The carpetbaggers

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

21 September 2014

Kidderminster Harriers 0 Grimsby Town 1

Ooh what a grey day in Carpetland with around 400 travelling Townites huddling in age-based clumps, youngest next to the drum, oldest nearest the toilets. In between there was a kaleidoscope of hope, despair, confusion and delusion. It's the natural order of things.

Town lined up in a 4-it-could-be-5-it-should-be-3-1 formation as follows: McKeown, Parslow, Pearson, Nsiala, Magnay, Mackreth, Clay, Brown, Disley, Neilson and Hannah. The substitutes were Bignot, Doig, McLaughlin, Winfarrah and Oates. Maths, science, history, unraveling the mysteries of TMFKAS's big bang theory is easy. Let's imagine there's no possession, it's easy if you try. What, oh, new players and all that. Percy Parslow is moderately tall, moderately sturdy and at least stands around looking competent. I like the way that man stands: he has posture, let's hope he's not an imposter. Rhys Oates sounds like a breakfast cereal but wears leisurewear well. Who knows what tomorrow brings.

Today's special at the Aggborough Kitchen Sink Bistro is chicken chow mein. Right, let's get ready to watch two bald men fighting over a comb.

First half: Carpet slippers

Town kicked off away from the away end. Smoke billowed from the Severn Valley Railway, chow mein disappeared from aluminium foil trays, Magnay kept fouling Johnson, Nicholson kept wasting free kicks. The pitch looked good.

Wake up Magnay, I think I've got something to say to you. It's late September and you really don't look good in blue. Magnay may have been magnificent but today, Matthew, he finally looked like a centre-back playing at full-back. The fleet-footed, one-footed winger whizzed and fizzed as the Gateshead Grizzler clanked. He looked physically and mentally sluggish, like he'd woken up sleeping, reduced to chugging and mugging: marvellous Marvin was really bugging him and us. Johnson surged, McKeown easily purged the evil from this land by donning a pointy hat, pointing at the witch and soft scooping at his near post.

Ah, Nicholson finally didn't waste a free kick. Wafting a coiler, ankles clashed and smashed away from inside the six-yard box. Feigning a deep drooper to the big blokes at the back, he scrinkled a dripper to the near post. McKeown flew left and splendidly splattered aside from the foot of the post. Johnson jostled and had a jaunt. A cross skipped loopily off a Town toe and slowly arced into the six-yard box. Jamie Mack stayed on his line, Toto's aura held the pack back, and McKeown went toe to toe with Toto in an onfield, in-match tactical debrief. Or maybe he had a go at Toto for dilly-dally dawdling.

There is nothing but little red waves lapping against the seashore. Fortunately, the diddy Kiddymen had placed a large groyne inside Town's harbour to break up those powerless waves. Gash really should stop eating fried food and take a little exercise now and again; I recommend hearty walks around Chaddesley Corbett.

What's the point of Reece Styche? He's like an inferior Brodie, a useless pest whose sole remit is to tickle and taunt. We were all amused by the shirt-based scuffle with McKeown at a corner. The Kidders had moments of almostness. Shots. The ball. Moving. Vaguely goalwards. Harmless.

No width, no pace in foot or thought and much standing in the marsh. But better than battering the floodlights with some rugby league

After about 20 minutes or so the sea was becalmed, the dinghies bobbed in the dingy afternoon murk. We'd bored them into parity. Town tried the occasional breakaway, which foundered on Hannah's weeness and a certain tweeness in attempted piddling. No width, no pace in foot or thought and much standing in the marsh. But better than battering the floodlights with some rugby league.

Ooh madam, what was that? Triangular passing, Brown smashing, the ball washing wide of the merest red boot for a corner to waste; the corner was wasted. Then another. And another. Short and to the point of a red forehead, long and beyond the fringe of a blue bonce. Elevation's what you need if you want to be a record breaker.

I forgot about Ross Hannah's header. And now I have forgotten it again. What was that? Nope, can't remember. I forgot about Hannah's side net side swipe. And now I have forgotten it again. What was that? Nope, can't remember. Hannah? Dwarfed by Dunkley. There's activity, but no action.

There's action, there's activity.

Mackreth was muscled and Johnson ran and ran and ran down their right. Brown slipped, Pearson posed as an inflatable comedy cow on a rope and Johnson swished infield. With two chaps unmarked to his left, marvellous Marvin flibbled lowly. McKeown squirtled away, but straight to Gash, 15 yards out. The goal was untended with McKeown slip-sliding on the turf. Gash made a hash with a wild slash over the angle of left post and bar to the chortling ha-has of the travelling Wilburys. What a miss, what a guy.

Kidderminster didn't do anything else. They were too embarrassed to come near us. They thought we'd laugh at them. Of course we would.

Brown did things. Neilson was released on the right. Neilson waited, Chief Hair Bear Josh deflated with a deflection as Hannah awaited alone at the far post. That was that. Things occasionally nearly happened and Gash missed an open goal. Had their keeper touched the ball with his hands? Answers must be received by midnight via the modern communication media; we recommend telegram. Maybe Lewis caught a cross. Maybe Lewis caught the bus home and was watching Celebrity Antique Roadtrip.

Town were the lesser of two dull strollers. Jeez, it was mundane in the midlands. Where's me washboard?

Stu's half-time toilet talk

"When it comes to art she's going with Gaugin."
"To be positive about Town, we're negatively competent."
"Well, if you'd gone to Halifax you'd have met me in a pub that was closed."
"Disley's the new Stuart Campbell."
"Cats? Is that the one where they nail Madonna to the cross at the end?"
"They're as bad as us, they've even got a Lennie-alike."

