Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
1 October 2017
Grimsby Town 0 Lincoln City 0
Willkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome! Fremder, étranger, Impies. Happy to see you. Leave your troubles outside. In here, life is beautiful. Everything's A-OK, there's friendly neighbours here when you walk down Harrington Street. A gentle afternoon in the late summer sun with 1,878 wandering minstrels in the Osmond singing songs about us. How quaint. They still have a chip on their shoulder about fish. C'mon, feel that noise.
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Davies, Collins, Clarke, Dixon, Dembele, Berrett, Summerfield, Woolford, Matt and Jones. The substitutes were Killip, K Osborne, Rose, DJ Jinky, Cardwell, Vernon and Hooper. When the barber takes a little less time each week, the kids don't understand a word you speak or you walk into the dressing room and they offer you a seat, you must be one of Town's back four.
Lincoln, oh yes. White shorts and the usual tops, so a bit of bar code confusion going on if they run too quickly. A big bunch of blokes and some old friends silently sharing some old fears. Oliver Palmer was never here to stay, Oliver Palmer was soon on his way, but would the Demon Barber rather be anywhere else than here today? Don't worry Nathan, we still love you.
Black knights full of chivalry, red villains full of villainy and a referee of infamy. Come taste the whine, come hear the band, come blow that horn, with evil Carl Boyeson in charge and Christopher Isherwood ruining the line.
And the game kicked off with a hush.
First half: Why should I wake up?
Five seconds is all it took for Town to flop a flip straight in to the Lower Frozen Horsebeer seats. Well, you do want all the highlights, don't you?
Bumping, grinding, and that's not just your teeth. Flushed with a fever, embarrassed by the crowd. Matt's looping it softy with his head, looping it softly with his head way, way way over.
I've got it! I've got it! The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true! Right? A Dembele cross may have hit a red hand. It may not have. The Cowley's were ticked off by the pastel poltroon and the red and white choir sung more hysterical songs of praise for the historically superior hosts. Grinds were bumped, fouls were thrown, and throw-ins were fouled.
This is nothing special, in fact it's a bit of a chore. C'mon Boyeson, liven it up, you know you want to send someone off. Make everyone happy and send a message to Mansfield and send Steve Evans off by text. Bring joy to the world.
Right. There's been a change: the Impies broke the chalice from the palace and replaced it with a flagon with the figure of a dragon. A dollop of Dixon-centric dizzy-doziness and Nathan was at the near post, old men nearby. The Demon Barber declined the opportunity to disappoint his true followers after pondering the implications long enough to catch a little dose of Grimsbyitits. Bless you Nathan for a surreptitious soccer sneeze at exactly the right moment in your life. We still love you, and we know you still love us. Love is all around and so the feeling grows.
Anderson toasted, roasted and coasted past the pensioners and flashed a pan across the face of goal, but behind Green's orange boots. Green retrieved and Arnold shimmied a shammy to toe-pokey a riffle against the outside of the wide netting, causing misplaced merriment among the more excitable ersatz Ermine Streeters. Relax, it's a sunny day, the clouds have been swept away and the air is sweet in Neville Street.
So, let's get this right. The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true. Huh, I know what you're thinking: is Ollie Palmer the pellet or the pestle? To tell you the truth, in all this lack of excitement I kinda lost track myself. Well, Palmer's a bit of pest with his prat-falling and calling for penalties. Felled on the penalty spot Palmer clutched the ball to his bosom and cried when the pastel peeper pointed south.
Have you got it yet? Good Old Carl Boyeson is absolutely determined to avoid any decision that could possible lead to a something happening that, may, eventually, possibly lead to a goal being scored. He's one for the quiet life alright.
Bump. Grind. Grind. Bump. Bostwick gettin' wiggy and freely heading over, then heading freely straight into plucky Jamie Mack's plucky fingers.
One minute was added. When that added minute ended our lives had no further fulfilment and joy. No saves, no shots, no football: a classic of its genre.
For more of these seaside thrills please put another pound coin in the dodgem.
Second half: So what?
Neither team made any changes at half time.
Both teams upped the pace, upped the intensity and simply collided quicker, like a T20 demolition derby. Atoms were split and new elements created for fleeting moments. Bostwickium, a radioactive solid with a half-life of three seconds, absorbed Berretagen, a limp liquid used in the manufacture of scented candles to form Turgidium an inert colourless gas that disperses immediately, so no trace will ever be found.
