Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
3 April 2017
Flaccid embryos 1 Fully grown humans 5
Wakey, wakey! Remember, the early bird catches the worm. Why do we feel like Town are the worms these days?
A slowly ungreying afternoon with a full pack of day-trippers from Donny down in the Osmond chirruping their comedy Yorkynessness with gay abandon. You can't kid us, we know you come to Cleethorpes for your holidays. This is a treat, dead bats or not from us.
Town lined up with what could easily be claimed as a 4-4ish-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Mills, Boyce, Andrew, Comley, D Jones, Osborne, Clements, S Jones, and Dyson. The substitutes were Collins, Pearson, Maxwell, Tombola, Disley, Vose and Yussuf, the man with his pants on his head. Yes, yes, yes it's a good thing to have a "strong bench", but not one that's better than the ones on the pitch. Murmuring and mutterings about the madness of King Marcus washed around the stands.
What was this before us? From the Pontoon there were four midfielders standing in positions that four midfielders usually stand. Ah, but are they the right ones in the right order? Clements was occupying the left side, in the places where such men as Monkhouse and Gilbert once stood. Comley stood on the very blades of mud from which Childs and Arnold have soaked up the Findus fun. Dan Jones stood where Butterfield before him had confused himself – in the centre as the midfield maestro, with all the world a stage before him. Sniff the air? What’s that pong? Eau de Lennie's reserve full-back conversion nonsense is back on the shelves. See what happens when local councils have to keep cutting back on vital services which protect us from the nefarious and negligent!
Donny turned up in their abnormally normal cherry hooped kit. No serious football club plays in a rugby kit. No serious football club tries to play rugby. We're evenly matched in a lack of seriousness.
Shall we get the 25th pre-season match out of the way?
1st Half – The Omen
Town kicked towards the Donny fans in the Osmond. One of the teams had kicked off; never a good thing these days.
Town pressed. Town put pressure on the cookers. Mills withdrew from vertical life in three stages and the free kick led to a deeply-underwhelming goal kick. Town pressed, Town pressured and Clements was booked for hoiking and hooking a cherrytop as a corner was cleared. Precipitate peeping had saved Town from panickimodium. A portentous moment that nobody noticed at the time. Well, I say nobody, I may mean a man stood alone in a fashionably short coat on a little corner of England that is forever just in front of some dentists. Town pressed, Town pressured and Lawlor flip-flopped a flap at a corner. Nothing happened.
Mills swiped away after slinkily slip-sliding through the missing midfield, the hollow centre. Jones and Clements shinned some slops and drops and the cherry blossom chuggers slow-roasted some fish for a little light lunch. A man alone under the Frozen Horsebeer Stand coiled a low, slow curler towards the near post. Williams ambled in front of Boyce and the ball gently bubbled along nicely past everything and everyone.
We can only dream of Donny's Dairylea delight-a-ball. Simple push and run, triangles of walking football as Rowe ambled into the void behind Gunning and Andrew to poke against the plunging McKeown. One-two, who's been standing in Buckley's shoes? Town's dissolving centre buckled on a breakaway again and Mills saved the day with a sexy slide and sweep. Town mixed up their incapabilities, shivering under long ball lumps too. A welly up and a welly goalwards from the chaos as Jamie Mack flew left to push aside a Rowe rasp.
We're waiting for them score now. Donny are exhausting their ways of missing.
Occasionally Town ventured towards the Yorkshire yellers. I saw a pass, along the ground. I saw footsteps slowly walking. I saw Dyson being booked for missing a header and handballing out for a goal kick. You may as well know why he got booked, no harm done.
And we're back to the new normal. Donny do know about our geography; they also know a little trigonometry and definitely know what a slide rule pass is for. Town's bananarama defence was unzipped, with triangles on the left and a cross-shot rolling into the nether regions. Williams back-heeled across McKeown and Mills sank back to slap off the line. History shall not be rewritten to throw unwarranted garlands at Gunning. He was part of the problem, not the solution.
We're still waiting for them to score.
A bit of hubbling and bubbling in the shadow of the Frozen Horsebeer. Comely ladled some soup and Sam Jones bumped a big bloke aside, swivelled and swerved in the "D" to crinkle lowly back across Lawlor into the bottom left corner. Well, there's a surprise.
Another minute, another uncomplicated Sam Jones jaunt. On the half-way line Jones swayed and reverse swung into the void beyond where no man stood. Well, half way inside their half on the half right. Dyson flew off in pursuit and scooped straight into Lawlor's midriff. And Donny did do things we rarely dream of. The keeper rolled out and they passed and passed and passed and passed and rolled a bumpling little trickle into the centre of Town’s penalty area from way out left. Gunning waited and wafted wussily. The ball tinkled on and Marquis, alone again, naturally, walked on by the invisible defence, simply controlled and passed a tap into the net from eight or so yards out. Gunning's defending was utterly pathetic.
