Waiting for the great leap forward

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

9 May 2021

Cambridge United 3 Grimsby Town 0

Bananarama here we come: they'll be no match for our untamed wit.

Why can I hear Richie Havens and his big thumbs twanging? Clap your hands, yeah, hey, hey, yeah. Ah, Freedom from Fenty now tastes of reality.

It's wet outside and no kind of atmosphere for the locals to celebrate their love for the Us, which seems the natural thing to do when you've staggered into promotion. What have you dressed as for the last game of the universe? Lennie has come as the Cat from Red Dwarf. I spy 1,000 internet undertakers burying the past.

Town in blue, McKeown in orange, as the clocked ticked and the bell tolled for this year of living stupidly. It's windy and formerly wet. Dare to think, dare to act! The revolution is just a t-shirt away.

First half – Must I paint you a picture?
Town kicked off towards the home end where fluttering flags rippled like slow motion screensavers.

Bobbles! Ah, Rollin in the deep, we have our head inside our hands. Menayese mis-controlled for the first time today, carrying his own millstone out of the trees. Little Harry, the jaunty janitor, scooted out of his office with a mop, a cheery smile and a song in his heart.

Time ticking, fingers clicking, passing moments of amberite passing and movement. Hoolahan jiggled, juggled and crossed from their right, Ironside hooked and McKeown scooped.

Abbey talking, talking, Abbey talk, let's talk about things they'd like to do: fear in the air, tension everywhere, Town have the ball.

Hendrie surged and Spokes' corner plopped. A pass back and Pollock glanced the cross wide. Hewitt hurled, Coke swept over in the ball of confusion. Oh yeah, that's what the world is today.

And the beat goes on.

Bobbles! Menayese over-dribbling again. And? And nothing.

Minor moments of Marinerdom, footnotes to bookmarks on a post-it note. Khouri's piffle deflected and a corner followed and flowed directly to a goal kick as Spokes flew a kite. Coke nicked and was knocked and Spokes over-hit the free kick again. And again. And again. And again.

Ah, that's nice for you locals – a trip towards the Town area as grandad Hoolahan feigned a trip, falling over Khouri's leg before it arrived. Way out left and coiled highly, Ironside arose above Menayese and headed back into the arid desert twixt penalty spot and six-yard box. O'Neil stepped back and swept in from 10 yards.

Oh, so what. This game's irrelevant, it's a contractual obligation. Lines have been drawn, we're at year zero under Pettwood and Stockit. Here comes the future and you can't run from it, if there's a black and white list who doesn't want to be on it?

Aimless, artless, boomeranging and hanging as the wind blew balls backwards. The official raspberrian in indulgent mood as Hoolahan's handball stopped a break and no charges were laid by the authorities.

There really isn't much point to this is there. Pollock pinged, Lennie pinned and an amber leg swiped away from the near post. Where's Green? Standing, watching, sighing in the distance.

Two minutes were added as a fenland funster fell into Khouri to con another free kick.


Time for tea.

Town had the ball, they had a free kick. That's all there is to this kick-a-bout between two mid-table teams.

Second half – Accident waiting to happen

Neither team made any changes at half time.

Ten minutes of totterball and tittering. What have we got to show for it? The ball blew away at a free kick. A horizontal slap out by Burton. Bobbles!

And the big wheel of misfortune keeps on turning.

Snittering and snottering way on down the Town left, Khouri dredged a local and caught the ball by the corner flag. Hoolahan coiled low and laughably, Spokes prodded and poked and missed and the ball bumbled through the bobbles and into the far corner.

Spokes off, Scannell on, for what it's worth. There we are: Sean Scannell, the New Age Beagrie, one last jog.
Sailing the seas depends on the helmsman, waging revolution depends on Paul Hurst. Stick that on a t-shirt and see who salutes it.

Ooh Ma, ooh Pa, must the show go on? Throw-in, Hendrie crossed, Lennie nodded wide. Don't nod off just yet.

Ah-ha, just some time left for some Olde Anglian score settling. Hoolahan high'n'late, Coke on the rocks feeling his socks. Fear not, for Calmer Giles arose like Lazarus.


Lennie volleyed over after a free kick pin-balled into his path.

With 20 or so minutes left, Pollock and Green were replaced by Jackson and Adlard as Town moved to a 4-4-2-ish formation. There we are, after all this time, a straight line. Town walloped a free kick in a straight line and Hewitt's unexpected thighs turned the other cheek. Oh well, he can't help the shape we're in. It ain't been pretty and the pickings have been thin this season.

Out beyond the right corner of the Town penalty area amber plunged under a blue lunge. The invisible Mullin sized up his options and seized the day. Option A wallop it. Option B whack it. Option C crack it. Mullin chose Option A, B and C. Clifton ducked and grazed the ball over the flapping fingers of McKeown.

Well, wasn't that a free kick in the teeth.

Shall we look to the future, to the young ones, who shouldn't be afraid. Little Harry cut across the happy faces and shot in some way that was of fleeting interest. Little Harry whizzed a volley that was of interest fleetingly.

Jackson showed us the way to go: twirly-gigging and shinning wide. Jackson snap, crackled and popped a free kick, Burton spectacularly finger-flipped from under the bar. Jackson cut in and dragged wide.

One minute was added, just enough for Cambridge to go back to their constituencies and prepare for a relegation battle.

And so the nightmare ends. The Fridge Magnate offered up embarrassment and his usual excuses. But let's look down the corridor out to where the Vanarama is waiting – we're all looking forward to the Great Leap Forwards.

"You are pitiful isolated individuals; you are bankrupts; your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on - into the dustbin of history."

There's the sand, here's the line. We go again.