Oi, take a hoik laughing boy. Collins mis-hoiked a slapstick up'n'under inside the Town penalty area, whoopsied his daisies and Anderson crash a banging wallop that skiffled off Collins' shins and McKeown kicked aside. Back the ball punted and Jamie Mack pawed Bostwick's bouncing header into a vacancy. Calm down dear, it's only an advert for Luke Summerfield's metamorphosis from a tadpole to a butterfly as he fluttered the ball away.
I have a sixth sense. I see passing, people. Summerfield did things, other's moved and Berrett's shot deflected softly, slowly, rather pifflingly into the awaiting arms of the awaiting keeper.
Moments. Not magic, but more digestible than mushrooms. Davies shingled through an emptiness into the penalty area, plunging earthwards, scooping the ball and arising. Plunging earthwards, scooping and arising, then plunged earthwards again, scooping and finally, I forget, which year is this? Are we still here?
Around the hour Arnold was replaced by someone far less historically interesting and the whole of Lincolnshire arose. At least we could serenade him off for his sterling service. They do Nathan Arnold dolls now? I want one.
In 1878 Eadweard Muybridge produced the sequence of stop-motion still photographs Sallie Gardner at a Gallop, demonstrating that all four feet of a galloping horse are off the ground at the same time. Who is the modern day Eadweard Muybridge? Who will produce the 21st-century equivalent: Jamille Matt at a Standstill? And the Vernonator replaced Matt, our bowl fruit.
Small moments. It's always just small moments with this present Town. What is a Town moment? In its most simple and basic form a Town moment is the product of the distance to some point, say the opposition goal, multiplied by some physical quantity at that point, let us say Martin Woolford. Far away and with little heft, Woolford's foot connected with the football outside the penalty area. Many moments later Vicker's awoke to brush up his parlour.
Ah, that's better, a shorter distance to goal for a moment. Berrett skittered and scraped through red legs and side-swiped against a final defender. Jones dragged back, spun around and bedraggled powerlessly across the face of goal as Vickers dived so that he had something by which to remember the day. For the sake of those with busy lives with no time to stand and stare into the abyss, that was Town's best effort on goal. And then, to the astonishment of all sentient beings within the county of Lincolnshire, Summerfield was replaced by Mad Mitch Rose.
Banging, clanging, biffing, banging like an old Lincolnshire Roadcar charabanc trip to the coast. Can we keep this family argument in-house? Let's not tell anyone we had a day out together. Ollie, when you were in the non-League you could slay an entire army at Eastleigh with the jaw bone of an ass, but now you've cut your hair and gone all respectable you've lost that loving feeling. See what happens, you end up getting replaced by Fat Matt.
A tame chuck under the edge of reason, the very end of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand, and Green simply spun and swung his pants. The ball fizzled highly across the face of goal and wide by as many inches, feet, furlong and miles as it did. Certainly not any less than it did. We have no interest in such Impy mitherings. Facts, we want facts!
DJ Jinky replaced Dembele. DJ spent 20 minutes reading the paper, seemingly unaware that this wasn't the pre-match warm up. Davies shot from afar, farly over, so farly that in normal circumstances there would be no need or desire to alert you to this matter. But desperate games call for desperate claims. Someone took a free kick, the ball nicked off DJ's thigh and rolled gently to the keeper. I have now run out of desperately dismal crumbs to comfort you with. There is no more monochromatic merriment.
Some kind of shot and save, somewhere, them, down there in la-la-land. As the minutes ticked on Lincoln ground on and on as Town sank into the quicksands. A cross deeply donked from their right and Bostwick glanced wide as Davies ducked and under-wrenched the bearded bloater in an homage to McDermottian defending.
Red stripe to the right, sailors warning. Dinks and unks, thinks and thunks, a plopping, a dropping and a volleyed wallop diverted. A corner and scramble, with Bostwick blasting, Jamie Mack parrying and a swarm of Town Cs forced Bostwick to swipe wide. Three minutes were added and what more is there to say? McKeown easily plucked a curler after naffness and nonsense turned non-attack into non-defending.
Right, we've got that out of the way now. It could have been worse, but couldn't have been better. An aesthetically terrible game of football, but pleasing for those who have a hankering for the Haxey Hood. Lincoln deserved to not win less. Town did nothing but get in the way, but got in the way better than usual.
Probably best to just forget about this and pretend it never happened, because nothing did.