Take it easy

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

24 January 2016

Grimsby Town 5 Altrincham 0

Well I'm a-standing in the corner watching a boy eat a burger and it's such a fine sight to see. There's people populating the peripheries! A minibus of Mancsish lads huddled in their hoodies as the covered corner was littered with locals on a strangely dry, temperate and still afternoon.

Town lined up in the scientifically proven 4-4-2 as follows: McKeown, Tait, Gowling, Nsiala, Robertson, Arnold, Clay, Disley, Monkhouse, Bogle and Amond. The substitutes were Pearson, Henderson, Nolan, Marshall and Pittman. We'll just have to wait and see what kind of waves pouty boyband Nolan will make.

Wahey, the tide's up and in. Big boats heading our way to distract from any tedium heading our way. Yes, Michael Rankine, our Former Big Unit (FBU) v4, is back and is mad as hell. I didn't like Rankine: FBU when it was first aired in black and white. Too many helicopters and loud shorts, all show and no tell, substandard and superficial. I prefer subtlety in our supermarket sweeps for alternative comedy signings.

Altrincham wore yellow shirts and blue shorts. Beyond that fact lies madness.

Look at the sound, listen to the colour. The Town train's a-comin'.

First half: Ball park incident

A-ha, the game was afoot with a chip and chase as the Altymen kicked off towards the Pontoon. La-la-la-la-la, pancakes again. Underneath the Frozenest Horsemeat Stand in the land Arnold caressed, Clay scooped, Bogle boshed on a header down the line. Amond sweetly swung his pants and swished a perfect hook into the flightpath of the demon barber. Something for the weekend, sir? The stylish hairstylist took a lot off the back to de-mullet the defence, trimmed their eyebrows and Monkhouse sauntered into the nether regions of their penalty area to pass lowly across Weasy-Deasy into the bottom left corner.

Ooh, that's lovely. Same again please Nathan, just above the ears and tapered at the back.

Alty are a bunch of desperados, nudging and nurdling, bashing and barging. Don't their feet get cold in the wintertime? Well it's lucky for them that we're in a heatwave. Ginnelly and Horrid Henry, their flying pickets on the wings, began to scuttle around the fringes. Whoops, Ginnelly turned Tait and crinkled lowly from the bye-line. The ball emerged in the pink plunger's hands via Toto's toes.

It happens every game. It happened in this game at this point: the Bogle boggle and noggle over. Like Dutch yodel-rock, it's rather comforting; we would miss Omar's trademark miss if it was banned from the air. We'd lack focus, and you can never do that.

Scruffy shuffles and refereeing snuffles. If you ever meet someone with a degree in horticulture ask them if they have lettuce after their name. Asking questions, pleading answers from the nameless faceless watchers. Sirs, we had ten minutes of forgotten puns.

Hello, what's this? This is a free kick, way out left. Arnold made small adjustments to his sideburns and coiled a big dripper delightfully to the far post. Oh how delightful, delovely and delicious: Bogle arose alone to be-donk simply and high into the net from a few yards out. The pink boots bounded along the touchline and bounced along with foxtrotters in the Lower Findus.

Twenty minutes have elapsed since the eagle landed and Altrincham are already dead meat walking. They've been hit by a gentle sledgehammer

Twenty minutes have elapsed since the eagle landed and Altrincham are already dead meat walking. They've been hit by a gentle sledgehammer.

Ah, we condescend too soon. Old Cheshire chips and Robertson was trampled underfoot by Rankine's huge personality. The Scottish scribe was static, lifted gingerly by Dave Moore as he held his knee and Pearson came on. How were Town's trousers to be held up without their Jamboy journo? Who was the belt, where were the braces? Tait moved to left-back, Toto to right-back and let's ignore Pearson's mudwrestling with Rankine in front of the roaring fire of the Pontoon. We couldn't tell whether Pearson was Oliver Reed or Alan Bates in this faithful recreation of Lawrencian allegories in footballing form. Lawrence? DH, not Lennie. Lennie is way over the rainbow.

It was all so easy, yet hard going. They had a shot. They kept fouling, the ref kept ignoring the fouls and peeping for pathetic nothings. Gowling spectacularly made the most of a Rankine swipe. Pearson excellently gazed a dangerous cross away simply by staring at it and the custards kept crumbling. It was as if their objective was a free kick 25 yards out, on the corner of the penalty area. If that was their goal they scored half a dozen in the first half. At last a booking. Ah, how about some leniency and clemency for old age? The Dizzer was booked for taking Horrid Henry out for a ride.

Sweeping, swooning and swishing Clayness. Amond back-flipped and we saw the lights a flashin' as Arnold, playing by sense of smell, smackled wide. Nothing, nothing, something. Omar high-stepped and hooky-slapped wide. Nothing, nothing, something. Amond sweetly spun and sought to share out the prizes by seeking to release the awaiting Bogle. A yellow foot came travelling.

They just carried on barging, these narrow-minded narrow-ball narrow-boaters.

Three minutes were added which never ended as more canal ballers succumbed to the stresses and strains of landlubbing. And Amond brilliantly weighted a pass inside the full-back. Arnold flambéed lowly, Deasy scoopled away.

It was all so very comfortable, but the ref was untrustworthy. I know what you're thinking: the second half could be heaven or could be hell.