Okay, let's just get this out of the way, I’m bored now. Another cherry corner, swung in from their right. Marquis, alone again, naturally, wandered in a gentle arc from the far post to arise at the near and glance across McKeown into the toppish right corner. Marking? That's what teacher's have to do at the weekend, not Town defenders. Dan Jones was the nearest stripe. What this means is anyone's guess.
Added time, up'n'under, McKeown dropped it, Boyce sliced from near the line. It wouldn't have counted anyway, for a free kick was given for the barest of bashes.
It could have been worse, I suppose.
2nd Half – The Omen II
Jim Dobbin was the half-time waver. Dear Marcus, that's what a central midfielder looks like. Get out the old John and Roly videos, you'll learn how to do things properly, the Grimsby way. Or just ask Alan Buckley; he's up there in the press box. Sometimes the old ways are the right ways.
Neither team made any changes at half time. Do we grasp at straw and espy a slight tactical switch? Was Osborne more left than Clements? Dan Jones still remained in his little coracle alone in his ocean of doubt though.
The sun came out, which is nice. Sit and catch those rays, top up your tan. There ain't nothing else happening.
Sam Jones stumbled around in the bottom right corner of their area and finally fell. Andrew and Clements clevered a kick and Boyce bicycle-kicked as Sam Jones ducked. The cat crept over the moon.
Those trippers did a bit of this and a bit of that and some head tennis was headed off near the line by Gunning, probably. Dyson won a couple of flicks, Sam Jones roamed unaided. The afternoon drifted on.
On the hour Comley mickled his muckles in the centre circle. Town's defence strived for higglediness and could only dream of professional pigglediness. A simple dimple down the centre and Marquis, alone again, naturally, jogged away from the absent-minded Gunning and calmly clipped around McKeown.
The awaiting Vose replaced Dan Jones. A direct replacement, as the Dombuster went into the centre of midfield. Vose passed through the eye of a newt onto the onrushing Osborne's chest, who bedraggled a reverse crinkle across Lawlor and a foot or so wide of the left post. Look, I'm eking this out for you, just so you can avoid work a bit longer. This is the point of Town's remaining games isn't it, to waste our time?
Ah, but there's always Sam Jones. A swingle out wide and Andrew slung a cross. Lawlor low-dived left and punchy-parried away as Dyson was slide-lurking behind. What were Donny doing? Filling time, filing their nails. If they needed to do something they did it, but only if they really had to.
And Tombola replaced Comley, the most ill-fitting right-winger since Stacy Coldicott.
And still Town carried on carrying on. Osborne plunged eventually after being menaced by minions. Vose caressed the free kick through the wall and Lawlor flew low and right to punch-slap aside. Well, less a wall, more a lace curtain.
And still Town carried on carrying on. The Donnymen sat back in their deckchairs, knotted hankies perched on their brows, watching the sailing dinghies go by, listening to local radio, pining for a Cornetto and a sausage butty. In the shadows of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand there was the illusion of activity. Andrew tip-toed forward, Vose passed to a cherry topper and Mills was left alone as the final Town defender, the only defender on the half-way line. Gunning dawdled, idling upfield not bothering to bother where the man he should be marking was standing. Williams, alone again, naturally, scuttled away down the Town left, waited for Gunning, cut in past this ghostly shell of a Grimsby defender, and curled around McKeown into the bottom right corner.
So they did want to score more then. Any more pie?
And still Town carried on carrying on. Tombola surged through several, performed a Poutonesque step over and passed back to the unmarked Jones. A touch, a turn and the shot hit the keeper's foot, rebounded off a retreating defender and bounced past keeper who arose to fantastically finger-flip away.
Is it over yet? Can we go home now? Oh, most of us have.
A Donny corner on their left, swung into the near post. McKeown arose above May and one-handedly punched. The ball apologised off Dyson and May, or perhaps May and Dyson, and we had the final humiliation, a Sunday league goal.
The end? It never started. What happened to our dreams of twelfth? Never.
The players really were trying, and that, in the end, is the saddest thing. The Marcus Bignot selection tried really hard and were thrashed by a team that barely broke sweat. Just look at the league table: we see above us a bunch of teams doing simple things, sensibly. I have one word to say to you Marcus. Are you listening? Are you listening? Stevenage. The case for the prosecution ends, M'lud.
Monorail Marcus needs to stop this song and dance act and get back to basics. We hope he actually understands what the basics are.