Distant Karma

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

17 April 2022

Grimsby Town 2 Stockport County 1

Roll out those lazy, hazy crazy days of Easter. It's a busy time, it's business time, it's time for you to stop all of your sobbing over Waheymouth as there's 1,455 Cheshire cats bobbing about in the Osmond. Focus on the now, for the future is now.

Town lined up in the usual casual 4-4-1-1 formation as follows: Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall, Smith, Amos, Scannell, Jones, Holohan, Clifton, McAtee and Taylor. The substitutes were Pearson, Fox, Maguire-Drew, Abrahams and Dieseruvwe. It's the new normal, let's roll with it.

Will there be karma for Challinor? He's a man without conviction for his crimes. Nemesis! Hubris! Neither of them are on the bench, even though Stockport signed them in January. Oh Stockport you're the tops, you're the Coliseum. Even if this game isn't so pretty at least BT will tell you how great you are.

The show must go on.

First half: Rubber bullets

Stockport kicked off towards the Pontoon. We see rings, we see running. Why in the world are we here? Surely not to live in pain and fear of Stockport?

Efete slipped, a cross was instantly whipped and Madden fell over his own feet. Efete snipped and we heard distant bluesmen sing as the ball was flipped from wing to wing. Now here's a thing: hulking Hogan headed over and sulked back to the halfway line.

Men moving. Some Town resistance at a distance from Stockport persistence. Let's not go overboard with a capital 'O' but one team's got the ball and brains, the other's got a ball and chain; one firing blanks, the other rubber bullets. Gav O'Groves mispassed into the land of make believe and Big Luke lunged to tipple a toe away from the lurking Quigley.

Half a foul, half a foul, half a foul onward. Not that we knew, but someone had blundered. Boldly the blues rolled on in the shadow of the Findus. Hyppolite crankled lowly, swiftly and sweetly into the D. Madden back-flipped into the void behind the absent Efete, Quigley peeled away from Waterfall and passed past Crocombe.

Ruthless. Efficient. Ruthlessly efficient. Efficiently ruthless. Dismay in the home stands as the deconstruction of dismal Town continued apace, at pace. Jones disrobed by a trio of flying ants, McAtee shinning and shanking, Taylor wrapped in a triple blue duvet. Town not so much pressed as squashed like a squirrel on the A46.

Blue this, blue that, strangulation by triangulation as they press, pass and move. Smith scraped off Quigley's toes, Sarcevic big-dipped from afar after hours and hours of rolling mauls. Hyppolite shot at Crocombe through a thicket of legs after days and days of mauling rolls. A cross, a header, a header, a cross. Passing, moving, Stockporters schmoozzing through the gears and foreheads throbbing in rage at the dying of Town's light infantry under siege.

We're giving it all we've got but we cannae change the laws of physics, captain! We just don't have the power.

Penned in and mildly panicking, Crocombe clipped towards Scannell in the shadows. Big Scanz© awkwardly nodded back down the line equidistant between competing feet. Efete and Sarcevic put on some sunglasses and flew at each other for a mid-air face off on the Pringle Patch, the very ground upon which we gather once a year to mourn the loss of a loanee's limbs. One stayed down as the other frowned. Tumult and rage all around the ground and it took an age for the ref to decide who to disappoint in life.

Well, I'm happy, hope you're happy too as out came a red card, then a yellow as bluesmen lost their rhythm, atonally thumping and squawking to everyone and no-one.

Now we've got an even chance of keeping the score down.

Fast and furious and off they swept with a crinkle down their right for the flying Minivan. Amos scraped the mystery machine into the manager's dug out to much boo-hooing shovery from Stockport.

And on and on and on they rolled over these still squishy stripes. A flick and trick and Quigley wriggled to the bye-line. Efete half-headed into the path of the stumbling Madden who sliced a million miles wide. Biff, bash, bing-bang-bong. Infiltrations and salutations, here, there and everywhere. Panic in the streets of Humberside as Johnson wiffled and headed down into the arms of Crocombe at a corner.

Three minutes were added.

Someone, somewhere, at some time claimed that Town had almost crossed the ball once. Almost. Are we just a provincial town to jog around?

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of our greatest strength and our greatest weakness.

Second half: Art for art's sake

Stockport replaced Quigley with Kitching, moving to a back four. Hurrah, hurrah for Dixie!

It's attack versus defence, blue shirts standing in line waiting, waiting, waiting for the next missile to be launched. In, out, in, out, sideways, backwards, back again, in, out, in, out, shake it all about. Up, down, flying around and put that on a loop as we're going round and round in circles.

A flick, a trick, a cross, a clearance, from the left to the right, Efete scraped and Mr Pink kicked away. Back again, round again, here we go again, Holohan walloped wide. Round again, back again, here we go again, Little Harry shanked widely.

And round and round and round, look around, around, around, around. Dear Stockport, won't you come out to play? The sun is up, the sky is blue, a dink over Taylor but Clifton's cross was not true.

They made a change. A hairstyle replaced a turnstile. On the hour Maguire-Drew replaced Little Harry, who high-fived his way around the back of the Pontoon, keeping up the hubbub and aural anarchy. Now there's space.

A pass up the right with Maguire-Drew pinned against the touchline by the home dug out. A cheeky tickle and Taylor's immediate snickle released the hounds. McAtee ran on into the emptiness, cut back past a flailing, ailing Stockfoot and prodded through Mr Pink's legs.

Phew, for a minute there I lost myself.

Slickness, quickness, Holohan crossed and Kitching stooped to head back to Mr Pink as McAtee watched. Quickness, slickness, moments of almostness.

I now detect an alien vibration here, there's something in the air besides the atmosphere. Maguire-Drew teased, McAtee wheezed and the ball scrinkled loopily off blue socks. The object of the action was becoming clear as Waterfall wandered beyond the farthest post. Maguire-Drew clonked a corner from the left and Big Luke arose to sagely noodle back into a pleasantly huge absence of humans dead centre. Holohan, the ghost of Groves, steered the ball through gropes and grasps.

Well we all shine on. Everyone come on, distant karma was always gonna get you, Challinor.

The second half seems to be on a loop. In, out, round and round and round, up, down, in, out, in, out. McAtee was set free again in exactly the same place and same way. But Big John shot straight at Mr Pink. Waterfall header over at a corner. 

With five minutes left Fox replaced McAtee. That's just one of those things that happen now and again.

Them: at last the butterflies finally emerging from their cocoon. Them: fluttering crosses, flapping shots with deflections and inflections, moans and groans, falling and bawling, oh and an offside goal. Madden sliced over from frantic frenzyballing and was there a header wide or was I dreaming of electric sheep?

Manny D came on for Taylor and five minutes were added. Town simply ran the clock down as MD and Scannell took it in turns to run into the corners. Trickery, dickery, tick-toc, tick-toc, tick-toc. This is what you'll get when you mess with us.

Stockport were walking all over Town while they had 11 men. Stockport were still walking over Town while they had 10 men. And then they took off Quigley for their own version of the Parslow Point. Was it bad fortune or bad choices that turned the game Townwards?

The fault, dear brutish Dave, is not in our stars but in ourselves. Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day, we've got a beautiful feeling as everything went our way today. Revenge is a delicious dish best served cold.

Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.