nice for them. If Town had scored it we'd be swooning.

Three minutes were added, enough for Abrahams to have a strop as McAtee passed to Scannell. Three minutes were long enough for the rain to stop and the wind to drop.

Can we be satisfied by such a yawnsome stroll? A game best appreciated on CEEFAX, for it took nothing more than for Town to be ample for them to trample Aldershot underfoot. Trouble-free transitions help the points flow.

I'm hoping Dave chooses something better to watch for the Woking game.