Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
24 November 2014
Grimsby Town 0 Kidderminster Harriers 2
They're selling postcards of the hanging crosses, they're painting the season tickets brown. The barbers are filled with wingers, the circus is back in Town. Welcome back to our desolation row. Yep, they were faulty in Alty, but will there be pleasure in our home leisure?
'Twas a startlingly still, temperate afternoon in the slough of despond with 50 or so giddy Kiddymen gathered together in silent contemplation of their own woes. Beware the thorny spine of the faraway woes.
Town lined up in the implausibly denied 4-1-4-1 formation as follows: McKeown, Magnay, Pearson, Nsiala, Thomas, Parslow, Arnold, Pell, Brown, Neilson and John-Lewis. The substitutes were Mackreth, Disley, Clay, Hannah and Pittman. Percy anchored the butter, the chubby charmer and the Demon Barber of Park Street provided full-time width and part-time funky hair stylings while Lennie wandered lonely as a cloud. Why, all at once I saw a crowd, a ghost squad of golden-shirted Kiddymen fluttering and dancing with their knees.
Do you think our Demon Barber does perms?
Before we start there's something you need to know. There are only two things there have ever been a surfeit of: lampreys and Caine Winfarrah stickers. Now look that up in your Funk and Wagnall.
First half: Desolation row
Town kicked off towards the Osmond. Town won a corner. Arnold flunked low, a hair bear nodded away and Town nodded off as Pell fell. Swarms of diddy Kiddymen buzzed off, discombobulating the distraught Thomas and Magnay. Brown's little legs pumped backwards as he chased Johnson down the centre-left, who carefully curled around McKeown into the bottom right corner.
One minute, one down, one was not amused.
Don't worry, team spirit and all that. Great bunch of lads, strong characters, got to keep us shape John, cliché, cliché, cliché, etc, etc, etc.
It's Saturday, so it's Strictly Come Grimsby doing the fandango. Slow, slow, hoof, hoof, slow. Nsiala turned his back, Jamie Mack rolled it to him. Nsiala overhit and underhit back-passes. Nsiala underhit and overhit wellies. The crowd went loco at Toto. Aswad ambled like an ambivalent antelope with arthritis. There was no midfield. There was no attack. There was no movement, there was nothing.
Lennie cleared an Arnie cross. Marvellous. Brown scruffled shoddily wide. Magnificent.
And all the while the Kiddymen twirled between the Town lines. Percy Parslow, the piggy in the middle, basted whilst being roasted. McKeown scooped a swerving, scuttling long shot. A pass, Brown wiggled and waggled lowly, Lewis plunged low to parry aside. Percy dinked, Arnold twinked and Lennie lamped against Lewis's thighs. The chubby charmer mesmerised and marmelised. Lewis palmed, John-Lewis headed back to Lewis.
Isolated Mariner moments, just mirages in the desert. Hey you Towndream believers, don't get excited, it's because Town are short of ideas. What about the gaps in your knowledge? Sliced, hooked and shanked: Town had the yips. What about the gaps between Townites? Kiddymen had ideas.
I have no desire to add to your mental torture. It's the same things in a slightly different order, week after week. Shall we end this now?
A golden break bedraggled wide as chubby Reid awaited unmarked. Whither Toto? Toto withered, Magnay was sucked into the void and a midland mirthster muddled across the face of goal. They tipped, they tapped and we have a tip for Shorty – we could do this, you know. Boof, a far-off welly wobbled and Jamie Mack flubble-parried with discomfort and some joy as Pearson swept up the carpet for crumbs.
A free kick centrally placed, 25 yards out, was curled over the wall as Jamie Mack flew low to his left and scoop-fumbled back into the goalmouth. Pearson arrived to sweep the minefield.
Those were the things that happened. I have no desire to add to your mental torture. It's the same things in a slightly different order, week after week. Shall we end this now?
We can't keep going on like this, can we?
Second half: The golden shot
Neither team made any changes at half time. One team should have made changes at half time.
