Travesty: Chester (h)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

13 September 2008

Grimsby Town 1 Chester 3

Here we lie in a lost and lonely part of Town, in a world of tears the dwindling Marinerettes slowly drown. Ahhh-choo! It must be the sun giving me some Saturday afternoon fever.

Town lined up in a 3-4-1-2 formation as follows: Barnes, Bennett, Heywood, Newey, Vidal, Hunt, Boshell, Hegggarty, Till, Jarman, Llewellyn. The substitutes were Monty, North, Clarke, Stockdale and Mr Heslop. Do you want to know what love is, or do you want to know where the Town players stood? Please choose your option before the lights go out. Hegggarty and the Hairdresser are not a fey electro-folk combo from Huddersfield but acted as some kind of hybrid wing-backs, with Till floating down through the clouds and behind Lulu and Jarm-Jarm. Of course, it could have been 4-4-2, but only 4-4-2 as drawn by a catatonic drunk.

Oh how in these bleak days of doomage and gloomage we need a little levity: North sneaked in between the little mascots and took pot shots at Mighty Mariner.

Chester have two tallboys, the gleaming pate of Kevin Ellison and eight little pixies.

There are more onions frying than fans in the stand. Won't you tell me where have all the Town fans gone? Guess they'll need some bringing down to get their feet back in this ground. A win? A goal? Some hope? No, Hope's back next week, Sir Alan of Bucksford's already told us that.

First half
Town kicked off towards eighty Divas in the Osmond Stand. Then Chester scored.

Nothing was happening, no-one was watching. Chester clipped the ball up to the halfway line; a simple flick and Ellison bounded free down their right wing, pursued by... Heywood. Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear. Heywood sank neck-high into some hitherto unknown quicksand and Ellison tiptoed into the area and poked the ball across the shivering Barnes in to the bottom right corner. Three minutes, three passes, one goal.

Mr Newey? Mr Heggggarty? When we tried to get through on the telephone to you, there was nobody home.

Till stoked his steamer, tickled the fancy of many a dreamer and crossed dangerously, but behind Jarman and Llewellyn. Jarman fell just outside the area; Newey stood above the ball and remembered the Alamo before wellying in to the right thigh of the smallest player in the wall.

They are nothing, neither are we.

Chester clipped the ball up to the halfway line; a simple flick and Ellison bounded free down their right wing, pursued by... Newey! Chester clipped the ball up to the halfway line; a simple flick and Lowe bounded free down their left wing, pursued! A Chester corner drifted through the middle of the area and Llewellyn decided to turn delicately using his stomach, just eight yards from Phil Barnes' nose. Minor pandemonium? Let's a have a symposium in a gymnasium! The topic - what shall we do to fill the empty spaces, Mr Fentycon? They had a shot, it drifted wide. Flash Ellison approaching on the starboard side! Despatch war rocket Heywood.

And then Town finally started. Bosh snapped, crackled and popped to Heggggggarty, whose cross just avoided Llewellyn, or perhaps Llewellyn just avoided the cross. The Bosh coiled a teasing free kick in from the left and Hunt ducked and snarled a crawling header inches over the bar. Bennett headed another free kick straight at Danby, who flapped, flipped and flopped as crosses wobbled through his personal space. Vidal and Till mesmerised with paceness and aceness, causing the pixies to implode.

Chester clipped the ball up to the halfway line; a simple flick and Lowe bounded free down their left wing and prodded slowly, slowly wide of the left post. The lights are slowly going out over Cheshire. Barnes shall not see their like for another hour.

Vidal and Till interlocked, interweaved and went into the Chester heart with a bejewelled dagger. Vidal looped a high cross beyond the far post which Danby missed. The ball dropped a couple of yards out and bounced over the static Heywood. Cue Benny Hill, cue the William Tell Overture, cue the white ball, cue the winged serpent, cue, cue Newey, Vidal, Boshell, Heywood and Hunt. And still no goal.

