Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
30 August 2010
The Unfathomable Grimsby 2 The Unthinkable Histon 1
On a dark deserted gangway a cool wind in our hair, the warm smell of fried burgers was rising up through the air. Up ahead in the distance we saw a shimmering light - a family of Histoners were staying for the night!
Fifteen villagers and a cat purred in the Osmond stand while the dwindling groaners of old Grimsby Town silently pondered hairballs and slept in the afternoon sun. The wind blew from the east, which still can't tame that beast of expectation.
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: Croudson, Samuels, Kempson, Watt, Wood, Gobern, Hudson, Cummins, Connell, Peacock, Ademeno. The substitutes were Peet, Garner, Sticky Robdale, Corner and Eagle. Croudson! Croudson! Oh Mr Croudson, the memories! The past is another country; we did things differently there. Oh yes, The Now, not The Then. Wood at left-back. Gobern, the New Stuart Campbell, was still at right wing with multipurpose, nitrogen-enriched Connell on the left and Charley-y Ademeno finally to start his glorious rise towards jazz-fusion singing at the Spider's Web. He may not be the Golden Dude, but he can be our Silver Surfer. All things are possible and everything is for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds.
Histon played in blue and had names only seen on page 323 of Ceefax on a bank holiday Monday. That is our world. Ha, at least they are small. Oh, those two aren't. Mrs Mills and Joel McRae were sunflowers peeking up above the craggy rock strewn valley road.
Off we jolly well go.
First half: Tally ho
Sound the horn, we're off and running. Histon sliced and diced themselves with hooks and crooked hoiks. Peacock sidled, Cummins ladled and Charles-y rolled and lob-poked a shot that crawled over the bar. Wood hurled, Peacock side-saddled and Connell blim-blammed some sweet soul music from 20 or so yards. Welch plunged left and the ball missed by not much at all.
Wood hurled, Peacock paddled and Connell swung way, way away, way away, way away, way away. Someone swung and nicked, the ball dripped into the six-yard box. Excitement! Nearlyness! Hey, hey kids, this is more like it!
Forget it. It's the end of daze. Histon stopped being so poor, Town stopped being so un-poor; normal wrestling and rustling was resumed. Town's joints started to ache then seized up. The silence, the chasm of emptiness opened up and Kempson's steer was queered. Murray nicked, Croudson rushed off his line to scoop Darran's poop.
Histon cleared, Mills ran, Wood missed, Hudson missed, Mills ran on, Kempson slid and danger died. Wood piddled, Mills stretched and diddled the ball back. One, two, the air went blue as Murray minted a cross from their right into the path of Wooton, who stumbleflumped into the far corner.
One attack, one mistake, one goal. Is that two gravediggers I see standing up in the Main Stand?
A total and utter shower, a total and utter shambles, and that's just the Pontoon. A break, one pass, Riza freed, Croudson saved with his shins.
Just mish-mash, a total corned beef hash at a Histon corner. Croudson walloped long and, after what felt like years, Ademeno and Stewart collided. The ball sailed on and Gobern became pickled in a jar by the door. Heh, a penalty. Heh-heh. A penalty. Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh, a penalty to Town. Who'd have thought it. Connell swept high to the right as Mighty Joe Welch looked for clues at the scene of the crime and plunged low to his left. Life's been good to Town so far this minute.
Three minutes later Ademeno chased and stooped by the advertising boards, then seven of his tears flowed into the Humber, and our dreams were now Robert Eagle as sobbin' Charles was led off by Dave Moore. They made a substitution at the same time. Connell moved again to centre-forward and then Wood ran all the way from pillar to post to nearly make something nearly happen, but Peacock didn't move so nothing did, not even nearly.
Between these sheets only your nightmares lie. I can't lie to you about Town's chances, but you have my sympathy if you only heard it through the radio grapevine. Are you just about to lose your mind?
Stay on the path lads.
Second half: Tally up
No changes were made by either side at half time.
Bibbling, bobbling, Eagles lobbling and Connell cobbling a big dipper Poutonly wide. Wood roamed, Eagles gloamed but Peacock, always Peacock, slowed and lowed the cattle. Moo, moo, moo, moon river wider than a mile. Oh here they come, here comes the sun. Has somebody put hallucinogens in Town's teapot again? Tip tap Histon rapped Town's knuckles and Croudson excellently blocked at his near post.
Hudson screamed a pass, Eagles creamed a Victoria sponge cake and Peacock ate the pies with a scruffle to the twisting, turning Connell, who twisted and turned a dinker across the big moony face of the keeper's right post. Fill in the gaps yourself with some lazy, crazy, hazy dog days of summer heading, and a Connell sloopy slow dipper free kick which slow-slooped over without knocking on Welch's door.
The crowd growled and grizzled and expressed extreme dissatisfaction with whatever had happened, because it was wrong, whatever it was. Instant karma was never gonna get your fellow Townites - they prefer a biryani.
Histon chipped and chased, tapped and sapped Town down the left. A cross, a cross, another cross, and some bloke headed goalwards from six yards out at the far post. Croudson dived, Samuels threw himself forward and the ball hit Samuels, rebounded back off the blueman and looped the loop over the prostrate and prone keeper. Arcing, aching, slowly, slowly towards the empty net; Woods' dream was over, the naysayers' dreams were beginning. Up popped the long yellow arm of ancient mariner history to claw and flip the ball away, straight into the path of a fenland prankster. Rocking, rolling, slowly, slowly, the white rubberised glove of destiny poked out and flapped the ball back into the safety of Smilin' Steve's bosom.
There, there, back home safely now, little ball. All is well. All is well.
At this Tom Corner replaced Mr E, that rather poor Peter Bore impersonator claiming to be called Lewis Gobern. Connell moved to right wing and will be cleaning the windows of McMenemy's restaurant if you ask nicely Mr Fentycon.
At last, football. Gooooooo Eagle. Goooooo Peacock. A twist, a turn, a rinky dinky little cross and Connell was alone ten yards out. He nodded and Welch barely moved to pluck the souffléd header. Samuels: now there's a lad; fragile and frail in the first half, he was an intense raider and hurler in the second. Through three gigantic tackles he flew, almost bursting the banks of the River Hist, but the ball ricocheted through to the keeper. That's better young man, more of that and you'll be a handy, dandy Dwayne.
As the trickle of tiresome boovuzela players honked towards the exits a miracle occurred. The ball was launched beyond Peacock down Town's left, who persuaded the hitherto staunch Salami to fall over. Leapy chipped into the vacant space beyond the penalty spot and Connell carefully readjusted his nylons and steered a low volley into the bottom right corner.
Shall we just end it now, eh? Connell again. Nearly. Eagle slalomed and dinked; the goal machine (seasonally adjusted adjective) leant back and walloped across the face of goal. Worth an oooooooooooooh.
And the last five minutes were Histon humps and heaves and heads and tails. O ye banjo, pluck they strums. Their right-back roamed and smickled a low swirling dipper towards the bottom right corner. Croudson watched, waited and, with great certainty and gritty Grimsby desire, parried aside. That was their final cut.
Ask yourself this: would you prefer a beautiful draw or a horrible win? I think we've realised we can either have beauty or the beast in this league; there is no 'and'. We'll just have to grit our teeth and close our eyes. It was not pretty but it was pretty handy.
It was like every other game this season. We knew it would be like this, but we couldn't believe it until we saw it, Now we have, six times. Well, we won. Let's leave it at that.