Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
9 December 2013
Grimsby Town 2 Northampton Drowning 0
Dream, dream away. There's magic in the air, a beautiful shimmering cerise sky and 250 Marooners massed in the Osmond. Northampton, I remember you, ah, the chill of it all at that one-eyed, one-road distribution depot on the edge of town. Are we your future or are you our past? It's a riddle to solve that will get you to the next level. Remember, levels can go up as well as down.
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Hatton, Pearson, McDonald, Thomas, Rodman, Kerr, Disley, Neilson, John-Lewis and Hannah. The seven pillars of wisdom were Bignot, Doig, Thanoj, Colbeck, Cook, McLaughlin and Southwell. With the dew-soaked Hedge having crept out to Matlock, Town were benchly keeperless, but there were great expectations in the double-socked stands. Wasn't Benchly Keeperless a minor character in Hard Times?
Northampton limbered far away where the breeze blows leaves of a musty-coloured yellow. Their monochrome old boys were in there somewhere, but who cared about minor characters in a long-cancelled play in a smalltown repertory theatre? Was it so long ago that Clive Platt was Town's number nine dream? With thighs like that, what more can I say?
Are you hanging up a stocking on your wall? It's the time that every non-League club has a ball. So here it is…
First half: Moves like Hannah
Long throws, long throws, foul throws and long throws, what a load of niggly spoilers. Didn't they support Marillion at the Winter Gardens in 1982? Yeah, 90 minutes of swampland blues with Aidy B and the Niggly Spoiler Band. Cobblers by name, cobblers by nature.
Hannah drivelled, Hannah crossed, Lennie the loincloth wiped his forehead nearby. The ball dripped and plopped. Hannah was Hannah was offside. Hannah offside, Hannah was flattened, Hannah was offside. Rushing Ross, standing offside on the shoulders of giants.
Underneath the archness, we dream our dreams away. Underneath the long throws, the Shopping Trolley sprayed inches high and millimetres wide as Jamie Mack spluttered and splattered. A messy muddle under huddles and cuddles.
Long throws, more long throws, the ball wellied and wallied by the ninnies from Northants. Sub-Scunny ramblings down cultural cul-de sacs, tricking themselves with flickers of luxuriant slapstick stumblings, Mr Grimsdale.
Hannah turned and burned, Thomas crossed, the ball shingled off a maroon shin and Hannah slash-sliced wildly wide from the vicinity of the penalty spot. Why oh why? Oh, his right foot.
Hannah was offside, Hannah was offside, Hannah was felled, Hannah was offside. A pattern as predictable as the seasonal jolly jumperage on display.
At some point that will come to be regarded as during the first half somewhere, the Cobblers were given a free kick because one of them fell down before we did
Burgerboy boomed a big welly from nowhere to nowhere. Take your time Clayton, don't hurry. Leave it all 'til somebody else lends you a hand. Ah, the hands that touch, the eyes that don't see if the digits be claret.
Hannah nodded across goal but Lennieboy had nodded off. A moment, just a moment in time.
At some point that will come to be regarded as during the first half somewhere, the Cobblers were given a free kick because one of them fell down before we did. The local constabulary could have stepped in to right this wrong but, oh no, they were tucked up nicely inside their Police Box munching mince pies and watching Cagney and Lacey on their iPhones. The rubbish Robben whipped, a maroonite dipped a glance and Jamie Mack slap-parried firmly aside. Pearson was booked for not avoiding a spectacular dive into him and the Rubbish Robben coiled a dipper over the angle of post and bar as the wall recreated their childhood Christmases and played Pac-man until teatime.
And that was that. Time for tea.
They probably had another effort but frankly, my dear, who gives a Covenham Reservoir about that. Town had variants of nearness occasionally. You know: crosses and twisty turns, just plans that came to naught but half a page of scribbled lines.
I believe, yes I believe. More I cannot say, what more can I say? There's nothing to be scared of.
Second half: Hands all over
Neither team made any changes at half time.
Ah, that's better, a bit of oomph. Rodman dribbled on his own sweet way and crossed dramatically. Reid placed his bonce perfectly to divert as Hannah lurked and leapt alone behind.
