Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
21 July 2008
Winterton Rangers 1 Grimsby Town 1
Into the twilight zone between Scunthorpe and Humber, Town sent their surly seconds. If you want to weep at the failure of the Reserves to beat some Lincolnshire Lads, you can. There's always a half empty glass of bitter tears on the Pontoon bar for someone to sup.
It was a kickabout, it wasn't very good, and it took the introduction of North, Heggggggggarty and Till to rescue the Reserves from mild ignominy. Ignominy, ignominy, we almost had ignominy. It's Gainsborough next: does Carry on Screaming come next? No, no, no sirs, it'll be different, for a completely different team will play. The first team, the ones sat silently, all in a row, occasionally grimacing as teenagers wellied and wafted woefully. All except Bennett, who wandered by with his posse to lean against a wall 20 yards from the huddle.
Town played a 4-4-2 formation throughout.
The first half was tedious, with Town struggling to cope with loopy longish throws. Only Fenton had any fibre in the back four, but then again, he was the only man there. Normington was out of his depth, as was 'Jacko' at centre-back. Speed, strength and positioning were awry. Bird was better at left back, but still looked what he is: a centre-back. Little Rhodes was swamped and Hunt took 20 minutes to work out how best to cover for them all. Then he ran the game, picking up every loose ball and tapping passes to people who might need to wear glasses: long slices to nowhere. Llewellyn looked ponderous on the left and Bore was hamstrung by the largest shorts in football flowing gently to his toes. He kept having to hitch his shorts up every two minutes.
The soundtrack of the first half was Buckley and Watkiss telling Bore where to stand, where to run, and what to do.
Hegggarty (who went to right wing) came on for Hunt at half time and the newly short shorted Bore played in centre midfield. A couple of minutes in a long throw on their right was winked on and some little lad at the far post headed in, unmarked. Mr Normington, where art thou?
Nothing happened except more balls were booted into the trees.
On the hour Normington stopped a header with his hands held high. Monty plunged right and parried the penalty away. Jarman and Taylor were replaced by North and the tremendously tanned Till. Lewellyn partnered North up front. Town had a a couple of attacks. Winterton ripped Town apart down the left a couple of times, causing minor panic, and Tom Newey didn't take his woolly hat off.
Llewellyn looked far better in the centre and Till, when he remembered the ball, did what you'd expect him to do to local league players. Near the end he beat three and rolled the ball back to North, about a dozen yards out, who miskicked a shot in to the ground, it bouncing high beyond the little Winterton keepers. North rolled past two defenders and poked a shot across the face of goal and Heggarty, after a lovely North flick-shot straight at the keeper from 10 yards. Then we went home.
Overall Monty was exceptionally fine, except for a moment of nuttiness when he let an aimless punt bounce over him and hit the post. Normington and Jacklin do not look anywhere near the standard required. Fenton was Fenton, with more of the good Fenton rather than bad Fenton. Bird tried hard, but he can't pass the ball nor run quickly enough to be a full-back.
Bore was anonymous, no matter how long his shorts were, or where he stood. Rhodes was weak, essentially not being as good as Winterton's old stagers. Llewellyn improved and had several shots on target or within a yard of the posts. By the standards of Town's raggle-taggle reserves that was deadly shooting. Hunt was efficient, Heggarty adequate, North and Till changed the game. Jarman had a couple of neat flicks and tricks, but Taylor again looked too small, being easily outmuscled.
So, nothing new learned. Let's get some perspective - it was the reserves having a kickabout. The first team was watching, but not worrying about their positions.
And Peter Bore's shorts stayed on all game.