Night of the living dead: Chesterfield (a)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

30 September 2009

Chesterfield 3 Grimsby Town 2

Emptiness is the place we're in, nothin' to lose but no more to win. Hello Chesterfield, where Town's sun doesn't shine any more.

Town lined up in a 4-5-1 formation as follows: Old Nick Colgan, Wood, Atkinson, Linwood, Widdowson, Bore, Clarke, Bennett, Sweeney, F-f-f-f-f-orbes, Proudlock. The substitutes were Overton, Leary, Fuller, North, Conlon, Jones, Ak-Ak, Boshell and Mighty Mariner. Maybe the last two were just figments of a collective imagination. Maybe that Town team is? Bore started wide on the right, Forbes the left, with Proudlock all on his own. The rest huddled around the campfire toasting their muffins.

A steward's cap flapped as a stray pot-shot flicked off a concrete corner and two blind mice wandered around. It's the famous Chesterfield female pirate mouse, of course. This is the Dusty Bin of the fourth: Spireites sounds a little like Pirates. What do Pirates do - they steal things; that's exactly what they're gonna do to you tonight - £1.70 for a cup of hot chocolate!

If we buy enough hot drinks maybe they'll put a roof on the toilet.

First half
Town kicked off drearily away from the 500 or so al fresco diners dreaming of cheesecakes behind Old Nick. Old Nick looks like a replica three-quarter-size Edwin Van der Saaaaar. Did we sign a tribute footballer for the gig?

Testing, testing... one, two, three...

Sorry, there's no sound - try turning the microphones on.

No, still can't hear anything. Has a fuse gone somewhere?

Chesterfield scurried around busily, while Town stood on one leg and hoiked it back to them. Edwin Van Der Colgan caught a cross. Bored by the game and frustrated by life, perhaps drinking whisky that came from Twickenham, a Town fan took to chuntering at happy Jack Lester and talking about virility with some old grandmother decked out like a Christmas tree.

Bennett hit the roof, with a shot, not his temper. He's far too serene for that. Forbes sat down - Town got a free kick. The Spireites spirographed prettily. Suddenly last summer Bore had an epiphany. He spun, he swerved, he shrugged defenders aside za-zooming and ba-di-booming down the left from the halfway line, into the penalty area and spurtling a shot high across Lee who swung and vorsprung durched away. They broke back and Small, who is not tall, skiffled away with the ball. A dozen yards out with Linwood stretching Small scrappled a shot low to Old Nick's right, who excellently plunged and pawed the ball aside. Wood tidied up his room before Mother came up the stairs.

Colgan caught a cross and wellied it downfield. Colgan caught a corner and punted it upfield. These were to be classed as Town passing moves. No team can match Town for the slickness and quickness of them losing possession. Time stands still for no man, but Town stand still for everyone.

Sweeney hit the wall, not literally, as only 20 minutes had passed, and Linwood decided he was the fourth division's Rio Ferdinand. The bad Rio Ferdinand. The one that decides it's a really good idea to back-heel flick to a team mate inside your own penalty area. Lester approached; Colgan threw himself high, wide and handsome and the ball snicked off his thigh for a corner. And another corner, and another, and Lowry tapped the fourth towards an unmarked friend 15 yards out. The friend missed the ball, the Town fans hurrahed sarcastically and Niven strode forward to steer a shot from the D through a thicket of players. Colgan peered through the gloop and swayed right, the ball trickling in off his fingers. Yet another short corner routine causing emotional disturbance in North East Lincolnshire.

Things carried on as normal. The blueboys swizzled and twizzled, while Town walloped the ball back to them. Forbes sat down and won another free kick. Sweeney licked it in from the right and Atkinson grazey-glanced down towards the far corner. Lee collapsed to his knees and scooped the ball off his line. And then Lester did that Lester thing of twisty-turny missing.

Chesterfield played football, Town played Misty, Forbes sat down. Jamie Clarke? Good question.

Second half
Neither side made any changes at half time and it began to drizzle, prompting a display of hattage that made the Town end look like a pensioners fishing party - you really can't top the On Golden Pond look.

Lester missed, Lester fell over. Town started to pass to each other, Town conceded again.

Bore bounced off Page and Chesterfield got a free kick. As the referee lectured Bore on the etiquette of dodgems, those dastardly Derbyshirians took the free kick ten yards away from the scene of crime. Widdowson chased the lady down the touchline, oozing and schmoozing and losing possession. Bish-bash-lost. Someone hit the bye-line and pulled the ball back and Lester lofted over and across Old Nick into the far corner. Sigh.

Ak-Ak replaced Forbes on the hour and Colgan saved finely from McDermott after more flummery-flammery on Town's left. Widdowson has been reading the Tom Newey manual on the art of not defending, hasn't he. Bore penetrated, Bore fell, Bennett slashed the free kick into the leafy suburbs. Proudlock swivelled and swiped a shot against Ak-Ak's thigh, the ball trickled an inch past the near post as Lee did the can-can and they had another attack and scored.

I don't know, things happened way down the other end when it was raining. Their little players dizzied around in circles, exchanged passes and McDermott calmly strolled through the middle and stroked the ball around Colgan. Sigh thricely, turn round and recite the third verse of 'Up The Mariners'. Purge those demons.

Oh, Town scored. Bore did things, Wood raced up in support and... and... passed the ball along the ground to Proudlock's feet, inside the penalty area. Proud Adam spun left and right, twisting Page into a doily and, from an exceedingly narrow angle, made the impossible possible by brilliantly curling a shot into the top right corner.

Twenty minutes left - c'mon lads, we can still do this!

Chesterfield crumpled like a perm in a shower. Sweeney started to tap out a rhythm, permanently atop his podium ten yards outside the area. He caressed a cross with the outside of his boot over Breckin on to Ak-Ak's stumbling forehead, eight yards out. Ak-Ak nodded, but straight at Lee, legs akimbo and with wild staring eyes.

They had a couple of long shots and a couple of crosses on the break. Par for the course, laddie.

As the midnight hour approached Sweeney teased and teased and teased and turned 30 yards out to thwack a shot into the top right corner, the ball bouncing down on the line and up into the roof of the net. Let's ignore the little outside edge off a defender's thigh. Good grief, we really could still do this!

There were four minutes of added time.

Wood tackled Lester near the corner flag and Colgan picked the ball up by his post. The crowd bayed and the band played on. Ptweezsh... kluck... gurrrrrg. The silicon chip inside the ref's head switched to overload. A free kick was given, five yards out, the whole Town team forced to stand behind the county line somewhere near Leek and Uttoxeter. Colgan was booked for refusing to stand behind the goal line. Mayhem, madness and a murder of stoned crows: Old Nick blocked dumpy Jack's shot with his shin pads. What a lot of fuss about nothing.

And at the end, the very end, Bore fell, Sweeney dripped the free kick to the far post and Lee safely plucked the theme from The Deer Hunter above Linwood and Bennett.

Too many high balls, not enough strikers. Nettles not grasped until they'd already been turned into whine. We need intensity, not density.