Before the half-hour the timid Heggggarty was replaced by Mr Heslop and Town players were dotted variously across the pitch, with Boshell somewhere on the leftish side. Till was everywhere and nowhere baby, that's where he's at. Town pressure, Town crosses, Town scrambling Chester's eggs, with Heslop slapping wide. Sumptuous beauty, oh passing and movement: Vidal crossed highly and quickly, Llewellyn stopped and steered a header behind the defence and Till, a dozen yards out, swamped a shot into the ground. Danby surrendered and patted the shot aside.

Town were controlling with Bosh and Hes patrolling the dark hinterland between hope and expectation.

Bennett hurled, Chester whirled legs and panicked again, and again and again. How many eggs are in the omelette? Bennett chucked, Chester mucked about. Bennett flung and Chester hung their underpants on the Linwood line. The Town pressure was insistent rather than incessant and at the last Bennett looped a header over dawdling Danby towards the top left corner. A pixie fluttered his pixie wings and headed off the line for another hoedown in their area.

Yee-ha! It's half time.

Chester had nothing but Kevin Ellison; Town were just dim for the first ten minutes in allowing the giant Hewyoodapotomus to be stalked by hyenas. Neither Bennett nor Newey provided any cover, and Hegggarty was seemingly following Plan 9 from Outer Space. Till and Vidal were a teasing, pleasing presence which was promising rather than delivering.

One goal - that's all it'd take to see the Deviants dissolve.

Second half
Llewellyn was replaced by North and they made a change too, though one elf looks just like any another, don't you think. Or am I being elfist?

Uh-huh-huh, the Chester elfists were all shook up by Danny North and his amazing dancing bear. North twinkled Till free after some old-fashioned passing and movement; Till terrorised with some drifting and lifting, before droogling a cross shot through the area, just beyond Jarman and the post.

Danby walloped upfield towards Ellison. Town scooped up behind this dog.

Chester were crushed by a Townami, with a low rumbling emanating from the Pontoon and a frothing bubbling wall of emotion glimpsed on the horizon. Till and Vidal winked and walked through an open gate. Jarman battled and bottled some fairy water for a corner which drifted into the near post. Ellison bonked clear, but Hunt headed back for North to hook-steer from ten yards out into the right side of the goal. North was drenched in happiness. Did anyone else notice Jarman's cute positioning to block Danby?

Danby walloped upfield towards Ellison. Town did the shake 'n' vac, and the freshness was back.

Town, Town, Town, Town, Town. The pressure was constant, gnawing at the pipework, slowly eroding the foundations on this temporary Cheshire beach hut. Till circumnavigated the globe, stopping off at each full-back to stock up on provisions. Till again, released after one-touch, tick-tock precision passing. Hunt freed, but offside.

Danby walloped upfield towards Ellison and Watkiss returned the ball to Bennett. Off we go again.

From right, from left, the crosses shingled through, over and under boots and heads. Chester couldn't clear, Chester couldn't move. The beauty of Tom Newey in full flow. The benighted one crossed; Jarman twisted and nodded from eight yards out. Danby's feet went left, but arms flew right to superbly parry aside. Scramble those eggs again, darn it, he can't catch but can make saves. A cross, a shot, a deflection, a hack, a thwack, a corner. A corner, a shot, a deflection, a hack, a thwack, a cross. Rearrange the words, same outcome: action, excitement and no second goal.

Danby walloped upfield towards Ellison; Heywood wrapped his big cloak around the damsel.

And then this, the flat champagne moment. Town snuffled and shuffled the ball to Vidal way out on the right. He espied a monochrome mover beyond the sea and jinked a perfectly weighted crossfield pass right on to Jarman's head, just outside the penalty area. Jarman curtsied and cushioned a header into the flight path of the sprinting Boshell, about 25 yards out. The Mighty Bosh stripped paint with a magnificent running first-time shot rising inexorably towards the top right corner. Danby the irritant swooped up, up and away to tip the ball up, up and up again. North ran in and the ball fell on to the top of the crossbar and bounced out for a corner rather than back to the awaiting Danny boy.