Town had the ball, then they didn't. It may have involved The Smouldering Shop sort of near the Kiddygoal. No-one was kidding themselves and carried on their half-time chats and spats. The Kiddymen passed to each other as they were unsmothered by Townites. Is football a non-contact sport these days? Tip-tap-slap, Reid's shot spunkled off a monochrome thigh and swished just wide of the post. Curled in from their left, Byrne swayed around John-Lewis at the near post and thunkled a slapping header into the top of the net.
I could fill in the spaces between friends with witty bon mots, some surrealist non-sequiturs, and the odd ode or reference to the oeuvre of Edison Lighthouse. Yes, I could, couldn't I, but why sugar the bitter pill? The crowd restless, furious, listless, beaten into submission by years of rolling tosh. Fatalism rules as we feast on the thinnest of Town gruel. It was as bad as it has ever been, and without hope or expectation.
Near the hour, finally, managerial movement. Parslow was replaced by Pittman and Town moved to 4-4-2. Within seconds something nearly happened. It's better than nothing. A free kick boomed in from under the Police Box. Toto nodded goalwards, Lewis twisted left to hand-block aside. The ball bounced four or so yards out in front of the empty net. Lewis popped up to flip away as loveable Lennie blinked like Bambi.
Brown, Brown, Brown, frown. Over the bar and far, far away. I see passing, I see movement, I see footsteps slowly walking as they gently walk across a lonely floor. That'll be Aswad chasing back.
Another free kick, another Police Box in another hall. Toto arose alone, six yards out at the back post. From nose to chin to chest to thigh to the waiting hands of Lewis, who patted Toto on the head in sympathy.
We know nothing is going to happen, but perhaps nothing will happen with a little more excitement
And in between the moments of almostness the Kiddymen amused themselves by repeating their greatest hits and forcing a corner, either end will do. The Shopping Trolley fell into the Freshney, toppled by a wisp of wind and some chap walloped from the edge of the area. Brown kicked it off the line. Toto unsubtly legged up a golden dude and no penalty was given.
Finally further shuffles on the matchday playlist, with perhaps 15 minutes left. Pell and LJL were yanked off, Hannah and Disley chucked on. Pell has caused the midfield to misfire terribly. He needs to go.
We're just wiffling away our lives here. We know nothing is going to happen, but perhaps nothing will happen with a little more excitement. Hannah. I just thought I'd mention him, for old times' sake. A long way from home, a long way from scoring, but at least it counts as a shot on target, eh? A free kick overhit and Pearson back-heeled within smelling distance of the six remaining hot dogs. Hannah crossed, Lewis flapped and Pittman's feet were not as happy as a penguin.
Oh, you know, this 4-4-2 is making things happen. We've never heard of such a system before. Thank goodness Brains has gone to footballing university to learn such things. Do you think it'll catch on? Passing! Hannah twitched and twocked a silky thread through the Kiddycardigan. Magnay roamed and dinked. The Dizzer donked and a purple foot volleyed the ball out of Lewis's hands.
Neilson ran into cul-de-sacs, Arnold fancy-flicked a cross which dwindled into the keeper's hands. Neilson ran into some different cul-de-sacs. That probably explains why he hasn't moved up to Bungalow City. Hannah crossed beyond the far post and Magnay scruffled straight into the keeper's hands.
Four minutes added. There was no need for that, was there. It just means we get our tea later.
In the two games against them this season an honest man would simply say these two teams are of roughly the same standard. Go on, be honest, John. It won't hurt.
You know, no-one was the least bit surprised. It's been the same game played out over and over again at Blundell Park. It just depends who is lucky enough to score first. Town were atrocious in every respect. Kidderminster, reduced and withering as they are, were superior in every aspect. Tactically, spiritually and technically. This wasn't a bad day at the office. This was The Office.
Football dies without supporters. We are thoroughly and completely bored. We don't expect to see anything worthwhile, but hope it happens by accident. We don't enjoy watching this Grimsby Town at home, and we tolerate the Micawberesque sneaky muggings at away games. Listen, John Shelton Fenty: one day soon we're gonna be as mad as hell and we won't take it any more.
Something better change. Ain't got much time to wait.