Wrekin balls

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

30 November 2014

Telford United 1 Grimsby Town 1

Well if you ever plan to motor west just take the Town way, that's the highway that's the best. Around 500 Townites got their kicks on a hazy, crazy day in a maze just off the A442. The stewards were searching, looking for flares. Yeah, they've got to find the man with the can. Hey kids, try to can the can.

Telford: a moral maze or moral turpitude? Don't you use that to strip paint ethically? I could murder a Cadbury's flake but then I guess they wouldn't let me into Devon. Is that a Hazell Dean poster on the wall behind that steward with Dickie Davies' Eyes?

And you romantically like to believe that Town lined up in the alive, not dead, 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Parslow, Pearson, Nsiala, Magnay, Mackreth, Brown, Disley, Arnold, Pittman and John-Lewis. The substitutes were Bignot, Clay, Neilson, Hannah and Hamish McWatson. Absolutely everything was the same as on Ruby Tuesday.

Our black and white keepers, as everyone there knows, stood in a field where barley grows. Jamie Mack simply sank in the muddy quicksand, ignored Groundskeeper Willie and practised in the goalmouth.

The Shropshire Lads turned up in white. Town's Telford change was all blue.

And no-one mentioned Norwegian jazz saxophonists once. Now there's a first. Perhaps that explains the mad mascot.

First half: An embarrassment of ditches

Town kicked towards the home end. I say "home end": it was the end with fewer people in.

Jeez, Telford are terrible. Are they even footballers? They stand in the right places and are wearing a football kit. Yep, they must be, then. Are we playing musicless chairs?

Blamp! Arnold slap-shotted, Hall half humble-stumbled and Pittman grumbled for far too long about there being too many divots in the penalty area. No need to be rude about the locals.

Pittman twizzled and caressed Lennie free. Off he roamed, alone, into the distance, rampaging through the turnips and brassicas. Ah Lennie, space and time are alien concepts. Hall twibbled the low scrumpler aside. Lennie twisted by the pool and crinkled into the emptiness. I know you know what you know but you should know by now that you're not me. Moments happened, all down yonder, as Town played piggy in the middle at will. It's a toffee-nosed weekend in Telford as far as I can see.

Toto tapped a long 'un. Pittman hared away, right down the middle. Hall star-jumped in the great void as the careful lob-volley sailed over man and bar. Arnold roamed and raided on the right, Pittman stretchy-poke-volleyed and Hall flip-flapped away semi-spectacularly.

Some people had got excited. Don't get excited, it's because we're short of quality. Don't worry, we old lags, the voices of experience, soon put them right.

Ooh, hello. Ledsham lollipopped a tiddling daisy-cutter and Jamie Mack laced those daisies into a necklace to sell at a charity stall in a scout hut. Christmas comes earlier every year. Telford pumped high, Pearson tweaking as the ball was sneaking goalwards. These were the days of their lives for nothing, no-no-no-nothing else crept near the travelling Townites. It rather dawned on many that they needed to book an appointment with an optician, for it was all far, far away in the Empty End, that anything that wasn't happening was occurring.

Dank and dreary. Balls. Balls flying into advertising boards. Balls spinning into the car park. Big booming balls. Just a load of balls.

Things were so much simpler in the 1970s. The only socially acceptable flares were at the bottom of our trousers

Telford tonked and finally they got their hearts' desire this festive eve. A corner. And another. Then another. All boomed highly beyond the far post where Lennie was in various stages of undress with his man.

Town simply ticking over, the engine starting to splutter in the dampness. Pull out the choke!

Lennie played the Dizzer into a tizzer. The ball squirtled waywardly and Parry advanced down the middle. And carried on. A million miles from home, porky Parry cranked his gears and smeared goalwards. The ball travelled in a straight line. Jamie Mack shuffled his feet. The ball sailed in another direction as it passed retreating humans. Jamie Mack sprawled, flapping furiously as it went straight in, top of the net, right down the middle. Oh, how did that happen? If only Mr Zapruder had been filming from the grassy knoll. We'll need music, mythology, Einstein and astrology to unravel the mystery of Parry's big bang.

Things were so much simpler in the 1970s. The only socially acceptable flares were at the bottom of our trousers. As the intra-fan chuntering began, out flew an orange spume of fumes, to the fury of the many. How did that get in when everyone had a full and thorough body patting search. This is now beyond the fringes of daftness.

