Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
6 August 2017
Chesterfield 1 Grimsby 3
Summertime, wasn't living easy with eyes closed to the Russellution. Will we be misunderstanding all we saw in pre-season? Is it better to have watched when Town lost or never to have watched at all? It's the end of questions, the beginning of answers. The future is now.
Progress, eh? Ambition, eh? Football's going wrong, we've all becoming the same. We dress the same ways, only our accents change.
Paper layin' in the pavement, a little music from the pub next door. So I walked on up to the turnstile, and is this our future? As bland bowls go this was not that bad. Bland, but not hideous. Is this the future, not as a bad as it could be?
Town lined up in a flexible and fluid formation of four defenders, Scott Vernon and a bunch of blokes in between, as follows: McKeown, Mills, Clarke, Collins, Dixon, Dembele, Rose, Berrett, Kelly, Jones. And Vernon. The substitutes were Killip, Davies, Keeble, K Osborne, Summerfield, Tombola and Cardwell. Kelly left, Dembele right, Jones flitting between: a support act for the main event and an all-round good egg helping out his shipmates in the boiler room. It's a mixed role in a mixed metaphor of a muddled up shook up world. Town's tactics? Stick it in the mixer and see who salutes.
No sign of Hooperman, the latest sunshine Superman. Russ must still be holding out for his hero in a half shell. Ah well, stick to the old favourites: Scott Vernon versus the world.
Chesterfield used to be solidly, reliably working class; good old salt of the earth types, with salt of the earth names like Brian or Michael. Now it's all Dion and Delial, Jak and Jordan. Just look at them in their new home, with the new sophistication. I bet they have a fondue set and go on foreign holidays. They've got far too many sculptured beards in that squad. Looking good is not the same as being good, you know.
Oh look, Barry and Maguire on the subs bench. Are they on the eve of destruction or will Town have a nice day with Kelly and Jones?
Less wittertainment, more entertainment: let's get on with the show.
1st Half – the eve of destruction
Town kicked off in mauve away from the noise of 2,650 Mauveletttes. Ah, when the season is young and you're still in love with football. Hoofed it was, way, way downfield.
Blue jinking and winking, Town sizzling on the barbie. A clip and cross and not so dozy Gozie Ugwu mis-overheaded against Dixon's invisible forearm. McKeown picked up the pieces. Another minute, another jink but not a dink. Another minute, a wink and Dembele flew into the crowd via a flying blue boot. Ah, I see they've done their homework then. Kelly drooped the free kick from way out west and Clarke, beyond the far post, bulldozed through the weak and naff to be-thwonk back firmly but widely.
Another minute, another roaming raid down Town's right. Tickling, teasing, wall-passing past wallflowers and Ugwu scrumbled lowly from a dozen yards. McKeown shovelled low.
Woah, hang on there. Let me catch my breath.
Spirite spiralling, soggy chips with chesty wall-passes and Town in a dither. We're just dazed and confused, given the run around sweet baby. Lord how they hypnotize. Here they come again. Tip-tap, scuttle and shuffle. Micro-midfielder Reid mis-hit down and across McKeown to miss by micrometres.
Shots, blocks, twizzles and the blues fizzled out.
Does this tickle your fancy? Dembele glided and guided magically on the right. In a trice, Vernon was freed beyond bluemanity on the left, scruffling across Anyon. Hird hacked off the line and Kelly arrived with an open goal, just seven or eight yards out. The keeper walking in Memphis, Hird lying in the wreckage and the goal agape. Kelly placed a pass against the flapping feet of the body popping Hird. Hird. Hird. I've heard of Hird. Ah, yes we hired Hird all those years ago, didn't we.
Tick-tick-tick, the Blues beat out a rhythm and a bassline walked through Town. Sinnot wandered beyond the unmoving Mauvystars and, from the penalty spot, prodded lowly and left. What follows? In essence, McKeown essentially saved excellently low to the right of his chin.
Statisticians will tell you Kelly and Dixon had shots. I won't.
And back they came in waves of blue. A corner, a cross, a cross across and a cross back across, a pass, a cross, a corner, and finally Cyril, a free kick lilted gently over the wall and plopped upon by Jamie Mack at the foot of his right post. Ha, top corner mate. That's where you need to put 'em for satisfaction guaranteed. So they'd skimped on their homework, stopping after "wallop the winger".
Sinnott, one of their more prissy posers, advanced towards the Town penalty area and bounced off muscle-bound Mitch, squeaking pathetically for a free kick. Rose clopped down the left, Kelly scuttled on and his vague cross was squirtled away for a corner. Berrett hooped a drooper into the far post area. Anyon stuttered on his line as Clarke soared above his salmon and dunked a header down and across the irrelevant keeper from inside the six-yard box.
The Town fans were tickled pinkish.
Chesterfield continued to hit the massive mobile chests, dropping soggy chips like drunken seagulls. Get in your foxhole. "Incoming!" O'Grady back-stumbled a spinning tumble-hook straight at McKeown. Shots from afar, going a-farther. Shots from a-near smothered by mauveness, with double sponges applied by Rose and the two old heads at centre-back.
Pressure and pressure, a rolling mass of blue. A half pass, half clearance sneaked out to the spinning Dembele just outside the Town area. Slinky slippery Siriki swished and swayed as the massed Marinerdom swooned and gasped. On he hoovered, za-zooming and va-vooming further and further away from the Town goal. Halfway to paradise Dembele slipped a knotty little problem pass behind their left-back, perfectly into the path of Bignot's last remaining present. Jones muscled on and calmly passed under and through Anyon.
