Stop me if you think you've heard this one before

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

3 April 2021

Salford City 1 Grimsby Town 1

It's plain to see it's hopeless, goin' on that way we are. He's not the man to hold your trust, everything he touches turns to dust. Still, at least we're not bust, just about to be bust down to the Bananarama.

Ah, I see they've painted the Salford Boys Club's rosy red tops on cardboard boxes from the shops to fill their stands. Oh, hang on they are moving, they are human after all. It's Vanity Projector's VIP cardboard cut outs made flesh. We are humbled by your presence your imperial majesties.

There's a weird trap door in one half. Is it where they bury all their managers. There's plenty of holes in the desert.

Town in blue, Salford in red, it's stick or twist, boom and bust time. If not now, when?

First half – How soon is now?

Salford kicked off towards the Town bus, parked above the stands upon the hill, for there is room upon the hill. Will Town park the bus? And if your head explodes with dark forebodings Hewitt will simply dink diagonally. Big Jim flicked and Lamy lolloped behind their invisible right-back. The cross blocked, Lamy retrieved and back twizzled to Little Harry. A swing, a sway and Clifton cut infield and clapped some thunder inside the near post.

I've not been so surprised since I was walking round my local store, searching for the 10-pence-off Lenor, when I bumped into Fred Titmus.

They've a hole in their bucket, let's keep pouring big diagonal dinks beyond and behind. A lame Lamy lob and a lob by Lamy that was lame. Long gone are the days when Little Richard descended on a gold lamé rope. Showbiz has gone downhill.

Oh dear, we've got a custard tart in charge. A butterfly flaps its wings in China and a Salfordian falls. Big dinks and a subtle wink from the custardian to the celebrity starers as a Lamy cross hit a red hand and skittled out of play. No penalty, no corner. Open your ears and you will hear it, I tell you this 'cause there's no limit to the seething at the things we see the ref didn't see. And this was only the start of it.

Reds on the right spell danger, they can't hold out much longer. Lamy skipping into the emptiness where Clarke's shoes were no more. Hladky stooped at the near post, the ball skipped through the slack smother, boinged agin the post and out for a corner. Salford, a floppy wet salad, waiting to be chucked in the recycling bin. Ah, but into which coloured bin shall we chuck 'em? It's all so confusing these days.

Waves of Town-ness, almost tears of joy as Clifton's chuck-in was half cleared to Coke. A back heel bought time, Matete swiped from the 'D' and Hladky hung himself high to spectacularly slap over. The corner in and out, back and forth, Hendrie hoiked a huge lumpy-hump deep, deep into the penalty area. Lennie leapt, Hanson flicked, and Lennie mis-swiped a bumbler from ten yards as Hladky clawed aside. Dear old Lennie, ain't nothing gonna change our world.

An Irishman stared intently and smiled as a red knee arrived in Coke's back. Knees must, I suppose.

And after 16 of these earth minutes Salford crossed the ball into the Town penalty area. How lovely for them, their VIPs must have been delighted. And they would have been fluttering their fans when Hunter's cross was stretched out of the six-yard box and a Touray slap shot spun wide. The black-and-white fact is that the mugging of Matete was ignored by the custardian. Monochrome lives matter you know, Mr Custard.

Red shiftiness, striped slinkiness. Menayese boomed bigly from the deep left. The ball sailed over ailing redsters, Hanson awaited and fell to earth under the influence of mugs who pushed the envelope as Big Jim was about to control the ball and enter the penalty area.

And what do you think happened next? Is it:

a) A pigeon landed on Roy Keane's shoulder;
b) A free kick to Town and a red card for the defender;
c) nothing.

The NHS helpline is open until midnight for those traumatised by the referee.

Rattiness, snappiness, Town in a tither with a gathering storm of indignation distracting them from that football thing they'd been doing perfectly well. Incidents and accidents between the peeping nonsense. Them. A corner at the far post way beyond and way beyond. Town: a trick free kick for a goal kick. Town: a trick corner ended back at the feet of Jamie Macc. A Payne cross stretched away by desperate red boots.

Matete and Coke. Sublime and Sensational by Jane Austen.

Our free kick led directly to their free kick and a waffle into the wall. Coke ducked and like the fella once said ain't that a kick in the head?

There will be blood.

Two minutes were added and Coke sat down, blood flowing from his forehead and the band played on. Town down to 10 men, Reds fizzing, McKeown punched a corner away. Up and unders, scrambled eggs, and in the fifth added minute it was time for some rich tea and sympathy.

Town dominant, Town excellent, Town distracted by meddling bureaucracy and the jumped-up jobsworths in charge.

