Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
19 March 2014
Forest Green Rovers 2 Grimsby Town 1
A still and chill evening in the Skrill with fewer than 200 Townites spreading themselves along the concrete and clay like a vegan butter substitute. Tofu anyone? Gesundheit!
Town lined up in a flop-sided 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Hatton, Pearson, Boyce, Thomas, Disley, Thanoj, Kerr, Neilson, Cook and Jennings. The five stars on the bench were Bignot, McLaughlin, Rodman, Tounkara and Hannah. Whither the Dizzer today? You can relax: he's on the right side of the tracks. Maniacs don't blow holes in promotion by remote control.
The Fruits of the Forest were in slimey lime again with unlovelee Hughes barundling around to a cacophony of confected cant from half a dozen half-baked harrumphers. The Green Army? More a foot patrol on a hiking holiday.
Woah, hang on, where's Long John-Lewis? How can we be expected to miss when we're missing the most popular shopping trolley in the world? Will this be more grist to the naysaying mill?
Let's get to the meat of the matter.
First half: Misty Mountain Hope
Town kicked off and thoroughly dominated several of the seconds with animated ping-pong, some whiff and whaff, chiff and naff-chaff. It don't amount to a hill of beans round here.
A tiny Town attackette piffled out of nowhere in particular and the ball ambled to the tiny Kelly, on their left. A look, a lump and Pearson dumped himself on the ground with a panicky game of Twister. Hughes babbled away down the right, veering into the area towards the near post. Boyce tiptoed through the tulips and Unlovelee Hughes strummed his ukulele, hopping across the falling tree to flick under McKeown. Three minutes, first attack and the cookie crumbled.
Town: a mismatched mess of mumbling and stumbling. Town: half-paced, half-hearted and half the team absent. Method? Structure? Aswad AWOL and cut into little pieces by Norwood. Hughes waited, Hatton blocked, Norwood nibbled, flumped and thunked against the near post, with scrimbles and scramble averting further disasters. The centre-backs parted like an ill-fitting toupee. There are plenty of rhymes but no reasons to be cheerful. At 1-0 we can just about grin and bear it.
Play-offs? We're being rather silly.
Way, way in the distance blue shirts occasionally connected. Fleeting moments that just prove Brownian motion can be applied to football. A corner crimpled low, flick-steered goalwards by Neilson and hitting various bodies to prove that Schrodinger's cat was in goal for the fruity boys.
At some point Hatton wallied a free kick into a rack of lime pickles and Cook slippered rather than slapped as the ball rolled to Russell. What else? Jennings reproduced the works of Isaac Asimov through the medium of dance to twisty-coil nicely to Lucifer Sam, the Siamese cat in goal. That was Town in their entire entirety of attacking and smacking. No detail has been left out, no matter how small. Method? Structure? Is this an acting class?
Town ran rings around themselves and played like they were reluctantly seeing out their contracts
Oh, if you must. A corner flowed from Aswad's rhubarb stew, locally sourced from sustainable fields. With McKeown surrounded, the corner drooped into the centre, eight or so yards out. A trio of Townites slurred their lines as Boyce crumbled underneath Oshodi, who bonked firmly and straight down the middle.
There were moments upon moments of small terrors and errors, shocks and blocks, but the moon was rising in the east, casting a shimmering light across a criss-cross of vapour trails. You could read Town's future in the stars. And the vapour trails. Yes, it's all gone up in smoke.
The Limesters were nothing special: they just had a plan and players prepared to move. Town ran rings around themselves and played like they were reluctantly seeing out their contracts.
Town were simply scared of Unlovelee Hughes. Blooming awful.
Second half: Veggieburger Hill
Neither team made any changes at half time as Town's mental bus finally made it up the hill. Oh the sturm, oh the drang.
Now I see the cunning plan from Baldrick – lull the locals into complacency through appearing to be hatless and hopeless, then make 'em laugh, make 'em cry as the showtunes kick in after the interval when they've scoffed their tubs of ice cream
We could all do with a little bit of Neilson on the right.
