Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
18 December 2016
Donny Diving Club 1 Hurst's Stocking Fillers 0
There's a certain sound that follows this Town around: the roaring rumblefish on the road again on its unexpected journey to a happy heart. There are 4,000 holes in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, for these holes are filling up some space in some old landfill on the edge of Donny. Is this an urban hymn to urban renewal in the blandlands on the edge of town?
Since we've been gone everyone's tarted up their old house, or gone for a grand design. So welcome again to the recurring future nightmare of football: a universal bowl of soulless symmetry. Welcome to the world of aspiration: not a football match, but a leisure experience to be consumed. Sure, sure, it's impressively constructed, pleasant to visit and all that. But where's the heart? We could be anywhere in blank-eyed Britain.
Now they know how many fans it takes to fill the away stand. I'm sure Marcus would love his team to turn us on. Ah…
Town lined up in a 4-erm-erm formation as follows: McKeown, Mills, Collins, Pearson, Andrew, Berrett, Summerfield, Comley, Bolarinwa, Jackson and Vernon. The substitutes were Henderson, Jones, Gowling, Davies, Disley, Chambers and Tuton. No Omar, no chance.
Donnycaster at the most wonderful time of the year? Where do I begin? Ah, they've got Andy Williams with his happy, happy heart and Tommy Rowe seeking to send Town dizzy. Hoops look so rugby league, don't they?
Lunchtime football. It isn't right, you know.
First half: Jam up and jelly tight
Ah, now we see the architect's cunning plan to silence the away support. We cannae see a thing. A low winter sun hovered above the far side and straight into the eyes of every Mariner. It's hard to clap with one hand perched on your eyebrow.
The cherry-topped hoopers kicked off away from the thick block of Townery to a thinner strain of local life. Flibbery and flubbery and a blubbery muffin with your Yorkshire tea with Yorkshire water. Town were duffed up and muffed up as Donny kebabbed from the off.
Two minutes, perhaps two touches of the ball for Town. Pearson saw nonsense brewing and shovelled Marquis into the nearest landfill. Dead centre and dead-eyed, deadly Mandeville stroked a dripping drooper over the wall into the top right corner with orange fingers forlornly flapping.
Count those non-tackles as the tame Town turkeys were plucked and stuffed. Dilatory, dalitory, dreadfully timid and drearily inert. Corners and scrambles, scrambles and corners. Donny do, Donny don't, Donny make your brown eyes blue. Town were drowning on a dry day, tie a knot in your pyjama bottoms and blow. It's going to be a bumpy ride.
The sun, the sun. My eyes, my eyes. I see nothing, but there was nothing to see. Is it Dusty Bin, Ted?
Vernon intercepted and sent Summerfield free down the middle. Three hoops hovered nearby. Jackson lurked unaccompanied to his left. Summerfield feebled into nothingness. A brief moment in time ended and life continued as if nothing had happened. Which it hadn't; it was Summerfield, after all.
Straight to Vernon. He waited. The ball dropped and Old Ned shinny-shin-shinned over the bar from near the penalty spot with the goal appearing open and a-gaping
Someone tumbled way out left. Hurrah, hurrah for Dixie. Andrew drifted a free kick in towards the middle of the penalty area. Collins arose alone with the keeper unsure whether to prune his roses or sweep the leaves off his lawn. Alas and alack, a lack of accuracy as the ball smoothly swung a foot wide. At least a game is afoot now, rather than a winterval procession of seasonal characters pulled by a donkey.
Another minute, another go. Hoopers hopping at Vernon's knocking and Mills squelched longly down the right wing. Jackson was in action, chasing and hooking past the plunging defender, hitting the bye-line and passing across the face of goal. The keeper watched, Berrett slid and a hoopy sock deflected up, up and away from goal. Straight to Vernon. He waited. The ball dropped and Old Ned shinny-shin-shinned over the bar from near the penalty spot with the goal appearing open and a-gaping.
Fortunately we could feign blindness for the next 20 minutes. My dear chap, the sun was so frightfully bright.
Through the fish-eyed lens of sun-strained eyes, I could barely define the shape of Town and much hooped flippery, a couple of flappery frolics that skewed widely wayful and possibly some kind of scramblage. There was a load of hollering and hooting in the bowels of the bowl from the local pleasure seekers in casual leisurewear as the referee ignored some lacklustre Marquisian dives. I spy, with my roving eye, something beginning with "urgh". Summerfield. Mugged again. Blair crossed, McKeown lowly fumble-slapped a tickle and Comley wrenched away.
In the added minute Jackson dissolved inside a three-cornered Donnyhat. A free kick, 20 or so yards out. Summerfield shuffled and slipped and sliced comically perpendicular to the axis as the locals chortled and the bank of black and white bristled. The ball squirtled to Tombola, who soft-shoe shuffled and crackled lowly from a narrowing angle. Marosi snorted out on his hoverboard and the ball sniffed off his ankles and against the outside of the near post for a corner.
There was elevation but no elation and we could text the nation: Hurst's stocking fillers aren't exciting the kids. Could have been worse, should have been better despite it all. Someone please pull the blinds down.
Second half: Roller blind eyes
Neither team made any changes at half time.
After about five minutes we realised the game had restarted. I wondered why the scoreboard clock was ticking.
We've come all this way so we may as well make the most of it. The whole Town end spent the next 20 minutes bouncing up and down and rollicking out a medley of hits. It distracted us from the dismality of reality. Collins berated Berrett for fiddling about on the edge of the Town area and Doncaster had what they will claim is a shot.
We won't be claiming anything of the sort. We had moments, if not a day, in the sun. Now and again some almostness occurred. This wasn't a football match: this was Brownian motion depicted in contemporary dance form. All you ever wanted to know about science but were too afraid to ask.
Wahey. A thing.
Tombola intercepted some slackery-dackery-toshery and barundled forward in his inimitable style. Legs a-whirling, arms akimbo and into the penalty area surrounded by hoopery and Marosi. Humans collided and the ball squished out right, rolling, rolling, rolling tantalisingly, teasingly with the goal unattended. Vernon was around there somewhere, stretching. The ball… the ball just rolled on and several hooped socks saved them from the embarrassment.
Zak attack! A scrimbling scrumble. A cross, a header, a scramble near the Donny line.
No-one can remember Tuton. Tuton cannot remember Tuton. We may never speak of him again
With less than a quarter of an hour left Tuton replaced Jackson. No-one can remember Tuton. Tuton cannot remember Tuton. We may never speak of him again.
Pearson was booked for persistently winning headers as sneaky South Yorkists ducked and dived. Nothing happened. Comley centrally clattered a Donnyman after laxity. Something happened. Mandeville curled around the wall and McKeown flew left to parry aside, then flew into a mini-micro-rage when turning to scold a crowd-based moaner.
The statutory Summerfield side-saddle occurred on the 80th minute. No damage done today as Donnymen decided to dive rather than drive.
Here we go again. Another feigning fall, another free kick which Marquis ducked waywardly nowhere. And Pearson was replaced by Jones, after a series of unfortunate incidents with the ducks on the nearby lake. More Town midfield slackness and Collins professionally ended the matter. A yellow card.
Three minutes were added. This and that, long throws that weren't really long, crosses that were barely crosses and, in the very last second, Jones coiled deliciously from way out left. The ball arced and dipped in front of one dipping Townite, past another stretch and punch and onto the far post where Summerfield ducked and failed to buck the trend. This is the end.
Have you ever seen a pigeon paint? I imagine that it was like this match.