Big Ed

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

25 November 2013

Grimsby Town 2 Hairnet 1

An old-fashioned autumn afternoon of silent stillness and 57 varieties of Hairnetters down in the Osmond stand. Will he, won’t he be wearing Harmony hairspray? Start spreading the news, Old Big Ed is in town fulfilling those childhood dreams as he wandered down the mean streets of Paramaribo. South American sun is all very well, but Ed wanted to play in the citadels of world football. San Siro? Check. Santiago Bernabeu? Check. Blundell Park... checkmate. Wasn’t The Streets of Paramaribo a Quinn Martin production?

Town lined up in an old-fashioned meat and potato pie 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Hatton, Pearson, McDonald, Thomas, Rodman, Kerr, Disley, McLaughlin, John-Lewis and Hannah. The five guys named No were Bignot, Colbeck, Neilson, Cook and Hearn. If I have to tell you where everyone stood you really haven’t been paying attention; for your homework the set text is the complete works of Craig Shakespeare. Craig Shakespeare? Ah, the thrill of it all, I remember you-oo.

What about the orange? Wahey, the ego has landed! Old Big Ed is their number one, their second to none. Yep, Davids turned up with a big number one on his back and his trademark shades atop his dreadlockish bonce. Shall we be cheeky and turn the lights down real low and put on some sexy football music? Soccer Superstar, you know who you are.

Oh go on then, let’s get on with the show.

First half: Number one Dutch defective agency

Passing, kicking, shooting, dribbling, tackling, heading and ball control. Ah yes, the Ajax method. Total football, total cleaning solutions. Stronger than dirt, Ed’s hairnet will clean our kitchen floor like an orange tornado!

Pass to the Dutchmen ‘pon the left-hand side. He said, pass to the Dutchman ‘pon the left-hand side. And lo, did the Hairnetters pass low and slow, quick, quick, slow across the pitch from left to right, from right to left, from left to right. From right to left. And on and on and on they go so slow, so low, so slowly low, lowly, slowly lowly.

Lopez the Latin glover freaked out at the sight of his chic mate Cardigan on the other wing. A free kick for a lolling roll and wibble-wobble-bobble shot skipped into McKeown’s arms. They pass, they pass, they pass and hit a black and white brick wall. Town wellied, McLaughlin took his chevy to the levy and the Shop shot high and dry into the night sky.

They pass, they pass, they pass and their little left-back wellied lowly. McKeown passed the test by flying low and rightly. A save needed and danger heeded. The Hairnetters passed themselves into Escherian doodles of beautifully crafted inconsequence. They’d make a lovely jigsaw puzzle.

A free kick chipped into McKeown’s shovel was the sum total of their perpetual motion. They ebbed and Town almost flowed. Thomas raided once, raided twice and The Rodman dribbled daintily here and there. A goal! An offside! Hannah turned and whacked and the linesman’s flag was up before dawn.

Isolated moments between the bores of Barnet’s crab fishing. Hannah crossed, Rodman volleyed off Lennie’s twinkling toes

Penalty! No! The Even Happier Shopper chested past Stack and plunged under a brushstroke.

A penalty! No, a hand diverted some kind of thwimbling hugger-wugger after some rugger chucking.

A goal? No! Hannah scrumbled a cross-shot wide when briefly free.

Isolated moments between the bores of Barnet’s crab fishing. Hannah crossed, Rodman volleyed off Lennie’s twinkling toes. Kerr sliced some white bread into the empty Osmond and Hannah was shoved to the turf inside the penalty area. Come off it, grandad, this ref isn’t giving us a pensioner’s discount.

Is that it? It was more than there was. As Town got better the game got worse.

Second half: Dreadlock follyday

Neither team made any changes at half time.

More thrust and oomph from Town, and the Hairnets were still frillying, rather than thrilling. Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass out of play. Thomas roaming, Thomas ranging, Thomas raiding, Thomas rampaging. Crossing near, far and all points in between. Orange heads nodded and the Shopping Trolley swung his pants, lolloping a looper to the far post. McLaughlin awaited and a-slapped against the side netting and slapped his thighs in frustration.

A thrust on the left, dink-flicked on by Hannah to the unmarked awaiting Rodman. He chested high, leant back and lumped way over as the unmarked Hannah shook his head and hands.

Hannah roamed and ramped lowly to the centre of the earth. Rodman volleyed straight at Stack.

Barnet were barely even pretty anymore, an ephemeral presence, gadfly butterflies as winter beckoned.

Another minute, another Town punt, Disley arrived and arose in midfield. Lennie the Lion hooked on and Hannah, right in the centre, wrapped his right foot in tinfoil and baked the ball into the top left corner.

And on came Hearn and Cook for Hannah and Lennie the favourite seasonal striker for Grimsby’s middle class. I’m still seeing no stings from the Bees, for all their sumptuous swishing and swaying. Hello Hatton! Twenty-five yards out and shaping nicely, the free kick kissed the side netting free.

What cheek! Hairnet harassing to go with their passing. They finally ate their Toblerones with some trigonometry down their right

Ed’s in a flap, heading for a flop. A lump down the line and Cook chased into the corner ‘twixt Pontoon and Police Box, rolled infield, rolled the ball to the unmarked and watched as Hearn took a long look and carefully caressed into the bottom right corner.

Oh yes, things turned out nice again.

What cheek! Hairnet harassing to go with their passing. They finally ate their Toblerones with some trigonometry down their right. The Cardigan dived at the near post and headed wide as McKeown sailed out to sea in a sieve. Hey, what do we care, 2-0 up and we’re having a ball, if not having hold of the ball.

Woah, baby that’s a finger-lickin’ frolic. A cross cleared and Big Bad Stephens flipped the ball and bambonkled a swirling, curling volley over McKeown into the top left corner. Phew, what a scorcher.

There were four minutes of added time. Hearn plunged to Earth below the Horsemeat Stand, clutching his knee. Off he went, replaced by Colbeck. Four became seven minutes in the ref’s phantasmagorical time machine. Big Ed clipped a flip over Burgerboy and Loopy Lopez volleyed nicely straight in to the arms of Mary.

If you thought Buckleyball was anaemic, b-b-b-baby, you ain’t seen Barnet yet. Town? Let’s rock.