They sighed with their boots on

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

11 January 2015

Grimsby Town 0 Gateshead 0

Welcome to the official start of the beginning of the end of the middle of our muddling through on an afternoon of breezy blustering. A coachload of Heedbangers were mashing and munching in the covered corner. The dribs and drabs of the dwindling Town diaspora were scattered among the decay like old cushions on a raggedy sofa.

Town lined up in a 4-3-1-2ish formation as follows: McKeown, Parslow, Pearson, Nsiala, Magnay, Mackreth, Clay, Disley, Brown, Arnold, Palmer and John-Lewis. The substitutes were McLaughlin, Walker, Mackreth, Pittman and Hamish McPony. Arnold played around and behind Town's tribute act of vaguely disappointing England centre-forwards. Yes sir, we can boggle at having the non-League Heskey together with the non-League Andy Carroll up top.

I await the formal club apology for any offence that may have been caused by employing two centre-forwards with scruffy ponytails. What a double style disaster Hamish McPorkson and Olaf Palmer are.

Hmm, have you noticed the Aswad absence? There's muttering in the guttering with some doubting Thomas's mystery missingness. There's guffawing in the flooring at the sight of Little Johnny Oster in gloves. Gateshead were Rodmanless in sky blue. Them be the bare details.

Perhaps Aswad wears contact lenses? This was not a day for what Herr Fick had in mind when he legged it down the patent office in 1887. It's gusty and blustery. Have Town got a lust for life?

First half: Drums along the Humber

The Gateshead gallivanters kicked off towards the Pontoon. Or did they? Such piffling trifles of trivia need not be recorded for posterity. In its loosest sense Town attacked towards the Osmond end. A club of Town's history and stature have a very well-upholstered posterity, of course.

Did I tell you it was windy? Ah, I did, didn't I. An unmonogrammed napkin scampered in from the Findus, swirling around the Feet of Clay and za-zooming into the Gateshead penalty area. I'm counting that as a Town attack.

Pattison passed into the Pontoon, Pattison passed into the Pontoon. The Pontoon passed out briefly, much like Percy Parslow, the reduced right-back. Only 12 minutes gone? It seems like a lifetime. This game should be a lifeline: it's a freebie training game with cash bonus available. A stranger from another planet, welcome to our hole. Where are the missing two thousand? Perhaps they are getting a grip on their shelves at B&Q instead.

Higgledy-piggledy nibbly-nobbly noo-noo-nonsense. Deflections, reflections on how life used to be and a little scamp in blue flew and flashed. Jamie Mack flopped low and flipped aside. A thing that happened. We're trapped in a world that's a distorted reality, left alone with only memories.

I've seen a snail crawling across the edge of a razor. That's my dream; that's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a razor... and surviving. Sorry, I just drifted away like that napkin. I must have picked up an allegory over the Christmas period.

Bibbling and bobbling inside the six-yard area. Palmer plunged amid more arm-waving and imploring to interrupt the snoring

Shaw crippled Pearson with a late snidey slide. Out came the yellow. A Disley diagonal dripped into Brown's flight path. The stubby scouser stumbled and tumbled in the box. Nothing given, nothing to give, nothing to do, it's up to you. There's nothing to say, but it's OK. Bibbling and bobbling inside the six-yard area. Palmer plunged amid more arm-waving and imploring to interrupt the snoring.

Have I told you lately that's its windy?

Wahey, football. At least three passes. Arnold spun on the left and crackled lowly across the face of goal from a distinctly narrow angle. I haven't mentioned loveable Lennie yet. There is nothing nice to say today.

What a move, what a miss. Town broke, unmarked Arnie toe-ended a dolly banana to spindle softly to Bartlett. If a Brazilian had done that you would've have laughed.

Disjointed and arbitrary, occasional glimpses of connectivity, competence and sense. This report, the game, life.

Shaw snidely slid into Magnay and received a kindly finger-wag. Percy missed a corner, Ramshaw chested down and shinned straight at Jamie Mack from eight yards. Out came a McArm, down floobled the ball and The Dizzer scoop-swiped off the line and up, up and away to a land of rocking horse people and marshmallow pies. That's the nearest anyone got to anything. Toto's tackles stopped any nonsense. Town were indebted to Toto's terrific tiptoes and tangoes.

There were moments, there was wind.

Second half: The charge of the lightweight brigade

Snidey slidey Shaw was taken off at half time before he was sent off. Town's song remained the same.

Errm. Mmm. Yeah. Oh, hang on… Arnold shot straight at Bartlett.

Arnold. Arnold. If anything nearly happened it happened to involve the enigmatic hairdresser. He ran, he span, he can if he tries. He tried. Gateshead were on the pitch. They never had a corner in the second half; they accidentally almost had something that nearly was a shot.

Moments, that's all there were. Men running, occasionally passing. Our Carroll-lite alike shielded and shovelled sideways. Brown stretched and wrenched a soft poke. Bartlett was required to slumber and scoop, so we're going to officially call that a shot and a save. Clay performed a perfect air-dummy, spinning fully 360 degrees with a slapstick swipe.

Town, Town, Town piling on the inertia. Arnold's corners swung high and deep, causing minor mayhem. Pearson arose and thunkled firmly, but straight onto the line-straddling bonce of a Tyneside tyro. Another and another almost and nearly, through all or grazing monochrome heads in moments of almostness. Palmer nodded a dink back across an empty goal to the onrushing invisible Lennie.

Better than the miserly Macclesfield misery, but that's not saying much

They brought on players, Town brought on players. On came Mariner Misfit #345 Michael Rankine as Gateshead sought to convert their simmering heat into some mechanical work. The Rankine cycle is fine in theory, but reality bites. Olaf Palmer was replaced by Pittman. Pittman was pure tosh. McLaughlin was given his usual three minutes – that's not even enough time to boil an egg. In added time Mackreth was sent on to add some Mackrethian scuttling.

Shots? Chances? No way, Jose. A moment or two. Toto pressed, Rankine galumphed back and back and back down the touchline, threebling an underhit backpass towards his custardian. Lennie loped, Bartlett hurtled, Lennie pulled up short and the ball was pulled into the car park.

And that's all folks. Better than the miserly Macclesfield misery, but that's not saying much. An utterly underwhelming game between underperforming clothes horses. Gateshead looked content to turn up and not lose by too much, Town looked like they were trying to try and score, but didn't really know how to.

I still have a box of Christmas biscuits left, so at least there's something to look forward to.