That was simply magnificent football.

Boshell stroked the corner to the near post and Heywood raised an eyebrow to flick on. Jarman carried on flicking to steer a header millimetres over the bar. The great wave continued to roll across Blundell Park as Danby walloped upfield towards Ellison, the Bennett fly trap shut. And still Town waltzed towards Danby. One, two, three passes sneezed the ball upfield and Jarman teed up Boshell, who scruffled wide. Yellow boots swashed and buckled, skewering clearances in crazy directions to crazy guys. Rebounds rebounded favourably, ricochets ricocheted luckily and the ball squirted through, over and round their penalty box. Another beautiful Town attack ended with Heslop carefully steering a cushion header to Danby, rather than the unmarked Jarman.

This was a masterclass, almost an exhibition. But what about that second goal?

With twelve minutes left Jarman was fouled just inside the Town half, when a Chesterite swiped and chomped the ball away from behind. The referee ignored this. The ball went to another Town player, who was bustled aside with a shove and a shunt. The referee ignored this. Mozike turned and fell over near Heywood. The referee did not ignore this.

We all knew the next act in this Shakespearean travesty. Chester had literally not had anything resembling an attack in the second half. They hadn't had a shot. Nothing. They had done nothing. Not even an overhit punt forward that may have gone in if Barnes had forgotten to take his medication. Ellison coiled a left-footed free kick over the wall and into the very top left hand corner. Just like last week: a free kick that shouldn't have been given ended up in the top left corner. Unstoppable and unlucky.

For about 30 seconds Town were droopy; then they perked up. Bennett headed a corner straight at Danby; Jarman and Till infiltrated the flanks and Linwood slopped headers away from the centre, but inches from his own goal. A free kick was chipped straight down the middle towards Heywood near the penalty spot. The ball dropped and the referee blew his whistle and pointed... for a free kick to Town, five yards outside the area, dead centre. Questions were raised in the house. Bosh walloped goalwards and the ball cannoned off some thick shins and dribbled just wide of the left post as Danby sank to his right. Another Town attack flowing down the left with Newey slashing and sending the ball in a searing arc towards the left corner of the goal. Danby dived and the ball swung an inch or so past the post.

Chester had the cheek to have another shot at goal. Some little lad was freed behind Vidal and passed instantly inside to old baldy, lurking on the edge of the area. Ellison swung his left boot and sent the ball in a dipping arc over and away from Barnes into the very top left corner. Two shots in the second half, two goals, both in to the very toppest of the left corner. This is not supposed to happen in the fourth division: 100 per cent strike rates with perfect, unstoppable shots.

Let's go through the remaining motion, just for the sake of history.

Heywood played as a striker, leaving Town almost literally defenceless. Boshell fell over a leg and the referee gave a penalty, which the Bosh bedraggled to the right as Danby plunged left. The ball went an inch wide. Town crumpled. Stockdale replaced Till. They hit the post and Barnes saved the follow up low to his right. Some yellow-clad hipster tried to chip Barnes, but it hit the bar and bounded back into his arms. Most of the boo-ers had gone home by the time the game ended, so the chorus of disapproval was muted, and the stunned silent majority trudged off to contemplate another week of existential angst courtesy of Grimsby Town Football Club.

Taken in isolation, this game could easily be written off as 'just one of those games'. Apart from the first and last ten minutes, Town didn't do much wrong; the attacking play was neat, controlled and not lacking in purpose. This result occurred because of Danby's right hand and Ellison's left boot. It would be nice if, one day, we'd get a result courtesy of Barnes' right hand and a Town boot, wouldn't it. In the last two games Town have been broadly dominant, playing some superb football, but have conceded six goals, with Barnes making no more than three saves in total. So, evidence of continuing incompetence or continuing misfortune? Thirteen league games since the last win is unlucky for some... to watch.

This result was a travesty waiting to happen.