Bicycle race

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Grant Maconachie

27 November 2017

Barnet 0 Grimsby Town 2

Follow Town, follow Town, follow Town
I want to follow Grimsby Town
I want to follow Town
I want to follow Grimsby Town
I want them not to go back down…

Town lined up with a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Mills, Clarke, Collins, Davies, Dembele, Rose, Summerfield, DJ, Matt and Jones. The bench contained Killip, K Osborne, Vernon, JJ, Dixon, J Osborne and Woolford.

You say black, I say white
You say left, I say right
You say bees, I say hey man
Sting was never my thing
And I don't like police

First half

The underground trains were constantly rattling behind the stand to the Town supporters right as the late afternoon sun disappeared with any warmth it still had on a clear, late November afternoon – which, after the enticing two pinters in the away end bar, had a noticeable effect on the Town followers. No sitting down and letting the cold set in today: it was up on your feet from kick-off, nimbly hopping from foot to foot in order to last until half time without the need to skip to the loo.

Rather satisfyingly, the Town players obliged to join in the party mood, and from the off were switching the direction of play, picking off the Barnet attempts to supply Akinde and moving together, communicating and linking well all over the pitch.

You say heads, I say tails
We were hares, they were snails
You say corner, I don't believe in man marking
Or keepers who just keep barking
All I want to do is…

Follow Town, follow Town, follow Town
I want to follow Grimsby Town
I want to follow Town
I want to follow Grimsby Town
I want them not to go back down…

A fairly routine corner fizzed over flatly and hard by Summerfield, was met solid and hard by Matt and flew in to the top corner as the Barnet keeper moved barely and hardly, whilst the Barnet defence just stood and watched like Laurel and Hardy – Town 1-0 up in the sixth minute, the Town supporters delirious whilst the adopted Aalst supporters finally made it out of the bar to add to the noise and wind up the already unsure security officers.

Town rose in confidence and worked through the gears nicely, pedalling when needed, but happy to freewheel and steady the pace when required. Barnet stuttered and stalled and made heavy work of doing nothing very much at all, pedalling and going nowhere in particular. Summerfield tested the keeper from distance, Davies stung the keeper's palms, a Jones effort had to be pounced on by the keeper as Town swarmed all over the Bees defence.

You say shoot, I say score
I say please give me more
We want goals and flowing skills from everyone
Whilst not losing to anyone
All I want to do is…

Follow Town, follow Town, follow Town
I want to follow Grimsby Town
I want to follow Town
I want to follow Grimsby Town
I want them not to go back down…

When Barnet did put any semblance of forward play together, the combination of Rose and Summerfield holding firm in the centre of the field, with DJ and Dembele tracking back and covering, meant that the back four spent most of the time mopping up fizzled-out attacks and building nicely from the back. When Barnet went long and looked for Akinde and Coulthirst to trouble Town in the air, they were so ineffectual that Collins and Clarke were able to play cushioned, balanced headers to team-mates rather than playing head tennis, and to build nicely from the back.

You say half, I say time
Standing up is a crime
Now I don't want to make it just sound like
I'm running out of puns for bike
All I want to do is…

Follow Town, follow Town, follow Town
I want to follow Grimsby Town
I want to follow Town
I want to follow Grimsby Town
I want them not to go back down…

Second half

Neither team made any changes at half time.

Clearly Town had hopped on the Zwift at half time, while it appeared that Barnet hadn't even had the mechanics in to check the gears – seats were still being returned to, and debates over who was writing match reports, gathering stats and lining up diaries were just about concluded when the Barnet wheels fell off.

You say foul, I say red
Young kid just lost his head
He slid in with his studs up high
His teammates looked up to the sky
All I want to do is…

Follow Town, follow Town, follow Town
I want to follow Grimsby Town
I want to follow Town
I want to follow Grimsby Town
I want them not to go back down…

Dembele took a jaunt down the left and as he nipped around the young right-back he had the proverbial broom handle shoved through his spokes. The Town fans drew breath, the referee drew out the red and the game, as a competition, drew to an end.

It now really was a case of when and by how many, not if and hanging on, Town would win by, and it was time for freestyling, wheelies, look-Mum-no-hands, and any other number of stunts you can think of.

A spectacular overhead bicycle kick from Jones was well saved by the keeper. Attempts from Dembele, Matt and Jones were all fended away by combinations of luck, judgement and loose spokes as Town went in search of goals.

In among it all Barnet made a couple of substitutions. Town brought on Hooper in place of DJ. Then Davies slid a through ball along the right and IT HAPPENED…

You say jink, I say flick
Siriki just pulled a trick
I've never seen the like before
Laid on a plate for Jones to score
All I want to do is…

Follow Town, follow Town, follow Town
I want to follow Grimsby Town
I want to follow Town
I want to follow Grimsby Town
I want them not to go back down…

Town had a third goal cruelly disallowed for offside from a corner (!?). Vernon came on for Matt and then Woolford replaced Dembele to huge applause and cheers as Town continued to pepper the Barnet goal to no avail.

So, it would appear that the fixed wheel, beginner's bikes fitted with stabilisers and homemade blocks on the pedals have been ditched along with the knee and elbow pads and replaced with a state-of-the-art, multi-geared, lightweight all-terrain bikes with suspension forks and a garmin that knows the way to the back of the net?

Well, they say that you never forget how to ride a bike – here's hoping, because…

Black and white stripes are beginning to play,
So look out for those beauties oh yay,
Black and white stripes are beginning to play,
I just hope it's not too early to say –
Promotion? Play-offs? Goal...

All I want to do is…

Follow Town, follow Town, follow Town
I want to follow Grimsby Town
I want to follow Town
I want to follow Grimsby Town
I want them not to go back down…