Wheeltappers and Shunters

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

20 March 2022

Boreham Wood 0 Grimsby Town 0

A beautiful cloudless day in the neighbourhood, full of heat and hope with 762 travelling Townites sweeping into the 1950s and slipping through the mystery turnstiles hidden behind a tree. Fine dining around these parts? Try the Wimpy Bar. Are we in Brigadoon? No, Borehamwood.

What was it that the three wise witches of BT said? "Your play–off dreams shall never vanquished be, until Boreham Wood's high-ball dull-ball shall come against thee."

Who chafes, who frets at a team with Jamal Fyfield at centre-back? Even Everton can score against them, so how hard can it be?

Town lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation as follows: Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall, Smith, Amos, Sousa, Coke, Burgess, Clifton, McAtee and Taylor. The substitutes were Pearson, Scannell, Maguire-Drew, Dieseruvwe and Abrahams. With Town all Coked up again, will Town lose control?

The local Bores have a mighty oak at the back, Stephens, casting shadows with his stares, with Evans and Fyfield shoring up the flanks, and Ashby-Hammond, Mr Pink, playing the world's smallest violin behind them. They are big at the back, and are rumoured to be in shape. Now will they behave themselves?

And for those watching in black and white, Town are in blue.

Let's just get on with it.

First half: The old empty barn

They, that is them, kicked off towards the massed Mariners plastered along the pavement and huddling under budding trees. They kicked the ball long with many a winding turn that leads us to where, who knows where?
So on we go.

Boom, boom, boom. Is Basil Brush their coach? I don't know what the Bananarama's coming to — the higher the balls, the lower the morals.

Wouldn't it be dreadful to live in a county that didn't have McAtee. A pass, a move, a shot, and Mr Pink plunged. And that was that.

That was that, that really was that for 45 minutes of mithering, muttering, stuttering and fluttering eyelashes. Later there was a queue for the toilet. Plumbing problems abound in the ground. Well, we are men of a certain age, aren't we.

Let's sleep in this place with the lonely crowd.

How did we fill our time waiting for the drain that never comes? Look around, look up at the sky, as clear as an unmuddied lake, as clear as an azure sky of deepest summer. A helicopter chuntered towards St Albans, a hawk hovered over Stephens, awaiting road kill. Stop, what's that sound? A car alarm in the car park.

Moments of inertia broken by an accidental cross collected by Crocombe, then Orsi offside but allowed to perambulate. One is reminded of Noel Coward's bon mots that he likes long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy him.

Can you see Little Harry Clifton standing in the shadows? Well, we were just passing time. He was all alone and has our sympathy.

At the merest sniff of danger a laddie in white plunged to earth, holding their nosegays tightly. At the merest whiff of danger a laddie in white walloped a galloping Grimsby gourmet. Slow-moving and yet fast-paced, the wind is in the willows.

Sousa swayed and Sousa splayed with sausage rolls around the ground. Amos splattered, Efete clattered and Boring Wood were flattered by their position in high society. My dear thing, they bleat with their mouths open. This is not cafe society, it's Nescafe society.

A cross, a block, a skewed Efete header at a free kick; mumbling and bumbling from the Bores. Ah yes, I remember their manager was a Womble once. And one of the Wombles died this week, you know. Alas, the man inside Wellington has been booted off this mortal coil. Each day a little of our childhood dies.

Amos kicked again, Amos kicked again-again, McAtee kneed-up and Fyfield dredged Efete and Mafuta. They take no prisoners, and are quite prepared to accept collateral damage. Ruthless they are, just like the away end.

You know a lotta guys try to catch him but he leads them on a wild goose chase. Sousa turns and Sousa runs with fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun, sun. And straight into a big brick whitewashed wall.

Waterfall, what a fall! Is that all? Well, they were tall. There is no more of this non-existence. We stood in a field for 45 minutes watching 22 men stand in a field for 45 minutes.

Lost balls, lost time, we're lost in a trance of cheap, cheap music and caught in their trap. Let me go home, why don't you let me go home? Well is this the worst trip since Town were re-born?

Technically Town had a shot, technically they didn't. If ever a football match was an advert for B&Q this was it.

