Bring on the caution horses

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

11 August 2016

Derby County 1 Grimsby Town 0

Ah, yes, now this is the big time – we're finally invited to a party at a swanky house at the posh end of town. Did you bring the bottle? Jägerbombs or smoke bombs?

On a dead summer night. A single, solitary staircase to the heaven of the second division and the pungent whiffs and puffs of the single, solitary smuggled smoke bomb greeted the 1,700 Townites. No-one from Derby bothered.

Town lined up in a 4-5ish-1 formation as follows: McKeown, Davies, Pearson, Boyce, Andrew, Chambers, Berrett, McAllister, Summerfield, Vose and Bogle. The substitutes were sat down inside a potting shed pruning begonias: Warrington, Jones, Bolarinwa, Venney, Vernon and Jackson Browne. Vose and Chambers stood out wide, Omar stood alone. Poor Omar.

Derby had players we'd heard of. And Darren Bent. Are we game for a laugh?

First half: Misguided angles

Town kicked off towards the mass of Marinerdom.

We tip. We tap. We tap and we tip. We clap, we clap. We clap-clap-clap-clap and FISH. We sip our martinis and nibble some nuts. We're waiting for the sun to go down, we're waiting something to happen. We're waiting for a hurl or two.

McKeown undercut a clearance against Bent's studs and plucked his error back to his bosom. Berrett back-passed to Bent, Jamie Mack swept away the tears. A linesman was subbed. A bit harsh: he'd not made any mistakes yet. Standards must be high the higher up the pyramid of tish and toshery you go.

Omar was felled on the halfway line. That was Town's attack. Noodles and ketchup, rice and peas, prunes with semolina. Dominic Vose? Chicken and chips.

Whatever didn't happen came from them; Town were comfortably humdrum. Russell scroopled wide after Vose patheticked. Hughes scraped and scrunched and McKeown slowly, lowly swished aside. Keogh headed wide. Bent, probably, missed again. Blackman snickled betwixt a bed of red and Jamie Mack marvellously mashed away.

Davies almost crossed.

And finally, finally, finally, what will go down in history as "a shot". Neatness and niceness, and Berrett wackled against a Scooby-Doo arm. The ball spun in soft swings into the waiting arms of Carson.

Half time and parity, but little purity in the outbreak of mild Voseophobia.

Second half: Sun goes down, it's Tuesday night

No changes were made by either side at half time.

Derby were animated – well, shall we say sketched lightly. They moved at a slightly faster pace than Townites and all it really meant was that Darren Bent missed more, and missed more quickly.

Darren Bent can't shoot straight. Apt.

It's That Man Again: heading wide, heading over, and heading for retirement. Andrew ducked up and excellently to clear over from under the crossbar. Russell danced infield and piffled across the face of goal but McKeown flew right and grappled away.

There were three minutes of added time. This was when the game started

Vose, by the corner flag, brilliantly swayed and flicked over a raiding Ramsbottom. Then sliced sideways back into the Town penalty area. A man in a moment.

On the hour a Derbyite fell out left. The free kick was tickled shortly and tingled uppily beyond the far post. Keogh sneaked around back and thumpled a thumping header beyond flailing fingers. We've been waiting for a goal like you to come into our life.

And at this the best outfield player was removed: McAllister was replaced by Browne, who looked utterly confused and totally lost. You could see him shrinking.

A mess, a muddle and a miss. Browne absent from a place he may not even have been supposed to be. Ramsters wiggling at will and wastefully onto Bent's nobbly head. No, I haven't forgotten those couple of flash slashers.

And then, don't you know, a spark of life: Vose was off. We can but dream. Oh, just off the pitch, not back to Plucky Scunny. And on came Jackson. Browne was transformed into a silky, determined little swinger. Flicks were nicked, ticks were tocked and interesting things happened.

With about eight minutes left Chambers was replaced by Tombola. Chambers is the antidote to Vose, the Anti-Vose if you will. Chambers tries really, really hard but can't control the ball for a bunch of grapes.

Hey, things are almost happening. Free kicks gained as the wingers were slain. The ball was nearly almost somewhere in the vicinity of red shirts standing inside their area. Almost a reason to stand up.

There were three minutes of added time. This was when the game started.

Town attacked. And attacked. And Town corners. And corners were elevated. Pearson, beyond the far post, nubbled back and home heads scruffled off the line near red socks and red shoes. More corners, more elevation, and almost elation. Jamie Mack arrived and arose to soar and swigger a barnstormer goalwards. Yellow hands flapped and parry-punched aside to lurking red. Bodies and boots, and the ball scriffled into the side netting.

Over and out of the cup. The daydream is over.