It takes two to tango

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

3 December 2018

Chesterfield 0 Grimsby Town 2

It's well past midday as we sit and wait in a semi-conscious state. The sky outside is wet and grey, so begins another weary day in Chesterfield, home of the blues.

Sixteen hundred marched through Tesco's car park into the perfectly pleasant bland-o-dome. A new ground, a new hope? Yeah, it's automatic for the people.

Town lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation as follows McKeown, Hendrie, Davis, Collins, Fox, Hessenthaler, Vernam, Embleton, Clifton, Pringle and Thomas. The substitutes were Russell, Whitmore, Welsh, M Rose, Buckley, Cook and Cardwell.

Ah, how quaint. As a 60th birthday treat, a big old bloke from Brimington was the Chesterfield mascot. There he is, Old Tom Denton the local binman, running out last behind the team. We shouldn't mock. Let him live his dream for one afternoon.

Eh? He's an actual factual professional footballer? He's actually in their team? Did they sign him from 1936?
Ah yes, the joy of non-League was always the extravagantly haired winger. And so we have the answer to Britain's biggest mystery – whatever happened to Fellaini's hair? Kiwomya had stolen it, but it's shrunk in the wash. You should never put artificial fibres on high heat, little Alex.

Chesterfield have also shrunk in the wash as they went down the plughole.

OK, let's get into character, we have a job to do.

First half: I predict a riot wall

The Local Lumpers XI kicked off towards the mass of Marinerdom with a welly towards Old Tom, signed from Barnstoneworth United during the summer for a bag of spanners and a catering pack of Pot Noodles.

Old Tom, route one, a neutralised neutron bomb of noodles and nods. Bomble, bomble, bombling along with hoiking, hoofing, barging and charging. Smith headed wide, Smith shuffled, McKeown snuffled up the snifflng sniggler.

Old Tom clamped, Old Tom swamped, Old Tom flying with water wings on Collins's back. An irritant requiring some attention, nothing more, nothing less. Old Tom, not Collins, he can cope with a Sunday kickabout.

Darn it, our socks are holey. Kiwomya skipped away from Hendrie, tickled and teased a lowly cross across the face of goal. Shaw's shins and Foxtrotter's cravat knock-kneed near Jamie Mack. Slapstick bananaballs as Jamie Mack chased the ball along the line on his knees playing pat-a-cake pat-a-cake. The ball spun away from the foot of the left post and trickled out for a corner.

All our cares just drifted into space as the Spirites were up on the hoof. It's as peaceful as can be as Kiwomya sliced up on the roof after McKeown punched a corner.

We were happy and we knew it, so we clapped our hands. We really wanted to show it, so we stamped our feet too

Town? Too busy being busy bees to bother the locals.

Vernam swung his pants and swung his right boot afarly. The shot smacked agin big blue thighs and spun away widely. Pringle dangled the corner to the near post, glided across his invisible marker and the unmolested Vernam groined the ball into net from a yard out.

Now that was nice. We were happy and we knew it, so we clapped our hands. We really wanted to show it, so we stamped our feet too.

The stuffing was knocked out of the turkeys. What's the sum of Old Hickory Hollis's tramping forward? Their Christmas jumper headed wide. Or high. In all this excitement I kinda lost track of all the things that didn't happen.

Biff. Biff, Biff. What of the ball? Sail away, sail away, sail away.

One minute was added and an Embleton shot skipped out of the blue and flew straight to their tango-topped stopper.

Now, what words will best summarise this game of British bulldogs? I will take the advice of my granny: if you've nothing nice to say, don't say anything.

Second half: Christmas shopping

Neither team made any changes at half time.

Them. Free kicks. La-di-da. Doo-bi-doo. What an utter waste of time.

Slim Charles Vernam weaved daisy chains down the left and Thomas the Tank Engine attacked the near post. Someone spilt their half-time hot chocolate as Thomas's spoon collided with the plastic stirring spoon. Is something stripey stirring?

Blue buzzing, blue fuzzing and eventual blue pressure all emanating from the referee intercepting Town triangles outside the Blue box. It's a blue cross day. In and out, as Pringle winkled away woefully twicely. Weston bedraggled through a thicket of legs and the ball deflected off Collins, spinning wide leftly as McKeown stood and stared.

Now you can forget about them completely. Old Tom was taken off and they managed to become even more ineffective, but in a more mobile way. They have many blunt arrows in their quiver, no-one should quiver and quake at the Blue attack.

Town started to break through their defence at will, with Hess and Harry taking it in turns to hustle and bustle. Vernam veered infield and driggled a drag wide. Embleton eased infield and draggled a dig widely. Then highly, or was that later. Then at the keeper. That was definitely later. So many things to forget, so much time to forget it.

We're just waiting for the train that never comes.

Burton toe-ended it into the path of Little Harry Clifton, who calmly passed the ball into the empty net and was booked for being happy

Woo-woo. Chuff-chuff. Thomas spun around a blueman and caressed a little winkle beyond and between what Chesterfield Civic Society will call "the home defence". Little Harry bustled onwards down the inside left, cutting across his paltry pursuer, gliding into the penalty area.

Burton plunged and Little Harry passed against the tango top. The ball rolled away as Burton toe-ended it into the path of Little Harry Clifton, who calmly passed the ball into the empty net and was booked for being happy. It takes two goes to get past tango top.

The Spireites' spirit was broken, their efforts were token, harsh words were spoken from the empty plastic seats. The consensus was that Mad Dog was not getting backed in the morning.

Rose replaced Vernam, Townites took it in turns to kick the ball over the bar, around the post and into blue socks. Embleton high, Embleton at the keeper. No, hang on, that was earlier. Or later. Was it all a dream?

Hello, hello, it's the Triple Harry Point as off trotted Thomas. Bigger Harry glanced into Tango's midriff. Middle-sized Big Harry headed wide. So did they, eventually, sometime, somewhere over their rainbow. Life is so easy that we've no need for the Parslow Pointless substitution, for Cook replaced Pingu.

Four minutes were added. Big Harry wellied narrowly over. And it was over. For them.

Easy, easy as a Sunday afternoon, we had no time to worry. Close your eyes and drift away to thoughts of ball 52.