The art of bore

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

7 April 2014

Kidderminster Harriers 0 Grimsby Town 1

A grey midlands day, chilled to the moan, with around 450 Town fans admiring the lawnmower as they waited for the hors d'oeuvres to warm up. The BBC should think about doing The Trip around non-League football grounds for their next series.

Town lined up in the usual 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Hatton, Pearson, Boyce, Thomas, Rodman, Kerr, Disley, McLaughlin, John-Lewis and Hannah. The five Town trainspotters were McDonald, Thanoj, Neilson, Tounkara and Jennings.

What is there to say? Those plumes of smoke don't designate a new pope – it's the six-five special comin' down the line. Get your tea chest out for the lads, it's time for some skiffle. Does Lonnie Donegan mean nothing to the youth of today? He opened my old school's summer fete in 1978. Careers rarely end on such a high.

They played in red, Town played in black and white, the grass was tufty, the pitch was sandy and can't you see we're in misery.

Is now the time to remind you about the danger posed by exploding rhubarb?

First half: The travelling light show

Town kicked off towards the mass of maudlin midlanders and away from the mush of Marinerdom. That sentence was sponsored by the letter m.

Snap, crackle and plop. We'll have none of your footballs here. So what have you got under your hat today, Mr-Manager-Formerly-Known-As-Shorty? Ah, it's the Basil Brush system: boom, boom. The Kiddies flittered and fluttered, Boyce and Pearson's approach to butterfly collection involved a very large wellington boot and a tin of creosote. Town's approach to football involved a very large tin of creosote and a wellington hoof. We'll have none of your footballs here.

Woah, what is this? Has someone forgotten the script? Kerr passed, Rodman roamed, Hatton rolled, and magic Alex, the silky swerver, tumbled into the area propelled by a local boot and a sense of injustice. Hannah and Hatton, the potential H bombs, hovered as the wall hung around like a washing line. Hannah wafted weakly way over.

Let's get back to normality.

Thomas tutted, Pearson puttered over in his little golf buggy to fix the leak. Boyce boinged balls just below the radar, avoiding a series of embarrassing telephone calls from air traffic control. Ooh! No, please de-ooh yourself. The Shopping Trolley rattled and hummed but fell into the canal as the appearance of the possibility of a chance that he might be bounding free to miss spluttered across the memory.

Gash had a lash wide and high. Actually, Gash looks like he's been on the lash: he's the chunkiest of Kiddy cats.

Ah, now's the time to remind you about exploding rhubarb.

John-Lewis belly-flopped and the ball was boombled away willy-nilly. There was shillying, there was shallying, and the ball squirtled up about 25 yards out, dead centre. Rodman espied Lewis off his line, whipped out his talents and whooped a wonderful big booming dipper over the keeper, right down the middle, running back upfield towards the happy hoppers to feel the love.

Now there's a chip that's delicious on its own, no tomato sauce required. No condiments needed, only compliments to the chef.

We've scored the goal – why bother getting another one, eh? Let's sit back and watch the world go by

Pearson almost forgot the Town template and was daft enough to try and score a second goal. Fortunately he remembered just as the ball landed on his bonce, heading a free kick very wide and very high. We've scored the goal – why bother getting another one, eh? Let's sit back and watch the world go by.

Kidderminster awoke. Wright barundled past Thomas and was as perplexed as the passing pigeons when McKeown hurtled and blocked near the left corner of the area. The Kidsters started to infiltrate little cracks between the lightly mortared bricks, lightly shredding Town's left like crispy seaweed as the monochromers shrank backwards into their comfort zone.

Thomas was bundled, Vaughan niddled and Wright nurdled against McKeown's awaiting palms. Rebounds rebounded and a cross was crossed. Hatton awaited and shrank as Morgan-Smith arose to plonk downwards from the edge of the six-yard box. We're waiting for the roar. McKeown sprang right to claw agin the inside of the post and clasp the rebound to his manly bosom. The roars were for Jamie Mack's paws.

Wright wriggled and waggled along the bye-line, but red socks awaited his puny putting and pouting to snuff out his advances. A punt, a grunt, a pickle and a poke as McKeown leapt out of his area and the ball rolled down his body, Boyce swatting clear. Town just parked the caravanette in the nearest field and the locals didn't know what to do.

That, my fine friends, is more than you need to know about tractors in Tashkent.