Nope, sit down, a false alarm. Get the rug back on your knees and pray, just like yesterday. You got fooled again, didn't you. We seldom score from a corner.
They ran off. Rubbish Robben robbed a pickled pepper and failed later on in a most pleasing manner. Passing is easy with eyes closed, I think he was misunderstanding all he could see when two chums were free.
Wahey, Thomas a-raiding down their right and Hatton creeping down their left. Hatton hurled a bit longily from under the Police Box and there was panic in the streets of San Francisco, San Diego and Santa's grotto. The ball dropped, Neilson spun and spankled a volley from the centre, which hit a huge and generally useless Northampton thigh and clambered desperately over the crossbar.
Thomas a-raided, a-raided on their right, and Lennie the workaholic workhorse rescued from the workhouse was felled under the Police Box. It's where the action is these days, right under the noses of the guardians of public order. And order was restored. Kerr coiled; Pearson arose beyond the far post to beautifully bonk a coiling, curling, drooping header over and around the sprawling Duke. Into the monochrome crowd he disappeared.
And so Town panicked for five minutes. Cobbling carthorses caterwauled and clattered, Thomas hoiked vertically, McKeown punched Rodman and Town's hair gel had melted. They had their moments, these were worthless and redundant moments of intimacy giving false hope as they fluttered their false eyelashes.
To calm the broiling pot of nerves, Colbeck replaced Neilson. In all his minutes on the pitch the ball touched Joltin' Joe, our Dunkin' do-nothing Donut, at least three times. Or is that at most? One of the two.
Northampton had laid down their trump card – big old Clive, who immediately flattened Disley. The ire and chagrin of the cognoscenti in the Lower Horsemeat Stand was roused: these dandies had their dander upped. Grrr, you nasty man, you. You are awful and we never liked you. Ah, it's the gift that keeps on giving. Yes, yes, yes, it's Ishmel Demontagnac! We're really liking our football on a Saturday.
Danger disappeared as the centre-backs folded the comfort blanket and put the kettle on. Cuppa tea, dear?
Maroonites launched bazookas and Lennie's magical hands made danger disappear. Aswad's armpit shook as the ball was flicked into his fingers and the custard tart in charge suddenly became a tasty teatime treat.
Cobbling humps! Hatton delicately and deliberately headed back to a maroonite inside the penalty area. McKeown crept out without intent behind Pearson at another humpy hoik. Danger disappeared as the centre-backs folded the comfort blanket and put the kettle on. Cuppa tea, dear?
Burgerboy passed directly to a Cobbler, who passed back. Lovely. Big booming ball time! McDonald walloped so high that mobile phone signals were disrupted in the Mablethorpe area. Hannah cheekily snuck between claret clots, spun and curled lowly. Sir Duke parried safely. In this game that was something. Hannah turned and rippled the side netting. Hatton hurled a quick throw, Hannah turned and weakly wibbled into the other side netting. You could feel it was all over bar the sniping.
By their standards Northampton really gave it a go in the last ten minutes. Do pay attention: I did say by their standards. Hooking, hurling, chucking and ducking isn't more than desperate vapid and gormless against a non-League team. It's our bread and butter, you puddings. Have you never seen Tamworth? Ah, you soon will.
As the clock would have ticked on to ten to five if it had been working, McLaughlin replaced Hannah to much grumbling and rumbling.
Platt turned and shanked. Platt turned and blanked. There were four minutes of added time. More than enough time to boil an egg and boil Cobbling carrots. A maroon missile was bazooked back downfield and Reid shinned straight into Blundell Avenue. We threw in the ball and they threw in the towel. John-Lewis stood on the ball, McLaughlin burstled and hurtled through R-R-R-Ravenhill and wrapped Reid in a bow with swishing and swaying and a sprinkle of nutmeg atop this mincing pie. Feed Paddy McLaughlin's goat and the goat will score as he pickled Duke and poked through the keeper's legs.
The last kick of the game and the last kick in the teeth for Boothroyd. One of the easier games this year. Efficient and routine.