To the barricades

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

4 February 2018

Grimsby 1 Cheltenham 1

And so to the streets in the pouring rain...

Have you seen the writing on the wall? And the chippy, a police car and the bin outside the Constitutional Club? Don't think I need to add anything at all.

A mitheringly mongy day of revolting rumbles and mumbles in the pot-holed car park of fear and loathing. Umbrellas, like all other firearms, must be placed out of sight in their holsters. No poison-tipped brollies in Blundell Park today, just poison tipping towards the moneyed elite of North East Lincolnshire, munching their macaroons in McMenemy's.

There's no point in asking, you'll get no reply. You'll always find them out to lunch.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: Killip, Mills, Clarke, Collins, Dixon, Vernam, Berrett, Summerfield, Mr Wilks, Matt and Jackson. The substitutes were Warrington, Hall-Johnson, DJ Jinky, Dembele, Woolford, Hooper and Vernon. Some things old, some things new, quite a lot borrowed and we're feeling blue, but what can you do? And though it's only a whim, at least there's some vim with all those babies in black and white.

Those chuggers from Cheatenham are back to do a drive-by mugging in yellow. A big bunch of big lads being big.

Oh look, all the Fenty followers are sat together in the Osmond, how quaint. No-no-no-no-noooooo, that's far too many. 92 Robins all in a row.

I know what you're thinking: is that five loanees or six? Well, to tell you the truth in all this boredom, Russ kinda lost track. Have we borrowed Katarina Johnson-Thompson back from his loan at Chester? I wouldn't put it past Town to fill the forms in so that we've taken back on loan someone we've loaned out. Well, two negatives make a positive.

Can you not knock it Town? The big boomballers are back.

1st half – ca ira

Boom, just one look and Harry Pell looms. Cheltenham kicked off towards the Pontoon.

Bang, just one touch and the church bells rang.

A fine striped fellow was felled midway to nowhere down Mexico way. Summerfield drooped deeply beyond the far post. A yellow head snidled perfectly across the face of his own goal and Jackson slid in, toe poke-volleying into the emptiness. Yeah, Fenty still out.

The usual Chelty batterings, arms and legs accidentally arriving half a second after the ball departed. Accidents will happen, they made sure of that, like a bunch of rogue raiders roaming the country looking for a local scam.

Young Mr Wilks waltzed past a weaver, robbed a Robin and scrapled back to Matt but… but don't butter your turnips. The ball, unlike the management, was already out. Still, nice to see something almost happen.

Stand up if you're standing up? Oh… stand up if you love the pub. Sit down if you prefer to blub about the club.

A Town corner, miggling and piggling head tennis and Young Mr Wilks overheaded way over. Why mention such hum-drumminess? It's about staying positive, John. It's an effort. Yes, it really is.

And the ship sailed onto the sandbanks as Town slowly edged back towards the docks. Balls, big and booming. Balls, boom and bigging. An infiltration and rehabilitation of Killip, plunging low and left to bash away a creeping curler for a corner. Coiled high and far, tall men rose above smaller men, a yellow-headed noodle, a stripe gnashed off the line, bundling and bartering and Killip grasped the nettle, clasping the ball on the line.

And all the while Collins was face down, flat out, zapped and zonked, unmoving on the edge of the six-yard box. Dave Moore frantically waved on by fellow stripes. Within the minute Collins arose, groggy and a little ga-ga. Within a couple more he was back on the pitch. Within a couple more he was gone, unable to continue.

On bounded Katarina Johnson-Thompson to right-back, with Mills moving to centre-back. Town just got an average of six inches even smaller.

Ahoy there, a little pleasure cruiser is passing. Matt flipperty-flipped over yellow and biffled a daisy dribbler straight at Flinders. Back came the brutes with their rollerballing rollerdisco. A corner hoiked, Clarke punched away and Town got a free kick.

And still Town rolled with the punches: Graham, a walking elbow. Pell air-mugged Mills and trampled all over the fallen full-back. Play on, nothing to see here.

A Town corner, wishing and hopping and praying and Mills missed his cue with a miscued left-footed non-volley. Cheltenham, a corner, or a free kick, who cares, they just induce a set-to to get a set piece. Big balls, big men, the ball dumped onto Killip's head and the salmon stopper was engulfed in yellow. Another set-to, a Gloucester piglet pimpled nicely into Killip's waiting hands.

Yellows booked for their more minor of misdemeanors. Young Mr Wilks dribbly-wibbly-scribbled to the bye-line, almost almosting to Matt almost at the near post. Young Mr Wilks silkily spun and glided Dixon free. Into the penalty area at a narrowing angle and a right old bash blinked through the blarney as Flinders parried aside and away and behind lurking stripes.