Second half: Bubble and squeak

Neither team made any changes at half time. Well, perhaps not physically.

Triangulation and strangulation from the blues from the off as tips were tapped to friendly faces in spaces. Right side roaming as the silhouette of Sousa swayed and Efete's near post pokey-sweep riffled the netting on its way into the crowd, momentarily exciting the glitterati in the shaded seating.

Strangulations and triangulations as Taylor turned precisely and swept into the flightpath of Amos in oceans of space and oceans of doubt. Danny Boy, here and there in sunshine and in shadow, cut in, cut across and rolled a right foot pass into the waiting arms of young Ashby-cum-Fenby.

Well Mr Perky in pink, will ye back when summer's in the Meadow Park?

Triangustrations and almost congratulations, but only frustrations. Ah, Coke, a dear old gent passing by, something nice takes his eye. Everything's clear, attack the rear. Town picked a pocket or two. McAtee played through the middle, tripping over the ball, wibbling, wobbling across and into the penalty area. Alas the shot be kissing the pink hands as Little Harry ran after it. A corner followed and flowed. In, out, Amos's shot blocked, Waterfall wallied the rebound into the trees and Ashby De La Launde had a little lay down, soaking up the sun, catching some rays, watching the world go by as there was an eruption at this disruption behind him.

Boring, Boring Wood, just big balls from big men. Chip-n-chase, chip-n-pin, turning coats, turning base metal in to purest baser metal. Hoof, hoof, hang 'em high! Crocombe flap-slapped a cross. Crocombe blocked after a scattergun kaleidoscope of mish-mashing and bashing at the back. A corner, a corner, a kingdom for a corner. Fyfield alone, static in the attic, carefully steered a header, the ball kissing the side netting on its way out.

Clifton clip-clipperty-clopped, Sousa slip-slippered-a-slop and McAtee was free again. Bouncing through the void pursued by three bears, Big John bedrumbled slapstickingly down the middle, twizzling around and bedraggling back across the face of goal, past groping pinkies and wide of the right post.

Sousa dibbled and dabbled, McAtee failed to take the final step and a moment was lost. Amos was freed but delayed his final act and the fact is there was a corner, leftly, then righty. Elevation Mr Amos! He heard the word and someone in blue was free. Efete flew like a bird in the sky, but missed his flight.

Haven't mention them much, have we. No need, they were simply clogging up the world, a fat-ball in football's sewer, an accumulation of the unwanted and sloppily discarded. If left unaddressed it becomes a huge problem, they just need to be broken down with hard work and the creative use of chemistry.

Isn't it time for Manny D and his Magic Knees. It surely is as Taylor trudged off, being his usual unobtrusively adequate self, the wall that allows flowers to bloom. If only we'd planted the seeds earlier in the season, eh. You have to cultivate to accumulate in this league. What a bunch of cloches we are.

Hang on, didn't Manny D and his Magic Knees support Stack Waddy at the Winter Gardens in 1972? Come follow me down the helter-skelter, faster and faster, to Cuckoo Land.

Wining, dining, biding his time, Maguire-Drew exchanged glances with Big John McT, drifted infield and coiled a curler towards the top right corner. Ashby de la Zouch flew high, raised an eye and spectacularly pawed up, up and away.

Five minutes added and Town pressed on, swinging through the local pants. A corner cleared and Maguire-Drew's blockbuster blocked for a fouled throw-in to much spluttering in the guttering.

Boring balls, big and bigger then bigger still. Ricobounds and ribochets falling sweetly for the Whites down their right with blue arms aloft awaiting the flag of salvation. Wiggling, waggling and a dink and a dunk to the farthest post. Blue bodies, white bodies, balls and falls. The ball looped over Mad Max, Amos nodded off near the line and Burgess flew in front of Boden to arrest their development. Rest easy, the burglary was averted as Town shut their windows before leaving.

A point gained but two lost. A game that should have been won, but could have been accidentally lost against a dangerously dull medieval construction, designed solely to repel invaders with occasional sneaky raids under the cover of darkness.

Both teams escaped with a point from a game of one half, played by one team. We'll be playing them next year.