Stu's surprise second coming of Toilet Talk

"We can't keep relying on them being worse than us"
"Your hair looks different on Twitter"
"If it wasn't for Rodman we'd be boring and drawing"
"I had visions of Brian Blessed – Sam Hatton's alive!”
"How could you miss the hair in Polar Bear?"

Second half: Bark at the moon

Neither team made any changes at half time.

I had some rather disappointing chips at a Harvester near Nuneaton. They were functional, they fulfilled a basic requirement, but held no interest beyond the need to accumulate calories to ensure survival.

Ah, I see the artisans of Aggborough go to the same Harvester for their pre-match meal. Long shots, dripping, dipping, insipiding wide, high and beautifully ugly. Anything we can do they can't do better.

Hello! What a lovely smile he has, that Chez Dunkley. Don't mix him up with that controversial ranch-style property on the outskirts of Chaddesley Corbett owned by a local skip hire magnate. He's the generally genial gentle giant in the heart of the Kiddermen defence.

Near the hour diddy widdy Kiddymen brought on Cieslewicz, who fizzed and flattered for ten minutes or so; there was a moment when something almost happened up there in the distance. A bit of helter skelter skittling and a flashy cross-shot which hit someone, somewhere nearish the line. Accidents can happen, but Town had checked their tyres and not mixed their cross-ply and radials.

Pssst, hey, come here. Get a little closer, I wanna tell you a story about a little man, if I can. There was this moment, right, when there were several Grimsby Town players inside the Kidderminster half and, you'll never believe it, I know, but it really happened: the ball was passed. And, get this, Aswad Thomas crossed it.

I didn't make it up, honest, I know it happened, there were other people there as well, they saw it too, ask them.

Dodgems in the Town area, bodging and the lodging of court documents from interested parties bearing witness to the facts. Some stumbling and tumbling, a free kick that was fancy-danned into nothing. O'Keefe tried to Rodman Jamie Mack, but the ball flattened onto the roof of the net. His big dipper didn't dip.

We'll just chuckle at the memory of John-Lewis being outpaced by the linesman as he chased a dream.

Disley alone on the edge of their area, carefully passed sideways, instigating a lightning inverse counter-attack with Boyce back-passing to McKeown within five seconds. The opposition can't cope with sophisticated systems and tactics. They think football is about scoring goals, not avoiding scoring more goals. Pah, amateurs. Do Luton really think that scoring goals will get them promoted? Naïve fools.

Hannah had run around a lot. It's the only way he'd get near the ball, as we sure as heck ain't going to pass it to him

Ah, that's it! That's why old Fennel John-Lewis is such an integral part of The Machine. I have solved the Riddle of the Stands. It's the ignoble art of counter-defending! We're experts at swiftly changing attack into defence, whereby a scoring opportunity is turned majestically and magically into a divot-bobbling back-pass to Jamie Mack. Nobody does it better.

Jennings replaced Hannah, or, as he is officially known, Hard-Working Hannah. Hannah had run around a lot. It's the only way he'd get near the ball, as we sure as heck ain't going to pass it to him.

Town punted again and Dunkley trundled a bumbler to Lewis, who juggled and jaggled and airshot the ball backwards for a corner. Oh we chuckled, and we're claiming that as Town's first shot of the second half. The corner was errrrrrrrrrrrrrrred nowhere. We don't do shots.

The Kiddermen fluffed about here, there and everywhere, bringing on two more substitutes, taking off the appropriate number of players. Who cares who didn't do what, where, when or how? Jennings flibbled free and rolled the ball into a vast acreage of emptiness, known by experts in the field as the whole of the Kidderminster half. John-Lewis trolleyed towards the ball. Daniel Lewis used his right foot to stop The Shop's embarrassment at missing. Call it pre-emptive action.

The Aggborough amblers piled forward and left huge spaces, safe in the knowledge that Town didn't do shots. Townites just ran the ball into the corner flags as four minutes were added. The Chiselwitch cuckoo pootled about in his own half. Rodman chased and outmuscled the fey foot-wiggler. Magic Alex started to drift towards the corner, but did not surrender to the void, heading into the hole, swishing infield, wiggling his hips, causing the last two defenders to swoon and faint. Rodman walloped from the edge of the area and Lewis leapt left and spectacularly parried aside.

There is nothing else to add.

One goal, two shots, three points. All you need to know. We're seeing the same game over and over again in different parts of the country, like a touring theatre production. We know whodunit and howdunnit: Rodman with a stiletto, by the back door. It's not getting rave reviews. Perhaps there's need to spice up the production a bit. You know, keep the basics, add a little more colour.