Four minutes were added, which is as long as it takes to pronounce the name of the strutting slapper who slapped straightly at Killip. Chatzitheodoris. That's easy for you to say.

At least we're a nice pub team.

2nd half – sans a lot

Neither team made any changes at half time.

Cheltenham emerged early and shivered inside their cufflinks awaiting the return of the loan rangers.

Boomballing, Town almost did something at the start. Or was that last week? Yellow shooting. It went wide. Oh yeah, Pell melling off Mills. Cheatenham kept falling over and scweaming for fwee kicks. Cheatenham took it in turns to forearm smash a series of innocent young men. Vernam was assaulted and the unpronounceable scamperer watched a raspberry finger waggle.

Hoofs and spoofs, Townites spluttering and scattering, Dixon slipping, Winchester strokled a volley that swung across the face of the far post.

Ah-ha, running. Young Mr Wilks za-za-zoomed up the middle and down the side, all from Town's half. And bedrubbled wide.

Pressure, falling free kicks and big men getting bigger in the box. Head tennis, head for the hills. An egg scramble-off near line or near the off line. It's a fine old mess of muckingness.

On the hour a tripe substitution from Cheatenham. Whoops, sorry, a Freudian typo there. A triple substitution from Cheatenham. Shorter tall men were replaced by taller tall men and a smaller tall man was replaced by a taller smaller tall man, but wider. Confused? You soon will be.

Young Mr Wilks doing his thing. Running and running, running and running. That's running, down the right. A cross-shot shot across Flinders, who toed ended away as Jackson slid nearlyby.

And Vernam was replaced by Dembele around the moment when we suddenly realised Berrett was playing. As yellows swarmed, Berrett bundled over the referee, but alas failing to knock sense into him. Or himself.

Hall-Johnson managed to avoid scoring.

The drift, the drift, drifting driftily. A series of Summerfield slops, overhit, underhit, never properly hit. A nick and knock. Hall-Johnson side-stepped and slashed into the burger vans from a dozen yards out with the netting simply asking for a little kiss. No, not on a first date; he's a nice lad, brought up proper.

Well, we all knew it was coming. And here it comes. A spectacular show-stopping stumble by the taller of the tall substitutes. From the same place that Summefield dinked for Town's goal, a yellowman dinked. Into exactly the same spot. Bundling Boyle ducked and glanced past Killip from eight yards out.

Well, there it was.

Without Osborne to chuck forward, Town were forced to improvise by playing some football now and again. Hall-Johnson mangleworzelled manfully and flinked a swipe slightly over the crossbar.

Matt mumbled and rumbled, flashing a cross across the face of goal. Roll on a minute, hang on to your ego. A big booming ball was flicked on by Matt and laid off by Jackson. Matt rolled alone, a dozen yards out. The ball dropped and… boom, just one more miss and he's outta whack. Another classic Matt finish, volleying majestically into the docks.

Five minutes were added and DJ replaced the rubber-legged roadrunner from Leeds.

Ups were undered into the gathering gloom, but up popped a tiny monochrome head or outstretched a salmon slap. Fortitude. That's the meaning of life, isn't it?

Town vroomed, Town won a corner, Summerfield dripped and Pell, unmarked four yards out, headed firmly and held his head in his hands after heading an inch wide of his own near post. And still they came. DJ Jinky jinked hither and thither, stepping in, stepping out, stepping back to scrape highly goalwards. With many men in Flinders field of vision, hope sprung, but not as much as Flinders and his flipping fingers. A tip over, the game over.

And this is the end.

The new rituals were followed. The voluble dismay at management failing, the audible support for each and every player. They came to us, we clapped and cheered them. The directors disappeared into their own bubble of bilge. The silent majority is voting with its wallet, sitting at home, waiting for the worms to turn.

It wasn't terrible, it was better than most since Christmas. This latest revolving list of loanees and old lags did their best. There were moments, Young Mr Wilks had a turn or two, Hall-Johnson was enthusiastic, Town even had shots. Everything changes but nothing changes. The names are different, but the archetype is the same. Wes Fletcher, Josh Maginnis, Adam Proudlock, Paris Cowan-Hall, and Mark Hudson. You choose who is who from the current conveyor belt of casual labour as history hiccoughs.

Don't ask us to attend, we're not all there. I won't pretend, for some now don't care. We don't believe in their delusions. We're feeling pretty vacant