Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
2 May 2009
Grimsby Town 0 Macclesfield Town 0
Look down, isn't it a pity, there isn't any sympathy for Chester City, whose corporate brass neck is all dirty 'n' gritty.
Around 50 or 60 Cheshire hep cats strutted over to the Costa del Sunshine to be shovelled into the covered corner. This is our party; you can look into the ballroom from the cloakroom. Isn't life sweeter now we're not all of a twitter?
Town lined up in the usual 4-4-2 formation as follows: Henderson, Bore, Roberto Atkinsonini, Bennett, Stickdale, Lulu Llewellyn, Clarke, Sweeney, Heggggarty, Conlon, Ak-Ak. The substitutes were Leafy Lund, Normington from Cheers, Pinkyboot Proudlock, the hapless, headless F-f-f-f-f-orbes and Jiminy Cricket, known to his mum as Josh Fuller. It's a kickabout training match: Bore at right-back, Sticky at left-back, with Clarke promenading in the centre. Town are a bulky container lashed ropily to the decks.
Macclesfield turned up in yellow shirts and green shorts and that's about it: they turned up.
Isn't this nice, we can sit here, watch without any fear, and just laze on a sunny afternoon. We've been saved from the squeeze.
Town kicked off towards the Osmond stand with a new look for the new season: Sweeney spun and mugged himself inside the centre circle. What are you dong over the summer, by the way? Going anywhere nice or just hanging around on a piece of ground in your home Town? Did you see that picture in the paper last night? Ooh, how did they manage to...
Well done Henderson!
Bore dawdled, Bennett bumbled and Evans snickled away, boombling towards the Preston pashmina. Some people worried, most didn't. Henderson stared, glared, and fared well to stretch and parry low to his left. Ciao baby! Bella, bella, arrivederci Atko. Atkinsonini flicked his sunglasses down from his forehead, sipped his cappuccino and rode on his Vespa to stop the muttering and start the ladies' hearts a-fluttering.
Where were we? There is a light that never goes out. Ah yes, how can you flip a double decker bus over on a straight road? When did this Americanisation of Lincolnshire life start then? Prom nights? Pah! Dingy school discos are character-building - dullness and disappointment are the past, present and future. Young people must learn to be bored.
Ah, their full-back shot wide. Or high. Or both. Is anybody really bothered?
Fill in the blanks with some throw-ins and general nubbini-noodle-niddlings. Town were a bunch of blokes playing the spoons to their nephew. Sweeney was spinning plates for England, which will disturb him greatly, being McScottish. He really is too good for the fourth. Hegggggarty was Jake the Peg, with an extra leg.
And after 18 earthly dearthly minutes Conlon flicked a kick and Sweeney did know, but swibbled over the bar and far, far away (but not in another galaxy). That was a Town shot. That was a Town move. That was enough to divert attention from the crossword.
Ak-Ak's incredible bouncing chest bobbed and weaved, spinning between, underneath and through a dozen green shorts, hanging on the wall. He swerved left, veered right and sniffed the fertiliser as a final defender stretched. The referee booked him for diving.
That's an awfully large boat out there in the Humber.
Conlon headed a corner back across goal to the unmarked Lulu, a few yards beyond the near post. Alas, Lulu was a footballer in the past: he powder-puffed straight at The Brain, who lapped the ball upfield where Atkinsonini was attacked by a flying Maccman, but the ref waved play on. They crossed; Rooooooney hacked well wide from well out. Well, well, said the rocking chair. Beans in the bucket and a few clean sheets are all we need.
Chug, chug, chug went the motor. Bump, bump, bump went the brake. Thump, thump, thump went the advertising boards above the Osmond as Conlon swung his pants. If it'd gone in it would have been a goal.
At last a save! Henderson punted, Conlon flicked and The Sweeney was doing ninety 'cos he got the word to go. Way out he volleyed and The Brain fussily fumbled at his near post as Conlon arrived with a bunch of flowers and a neckerchief. No dinner tonight Bazza, your charm ain't working with this laddie.
In yellow shoes he gets the blues, but clad in black he's at right-back: Bore shuffled up the wing, infield, across field, and towards goal as the defence backed off. He slapped Poutonly wide with the strength of a dying elk. Still, at least he tried. Stop moaning back there. There's nothing to moan at as there's nothing at stake. It's a pre-pre-season friendly. It doesn't matter any more.
The Macclads almost got near the penalty area once. Almost.
I can't be bothered to list their tumbling dice, their persistent falling and calling and time wasting. One minute was added; it could have been five.
This half? Not worth the salt in the pepper pot. It passed away quietly and was buried without ceremony, nor obituary in the local paper.
Neither team made any changes at half time and finally, Cyril, the referee ran out with the ball. Let's get the show on the road.
