The cod delusion

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

28 January 2018

Grimsby 0 Luton 1

Cleethorpes in January: cold and unraining, people movin' out, people movin' in. This is the time, this is the place as we look to the future. There's not much love going around in Slade's land of confusion. Yeah, it's just another day in paradise.

Town lined up in the hard-working, hard-boiled egg 5-3-2 formation as follows: Killip, Davies, Clarke, K Osborne, Collins, Dixon, Berrett, Rose, Summerfield, Matt and Vernam. The substitutes were Warrington, Mills, DJ Jinky, Dembele, Wilks and Vernon. With an average age of 63¾, at least Town's defence knows where to stand. Let's not dwell on the problems caused by an ageing population and simply celebrate their contribution to society. We wouldn't be where we are without 'em you know. We're not keen on Kean, are we. At least Killip is keen to be keeping at Grimsby.

Nice to see some people returning to Blundell Park with realistic expectations of happiness. Luton. How very orange.

Luton are not inflammable, you say? Then we don't need an arsonist in charge, do we.

Oh no, not another huddle. Only teams in a muddle have a public cuddle.

1st half – a long shot in the dark

Town kicked off towards the Osmond with a humpy-lumpy-dump towards someone or other somewhere or other.

A tickle and taunt on the Town left and our five faintly frowning men moved across the lawn, slowly. The ball bimbombled through the Town penalty area. Stay frosty there, Cool Luke was on hand to eat some hard-boiled eggs and scramble away before Town were toast for breakfast.

Nickling a nockle or two in a middling muddle, Vernam vroomed, Summerfield swooped and sliced hammily from afar. The ball whipped and dipped and walloped against the face of the crossbar, bouncing out beyond the penalty area. By heck lad, that's sommat.

A Townite felled by the bye-line leftly. Summerfield crinkled the free kick lowly, causing the most minor of mayhems at the near post.

It's all right, not too bad, all things considered. Can't complain, mustn't grumble. How's your Bert's lumbago?

Tobleroning behind Dixon, Lutonites were kryptonite and Killip chased the bumbling ball beyond the far post. Davies hoiked away from the grasping gloves for some slapdash slapstick. A throw, a corner and a graze goalwards, Davies caressed off the line and Harry Cornick Junior slashed widely and even wider off the back of the somersaulting Cook. The linesman flagged, the referee pointed and Osborne engaged in semantic discourse. A goal kick followed this interrogation of the dynamics of geothermal underpants.

And with that goal line clearance Ben Davies moved to fourth position on the official Opta stats for most saves made in the fourth division.

And we're back to the beat as Summerfield rattled out a paradiddle to shoot lowly, widely, justly. Some robbing of the hoods and Vernam rightly wiggled and waggled and wongled narrowly, the ball deflating softly into Stech's stretching arms.

A minor moment of orange movement and Cook dug a trench for Mitch to replant his roses. Out came a yellow card.

And on the game ticked, Townites shuttling and scuttling hither and thither, like low intensity ants. Summerfield swept, Matt toiled, Matt turned, Matt burned forward and gurned safely wide from afar. Ah, a typical Matt finish: a bit dull.

After half an hour or so of nibbles, a dunk down their right beyond the dug-outs bumbled towards outness. Collins, on the touchline, hooked the ball into the Dentists and Cook cretinously hook-volleyed our man into the crowd. Another yellow, and then a red, for red and yellow do make a lovely shade of orange.

With opponents down to ten men for an hour Town have a real opportunity to hang on for a morale-boosting narrow defeat..

And nothing else happened. Fifteen minutes of dodgems and dodgy bodging. Davies was booked and injured. Their bearded captain kept whining and dining on morsels of mincing, seeking equality through defamation of character.

Tetchy, testy with a few oohs but no aaaaarghs. It could have been worse. It has been so, so often. Now, how long will Slade retain five defenders? It's important to stay in the game, John.

2nd half – the law of diminishing returns

Mills replaced Davies at half time. And Town retained the full five defenders. Let's not get giddy and go for gold too soon, eh.

From the off Mills mushed and Matt slushed at Stech when four stripes lined up to lash. Luton lolloped around gaily, the overarching narrative being orangers outspanning the stripers, outmanning on the outside but not outreaching for the fizzling cross-shot. Berrett? Please don't spoil his day, he's miles away, he's only sleeping.

