Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
4 September 2017
Grimsby Town 1 Crewe Alexandra 0
Ah, the mists of time, foggy memories of foggy days down on the foreshore. Do you remember the days of the old schoolyard? When we had simplicity and we had warm toast for tea and we laughed and needed 4-4-2... yes, we do. We need 4-4-2, yes we do, yes we do.
Ah, that's better, the demisters are on and we can see clearly now that 221 Mournflaking Creweites shuffled their oats in their coats down in the Osmond. Let's live in the present. Oh, do we have to?
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Mills, K Osborne, Clarke, Dixon, Dembele, Rose, Berrett, Woolford, Vernon and Hooper. The substitutes were Killip, Davies, Summerfield, Kelly, DJ Jinky, Matt, Cardwell. Ah, that's better, no need to smother Kelly on the dressing room doorstep, a blunt lance has been boiled. Ah, that's better: 4-4-2. Everyone can relax. We're heading in the right direction, making it our intention to live those dreams of Town being unembarrassing again. You can dream the impossible dream.
Crewe turned up in blue; let's hope they are feeling blue and, by the time they get to five o'clock, Town will be rising. At last, Russ found that note we left hanging on his door.
Let's hit them with our laser beams.
First half: Little wing
The Mournflakers kicked off towards the Pontoon. Yes they did. Well, it's a start.
Idle chit-chat and a bit of this and that, Dixon sold Woolford a slow, sloppy pup of a pass, right under Russ's cap. Disrobed, disgruntled and disembarking at the first stop, Woolford looked like someone who hadn't played football for a few months. A bluesman stuttered and tutted and stumbled to a grumble just outside the penalty area. Free kick.
We all know what always happens at a free kick.
Wafted waftily way over the bar by Gorgeous George Cooper, the boy with the flowery hair. Ah, so we don't know what always happens at a free kick. The fabled wisdom of the crowd is fallible.
Sloppiness, sloppiness, the greatest gift for Crewe that Town possess. Porter chuffed and puffed to piffle a wiffle straight at the salmon stopper, the pink plunger, the goalkeeper normally known as McKeown. Easy-peasy midfield squeezy. A tipple into the nether regions of the penalty area and Clarke advanced to poke a toe or two. Gorgeous George saw opportunities and set himself beautifully to fall to Earth like a Victorian lady espying a naked chair leg. So, Mr Referee, what is it going to be? Are you alive to a dive? Do you punish the prod or the clod?
Choices. Life is about choices. A choice was made. Out came a yellow card as the floppy-haired mopster flounced off. Diving for dear life, when he could be diving for pearls. Well I ask you, was it worth it Gorgeous George?
Hooper and Dembele combined and something nearly happened, somewhere near Pat Garrett in goal. Things are on the up.
In the tenth minute higgles were piggled in the middle near the dug-outs. Grant spun around the mountain and a blue head collided with an immoveable lump of monochrome. Grant remained still, motionless, prone and prostrate and the physios ran on. None of the blue players gestured or gesticulated, only the Crewe manager moaned and claimed any malice aforethought. Six minutes later the still motionless Grant was carried off. Crewe better watch out, Crewe better beware: Bakayogo came on.
And Town started to grip the steering wheel, roistering safely around corners. Woolford tickled, Hooper rolled and crossed lowly. There was the hint of something in the air. Down the ball came and Rose double-volleyed, with the second goal-bound but blocked by blue on its way to heaven. How did that happen? A little bit of Dembele goes a long, long, long, long way. Mills squizzled longly and lowly down the right. Hooper hoovered and dusted, swivelled and swanked lowly across the face of goal. As Woolford waited, a blue toe stretched away from the open goal at the far post. Have some patience, for all good things come to those who wait. Berrett tickled shortly, Dembele delightfully dinked and Rose arose, a kingdom for Mitch Rose, to bedonk a header above and beyond Garrett from four yards.
Fill in the gaps with some wattle and daub. Woolford turned and swiped highly, Hooper channel-chased causing minor merriment. Rose was the stopper in the whine bottle.
Crewe? Sluggish and slouching mid-paced prancers. They may have had another shot, maybe. Dagnall, probably; bedraggled, obviously.
Town looked like some kind of team, with an idea of where to stand, a notion of how to attack and defend together. A notion. A notion of motion. I know we'll get to like it if Town give us a chance now.