Town's collective collapsed into a befuddling of rampant egotism as man after man took on Telfordians single-handed, ignoring their comrades. Lennie spun a funky groove but turned himself inside out and refused to shoot; Pittman turned and burned for Arnie to carefully curl-roll straight at the keeper from the edge of the area after what scientists have begun to call passing. Mackreth hared off into a cul-de sac as a triple wedge of blue cheeses waved.

What an awful mess of pottage. The staple sporting diet of neolithic man was hoof-and-hope-ball on a cabbage patch. I thought I'd gone to a football game, not a social experiment. You want football, not filibustering and foppishness? Their Pokuman blazed ingloriously over towards Ironbridge and Brown glanced a header as wide as it was long. It may even have gone out for a throw-in.

From sauntering superiority to sullen shuffling, Town were making the impossible possible. What genius, what magicians. What a shame.

Second half: Send up the clowns

Neither team made any changes at half time. Nor did the tannoy, playing 'Brimful of Asha' for 45 minutes.

There is no cohesive narrative to retell, no pattern, just random events, here and there, now and then. Like a dream within a dream, just when you thought there was something tangible it slipped away, like a thousand grains of sand in your hand. In between the things that happened, the shins and chins of the misbegotten misguided the innocent ball to part of Telford rarely visited by humanity. The home stands.

At some point even he will not remember, Arnold whirled and twirled on the left, licking a lovely pass into the centre of the penalty area. Brown leant back and cleared his throat and the stand.

Mackreth jinked and dinked to the far post. Lennie watched his flocks by night and The Dizzer slowly swizzled agin white socks for a corner. A wasted corner. Get on the elevator Arnie, we're fed up with the ground floor scuffles.

Teasy-Weasy Nathan nibbled and nurdled, Pittman lashed with his left, disturbing the little drummer boy.

Telford tossed and some Toto tosh let a whitey wiggle away. Take a chill pill, daddio, for Poku choked and poked. A big punting free kick was punted bigly. Arms flailed, a Ledsham swisher skidded low and wide off the faintest of bluebottles. Ah, the Buckmisters: all long throws and free kick, waiting for their little big men. Hurtling hurlers, Batman. Kappow! Thwang! Phwoosh! Snore!

Near the hour, as nothing was happening nowhere, Loveable Lennie spin-bundled Pittman free down the left. Warp factor four Mr Sulu. Magisterially accelerating and crazily crossing, Mackreth's head sneaked around the back and collided with the ball, which plonked itself back across the keeper into the bottom left corner.

Mackreth was suddenly alive, suddenly the wing-wizard, darting, dinking, jinking and making Telford sink further and further back, a Shropshire lamb on the rack, roasting on an open fire. With our without chestnuts, your choice. For all of five minutes. Neilson replaced the spring-heeled Jack and played like the usual Mackreth on Mogodon. One shot, into the side netting; the rest was wince-inducing. We don't want wince pies for Christmas thankyouverymuch.

There's a mysterious mauveness beyond the trees. The mist is rolling in with the misses

Jamie Mack punted, the demon barber tricked and flicked, Pittman lashed low. Hall ached right and diverted into the side netting. Some thought we had scored. They were wrong. Oh yes, they were wrong.

Did Lennie wallop wide? Hey, these things happen so often they blur into each other after a while. There's a mysterious mauveness beyond the trees. The mist is rolling in with the misses.

A Telfordian collapsed, Telford carried on attacking. Town cleared, Telford moaned and moaned and moaned and moaned that Town didn't kick the ball out of play. Their left-back shoved the chubby charmer, the linesman called the referee over and Poku was told off. The Pokuman and their left-back have very few shared physical characteristics.

A big punting free kick was punted bigly. A generic big bloke arose above Toto and sneered a grazing header inches wide of the right post. There is nothing else from them, you know. They didn't get any more free kicks within punting distance. All punters lose in the end, you know.

There were four minutes added and Town nearly ran off with a rancid spoon. Arnold chased, their left-back slipped inside the area, and the snappy snipper seized the moment. As a snowstorm flew in from the east attempting to smother, nippy Nathan waited and delicately rolled the ball into the path of John-Lewis. No shop should wait for custom at this time of year. Lennie wafted and missed as Poku poked through his legs and toe-trundled the ball three inches wide of the near post.

What else? Well, Lennie wasn't booked and Pearson headed high after a final corner was finally lofted as the demon barber acted on crowd instructions to lift his horizons. That's it. The end.

What did we see? We saw the future and it's the same as the past. Lions without the individual wit to eat some fluffy rabbits, already sat in the pot. We watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That's their dream; that's our nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor... and surviving.

Right, it's the winter break now, plenty of time to scour the shops for some chives before the Mighty Morphing Forest Green Rangers strut into Town.