Fiddlers on the hoof

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

2 May 2015

Ah, so many destination faces going to so many places where the weather is much better and the food is so much cheaper. Welcome to a field down a lane by a church where no-one has been. Welcome to a town near an airport where the streets have no paths. Welcome to a traffic jam.

We’re Grimsby Town, we turn up when we want.

You know Town’s season used to start in March. Now it doesn’t start until it’s ended. Around 700 merry Mariners gathered together with a thoughtful toothpick on a pleasant Test Valley Thursday in status symbol land.

Town strolled up and lined up in a lolling, rolling 4-4-2 as follows: McKeown, Nsiala, Pearson, Gowling, Magnay, Mackreth, Brown, Disley, Arnold, Palmer and John-Lewis. The substitutes were Parslow, Clay, Chapell, Pittman and Hannah. Let’s hope Toto doesn’t go loco at right back, but at least we have the patented Percy Parslow safety pin ready. Perhaps they should stock them in the club shop, alongside Nathan Arnold crimping scissors and Carl Magnay’s spray tan Ready Brek glow.

Eastleigh. A bunch of spivs and wideboys on the pitch, but they have a rich man, yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum. He’s built a big stand with seats by the dozen right on the edge of town. A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below. There’s one pathless road in, leading nowhere, just for show. Lovely people though, so pleasant and polite. So Lib Dem. I bet their roses are all in bloom, even if their kids just don’t understand why they don’t go to Southampton instead.

Hear the hum, bang the drum, we’re feeling comfortably numb.

1st Half – a walk in the new forest ghetto

The local wideboys hoofed off towards the Town fans. I don’t know, the hoof of today isn’t what it used to be.

They hoof, we punt, you put your head in your hands and cry. Whatever happened to all those old-time heroes, like Craig Shakespearo?

A punt, a punt, a promotion for a pass? Brown levered, Pearson arose alone to noddle over. A punt, a shunt, Arnold shimmied left, shook right, and spectacularly big-dippered a lob-volley over the leaping salmon from way, way out.

Up went the arms of the monochrome army, out came a blue flare pursued by a man with a bucket of sand and some oven gloves. Dib-dib-dib as they dab-dab-dabbed down the gaseous distraction. No sir, I was referring to the smoke bomb, not dear old Lennie. His ears must be burning.

A blueman crumbled. Arnold pounced, flew goalwards and dipped a dobber. Flitney the salmon stopper flipped aside. The corner scrimped away off hopeless homester heads and the ball high-tailed it into the void. Palmer slapped agin the post and slapped his thigh. We’re slapping ‘em.

Eight minutes, four chances, one goal, no opposition.

That’s far too much excitement for one evening. Let’s settle down for some hugging and chugging. Well, ruggerby union and tennis are popular with the southern middle classes. Up and under hoof-ball with some serve and volley thrown in. Don’t mention the throw-ins, these foul hurls and chucks doth offend our noses.

Hoof, hoof, hoooooooooof, stumble and tumble and everything all of a jumble of ninnyball nonsense. These southern men can’t stand up for falling down. Hold your nose and hold on to your hats, we’re being mugged, but fortunately the ref’s no mug.

Constable messed wide. Nice for them to have a shot of sorts. Midson looks like a Maltese club bouncer from the 1950s. Midson plays like a Maltese club bouncer from the 1950s. Eastleigh are just bunch of gangly gangsters.

Reason unreasonably roamed in Jamie Mack’s personal space. Thricely stepping out McKeown tired of the ingrate and barged the bore to the ground. The referee sauntered towards the handbag dancing and pointed northwards. He could see Jai Reason, ‘cause there was Jai Reason, what reasons did he need to make a decision? We could tell why the ref didn’t like Eastleigh. He shot their whole game plan down by ignoring their amateurish dramatics.

And then the bullneck Constable cackled, Captain Sensible tackled and Town had problems with the hows and whys. Town retreated into a deep stasis and the balls went higher and longer and deeper-deeper-deeper into the Town area. Pearson double grazed away, Gowling double smothered, Jamie Mack double flapped and flopped and everyone did a doubletake as eventually the Hampshire hoofers had a shot on target. Midson placed pleasingly softly and gently as the half ended.

They need an air traffic controller, not a manager.

2nd Half – of hoofs and men

Neither team made any changes at half time

What’s going on? Not much. Disley squiggled widely after he handled without care and at some point a Town player controlled the football somewhere, probably. Eastleigh had the ball. When I say had the ball I mean the motion of the over-inflated beach ball was mostly but vaguely towards Jamie Mack. Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see. It’s such a poor game, we need your sympathy.

The change it had to come, they knew it all along. Off went Stanley in a huff with Dickie Hillock and on came Odubade. Down went Odubade as Magnay reduced him to rubble. The free kick was tipped deeply and dippily beyond the far post. Toto arose to superbly steer back across the face of goal to the unremarkably unmarked Obudabe, three yards out, who stooped to conquer the northern barbarians. Pfft, typical.

Higher, longer, deeper, the Eastleigh motto: mission statement and modus operandi. Big booming balls sir, that’s all it is and they are. McKeown started to flap again, like he did last summer.

Palmer was immediately sent free, miscontrolled, crossed and Flitney fisted away. A moment. Moments pass, unlike Town. The change it had to come, we knew it all along. We tilted our hat to Palmer and Brown, as Feetov Clay and Pittttttttman took a bow. We smiled and grinned at the changer as Town took up the ball and played football. Arnold started to tinkle the ebony and ivories, though not in perfect harmony with Lennie and the Pittpony.

Passing around, crossings abound. Clay steered carefully, the ball skewered wide off some blueman. That’s better.

I wish we could fly way up to the skybet League Two, but we can’t. We can!

I wish I could see what folks see in in Eastleigh, but I can’t. No-one can.

Jamie Mack pumped up the volume and punted long and high in to the sky. Lennie nodded on towards the demon barber, on the right corner of their penalty area. Arnold thigh juggled laterally to scroop and thronk-volley a searing screamer across the flustered flapping Flitney and into the deepest left corner of the netting. Now that’s what I call shooting volume two, and the volume was turned way up to 11. The little drummer boy burst his drum and rolling thunder was in our ear.

Eastleigh lumped and dumped higher and harder. Eastleigh dived and scweamed and scweamed and scweamed. Jamie Mack flipped, flopped and dropped, but his insurance policy was still valid, as many monochromers flocked to avoid shocks and Gowling and Pearson blocked. Gowling and Pearson: complimentary and complementary tickets to the Great British Art of Defending Show.

Lennie! Oh, Lennie. The shopping trolley twizzled and wizzed away, pursued by blue meanies. As the salmon stopper slunk The Artist Presently Known As The Shop shin-volleying lowly across Flitney, who spectacularly, and admittedly excellently, sprung lowly left to parry-punch up, up and over.

Five minutes were added, and we had five minutes of hoofs, jumping through hoops, McKeown flips and flaps and back slaps all around. We’re only a third of the way to paradise. So near, yet so far away.