It was played out in front of the Pontoon with just three little trips out towards the beach. Without being any good, Town were utterly dominant from the off. Clarke crossed, Conlon waited alone and begiggled a volley dreadfully wide from a dozen yards. Wind forward a minute. Bennett thrashed low, the ball rebounded to Ak-Ak on edge of the penalty area and he carefully shingled beyond the sea. Wind on 53 seconds. Another Town corner, flicked on by Lulu, headed over the angle by Bennett.
Ak-Ak splurged and swayed a swinger into the hanging gardens of Blundell Avenue. Stockdale poked and slashed over. Conlon headed over. Conlon missed the ball and Ak-Ak fell over. Hegggarty crossed, Sweeney surged. And that was that as Hadfield broke away and Atkinsonini legged him up 30 yards out. And was booked. Roooooney waffled the free kick a couple of feet over.
It was all very exciting in a harmless way. Town looked like they could successfully avoid scoring even if the mellow yellowers sneaked off early to beat the bank holiday traffic.
Somewhere in this helter-skelter Newell and Alex had a minor fricassée (© Peter Osgood 1992) on the touchline. Banana and apple, I think. The Main Stand indulged in some bouncing banter with the ancient Mariner.
Conlon miscontrolled and then missed ball and man with a comedy air kick which only resulted in a daft free kick to them. Perhaps Thin Barry realised that only comic capers could enliven the afternoon, which may explain his decision to wear a carnation and big red nose.
Just after the hour three subs prepared to come on. Ak-Ak suddenly woke up. Conlon headed into his path a few yards out, and only a magnificent flying knee from Walker diverted Ak-Ak's volley from goal. The corner flew; Ak-Ak grew and glanced goalwards, only for Brain to tip over.
And at this there was a triple change. Here we go: Ak-Ak was replaced by Proudlock, Conlon by F-f-f-forbes and Lulu by Jiminy Cricket. As Fuller puppy-dogged on to the pitch the captain of our ship awaited and ruffled his hair, then pretended to throw a ball for the eager pup towards the Pontoon.
Proudlock was told off for moaning within 23 seconds of his arrival. Well, he was born one mornin' in the drizzlin' rain, fightin' and trouble are his middle name. Ah, Fuller scampered and scurried after a Proudlock slipper, crossing flatly and dangerously towards the in-rushing Heggggarty. But The Brain plucked. Forbes chased a back-pass and crunched The Brain a couple of yards outside the area. The Brain didn't get up; the ref just gave a free kick. Huh? He's gone sensible all of a sudden.
One week he's in a polka dot cap, the next week he's in stripes. With about quarter of an hour left Big Keef dedicatedly followed our fashion and made a triple substitution. A-ha, we have an answer to one of life's great imponderables: how long is a piece of string? Vinny Mukendi is six foot two inches.
Nothing changed, it was still Town, Town Town, 'til our sugar daddy takes the cut-price tickets away. Sweeney sweetly broke away, swinging and dodging through the crazy Macc defence and flicking to Proudlock, who sidestepped and dragged a shot to the near post. Which was slower: The Brain, the ball or those hazy, crazy, lazy days of summer? Brain tippled away, Forbes retrieved, crossed and everyone appealed for a penalty as a defender blocked with his upper arm.
Who'd have thought it, Macclesfield managed to get into Town's half. And were given a free kick too. And had a shot. And on target. Nah, don't worry, Henderson will be there. Over hoops and horses and lastly through a hogshead of real fire he diverted a deflected flick from his near post. And wouldn't you know, they got a corner too. How quaint. Just the one. Nothing to report other than they got their one and only truly original corner of the game.
And we're back to normal. Walker sliced tremendously badly and straight to Proudlock on the left. A cartoon caper with Pinky boots and The Brain. On proud Adam flew, with Fuller waving at the far post, only to bedraggle across Brain, across the face of goal and a foot wide. Forbes headed down but softly, where Brain flopped and plopped at the foot of our stairs. Town pressed buttons randomly, but the door wouldn't open. Macclesfield have an analogue defence in a digital age. Try something less sophisticated next time, Town.
Hadfield wafted a shot way over and a long whacko downfield resulted in some Town tremors. Henderson raced out of his goal out on the right and missed the tackle. As the Maccman shaped to shoot, Bore arrived from behind his own ego to rather excellently save the day. Well done, young man.
With five minutes left Hegggarty splurted away, crossed low and Forbes managed to side foot against the bulky Brain's chest from five yards out. Anything else? Forbes was booked for running into someone. Anything else? There was one minute of added time when there should have been about four. Anything else? No.
The first half was non-existent, the second totally Town. It was one of those days you just knew Town wouldn't score, whatever they did. In a way this game summed up the season: an early Bennett error was followed by a first half of turgid emptiness and dissatisfying, incoherent shambling. The second half was better but we ended up exactly where we started.
Ah, relax. Summertime and the livin' is easy. Fish are jumpin' and the tide is high, now Town are moving on. Maybe next year we'll be number one. If the last six weeks have taught us anything, we aren't the kind of crowd that gives up just like that. Oh no.
It's okay, it's over now. We're awake again. It was just a bad dream.