Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
11 August 2013
Woke up this morning feeling fine, there's something special on our minds. A new season, a new hope. New, new, new, shiny bright newness! Positive vibes, positive vibes, strut the positive strut to positive vibes, man. A hundred and seventy or so Aldermen strutted vibrantly in the far off corner of a foreign field of red plastic 'twixt Osmond and Main Stand. They seemed happy just to be here. What an unusual thing. We must try that one day.
Town lined up in an alleged formation, variously claimed to be 4-1-2-3, 4-3-3, 4-5-1 or 4-1-4-1, as follows: McKeown, Bignot, McDonald, Pearson, Thomas, Kerr, Disley, McLaughlin, Neilson, Colbeck and Hearn. The substitutes were Hatton, Thanoj, Rodman, Hannah and John-Lewis.
Historians have agreed that Liam Hearn was alone atop, with Colbeck and Neilson in vague general wide-ish positions in a dead zone between a winger and a midfielder. Now what is that position? A widfielder? A minger? The three amigos were together in a Mexican hat dance of intense tippy-tappy intent. Yeah, 4-3-3 never fails at Blundell Park.
Bignot is not big, but McDonald is... tall. McDonald is a big man, but is he in shape? Le Big Mac, Burgerboy, the Big Whopper: what's it to be? Will he be a royale with cheese? In the pre-match lumberings he moved with the grace and feline flexibility of a recently deceased rhinoceros.
Shall we begin the beguiling?
First half: The shock of the new
Town kicked off towards the Pontoon. There we are. Bye.
You don't want to know. No, you don't. The half that never ended was an implosion of incompetence and impotence. Let's get the highlights out of the way: Pearson grazed a McLaughlin free kick uninterestingly wide and high. McLaughlin did a nice turn once. McLaughlin overhit a cross. Colbeck almost crossed the ball.
And then there was Town's effort on goal. The Shotty centre-back chipped his keeper, forcing miniman Morris to head the ball off the line and back to his centre-back.
That really was it. Really, that was the reality. As we say several times a season: we cannot lie to you about our chances, but do we have your sympathy?
No shots against the Shots. No chances, no hope of a chance, no chance of hope. Town were hopeless and chanceless. The back boys punted, the front boys chuntered, the middlemen were diddymen of staggering ineptitude.
There really is absolutely nothing Townish to describe. Those striped shirts were being worn by males and there were eleven of them standing right in front of me. There were many Pontoonites speaking words of wisdom.
A couple of shots from the Shots, with a header or two. They, that is them, were willing workers, organised and committed, as you'd expect from a stable team that had been together for all of 10 minutes. Town need time to gel, of course. As for the Big Whopper...
Aldershot were narky nigglers and charmless timewasters. Thoroughly dislikeable.
The Shotterpeople had a throw-in. Burgerboy was in a world of his own as the ball flattered an inch or two over his head
Second half: F for Fake
Apparently Mr Shop replaced the ambitious Scott Neilson at half-time and Hearn moved to be the left minger. About ten minutes later I noticed his boots. Lovely bright orange boots that glow in the dark. Marvellous.
The Shotterpeople had a throw-in. Burgerboy was in a world of his own as the ball flattered an inch or two over his head. Pearson's hand scooped away and a redtop slapped the ball into the net. Mr Silly, the man in black, saw the tiniest touch upon Burgerboy and a free kick erased the moment from history.
Clayton McDonald has been awarded a contract to play association football by Grimsby Town Football Club. That is a fact. There are other facts available. Sometimes facts are not fit for publication as they would corrupt and distress the public.
After about ten minutes they got a free kick out under the Frozen Horse Stand. Flung in highly, McKeown tottered out and flapped as a redtop clattered. The ball fell; Oastler slapped straight down the middle.
No-one was surprised. There was barely a murmur in the Pontoon.
At this Town really upped their game. Their game being pass-the-parcel. The redshirt substitute wibbled and wobbled through pathetic attempts to intercept by the Big Whopper before, oh, who cares, a rubbish shot of some sort.
After a further ten minutes of inappropriate public inactivity, Rodman replaced Kerr and Town moved to 4-4-2. Town were instantly less awful, rising towards just being rubbish. But rubbish with purpose. Rodman dribbled and crossed, Rodman passed the ball to a team-mate. Things can only get better.
With about quarter of an hour left Hannah replaced Hearn. Things happened immediately. Hannah and Rodman combined, Hannah had a shot. A shot, a shot, we've had a shot! Then another! Is Joe Colbeck still on the pitch? Ladies and gentlemen, he was, for he emerged from beneath a mushroom to drift and drimble into the penalty area, dragging a cross back but behind Hannah. A southern man poked and belted the ball away and Little Ross rolled over the southern shins. Mr Silly, the man in black, pointed to the spot and everyone laughed.
Hannah flackled to the centre-left as Miller mowed the lawn on his right.
Aldershot buckled, Town muckled. A long, flat throw flickled on and the Shopping Trolley leapt and toe-poked onto the roof of the netting. Hannah and Rodman exchanged glances and the floppy-haired shuffler chipped delightfully to the far post. LJL arose alone with magnificent athleticism to miss a bicycle kick ten yards out.
They kept falling over and moaning. They kept niggling and slyly kicking Townites. McKeown was wrestled into the net at a corner. Colbeck was obliterated 17 seconds after releasing a pass. They were 'orrible.
But they had an 'orrible potential to spoil our wake. In the seven hours of added time the Big Whopper messed up below the Frozen Horse Stand. The Big Whopper backed off and was pathetically passed with ease. Some bloke steery-poked lowly across McKeown, who rather excellently claw-fumbled the ball aside and away from a sliding redtop. A minute later Thomas was tousled and teased and McKeown raced off his line to swamp lurking danger as a Shotterman refused to fall after being clipped and clopped inside the penalty area.
I have more important things to do. So do you. This performance was an insult. Wrong players in the wrong formation with a strong indication that Town have replaced excellent and adequate defenders with a job lot bought off eBay, sight unseen.
What a mess.