The Four full-back fallacy

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

7 March 2021

Grimsby Town 1 Forest Green Rovers 2

A still, grey day in the land that time forgot. The pitch finally firmer but with washed out tones; are we washed up?

Have we forgotten that old football saying: "If Hewitt is your lynchpin you end up in Kings Lynn"?

Sometimes clearing out the dead wood just leaves space for more.

First half – Green onions

The vanity projectors kicked off towards the Pontoon and straight out of play, gaining yardage for a scrum down and hoe down low down the Town right. Way on down, way on down.

Biffing, barging, moaning and groaning. Whiney, whiney, whiney, whiney, woe, catch Whitehouse by his toe. If he squeals, let him know he'll get a free kick from this ref.

Green zebras promenading under the Police Box, El-Miz missed out to muscle and their big stick of ex-Blackpool rock collided with Eastwood at the near post. Dave Moore's magic stare repaired the damage to our drainage ditch.

We have the rarity of parity in clarity of approach, each team, each player knows exactly where to hoof into the sand dunes.

A Town tickle over the top, the ball plopped, McGee headed for our local shop for local people and bought a scratch card. Our lucky numbers didn't come up; there's nothing for you here.

A throw in the shadow of the Police Box. Adams, unmarked in the centre, long-wallied straight at Eastwood

A Morais cross was indeed crossed. And after all that jazz there was a throw-in somewhere, sometime, someplace. There's always a throw-in somewhere, sometime, someplace. Hendrie huffed and Lennie puffed, McGee was chuffed just to do something, somewhere, sometime, as he clasped outside the line of the off stump. He could have left it alone and it would have been just another dot ball in the dead end, dead bat of a season of dots and clots.

A big crossfield boom was headed out for a corner by Habergham Sam. Habergham Sam? He's our main man on the left. One thing I'll share, he don't pass square with his corkscrew hair. Eh, what's that sound? Everybody look, Whitehouse is falling down and bawling out. Here comes the peep from the purple people cheater. A free kick in the gnomon's land where sand and concrete sets under the Frozen Horsebeer Stand.

Dinking and drifting Menayese stooped to clear across face of goal. A corner from their left coiled into the mass of men assembled around Eastwood. A molestation on the line, the ball dropped and the green bug-eyed monster did what he always did inside the Pontoon penalty area with an open goal – Jammy Matt fell over his own feet as Lennie lurked, for the Shop was his glamourous assistant in this amateur Bananarama-bound drama.

Oh yes, there were protestations about molestations and the incidents and accidents and more than a hint of accusations of the ref being soft in the middle now.

Matt rammed low and right as Eastwood leapt left and raced off to earcup the scattered cushion and scattered cut-outs.

Hendrie crossed, Hanson challenged, the ball dropped and the Shop was shut. Woah there, let's not get too excited, the peeper peeped because he saw Hanson walking on the cracks in the pavement.

And Matete was booked after much whining from Whitehouse. If you don't ask you don't get. He asked, he got.

Can we have some football from Town please? What have we got? Hours of hooking and hoofing.

Hendrie meandered infield, outfield, upfield and feeling lonely as stripes hid behind vegetables. On he sauntered, rolling to Lennie on the edge of the area. The Shop extravagantly dummied in super slo-mo HD and the ball rolled on. Godwin-Malife was bamboozled by proof of lifelessness on Mars and let the band play on. Hanson calmly side-footed across the keeper into the left corner.

Suddenly they collapsed for almost a minute with flappy-floppy panics and puff-pastries. For almost a minute. Certainly several seconds.

Coke was wiped out by a passing celery stick, but as Whitehouse hadn't whined then there was no official call for a booking.

Two minutes were added and three were played as El-Miz limped off and Bunney sneaked on. Ah, we're safe now with a full complement of four full-backs, the force is with us Luke. Luke? Luke? Collins bargingly dribbled through an ephemera of Marinerdom for a moment of almostness of immense forgetability. Well, I've forgotten already.

Is that it? It surely is. After the apparent parity Town paid the penalty for the temerity of attacking. It was the best Town had played this week, that's for sure.

Second half – The oddest wingers in town

Neither team made any changes at half time.

What does he say to them at half time? "Keep it loose, lose us shape?" What have we to look forward to but a prosaic procession of imprecision that inevitably leads to derision.

Lumpen lumping and dozing dumplings. Minutes passed without any passing and Matete survived a mass green moan after kicking the ball away. Minutes passed, many passed out in their front rooms. Shall I put the kettle on?

Sorry, what was that? What happened there? A Town corner, how? Habergham dripped in, the ball was flicked on at the near post, drifted across the face of goal and Adams mis-kicked backwards off the line and into the centre of the penalty area. It may well have been the centre of the earth or the middle of the Gobi desert.

Coffee or tea?

A Matete mess-up in the middle, Collins barged through the saplings to poke into the void. Davison crinkled lowly across Eastwood and against the inside of the far right post. The ball boinged back into the centre and Menayese marvellously smothered Matt's splat.

Milk and sugar?

Gesundheit! All fall down, it's nine v ten for a while, did anyone notice? Did anyone care?

A bit of full court pressing and Bunney tackled the keeper after wayward back-passing. Savour this moment.

In isolated moments of activity between the whining there was fruit-based breakery with passing and movement. Menayese blocked off the advancing Collins; Whitehouse bundled, trundled through stripery and Eastwood swept up Davison's central planking and Whitehouse wallied wayly wide and over.

Ah, no I detect an alien vibration here, there's something in the air besides the atmosphere. Oh dear, lucky bundles on the left through timid Towning. The ball swingled out to an overlapper who cut in, and the cross was marginally cleared. Adams fumbled across the face of the penalty area, muttering a mumbler through a thicket of legs, with a deflection off stripes bumbling past a couple of stray greens and into the bottom left corner.

I don't know what our lucky number is, but we're not having fun.

Hewitt was doodled whilst dawdling, a fruity vegan snuck along the bye-line and Menayese descended to earth to save the nation.

Town: artless, aimless, harmless, pointless. We have nothing but some jay walking to hold on to. Matete shummied and sliced, the missing sweeter than whine for the Fruiterers.

Where are we now? Who knows? Ageing Townites long since reduced to walk-on parts in this bore; they'll have lead roles in the post-match rage. Finally a change as the Shop was replaced by dull Matt Green. There is no Green on green action to talk of, so we won't talk of it. Best not, it'll be over soon.

Adams walked on by Morias to the bye-line for a bit of something or other. Collins clattered over the hills and they all fell down, one by one, one after the other in an extreme example of timewasting par excellence. Their keeper even claimed cramp which, to the fury of many eminent critics, failed to win a Golden Globe for best supporting actor in a musical or comedy.

Did anyone notice Payne arriving? Did he?

Five minutes were added. It could have been five hours and nothing would have changed. A huge loopy cross caused minor consternation in Green minds. The ball fell to the Rabbit, who shanked awfully fully five yards wide, for which Cooper's clowns were awfully thankful. Ey up, heads up, Bunney flopped, and Hendrie's free kick hit Hanson's back and fell into one area there weren't any Town players. The penalty area.

And finally Cyril, a final free kick in the final seconds. Under the police box, chipped in, McGee flapped and nobody relevant to our story was anywhere near anything.

Time wasted, time lost, all these moments will be lost in time. Time to cry.