Stop messin' about

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

9 August 2015

Kidderminster Harriers 2 Grimsby Town 2

Right, that's the cricket done and dusted, let's get down to business. No promotion, no job. No excuses accepted. This time, more than any other time, this time, you've got to get it right and not just keep it tight for nine months. Hope isn't good enough. Second isn't good enough. Are another new Town good enough?

A roaringly roasting afternoon in carpetland where 1,700 Townites fluttered their artefacts at the passing Grimsby bench. It was a frenzy of shark-based inflation, elation and expectations. Nothing can go wrong now.

Town lined up in a sensible 4-4-2 as follows: McKeown, Nsiala, Pearson, East, Arnold, Clay, Disley, Monkhouse, Amond, Bogle. The substitutes were Robertson, Tait, Mackreth, Venney and Clifton. With no left-back the reserve right-back went left and the centre-back conundrum was solved by shifting Toto sideways, with Tait the collateral damage. Monkhouse ached away on the left, unfurling himself like a sleepy, arthritic giraffe. Let us be kind to the man in the twilight of his career; we can only ask he tries his best.

Kidderminster folk are fine and friendly folk with a sense of proper priorities in life – pies before profit. It's nice to see them still around, although we'd rather not come again. Nothing personal. We like you, but it's just business.

OK ramblers, let's get rambling. Let's go to work.

First half: Drifting

Kidderminster false-started with a dummy towards the massively massed Mariners as Bogle rumbled into the centre circle. Let's start again.

Kidderminster ticked off towards the wide sharknado sea of bouncing bonhomie and bravado. They bombed and blitzed, hustled and hassled and no-one got anywhere, anyhow, anyway. How annoying. Clap. Clap. Clap-clap-clap-clap. Fish! We're gonna have a party, party. We'd like to dance if only Town would make a cha-cha-cha-chance.

Are we dancing? Are they asking?

Just a dink down the left, that's all. Amond rolled around his marker to roam free. From a narrow angle he carefully rolled lowly and slowly across Snedker, who slowly and lowly clasped as the Kidderfolk clapped appreciatively.

The Carpetbaggers crossed the ball a couple of times. Pfffft. Whatever. Momentary and fleeting feelings of concern shuffled across the collective monochrome mind. Kidderminster scuttled a lot.  What a messy blancmange. You should never leave a blancmange out in the sun.

I don't think that I can take it, 'cos it took so long to bake it. I hope we'll never have that recipe again, oh noooooo. Sorry, it's the heat, causing acid flashbacks to last season and the season before and… and… and ah, now for something completely indifferent.

Bogle flicked on a punt, Amond thigh-steered through the mirage that was their centre-backs. Our own, our very own Mr Teasy-Weasy Arnold shimmied through the haze and the man fell to Earth. A stumble, a dive, or a touch from the keeper?

Who knows? Not me, I think he just lost control. Arnold laughed, shook his head and made his way back home.

They rattled and hummed, as we drummed our fingers awaiting our reward for the irritating cross-country drive, through the mean streets of Bromsgrove and beyond. We like you Kidderminster but you're too far away; unlike your players, who are far too near our travelling minstrels. Get back, go away, especially Styche, perennially sneaky and snidey, but perennially peripheral. A farmyard fool: irksome and irritating with his chicken wing elbows and post-watershed donkey droppings.

And then the foot was on the other throat, I mean boat, I mean boot.

With Omar discombobulated and Monkhouse's limbs aching, a moment of almostness drifted into nothingness

Toto loopy-crossed into the six-yard box. Snedker floppy-dropped as Bogle bore down and the ball rolled near the goal. With Omar discombobulated and Monkhouse's limbs aching, a moment of almostness drifted into nothingness. Wahey – ho-ho! A wiggle, a waggle and a Bogle boggle walloped into Snedker's gloves from afar. Arnold carefully caressed a free kick straight at Snedker. The force was with us.

Sumptuousness and sumptuosity on a stick. Such beauty with a foot and a ball. Such passing and movement. Arnold wall-passed well with Bogle, who lifted the Demon Barber free behind the invisible defence. Arnold charmed Snedker and rolled a pass into the vast void in front of the emptying nettage. Amond awaited. The shiver of sharks sniffed the air and sensed blood, but lumbering Langmead appeared, as if by magic, to whisk away from the toes of the man they call Podge.

Amond sneakily sidled a tickle, Monkhouse lifted a loft, Arnold headed down and headed on towards goal, unimpeded by local traffic wardens. Snedker swished out and Arnold stumble-poked onto the flinger's feet. Wait, there's more. Arnie cut across from wing to wing via Monkyman's giraffing befuddling, swished goalwards and Snedker spectacularly parried. Typical Town, all over them, but it isn't over.

Them? They got inside the Town penalty area once, and nearly did a second time. Don't worry, Gowling knows what to do, he knows each divot in Kidderminster.