Second half: Castles made of sand
Neither team made any ch-ch-ch-changes at half-time as they turned to face the strange – Town leading at half time. How queer.
The Cruet set came out way earlier than Town, jiggling and wiggling along to the half-time dancers.
Garratt walloped highly and deeply into the Town area. Heads arose, and the ball fell to Nolan wide but near McKeown, who walloped high and far from the madding crowd. Offside anyway.
Crewe. Flitting fleetlingly, but offside anyway with Town akimbo.
Crewe in blue punched the bag but Town countered with the old one-two, rather than the old bamboo. Hooper shivered blue timbers and slipped sleekly to the unmarked Vernon on the centre right of the penalty area. A touch, a touch too much and Bakayogo slid in to block.
Crewe. Fleetingly fluttering, but offside again with Town's legs akimbo.
Crewe pressing buttons, pressing flesh, pressing on with persistence. Floundering on Osborne, the replacement Grimsby groyne. Remember Dagnall, don't climb on the groyne, you may fall off and get swept out to sea and washed up with the seals at Donna Nook.
Another gentle blue ripple against the sea wall and Dembele twizzled and swivelled. Rose flew a kite down the right and Hooper chased merrily along the seashore. Behind blue eyes Hooper patter-caked the ball down to volley and ripple the side netting. You say ooh, I say aah. We all say ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha as Garrett causally tapped the goal kick short and early towards Bakayogo. The laid back left-back was looking towards the stars and Town menaced momentarily before a bit of poncing allowed bluesmen to pounce.
More Cheshire dinking. Heads arose, and McKeown sneaked out along the bye-line to scoop up ye stray cat. Dagnall danced around the salmon, dinked back over the flapping flounderer and Dixon headed off near the line in front of the open goal and open mouths of the Crewites.
Hooper swept from the left, Dembele flicked, Mills overhit a cross onto the top of crossbar. Ooh I say, Virginia.
Townites ailing and a bunch of bundling and trundling, mishing and mashing, as monochrome shirts slobbered over the drool. Clarke clamped some Dagnall drollery as the ball arrived nearly. Woolford sat down on the turf as a clue to his next move – sitting down on the bench. DJ Jinky replaced the tired old man and Matt came on for the human punch bag, Vernon.
Jamille Matt. Not one for a sprint, but happy to indulge in some wrestling. Matt persistently rolled around Crewites, rolled into the penalty area and rolled a pass into the path of the unmarked Hooper awaiting on the penalty spot. The ball rolled and rolled and rolled and eventually a blue sock arrived. Moments, here and there, with Town exclusively countering their attacking. Dembele jinked and dinked and Hooper leant back to steer loopily onto the roof of the net
In between the Crewe chuffing, Town fluffed pillows of wind. A corner. Berrett swung out, Clarke hung in there to head over while unmolested. There’s no air in our pillows anymore, the bellows blow towards the Osmond.
With Town retreating and mistreating the ball, Davies replaced Dembele, while Crewe removed Gorgeous George throwing on bulky Bowery to have three strikers a-battering.
Clang-clang-clang. Crewe is your next station stop. A long flat volley flew straight as an arrow, straight down the middle right, missing Mills and rolling perfectly into the Town area. Porter pootled free and McKeown hared out, smothering sweetly. The ball rolled back into the path of Porter, who walked along the bye-line and carefully caressed towards the opened goal. Osborne swept up like a street sweeper, diving full length to horizontally chest away.
And still they came back with unsubtle wickles and whackles with Townites sucked into the centre. In the last minute Bowery was freed on their left and McKeown swept out. Bowery waltzed wide and past Jamie Mack to the bye-line. Panic in the streets of the county formerly known as Humberside. A muddle in the middle with a huddle and a cuddle and Crewe in a befuddle as to how they didn't score. Because you don't shoot.
Three minutes were added. There we are, three minutes of junior kabaddi, satisfyingly neutralised nonsense.
Town were not magnificent, but by the standards of August 2017, there was a certain magnificence in its mundane adequacy. There was determination, there was football, there was a sense of purpose and sense that they had an idea of how they intended to not only avoid defeat but possibly even win. Town even kept eleven players on the pitch.
Hectic, lively, better. That's 4-4-2 for you.