Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
11 March 2009
Chesterfield 2 Grimsby Town 1
We're back in the land of the outside loo and their snack shack is still trussed up like Fort Knox. Time for Operation Grand Slam, Mr Re-Newell.
Town lined up in a 3-5-2 formation as follows: Henderson, Atkinson, Bennett, Newey, Clarke, Boshell, Kalalala, Heggggarty, Widdowson, Proudlock, Ak-Ak. The substitutes were Monty, Bore, Jarman, Llewellyn and Forbes. It's how we ended up winning the war of the poses on Saturday.
There's a lacuna in the law! If perma-tanned Peter Till can't play against his parent club, why can happy Jack Lester? He's ours really, always will be. Can't say the same for the old Gritts, though he has scrubbed up well, looking like he's had a bath and shave, finally eschewing the Haribo hobo look.
Do not walk to Saltergate via Focus DIY. Follow the bare-chested man in a bobble hat. Perhaps the only time in your life that will be sound advice.
Chesterfield kicked off towards the 500 al fresco Mariners with a wobble and slip and a bobble and a blip as Henderson sideswiped Bennett's back-pass into the rickety-rackety stand. They threw, they drop-kicked, and Talbot bonked a header into the residual pie queue.
Town slow, Town ponderous, Town nearly scored. Ak-Ak tickled Hegggggarty free, his crossed was blocked. Proudlock schmoozed a sumptuous cushion-volley flick behind Downes and Ak-Ak slithered under the floorboards, swooned towards Lee and, from a narrow angle, casually caressed a shot against the keeper's chest. Boshell's corner grazed off Atkinson's eyebrows and looped across the face of goal, sort of, maybe.
Hegggarty swiped and Ak-Ak bent his pipes to win Town another corner. Bosh flipped... heads. Town stripped Chesterfield's table and Boshell pined as he volleyed across goal and wide from the left corner of the penalty area. The Spiremen? Lester flibbled and wibbled over. Kerry kerranged well wide with a soft strum rather than a power chord. Chesterfield were wearing woolly jumpers and singing folk songs, Town were functional pub-rockers. All right now?
Kalalala mugged, Bosh hugged and Lee panicked under a high cross. The ball bubbled back across an opening goal and Heggggarty carefully steered a volley wide. That was a chance and a half.
There goes ten minutes of Town-ness; there goes our only possession, there goes our everything.
This worm of a game started to turn. Lester and Gritton irritatingly sneaky, running between Town's Big Three and causing moments. Gritton was never this perky with us. Lester ooh, Gritton aah. Talbot threshing Clarke into a bale of hay and chucking him to the cows, Widdowson turned into a cat's cradle by Lowry. Town unravelling, Chesterfield travelling light. Fifteen minutes of drift, fifteen minutes of local lift.
Gritton stooped under a steepling welly and Bennett volleyed clear. The referee gave a stupid free kick 25 yards out. Five minutes later Montrose fearlessly chipped it into the faces in the crowd. The Webbmaster had been moderating some minor hanky-panky in the chatroom, for the emoticons were running high.
A minute later Lester skinned his rabbit on the right and slapped low and slow into the centre. Lowry waltzed and provided some schmaltz with a pokey prod from eight yards out. There were blue shirts over heads as Lowry poked over the bar. Thank you Vera.
Town hung on to what they'd got, which wasn't a lot as the locals harried and hassled, drooping their gruesome twosome free down the flanks time after time. Lester waggled and shot straight at Henderson. Lester wiggled and shot against the far post. Yoiks Scooby. Clarke threw himself in front of Talbot as the rebound bounded towards the empty net. Ah, we did get away with it thanks to them pesky kids.
Town ended the half as they began - with passing and corners and nothing to declare but a volley very vide, this time from Clarke.
Could have been better, could have been worse, it was 0-0.
Neither team made any changes at half time.
Within a minute Proudlock was booked for running into the back of an obstructing Spireite, who rolled around clutching his face until the deed was done. There then followed a repetition of the first five minutes of the game. All Town until it wasn't.