With a couple of minutes left, Bogle beefily barundled near the benches and tickled down the left. Amond ran on alone, calmly awaited Snedker's arrival and simply passed through the keeper. No worries, no doubt about it. Let the party begin.

Beep-beep, the end of the beginning. East immediately stormed towards Bogle, jabbering and jabbing his fingers furiously. Omar nearly jumped out of his shorts and was forcibly restrained by several team-mates. The conflaberation disappeared down the tunnel in a foggy flurry of fumes.

Ah, team spirit.

A dire opening 20 minutes turned into a preening procession of Townism and a showcase for their new keeper. Persistent pressing, passing, movement and eventually a goal. Town should have been at least three up and were clearly superior. It was easy. Too easy once they'd got the measure of hufflers and scufflers.

Second half: Lazy

Kidderminster took off Langmead, their immensely immoveable centre-back, and put on a lithe little sprinter at left back, moving big Rowe-Turner into the centre. Hey, what do we care? What could possibly go wrong in the new era?

The Kiddermen ran around. Town released their Kiddy clamp and strolled, sat back and were egos on toast.

An accidental Monkhouse perambulation involving two legs, two hands and a bicycle made for two ended with nothing. Nothing comes of nothing. Here's more sweet and sour nothings. A vague lump was headed distantly by a Carpetfitter and Disley sauntered and sloppily slapped behind East, who erred with a wayward welly high back to Jamie Mack. To err is to be human, but only once. To err again is dumb. McKeown repeated last week's Boston baloney and messed up a mis-control straight to the gittish Styche, who rolled into the empty net and ran off to taunt the Town bench and finally get a booking.

There were private oaths uttered. Publicly, the nation of sharks were right behind the boys in blue.

We were waiting for a Town attack in the second half. A-ha, Bogle plunged and poured the free kick over the bar. Some were prepared to ooh, just to encourage the lad. Hey, don't you know, another excursion into the outer limits of Kidderminster's penalty area and incursion into their inner psyche. A corner. Elevation Mr Arnold! Arnold elevated. Toto arose beyond the far post and nodded. Monkhouse swept through the detritus from the centre of the centre of the penalty area to swish straight down the middle and headed off to be swamped by sharks.

And everything was beautiful again, in its own way.

Now here's a test of New Town. Stick or twist? Hold on to what we've got by keeping it tight, keeping us shape and grinding out that victory? Or ruthlessly seek out more goals, doing what they did in the first half: pressurising and tackling opponents, passing, moving and attacking?

What do you think happened next? Has our Yorkshire terrier changed its spots?

Well, what do you think happened next? Has our Yorkshire terrier changed its spots?

Kidderminster had a couple of long shots, one wellied and wide, one wafted and saved. Where's the midfield? Where's the passing? What's the method? It's almost hoofing. Town sank further and further back, de-manning the Kidderminster half, then half of the Town half, yet still had holes down the sides. Slackness by Pearson, East absent. A cross dimpled through the six-yard box, no local present as Gowling ushered his charge. Other non-moments of nearlyness as more and more boys in blue began to picnic on the edge of the Town penalty area.

Arnold almost broke away. Amond flicked – but where's the beefy Bogle? Kidderminster made changes of personnel, of tactics, of attitude. They kept on keeping on, though nothing was getting near McKeown.

With ten minutes left, long past the Parslow Point, a change was finally made. Who to go? The flagging Bogle or the dwindling Monkhouse? No: Amond. Who to come on now that the Parslow is in the past? On came Mackreth, with Arnold moving vaguely centrally. There were private oaths uttered. Publicly, the inflatable army were right behind the boys in blue.

Bogle barged, bumped and banged his way goalwards. Head down, shot blocked, others waiting for a pass that never came. Arnold tricky-dickied down the left, flat crossed and the ball bombled off Bogle's thick thighs. Moments.

Kidderminster kept lumping, pumping and dumping without any effect whatsoever. Three minutes were added. Thoughts meandered like a restless wind inside a letterbox: there's going to be a big queue for the loos. Is it worth going back east via Coventry? A line of blue stood on the edge of the penalty area, as Kiddymen piddled around on their right. Town just waited for Kiddy to cross: no-one bothered to stop crosses. A cross was finally crossed and we became mighty cross at the outcome. The ball looped high beyond the far post, where Verma rose above Nsiala and noodled high across and over McKeown.

Several inflatable sharks were massacred, impaled on the nearest sharp edge and sharp tongue.

Nothing was going on. Town let 'em cross. Town let 'em leap. Town let 'em score. Has nothing really changed from last season? First competitive game and the old habits came back – take a lead, sit back, hold on. It didn't work last season or the season before, or the season before. Let's try something different. Take a lead, go forward, score more goals. The firepower is there this year, so use it.

Town tossed away a victory with repeat behaviour worthy of the worst recidivist. We're still positive, but patience will not be infinite this year. We are not blind, but will keep faith.