And still Town were compressed by the orange press. Summerfield stroked the hairs of the Shinnie-shin shin who jumped into the swimming pool wearing his pyjamas. A free kick near the right corner of the penalty area and phones began to ring in the Pontoon. Ah, that'll be a goal-flash from the Town game. What? Luton have just scored? Take that predictive text off right now.

Oh.

Berry brushed a curly-coiler over the wall towards the top right corner and Killip soared like a frisky beagle to flip the ball up against the bar. Alas dear reader, the ball kissed the bendy-bar and loped gently into the path of their on-rushing Collins, who beat our Collins to the crunch and another orangeman wellied further into the net from a yard inside the goal.

Well, you and I know what this means, but let's just pretend you don't know what the ending is, that there is an air of mystery in this tale.

Stripey pressure and a stripey cross repulsed and repelled. Summerfield's shimmy and shake and shanking slap hit Rose and bumbled softly straight to Stech. And off came Rose with Dembele cantering on. Ah, but once they're down, they really blunder as Town moved to a 5-4-3-2-1 formation with Vernam and Dembele together in the Kingsley Black Hole. Uh-huh, it's the Mariners.

Collins spectacularly fell over Clarke's plough in front of a histrionic Nathan Jones. Not even a yellow card. Marvellous.

Striped stodginess, congealed heels, mechanically recovered meat-and-two-veg football. Berrett coiled farly from under the Frozen Horsebeer Stand. Clarke arose above the crowd beyond the far post and nodded straight into Stech's hands.

Don't nod off, it wasn't that bad.

Repeat action. Another deep cross slapped against Pott's face and humbled into the keeper's hands. Oh woe is us, Luton can't even score by accident for us. We're so unlucky, John.

Dixon roamed and his cross homed in on the smallest Lutonite, but little Potts grazed away for a corner. Summerfield flat-batted deeply, Osborne rose above the fey and the fray to softly loop a noddle onto the back of the top of the crossbar.

With a dozen minutes remaining Dixon was replaced by young Mr Wilks and Town abandoned the frisky five defender formation and moved to a 3-4-1-2 arrangement of the deckchairs. Only Slim Charles Vernam remained in the Kingsley Black Hole. At least that's where I think he must have been, by a process of elimination. Mills and Dembele hugged their hoodies on the wings, and Wilks joined the mardy Matt as a nominal strike force.

Zakattack! Karakakora kakarakak. Mills and Wilks pounced on tangerine dreaming. Wilks burstled goalwards and, a dozen yards out with Stech static, decided to flick left with his left foot rather than whack a shot with his right boot. The moment passed as the pass went straight to the only swinger left in Town.

Just shoot lad, just shoot.

The clock ticked on and Osborne spent the rest of the afternoon fishing for sprats under the Pontoon. A hoiked welly away and Clarke misunderestimated the necessary nudge required to propel the football from his body to Killip's boot. Some arbitrary Lutonite charged down the fly-kick and the ball ballooned highly and across the face of the penalty area. Killip chased this dragon as Clarke harried the perambulating hassler who sauntered around in circles going nowhere when the goal gaped.

Yeah, that's it from them, and there wasn't much to it.

Balls boomed bigly, Osborne loomed largely. Stech panicked a sloppy slap straight to Berrett, who shankled straight back into his hands as Matt missed a waft in front of the collapsible keeper.

Did I tell you that Dembele was booked for diving? I didn't? Well, Dembele was booked for diving. And so he should have been. That lad's been useless since he got fancy frills on his head.

Luton spent the time wasting time, feigning hurt and generally irritating with rather obvious amateur dramatics. Captain Sheehan was their leading man, whose champagne moment was a claimed Mattian elbow rather undermined by his sneaky looks at the ref from under his arm and immediate upwards leap when play was stopped.

Four minutes were added.

Lovely sky. A really lovely sky. As Russ says, it's important to take something from the game. We'll always have the mauve sunset.

Four minutes ended.

The players were not booed or subject to abuse. Others were. They may not be lions, but they are led by donkeys. Someone is suffering from false class consciousness, and it ain't the supporters.

Statistics don't lie, there is no team less effective as an attacking force than Russell Slade's Grimsby Town. They didn't look generally awful, just like a team that didn't know how to attack. Nothing's changed from pre-season then.

One team denuded of one man, one man deluded about one team. One day Town may stop losing, one day Town will definitely have another manager. One will come before the other.