Bosh teased a pass down the left towards the rampaging Ak-Ak who swatted a fly and crossed low and hard through the middle of the penalty area. Proudlock and Lee pursued but the ball bisected them perfectly. Proudlock eventually caught up with the ball and sliced a shot into the advertising boards. Town had corners, Town had crosses, Town had more corners with Boshell slippering teasing floaters towards the near post. Kalalala awaited under one botched biff. Three Derbyshire Drones threw themselves at him, but he feigned a shot, spun and thwacked goalwards from 15 yards. Lee sprawled to his right; the ball hit a thigh and looped and swerved towards the bottom left corner. All watched, all waited, all sighed as it avoided the net by an inch. A goal kick was given and the siegette was lifted.
A free kick was given way out on their left for reasons beyond all reasonable comprehension and memory. Downes stopped in the centre and headed against the inside of the post. It's our lucky day! Kalalala stretched and missed a squirmed clearance near the halfway line. Gritton and Lester played twister with Bennett and Atkinson and the ball boombled off shins, seemingly behind all, about 30 yards out. Talbot glided across and swept a first-time looping, swirling chip over, over, and over Henderson. The ball swung and dipped again against the underside of the crossbar and in. It's not our lucky day.
At this the Town crowd really got behind the team. At least two people didn't moan. Immediately Kalalala tried to replicate Talbot's outrageous, egregious chip. Kalalalala was only 30 feet from perfection. In the vastness of the universe, that's comparatively nothing. It was nothing.
Town collapsed for ten minutes. Everything was way off in the distance. Crosses fizzed, crosses flicked, corners hissed in and out. Henderson star-jumped at some oiky blueboy from feet away, deflecting for another corner. Someone stooped and headed against the outside of the far post as Henderson wrapped himself in cling film. Lowry stripped Widdowson of his dignity to fliggle wide. Town deflated.
With about 20 minutes left Forbes replaced Proudlock. Forbes didn't contribute anything: there is no need to think of him again tonight. A few minutes later Widdowson was replaced by Llewellyn with Hegggarty moving to left wing-back and Llewellyn taking... oh, they've scored again.
Newey tried some fancypants passing, with a soft roll towards Llewellyn in the middle of the Town half. Niven nipped in and swaggered a dipping, snorting drive over Henderson and into the top of the net. Just like that. Done and indeed dusted, no messin'; shall we pack up our troubles now?
Ah, but Town wouldn't be Town without that last desperate fingertipping claw of the windowsill before the plummet to earth below. Boshell exchanged passes oncely, twicely and nicely placed a shot to Lee's left. Lee flew right, flung up a hand and diverted the ball a foot wide. Bosh clipped the corner to the far post, battered chickens clucked, and the ball dropped near Bennett. The Young Pretender calmly controlled, swizzled and fizzled a shot through the crowded house of fun and into the bottom right corner. Bennett had scored.
Town had some flate back.
Roared on at last, Town threw themselves towards the long-haired loafers. Corners, corners, corners: all delicately and daintily dinked towards the congested goal-line, causing minor peril and major flapping. Would we? Could we? Is this it? Lee pacmanned across his goal line as the ball lobbed left and right. Clarke waited, the goal gaped, and Clarke steered his volley wide, just like Hegggarty in the first half. That was it, and that was that.
A fire alarm rang out from the rickety rackety stand. Don't bother calling the fire brigade: it's too late - Town had already burned.
With a couple of minutes left Jarman replaced the limping Kalalala and was booked for excessive shouting at The Webbmaster of the Universe when a handball was missed just outside the Chesterfield area. There isn't anything else, that's it. Three minutes of added time amounted to a small boy shouting at a bald man, which feels like a metaphor for Town's season.
Town had two ten-minute phases of superiority, but couldn't shoot straight. Chesterfield scored two belters and missed easier chances, having eventually exploited the weakness in the wing-back system. Town were not impressive, nor hopeless and, as usual at Saltergate, it was all a bit frantic at times.
Let's forget about it. It's all about the duel at the Deva. It's winner takes all.