Second half: Carpet bombers

Neither team made any changes at half time. Can you hear me at the back? I said neither team made any changes at half time.

The Hairy Harriers hustled a little bit more, harried a heck of a lot more, and before you knew it nothing had happened, but quicker. They were just winging it, and so were we.

A winger winged and wanged a cross. We can ooh, we can aah, but we're still on level par going through the back nine. A cross, a corner or a free kick. Or was it a long chuck? Well, one of them, that's for sure. How else did the ball fly from left to right? McKeown was swamped, and Parslow headed back a cross into the six-yard box. A bit of shin shovelling and toe=curling riverdancing resulted in a lot of embarrassed men standing at the bar after the game supping lager and blackcurrant shandies and whistling Dixie.

Johnson rammed and raided, drumbling smackily against the side netting/post nexus. They heard the knock on wood on the Bridgnorth funicular railway. Johnson, dribbling like a Scottie dog, crossing behind, in front and over his mates. And fellow Kidderminster players. Styche twisted Percy Parslow into a four leaf clover and drivelled lowly through the municipal gardens. Mackreth got out his pruning shears, took a few cuttings and spooned over the bar with the goal open. The corner cornered in beyond the grasping, groping Jamie Mack. Dunkley dunked down and Clay headed off the line. Mere moments between the mumbles and grumbles, exceptions to the rule.

I do believe that the chubby charmer did some twisty twisting curler which coiled over the crossbar. Or was it wide? Or was that last week? Or was it last year? The important thing is to believe it happened. Whatever it is.

Halfway through the half Mackreth was replaced by the borrowed Barnsleyite. Yon Oates has a lean and hungry look: such men are dangerous.

Town moved to a 4-4-2 formation and… suddenly started to have joyful gallivants down the flanks, particularly the left. Magnay roamed and rolled low crosses, just too high and high crosses just too low, near Hannah, above Hannah, behind Hannah and almost near Hannah. In short, Dunkley dumped them all into the stands using various body parts. Oates lost the ball, won it back, lost the ball, won it back, lost the ball, won it back in a cycle of multiple scrumbles. At least he's trying. Hannah levered a cross. Oates awaited and missed as the ball fizzed through several red legs.

Styche squealed like a pig as Nsiala thwacked him from behind. Out came a yellow card, up popped the bearded squealer.

More Town raids, more Town pressure, more Town corners. Nsiala arose alone and be-donked against the top of the crossbar. He's excellent at nearly scoring once per game. I'd prefer him to be rubbish at nearly scoring and good at scoring but, hey, I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. In my key of course.

Porky Gash waddled off. Then the Bearded Squealer minced off and was replaced by a man bigger than Toto. I know what you're thinking: is that possible? The world is full of wonders as yet undiscovered. One day Town'll get a goalscorer.

We don't score goals like that. That was proper football. Now that's what I call music to my ears. It's music to watch goals by. Goals talk, it happens everywhere

Kiddymen abandoned football and began walloping humps and booming big balls. McKeown mugged as a corner flew beyond the far post. Some red leg swiped back along the bye-line and the ball bumbled off blue. Some of the more desperate Worcestershire whiners claimed that a blue hand was involved in this hum-drummery. Flim-flammery. Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense, nonsense.

Balls boomed biggishly and Blisset, the Toto-plus substitute, pushed aside some blue polycotton fibres and steered a header in. Relax, the whistle had blown several days ago for a foul. This is nothing.

Town breaks, breaking down on Dunkley's well-placed bonce and intricate dithering in blue. Clay delayed a pass, Neilson twirled his fingers too long, Magnay underhit and overhit, Hannah slapped wide from a narrow angle. Mere moments between the rumbles and tumbles.

With five minutes to go Town set up some calm tapping down the right. A dink, a chase and the ball ended up with Brown, who spun a web of deceit and za-zoomed directly at the heart of the Kidderminstermen defence. Brown arrived and slowed to a waltz. Shoot, pass, just do something!

A sneaky little slither into the edge of the area, into the path of the tyro Tyke, a stiletto into the heart, to move the chessmen. Oates snapped back inside, twisted and crunched an unstoppable cracker into the bottom right corner. By 'eck lad, that were summat. I'll go to the foot of our stairs. We don't score goals like that. That was proper football. Now that's what I call music to my ears. It's music to watch goals by. Goals talk, it happens everywhere.

McLaughlin immediately replaced Neilson. Nope, still can't remember seeing Disley. Barrage balloons ahoy! Route zero frenetic booms zoomed in from afar and from on high. Everyone stood in the Town area waiting for the next air raid. Angels at zero one five. An inter-continental missile arced out of the Earth's atmosphere, returned somewhere above Evesham and headed for the top left corner. Around 50 per cent of the registered professional footballers currently residing south of Birmingham jumped into the same air space. Ball, bottoms and biceps bashed against the woodwork. Relax, the whistle had blown a happy tune.

More of this and that, with both that and this being big booming balls. Four minutes were added and it all ended when a free kick was wasted by Nicholson who didn't boom the ball.

We can get it on now – bang that gong, little drummer boys.

A win's a win, and not every game needs to be remarkable. This was remarkable because Town won despite themselves. Town got their Oates today. Don't get carried away, and don't have nightmares.

Let's end with a riddle wrapped in a mystery and definitely an enigma: why were The Shop and Arnold (who'd come as Mr T) hanging around outside Kidderminster station after the game?