Exiles on Blame Street

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

26 February 2020

Grimsby Town 4 Newport County 2

A briskly chill but still evening of dryness on the banks of the Mississippi. When that levee breaks the Mariners gotta pass and move.

Town lined up in a 4-3-3, some say 4-5-1, others claim 4-2-1-2-1 formation as follows: McKeown, Hewitt, Pollock, Waterfall, Garmston. Clifton, Benson, Whitehouse, Tilley, Hanson, Vernam. The substitutes were Russell, Glennon, Öhman, Grandin, Wright, Clarke and Green.

New full-backs, the return of Little Harry and it's Tilley's turn to twist and shout as the Ollie way is to shake it, shake it, shake it up to work that Wiltshire wilting out of the system.

Matt in the team, Amond on the bench? Are they mad?

With 33 exiles in Neville Street, they surely are.

First half – counting every minute

Newport kicked off towards the Pontoon with a lumpy hump of great flabby-wabby dumpiness. How tiresomely "old skool". Is Mad Mike Flynn a graduate from the Slade School of Artlessness? Does he play tunes on his igneous rocks?

Hang on a minute – oh no, Newport didn't. Stripey smothers, Whitehouse cutely caressed, Vernam va-voomed, cut in, and clattered lowly. King bumbled a fumble and Garmston appeared from nowhere to wallop in from the edge of the 6-yard box. Blimey, where did he come from?

Slick and quick the Amberites skipped upfield with stripes a-flailing. Tiny Green, a half-sized Dembele, was tripped by Whitehouse as he slipped a pass to their right. Willmott's swisher fondled across the face of goal with reliable Matt stretching and missing as Hewitt leaned.

The raspberry fool had words with Whitehouse.

Benson broke up, Whitehouse woke up, Tilley teed up and Hewitt hoisted up a high hanging cross. Hanson arose afar to plonk wide of the right post.

A panther crept and passed, alas, behind Big Jim. Off Amberites flew, a chase in space, with their tipping and their tapping. Night Nurse caressed from their left, the ball hooking around Waterfall and bending back towards the stretching Matt stood next to our standing Mattie. McKeown dithered, the ball trundled on and Green tapped into the openest of goals.

Tilley bundled between the breakwaters, Vernam tap-danced and Benson slapshotted against the bar from afar.
And not 15 of our English minutes had passed. What a delightful evening's entertainment.

And then they started.

Squealing, bealing and make a mealing of every little stare and glare. The referee took great care of these babies, indulging in long counselling sessions, sometimes one-to-one, sometimes renting a room in a church hall for some group therapy.

Slim Charles slalomed and slipped a whipper to no-one, Sheehan shot softly-softly to McKeown. Slicely-nicely does it, Gorman. Vernam dribbled and scribbled a scrubber to the near post, Tilley tumbled and the ball rumbled wide.

The antics roadshow continued as Innis plunged and Hanson and then Whitehouse were booked after a long, long, long, long, long... long... ... delay. Was this simply a case of the biter hit?

Their Green is a right little pest, running between the big boys' legs, trying to pin the tail on our donkeys.

And then Garmston got to grips with things.

A mish, a mash, a mess and Town succumbed to the full court press. Here they go again, falling and bawling for free kicks. One day their prince will come. A big drip, a small slip, a confusion of head tennis and here comes the twister. Matt turned and swiped over. Good old Jammy Matt, our little stick of Blackpool Rock, same as he ever was at Blundell Park.

Ah, how sweet to be an idiot. A welly was wallied, with much grunting at the punting in the Pontoon. A Grimsby garryowen befuddled Inniss who messed up as Vernam revved up. Vernam was legged up just outside the penalty area by Innis, to the centre right. The world awaited, and Benson carefully curled over the wall and into the bottomish right corner.

The world was pleased. The world, apart from a slithering portion of South Wales.

Let's get out the party hats with flicks'n'tricks down the Town left leaving passing pigeons swooning. Olé, Ollie, olé.

Four minutes were added for all their skullduggeryness.

And what? A Night Nurse cross shot approached McKeown's psychic fingertips for a goal kick and Nighty-Night Nurse whelped into the netherest regions of the Pontoon.

An oddly open game of excitement and tedium. Oh those odious time-whingers from Wales do bespoil our party.

What an odd feeling abounds around. Contentment.

Second half – vindaloo

Newport replaced Inniss and Matt with Labadie and Amond. Cue polite but reverential applause for the Man Who Got Away. And you thought that was a Hitchcock film. Que Sera Sera.

Will we have rainbows day after day under The Holly One? We'll just have to wait and see.

Oh look, a bright light shining in the sky. No, sorry, it's the ball. Warning: amber lights flashing, please proceed with care.

They fiddled and faddled and the Green Pest wibbled a vertically wobbling slapper just wide. Khan freely kicked safely into... the groove? Into infinity and beyond? There is no need to retain such triflings in your brain.

Khan shot, Jamie Mack didn't lose his plot.

Near the hour Whitehouse was replaced by Our Green. Big Green, not little Green, little Green, their little Green lad.

It's weird how they've come on strong after half time with infiltrations and excitations giving us bad vibrations as Town's right took fright at Khan in full flight. Labadie stretched and slid a slider between the far post and the awaiting Amond.

It is time for us to stop all of their lobbing. Little Harry bundled along and tickled to Tilley. It is time for us to laugh instead of crying. Tilley's shot buffled loopily off amber toes and Hanson shin-volleyed a grubber straight into the bottom right corner from the D.


Big Jim, your work is done, repair to Camelot for your victory feast to prepare for your next battle. There be no dragons left to slay. On came Maximum Wright and out to the right wing.

Doo-bi-doo, here and there, la-di-da. Amber flutters and Town's shutters were up. Gorman wellied through a hedge, McKeown pushed aside straight into the path of Amond.

Well, at least we've got that out of the way quite early.

It would be nice if Town remembered to pass to each other, it's all getting unnecessarily fraught. Labadie was booked for an unnecessary side swipe at the Town dug out.

Wahey! Mad Mike took off the Little Green pest and brought on a mundane mid-sized, mid-paced mumbler.

Pollock launched Amond and ball into Cow Pie Corner. Clarke replaced the rather wan Vernam. Stuff sorted. The Podge neutered and Clarke's old head and old legs brought back a little bit of calmness. And Town passing, passing, passing and crossing. A Garmston drooper swung out to Hewitt and Tilley's high jinks caused merriment as the ball dripped over the bar.

Pay attention! Yes, you at the back. Hewitt dithered as Khan skipped away, Sheehan back-heeled and McKeown dredged at Khan's feet, pluckooping the ball as the little lamb lay down.

Town tap-tap-tapped at the window and Clarke dribbled into the honey trap in the D. A toe-tapping tick aside and Wright's shot ballooned comedically off celtic bootery and arced achingly into the top right corner.

Four to draw? Nah, not tonight Josephine.

Three minutes were added. Green acted as a lamp post under the Frozen Horsebeer Stand, Tilley twizzled beautifully between two gateposts, swayed beyond a sleeping policeman and shot against King's head for the first corner of the game.

Yes, the very first corner.

And that's all folks.

The secret of Town's current lack of failure? Keystone kamikaze defending plus luscious dollops of swirling attacking cream.

If Newport could shoot then they wouldn't have Jammy Matt as their centre-forward. They were surprisingly nifty at times for a team that refuses to score goals, but surprising ropey for a team that doesn't concede goals. Perhaps it was the sea air that made 'em giddy.

We're just giddy with delight at such a lovely night.