And the world was a different place. Get into them, get into them, Town got in to them. Long balls, short balls, medium balls and balls upon balls flicking between blue. Town tackled, Town baffled with passing intensity. By the simple act of running a bit and standing nearby, Town swallowed the lime humbugs and spat 'em out into the recycling bins.
Thomas raided and raided and raided, beautifully, brilliantly arcing and dipping cross after cross over and through the six-yard box. They couldnae handle him. Aswad flew and flipped high to the far post. Cook awaited and be-thwonked firmly and high. Russell finger-tippled over. He likes a tipple does old Sam the Eagle.
Aswad screeched past the cardboard boxes to curl a magnificent cross right into the middle, six yards out. Cook dived and diverted the ball achingly over as Russell flapped behind and two slimesters flopped in front.
Aswad, Aswad, always Aswad rampaging. Crosses were cleared, returned, cleared and returned again. Kerr delicately chugged out to Neilson on the right, rather than chipping towards the chirping menagerie in the middle. The gaggle agog, Neilson carefully steered a low poke across Russell and against the outside of the far post.
We're back! Thomas tricked and treated with a perfect and precise low pass through the six-yard box. Three men stretched as Russell sketched out a doodle of a poodle. A corner rumbled low, Boyce flicked and the ball diverted off lime and bombled out to the left of the area. Neilson awaited and carefully flicked low through a thicket of legs, the ball kissing the inside of the post and skipping into the far side netting.
So Town turned down the volume. Momentum is there to be lost.
For once, just once, the Forest of the Green were spotted inside the Town half. A boy fell, a free kick was coiled and tiny Taylor glanced a curly looper across the face of goal. That is all.
All Town, all Town. Hatton drumbled a free kick to the near post causing neckerchiefs to be ruffled. Town turned the tourniquet, pressure building, the siege engine cranking up and flinging flans across the barricades. Jennings can't stand up for falling down. Flicks were flickered, knees were knocked, Jennings crossed and Pearson, mere yards out and unmarked at the near post, closed his eyes and headed beyond the crowd and towards a cloud near Stroud. He won't be proud.
Town pressed and pressed and bashed with a hammer, but the buttons were dead. In a fix? In a lime pickle? Who you gonna call? Ross Hannah
Hey-hey, passing and movement, swishes being swashed, Disley free, Disley crumbled and stumbled and bumbled weakly into Russell's palms.
Aswad always roaming, no change or charge there.
With the game encamped in front of Russell, Town pulled out the trump card: Tounkara replaced Cook. This added little to the gaiety of the Town nation, for the Gallic Shrug was sometimes near, but always far away and never close. Is he not aware of Stack Waddy's oeuvre?
Town pressed and pressed and bashed with a hammer, but the buttons were dead. In a fix? In a lime pickle? Who you gonna call? Ross Hannah. Yippee! Hannah replaced Neilson. Unyippee! There's no reason but plenty of rhymes for that, the manager-formerly-known-as-Shorty was cruising for a bruising as Town moved to a formation that is non-existent. And then McLaughlin replaced Thanoj. Formation? Tactics? Town players standing in their half, everyone waiting for the big welly forward.
Town, Town, Town, Town, Town. The Fruits of the Forest didn't exist except as snuffling, shuffling pacmen, mobile obstacles to bounce off. Four minutes were added, Hatton bedraggled wide, Kerr slapped over. A cross was crossed and crossed again, and after diversions and excursions around the windswept hillock Hannah scuffed wide at the far post.
All aboard the Skylark! Forward… charge! Eventually a home hump was missed by Pearson, causing much merriment in the marsh, a quaint little hamlet further up Numpty Field Road. A bald chap alone, a bald chap volleyed straight at McKeown, who made his first save since 1959.
And still there's more. Up, up in the air like a beautiful balloon, with hacks and thwacks and Boyce scrumped a slow shinner over the keeper. The ball sailed and arced and backtracked a local lad to head away from the line.
And that was that.
The season summed up in one game. When Town rested on their egos they were woefully inept, swept aside by adequate opponents A little less loafing and Town were utterly dominant. But powder-puff in front of goal. It was harder to miss but Town succeeded, even with our goal-missing machine rested for the big games to come.
There's plenty more of that to come if we are going to succeed in failing.