Second half – There's a light that always go out

Neither team made any changes at half time

Town kicked off straight out of play and the custardian was straight back in his groove. Don't we get anything?

Ah, the exception that proves the rule. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, unbelievable. A Town free kick! Lamy lobbed, Big Jim nodded from beyond, the ball bounced across the face of goal, bonked against the left post and Payne cycled around the park to bicycle kick into the net. Of course the goal was disallowed for walking on the cracks in the pavement, or maybe wearing a loud shirt in a built up area between the hours of 8am and 8pm without a permit.

Whatever, however, an excuse for disappointment is easily found when it comes to Grimsby Town.

The accumulation of little slights led to the inevitable fight as Payne was booked for a little light shopping. As he retreated clapping sarcastically the referee advanced with his hand retreating to his back pocket again. He's off! He's not. Fingers will wag.

A bit of hurly, a little burly and the jinking, jiving Assante-Thomas dived over a toothpick when seeking blue boots. I am sure you will have seen the newsflash and press conference live streamed from Buckingham Palace – no penalty given, no yellow card shown.

It was either a penalty or a dive, nothing else could possibly have been the cause of the tumble.

Big booming balls! And the shook up Shopping Trolley drubbled snuffily to Hladky. What else did you expect? Sydney Opera House? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Wildebeest sweeping majestically across the Savannah?

Drifting, drifting Town drifting backwards. Hewitt's timid tackle rolled back to him rather than the galloping gourmet. Lamy was pushed over. So a free kick to them, of course. Lamy was mugged by some teenagers up to no good, hanging around on a Salford street corner. The ball was flashed out to Henderson who happily walloped way over from way wide. Way to go! That's the way to do it.

Lennie chased his own flick and Hladky hacked away. As Lamy was fouled, play was lamely waved on and Towell's long shot fizzed past the right post with Jamie Macc wishing it luck as he waved it goodbye. And we all waved Payne goodbye as on came Habergham Sam, our main man on the left. Little Harry moved to the right.

Changes by them, a change by us. Change balls please. It's all gone flat.

A bit of slap and tickle by the benches as Matete and Touray tangled. Little Harry flicked over red socks and flew alone into box and... and... we've got that seething feeling. I hear a whistle? Why is there a whistling sound? Is it tinnitus? Or is it that tin-eared tin-pot troubadour of tosh?

After much shuffling and kerfuffling, two yellows and a Town free-kick on the half way line emerged from the canyons of Declan Bourne's mind. Each time we'll hear your name, oh how it'll hurt in the wardrobe of our soul in the section labelled "shirts".

Stale bread and cheesy dips as locals lobbed artlessly, relying on the cobblers of bobblers. Lennie ailing, losing power, a non-stick frying pan uptop. With five minutes left Green came on, for Hanson.

Desperate days call for desperate acts and the desperately dreadful Reds resorted to simply lumping it long and high. And finally, with four normal minutes left Mr James McKeown was forced to use his hands in mortal combat. A long loopy free kick hung high from their right. McKeown punched backwards Henderson arose at the near post and Jamie Mack battered away from his nose and off the line.

Ooh, well done Hewitt. Ah, not so well done Hewitt.

With many red shirts around and about, in front and behind, a booming ball bounced over Hewitt. Hendrie was smothered and covered in red confetti, the ball noodled on into a vacancy. Touray waddled and walloped a swinging dipping volley into the top right corner.

If you gaze for long into the void of Chapman's Pond, Chapman's Pond gazes also into you.

And Spokes replaced Lamy as four minutes were added.

Hladky drop-kicked, Henderson dived in the area. Everyone ignored him. Bouncing, bouncing, balls are bouncing. Clifton nicked and surged, tickling Green down the right. A cross flashed lowly, the keeper missed, as Lennie and a local lad flew in behind, but two yards out.

And what do you think happened next? Is it:

a) The Shop tapped into the empty net and there was joy all around;
b) The Shop cleared the ball and ended up in the empty net; or
c) A pigeon landed on Roy Keane's shoulder.

The Samaritans hotline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

You have to be there to miss 'em and Lennie is always there to always miss 'em.

And there's more. Listen lads, we can still lose this! In the lastest of the last minute a Red free kick was cleared and a corner given. McKeown star jumped to shin away the in-coiling curler.

This is always how it ends. The long drawn out affair is almost over.

In isolation, this was another thoroughly competent performance undermined by over-caution in the second half and the inability of Lennell John-Lewis to score open goals. We really shouldn't have needed the psychological fig leaf of the rotten reffing. Town are no worse than anyone else in the division now, superior to many in mid-table, but it's all too late. The seeds of destruction were sown many moons ago by different farmers.

Oh well, enough said. We know it's over.