Dembele delirium in one stand, stoic seething in three stands.
Pressure, pressure, pressure and pressure as the bluesmen battered against the fish chant. Blocks with socks, blocks with heads, wallops from wallies, flicks and tricks and handballs a no-no. A bit of grin and bear it, a bit of come and share it. You're welcome, we can spare it - mauve socks. Reasons to be cheerful, one, two, well, Town could have scored three, Chesterfield should have scored three.
2nd Half – back to the future part II
And then there were three.
Chesterfield brought on Kristian Dennis at half-time to come sneaking around trying to drive us mad with their three-pronged crown.
A chip and clip and the ball skipped through to the plucking McKeown. Ha, not so clever now with your pitch watering antics.
Ups were undered, spins were spun, shots were spotted hitting socks and shins and chests and vests. Sinking, sinking under crashing waves of blueness. Get out the lifejacket, launch the lifeboat. Ship ahoy, ship ahoy! Dennis scrivvled a scrunch from near, Sinnott wobbled from diagonally far. Fizzling, drizzling and dripping in from here, there and everywhere. Collins swiped agin Rose, Dixon collided with Clarke, and mauve mops were furiously sweeping.
Berrett blinked and Kelly was free, bounding into the penalty area out left. But – there's always a but – Kelly dithered and dathered and he didn't bother the scorers. Wiseman simply blocked, simply. A corner. And well, there is simply nothing more to add. Move along.
Diddly-dalling near the dug-outs and Kelly was trampled underfoot, The hobbling Kelly arose to droop the free kick deeply where Collins arose alone and steer-thunked a header lowly. Anyon flew left and levered spectacularly aside for a corner. And to the delight of some, Kelly hobbled off and was replaced by Summerfield, with Dembele moving to the leftish.
Mmmmmmm, Summerfield and the living is easy. Mmmmm, Summerfield back with Berrett, at last, what a Hurstian legacy to marvel.
Here it comes. Here comes the fudge. Corners, corners, shots and corners. And corners. And corners. And bookings at corners. Hold on tight: incoming! Pressure, pressure, pressure, sinking, sinking, McKeown flicking O’Grady's header, wibbleshots wobbled wide. Deflections, reflections, redemptions and temptations with penalty claims after big manly chests handled the pressure perfectly.
Jamie Mack rabbit punched a free kick outwards and, aw shucks, a malarkey of muddle followed.
Dembele weaved baskets and Rose posed a pickle deep, deep into the stands as Vernon sighed when free. Dembele chased a blue roamer and collapsed inside the penalty area. McKeown tried and failed to kick the ball out, but back the blue hordes roared with Jamie Mack frantically waving at Dembele to roll off the pitch.
And Dembele was replaced by Davies.
Scrambles and gambles as they gambolled around and about this way and that. Dennis spun a miss, missed and spun-stretched and poked and everything but the hurl. Collins whacked against Rose in a professionally controlled panic. McKeown flap-punched an up'n'under and Hird volleyed ping-pong back across the face of goal. Mills ducked back and chested towards the bottom corner. McKeown and Mills did the safety dance in front of many unhappy men with hats down in the home stands.
With about ten minutes left, tireless Scott Vernon wasn't taken off as Jones was replaced by Cardwell.
Phew, right, taken a little rest have you?
Townites ailed and mithered in muttering confusion as the swarm of blue buzzed. A corner dripped and bodies collided. Dennis stepped back, spun on the penalty spot and crackled mightily into the top right corner. Here we go again. Typical Town.
From the off up Town bounced. Vernon battled, Summerfield picked up the rebound and accidentally flicked into a tantalising space between many ears. Cardwell harried in the twilight zone betwixt keeper and defence. Evatt poked and legged Happy Harry up. A penalty, a yellow card, then a red card, and a three man committee discussed a question with only one answer. Davies brushed aside the polite enquiries to clatter firmly down the centre right as Anyon plunged left. A mini-spillage of Townites followed Davies's Pied Piper and the linesman was shoulder barged off the ball.
Yes we can see you oozing out, like Sunderland fans, in waves of disappointment.
And still they bombarded Town, but in ever decreasing circles of belief, and ever increasing circles of pettiness. Dennis legged up Summerfield off the ball. The ref waved play on and ignored the cretinous clobber: no action taken. Add a few seconds… Dennis swiped Mills late and off the ball: no action. Skip on two seconds. Dennis fore-armed Summerfield in the back and a free kick was finally given to Town. Mills and Dennis clattered into each other with toes raised and more Spirites circled and shoved the incandescent right-back. Mills was yellow carded and then out came the red. Oh yeah, he'd been booked a minute before for timewasting when Rose dummied to take a throw-in. What a silly Milly, eh. Shorn of hair, shorn of sense.
There were six minutes added sometime, for something or other. And finally we hail the conquering heroes.
How typically Sladian. Bashed and battered, the centre held firm and Town nicked things at set pieces and on the break. There was an unhealthy reliance on the opposition's ability to miss, but you can only fail to lose to the team in front of you. The players did not give in when being given the run-a-round, and the defensive six all threw themselves in the way of everything going McKeown's way. Grit and determination allied to simple tactics. How very Sladian.
Chesterfield? Sofa, so good. What a lovely start.