Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
6 June 2022
Grimsby Town 2 Solihull Moors 1 (After extrea time)
Hey, hey, summer is here so lock up the streets and houses, we're off down to London town to go up in the world. We are Town and this is our time! Listen, lads and lasses with smiles across your faces, we can still do this.
For a charm of powerful trouble, like a hell-broth boil and bubble, let's get ready to rumble.
It was the worst storm in all the land of Stockitts and Petwood since we had become a nation again. There be floods near the Foston turnoff and a plague of locusts just north of Peterborough, but on we battled as we looked down upon the fens and saw farmers bringing in their livestock and everything they had in their fields to a place of shelter.
Blimey, what a journey we had.
Town lined up in the copyrighted 4-4-1-1 formation as follows: Crocombe, Cropper, Waterfall, Smith, Amos, Sousa, Fox, Holohan, Clifton, McAtee and Taylor. The substitutes were Pearson, Raikhy, Maguire-Drew, Abrahams and Dieseruvwe. Just about the same as just about what has become usual. Settled, solid and finally in stripes.
Ah, yes, the yellow peril. Hudlin the incredible hulk flanked by fleet-footed flyers and backed by bruisers and cruisers. Ah yes, Solihull and those double defeats. Mmmm. Ahhh. Lightning rarely strikes three times, you know.
Solihull? We can beat them, just for one day, though we may need to resort to witchcraft to summon up the Cheltenham Effect: eye of Newton and toe of Maycock, put on a woolly hat and don't buy an overpriced hotdog. Take your own sandwiches, much cheaper you know.
Right, let's get the world back in karmic balance: Scunny down and Town out of the Village League of the Damned.
First half: Let's stick together
Town kicked off towards the emptiness, away from the Great Northern Wall stretching as far as the eye could see. Up, up in to the clouds. Oh, no, that's just Big Luke's bonce bouncing the ball back. Sousa slackness and Solihull slipped the noose, nicking and knocking, ticking and tocking and crossing alarmingly. A corner swung, a corner glanced into the wall of confusion. Smith shinned, Howe slapped centrally and Waterfall's backside blocked as many awaited net bulgage.
Another corner, another cross, there was a bit of this and quite a lot of that, with Moorsmen buzzing around the carthorses like irritating horseflies. Swat 'em Luke! Luke swatted as Sousa trotted.
More Moorsmen Morris dancing down the wings. Smith stretched, or was it Waterfall wrenching? A corner coiled farly, Howe arose alone thwonking back across the face of goal, through lands no humans inhabited and inchlets past the right post as Little Harry river-danced nearby.
And who doesn't feel for the single ball boy stationed in the great Monster Truck void behind Crocombe. There are Norse sagas shorter than the distance they had to travel to retrieve the holy grail.
Too much dancing and too much prancing: lance the boils!
Needles were held against open flames and applied to the blisters and pimples. Grips were gotten and Cheapside plans not forgotten. The tourniquet tightened, the clamp was applied, Fox and Holohan swept and Town crept closer to McDonnell's goal. A pass, a cross, a swish, a swipe. Just throw yourself at it!
Cropper tangled up in blue socks far, far in the distance with arms flapping and tongues wagging. Sousa swayed, McAtee mislaid back and Clifton slapped across the face of goal, across the thighs of Gudger but a mysterious goal kick was mysteriously awarded, despite evidence available to all. You only had to look up at the big screen, mate!
Boyes, their flashing blade, a loan signing well worth fighting for, bibbing and bobbing, robbing Senhor Chipolata, trolling Cropper, whipping and chipping, but Town not shipping water.
Wayward chess and Fox misvolleyed Dallas free. The scampering Solihullist cut in from the left and coiled lowly and left via Waterfall's thighs and Cropper's shins. Crocombe, already plunging, adjusted his underwear, raised a giant right hand and flipped the sliding, skipping shot aside, with Smith spectacularly diving to clear from lurking yellow.
You have to say that's Maxnificent.
All Town, are we happy? Town oohs, Town ahhs, shoot! McAtee mesmerised, Taylor wallflowered and McDonnell stooped to scoop Holohan's crawling pass-shot. Sousa slippery-slapped, McDonnell clasped eventually. Some vigilant stripes clamped down on low-level street crime, McAtee laced his shoes and polished Boyes boots, Sousa scampered and swung lowly through the middle of the middle twixt keeper and startled centre-backs. Arriving alone at the far post, some say four, others say five, yards out, Little Harry leant back, swung his right foot and everyone arose to acclaim one of our own.
Everyone in yellow arose to acclaim the miss of the century. The ball ballooned off red shins high, high and higher still, landing on the roof of the net. Remember, Little Harry makes the impossible possible.
Ticking away, the moments that made up this undull game. Chances frittered, passes wasted in off-hand ways. As a minute was added striped slackness on the right let Moorsmen pounce. Sousa dillied, Sousa dallied and Sbarra had the luxury of time to espy the distant mountains and plan his summer holidays. Out there, beyond the marshlands, beyond the plains, he saw the snow-topped Mount Hudlin and chipped upon the peak, rising above the valley of Amos and noodling down into the right corner.
As they say around here, what a John Selwyn Gummer.
It took Town 20 minutes to remember they were this Town, not that old Town. And then someone nodded off to set off a chain reaction that let the boy with pipe cleaners for legs nod in. Hey, what are we worried about, we don't get going until the going gets tough. Whether times are good or bad, happy or sad, we stay together.
Second half: The power to believe
Neither team made any changes at half time.
The force is with us, Luke. And Ben. Don't forget Ben.
