The clangers: Port Vale (h)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

28 December 2009

A Mistake 1 Still Poor Vale 2

A bright warm day in the pit of despair. Memories of Mariners past wept through the emptiness as noughties died, like Town.

Town lined up in a 4:4:2 formation as follows: Colgan; Linwood, Atkinson, Lankyshire, McRory; Bore, Leary, Sweeney, Coulson; Proudlock and Conman. The substitutes were Overton, Widdowson, Hudson, Ak-Ak, Jarman, Wright and Feathercut. Linwood was at right back. Tumbleweeds drifted.

Port Vale turned up in two-tone blue. Tumbleweeds snagged upon the last remnants of Town's decade of decay. Look! There's a… no, it's gone, gone, gone, woa-oah gone. Is Town's sun ever gonna shine anymore?

First half
Town kicked off towards a hundred or so Valiant travellers from the land of the potty people. Linwood kicked it in the air, they headed it back. Drear upon drear, sneer upon sneer, don't drop a tear for Town, let the vicar read the script.

We gather here to pay our respects to Grimsby Town, loved by many, loathed by many more. Grimsby led a full league life with many, many wonderful memories for us all to cherish as we watch the basket case roll towards its fiery end.

Proudlock scored: goal disallowed. Sit down and pray.

Our full back, who art on loan, McRory be thy name. Their keeper wellied, McRory mistimed his leap and flicked behind Atkinson. Rigg ran on and smooched a volley across Colgan from a narrow angle, way out. Nah, don't worry, Old Nick has it covered. Silence…. colgan flumbled the ball, diverting it behind him when the ball may have been going wide. Someone threw a flower on the casket and sobbed.

Lankyshire played in a daze; Linwood hoofed erratically, vaguely forward; Conman subtly avoided the ball. The midfield was sat in the front row of the Main Stand, chomping their Mars Bars. Vale tickled Town's toes and no-one laughed: Griffith bumbled wide and grumbled straight at Colgan, much like the Pontoon.

In snitches and snatches Town hatched plots. Sweeney and Proudlock exchanged passes for The Sweeney to swish flatly and wide. Conman accidentally won a header and Proudlock smuggled a dripper across Martin, chased the rebound and crossed just above, I dunno, someone. Does it matter? A Town corner was self-slurped over the keeper and towards goal, but…who is fooled?

Proudlock fell in the area, a hand went near a ball. Nothing.

Five minutes before half time Vale tippled down their right. Offside? A push? A cross! Some higgles piggled and Taylor blew Town's straw house down, poking goalwards through a bumflet of defenders. Lancashire stood next to Colgan, swung his paw and diverted the ball in. Please all stand for our next hymn

"… Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day; Town's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;"

Is that it? No, one more thing: Colgan pac-manned on his line as Rigg lurched over McRory and dinked a header back and beyond, inches past the far post. At this moment the Pontoon finally erupted and Colgan fled to the dressing room.

There was nothing here. Port Vale aspired to mediocrity, Town simply expired. Linwood was a maggot wriggling on the end of a fishing line, waiting to be gulped. Lancashire should not have been playing and Conman's presence meant Town hoofed long and early. The manager failed.

Second half
Atkinson was replaced by Widdowson at half time, with Bore moving to right back, Linwood to centre back, McRory to left wing and Coulson to right wing. Yeah, shrug. Whatever.

They had a goal disallowed, Dodds diverted a goal-bound Lankyshire header over his own bar, McRory nearly had a shot and Conlon fell over near goal after a Bore surge. There was a handball, a chest ball and a through ball, but nothing penetrated the wall of refereeing indifference. There were moments when things almost happened.

Jarman replaced Proudlock with 25 minutes left, with Coulson moving to centre forward. Five minutes later Ben Wright replaced Coulson. Coulson didn't do anything but move around like a forgotten pawn on Woods' chess board. Mmm, Wright. Did George Weah ring Woods up and tip the wink about his white cousin? We've signed an heffalump, M'lady.

Bore surged once, twice and thrashed a third goalwards, whereupon Martin scoopled to shovel the shot over. They had a shot, Colgan saved. They had a cross, Bore knock-kneed away while everyone else watched. And all the while the faithless trickled out, like blood from an open wound.

With a couple of minutes to go their left back clunk-clicked Jarman and the referee, like a modern day Ali Bongo, reached for his backside, pulling out a yellow carnation. Peering at the card and the player's back, he sighed and wafted a red rose with apologies and a box of Bendicks mints. Off trudged Tay-lor, up chipped the kick and Griffith rose up and knuckled the ball back to his keeper. Even this ref couldn't miss that handball. Penalty.

Conman dinked right as Martin winked left. Town had four minutes to boil their egg.

Town lumped for four minutes, Conlon fouled for four minutes; Town were the eggmen. The game ended. We went home. Same as usual. Goo-goo-ga-joob.

Town let a poor side win at a canter, forgetting the lessons of Morecambe. It was miserably dull simply because of the paucity of thought. Two teams went through the motions, but their motion was better than ours.

Town really did surrender to a void. The Conference is shining.