Second half: Take it to the limit

The Manc Lads made a change at half time, Lawrie replacing their roadrunner, Richman. Put the radio on and listen to Sir Alan of Buckley talk about popmusic.

Ginnelly jinked and Toto missed. On rambled the roamer and lunged again, inside the penalty area. The yellow bird spectacularly plunged to earth over the nsliding nslippers of Nsiala. The whole ground expected a penalty or a booking. Logic determined that 'twas one or t'other.

Ah, you're still waiting for an answer. So are we. Remember what the dormouse said.

Why don't we just carry on and pretend that never happened. It's what the referee did. And then he booked Bogle for, err, being Bogle.

A breakthrough in science. A pass, some movement. Ahhhhhhh, 'tis our world-famous secret, the Irish roamer, sauntering behind the shoulders of giants and sneaking under the Police Box. After a period of sensible awaitingness, Amond peered into the distance and saw zebras munching in the savannah as the lions were dozing under the trees. Amond pass-crossed towards the penalty spot, Bogle blocked Deasy-Weasy's view, and Monkhouse snickled a muffle, mis-kicking a miscue against his left ankle. The ball de-dribbled apologetically into the bottom left corner as the keeper cried in the chapel.

You can relax on both sides of the tracks for maniacs don't blow leads.

Altrinchamers were strangled by approaching moonlight as Town passed and purred. A handball ignored as Ginnelly punched away from Clay. A corner. And what do we say at a corner? All together now: one-two-three-four, can we have a little more "Elevation Mr Arnold". Arnold elevated, Amond levitated and a man behind the candelabra thigh-slurped away. Unfortunately it was clearly over the line so we couldn't indulge in some karmic retribution and satisfaction. We can't have it all.

Another minute, another Town corner. And what do we say at a corner? All together now: one-two-three-four, can we have a little more "Elevation Mr Arnold". Arnold elevated, Deasy slapped away from three Town heads underneath the crossbar. Underneath the crossbar, we dream our dreams away.

I may as well fill in some space and remind you that Altrincham did move into the Town half. At some point which isn't really important, McKeown made a squidging squirmer of a save from a header.

Nolan, a footballer of the old school, let the ball run free, a red-topped ticker. No wonder he was no use to Lincoln: they want giraffes, not graceful, gliding gazelles, in their 'midfield'

Ah, sumptuousness abounds, and the dude abides. A flowing river of Townness and Amond majestically steered into the centre, perfectly intersecting the Monkhouse movement. The bearded wingless wonder swiped way, way over from the centre as the yellow sea parted.

Oh look, on the other side a new Town boy is waiting. All fiery eyes and dreams no-one could steal. Nolan replaced Clay and Town morphed into a fluid 4-3-1-2 formation. Nolan, a footballer of the old school, let the ball run free, a red-topped ticker. No wonder he was no use to Lincoln: they want giraffes, not graceful, gliding gazelles, in their 'midfield'.

Now, there was a moment, a microcosmic summary of official failure. Here it is, just the facts. An Altrincham cross, Gowling punched the ball out for a corner. Just the facts there. Laughable or lamentable? It depends on where you sat and whether you see life in black and white terms.

Here's another moment for them to chew wasps. A free kick. A Margetts header looped onto the top of the angle of post. And that is more than enough of what didn't happen. Altrincham simply fell apart as Town tickled their toes at will with fancy-dan old-fashioned football. Passing, movement, on the ground: a distant echo of Cunnington-Cockerillian ice flows, with a Reesian wall on the edge of the penalty area.

With ten or so minutes left Monkhouse was replaced by Henderson and Town definitely were avoiding 4-4-2 with some kind of rotisserie contraption roasting their meat in the open air. I suppose they wanted to make sure it was cooked on all sides and right through the middle.

Chance on, shot on! Amond chased a tipple into the corner and set up a superb one-touch passing movement with Nolan as the fulcrum. Amond flicked and Arnold walloped. Look it up on Marinersplayer, it were dead acemer. Hey kids, this is how we used to play all the time, long ago when we was fab.

What is the secret of Town's success? Possession, possession, possession. Toto brushed away an unseasonal fly by the dug-outs and slipped a sneaker to Omar lurking on the corner of the penalty area. The Boglemeister spun and snapped a cracker and Deasy slapped aside. A corner! Elevated under Pontoonite instructions and punched away from awaiting hairstyles. Retrieved and cutely returned by Nolan and glanced on by Gowling. Bogle boggled-blocked; Arnold stepped up to the bumper and, woah, sock it to 'em baby. Bang, top left corner from dead centre, 15 yards out.

Four minutes were added. And the fun never ended. Nolan: neat knicker and knocker knitting the team together. Another Toto surge and a neat Nolan nick. Henderson cutely caressed behind the last defender and Tait bore down upon goal. Deasy's chest puffed out and Town retrieved the rebound to start up again. Backwards, sideways, forwards, backways and Tait coiled inwardly. Deasy stuttered, Omar arose to glance past Deasy and past the awaiting toes of Amond.

A suitable ending. Lift up your hearts and we'll sing you a song. Your mother should know that football can be fun, and football-watching funnier still. Without exerting themselves too much, Town simply bested historically annoying opponents. A bit of oomph at the start goes a long, long, long, long way to make it easier for Townselves, for breaking up stubborn bus parkers is hard to do.