Who is number 1?

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

13 July 2016

National Farmers Union 4 Grimsby Town 1

Over the bridge and far, far away in a sleepy village by the estuary, a small team of small people live. Shall we visit them and sprinkle stardust upon their sleepy little lives?

Stand back, the big boys are back in Town. The South Bank is here, the South Bank is here!

This is the start of something new, something beautiful, where we leave our dark days of humiliating non-leaguiness behind us. Stand tall, stand proud, we are on the brink of a new age.

Town lined up in a phantasmagorical 4-2-3-1 formation as follows: McKeown, Davies, Gowling, Boyce, Andrew, McAllister, Berrett, Vose, Summerfield, Chambers. And poor old Omar, all alone in a field with just some cows for company. The substitutes were there for show, just mascots and ballboys along for the ride.

First half

It started. The ball bobbled, new Townites wobbled in a cobbled together string of onions and bunions. Who can pass, who can move, who stands where, who is who? The Village People go east and west and are right pests. The Farmer's goalmouth? Life is peaceful there in the open air, unlike Town's defence where the air is blue.

A mess, an awful, awful mess of mingling little men, incapable of passing, moving, control the football, knowing not where to stand or where their new friends are.

Boyce disappeared, Gowling was sheared and some yellow chap strolled gently through the meadows to lilt a lullaby over the stuttering McKeown.

A pointless punt, and three Townites shunted together. Holes and freedom for all. A yellow man alone nodded into the emptiest of nets.

There is nothing but emptiness on the flanks and flim-flam in the sham of a midfield.

"Where am I?"

"In the Village."

"What do we want?"

"Inspiration, we want inspiration."

"You won't get it."

Second half

Town kept the same team throughout, while the Village People thought it fun to bring on a succession of reserves and youthers.

Town had intensity, Town had the ball. Town had moments, Town had movements, Town had a goal: Summerfield via a centre-back's back. A corner, Gowling nodded, their gabby keeper slipped low and flipped wide excellently.

Chambers passed wide, swiped wide, headed over and volleyed into the toll booths from a micro-yard out. At last we have a natural replacement for Lennie.


Berrett dived without conviction, Vose wilted in self-pity. Penalties? Yes, they should be fined.


Stripes collided under bouncing bundling. Pathetic. We aspire to being merely embarrassed.


Space, dithering Davies, a mild welly and Jamie Mack's impression of Joe Hart won top marks from the local WI. Impressions? Impressions? Sid Little does Frank Spencer.

It should have been more, but they took pity on the poor huddled messes.

What positivity be there in this cesspit ambling, shambling shoddiness?

These new kids in Town kit are neither here, nor there, neither one thing or another. There was nothing, anywhere.

Vose. A dandelion. Chambers, the Mariners minimart of a shrunken John Lewisness. He tried but misses marvellously from all angles, a perfect hat-trick of goal avoidance. Berrett and Summerfield invisible men, Davies and Andrew outfoxed, outfought, outrun, by wingers winging. McAllister. Small, confused and irrationally Town's sweeper. Let us weep with Gowling and Boyce at their disintegration.

Amateurs crushed by semi-professionals. Town lost to a spindly Altrincham, a robust Welling. Hail to the future. It's only just begun.