Town, Town, Town, Town. And occasional yellow muggings as Moorsmen hung around in the shadows waiting to pounce on the frail and lonely as they passed on the way to the local Co-op. Thrusts were cut, advances repelled. Moments of nothingness and almostness lost in the tension and trauma.
Town triangulating and Tobleroning down the right. Someone, shall we say McAtee, pulled a pass back into the path of Gav O'Groves who swept lowly across the face of goal towards the far post. McDonnell swayed just as a blurry vision appeared in his eyeline and Clifton Cruyfflicked agonisingly slowly past the near post.
A tickle, a tease, McAtee marauding, his shot skittering off yellow boots and skittling down and up over McDonnell and over the bar. And. And? Pressure cooking and a shot from our national treasure. Big John, lurking beyond the D, leant back and fizzled a flasher that crawled over the keeper's finger and over the crossbar.
You know Maguire-Drew had replaced Sousa by now. When is now? Well, it is now, it always is, by definition. Durrr.
A punt, a shunt and Hudlin and Smith headed each other, with the lanky lad coming off much worse, groggily arising, nose stuffed with wadding, and then being led off. On came Newton, a man approximately eight foot shorter than Beanstalkboy.
Momentum moving the Mariners way, but just Tiller girls and Cropper hurls: nothing to report. Nicks, knocks, blocks and various socks around ankles. McAtee slipped and Storer skipped an overweighted slapstick non-pass towards the centre circle. Smith stepped forward to intercept, and threaded through Maguire-Drew's needles. McAtee arose from his tumbling slumber, spun and passed into the bottomest of the bottom right corner past twinkling fingernails, then set off to promenade in front of the Striped Wall of Sound.
Woah, hang on there. Danger! Danger! A break, Town flaking as Waterfall and Dallas tossed a salad and fell together. No, Mr Dallas, go home to your tomatoes. A free kick dead centre in the D, a monochrome wall and an invitingly massive tunnel for the passage to yellow happiness. A befumbling skitterball between pinballs as the ball careered off stripes and yellow and yellow and stripes, squirtling sideways to Sbarra, briefly alone on their left. The boy wonder wondered for a moment whether this was his moment. That moment of wonder allowed McAtee the brief scintilla of time needed to fly a cross with a wonderful block.
The word is phew. And then some.
Town ascendant, but Solihull lying doggo, waiting for the moment to strike without thinking; waiting for the moment when Townites turned their backs, that moment when they get the chance to put the knife in. Here they go zipping, whipping and free Dallas headed over. Amos, Holohan, Waterfall and Cropper all standing as the last man between heaven and hell.
With 10 minutes left Manny D replaced the receding Taylor. Manny D and his magic knees collapsed when chasing the dream.
Yellow plunges under striped lunges, way out on their right, way back. Whipped, dipped, scuttling at head height, Fox glanced, Gudger took a step back at the far post and carefully, magnificently, steered welly-welly over.
Heave-ho let's go there’s still time for the world to spin our way.
Kabaddi and caboodling with stripey noodling. Maguire–Drew caressed lowly into the corridor of flirting between retreating defence and frozen keeper. McAtee slid in the centre flicking with his toenails, steering the ball towards and across the face of the far post.
Six minutes added and... nah, let's not bother winning it early, it's a game of 119 minutes, isn't it?
What's that you ask? When did a strength and conditioning coach ever get you success.
Extra time first half: something
Raikhy replaced McAtee.
A kind of hush fell over the ground as legs turned to mush. They had a shot, rolled by Sbarra into Crocombe's massive gloves. Town? Moments of movement, motion with emotion. But who wants promotion?
Holohan ran out of puff and was replaced by Abrahams and Town moved to a straight 4-4-2. Well, I say that, but that was the theory, players stood where they could in the approximate designated position.
A second Solihull wind blew briefly and we have heads and tales of brave Waterfall and hollow-eyed and legless Smith. Oh look, he's gone and done it again.
What happened there? Fox, Abrahams, crosses, mishing and mashing, teeth gnashing as shots were untaken. Just whack it!
Extra time second half: Something in the air
After a brief Solihuddle the remaining Mariners stood together in a circle for the last time. OK, this is it then, it's now or never.
A tickle, a tackle and Big Luke stood stock still. Outstanding tackling, red-socked leader, get that man a slice of cake. Amos blocked a break.
Little Harry induced a throw on the left. Nothing to get too excited at, eh? And lo did the karmic balance of the universe tremble as much as Moorsmen's knees at the sight of Cropper roaming away from the right. The crowd was rumbling, the ball was hurling, Dallas flicked on into the corridor of certainty and Maguire-Drew sneaked behind the last yellow taxi to pokey prod high into the net from a couple of yards out. The ball hit the net and the crowd hit the roof as the whole Town team indulged in primal scream therapy.
How long left? Ten minutes, blimey we're getting this sorted early today.
Solihull took off the flagging Dallas and flung on a big centre-back to, you know, stick it in the mixer. The mixer is our dance floor. Crocombe plucked daisies and the effort suddenly brought on cramp. Waterfall and Smith lay down amongst the lambs. Abrahams' amateur comic prat-falling resulted in a comedy booking for terrible overacting. What a ham he is.
Moorsmen flung balls in to the box, Waterfall headed, Smith clattered and Crocombe's arms extended as the game was extended by two more minutes.
In. Out. Up. Down. Hoof away.
One more minute... thirty seconds... ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.
Hursty, we have lift off.
What a magical time to be alive in DN35.
In 20 years of hurt we couldn't help but wonder to ourselves "How would it be with someone else?" Now we know. We got it together sooner rather than later because the revolution's here. And you know it's right.
What's new pussycat?
Competence. Honesty. Integrity. Graft. And above all trust.
OK, what's next?