Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
18 March 2018
Lincoln 3 Grimsby 1
It's a four sock day out there in the capital of culture, with snow flurrying from apologetic freckles to a full on white-out at the drop of a hat. Now my advice to those who cry: don't drop your hat, your ears'll get cold.
Can you feel the wind of change? The future's in the air. Well, we are playing Lincoln.
Town lined up in blue in a bog standard 4:4:2 formation as follows: McKeown, Hall-Johnson, Clarke, Collins, Fox, Clifton, Berrett, Davies, Woolford, Cardwell and Matt. The substitutes were Killip, Mills, Rose, DJ Jinky, Dembele, McSheffrey and Vernon. Who's where in today's unlucky dip? Davies was in central midfield and everyone else where you'd guess they would be, though possibly not want them to be. Yes, Jamille Matt, we wish we weren't looking at you. I'm sure you're not enjoying life either. Hey Mikey, don't take it personally, it's only business.
But we don't want business as usual. We want some snow business.
Oh look, a load of Lincoln City followers gathered together in a wave and grooving with a stick. Where were they when they were less fab? BHS probably, a long time ago when we were merely drab. It's a different world in a different time, before the madness descended.
Look to your right side, Luke and feel the force: such silly toytown tifosi toshery and the littering of Lincoln. A banner headline of pretentious cobblers and the release of a thousand plastic sheets of peace onto the pitch and the South Common. Are they bio-degradable? You're the boys from Boultham Park, the gentleman of the Gillies, not soldiers of the San Siro. Grow up: you look and sound ridiculous.
There’s divots all over the pitch (Stage direction: turn to audience and raise left eyebrow).
1st half – snow go
Michael Jolley stalked the technical area without coat, gloves or hat, simply suited. When you've stood in Sweden, a snow shower at Sincil Bank is like a summer's day in Skeggy. Trouserless Dave Moore wore a thin windcheater and an even thinner smile. He's Town through thick managers and thin times.
Did you know that Trouserless Dave Moore plays the blues at the Spider's Web every Thursday at 9, after the tombola? You didn't? Someone has to keep the Ces and Len flame flying.
Oh, do you really want to know what happened next? If you must: football facts and friction to follow.
Lincoln kicked off downwind and away from approximately 1,696 Townites. They bigged and beefed with early elbows from The Fatman. Yes, their pantomime dame was back, Mr Matt Rhead and his chortling chubby charm chuntered after chips.
The wind, the wind, the mighty swirling wind, howled into Jamie Mack's face. The ball sailed up and over, skittling south from Impite wellies, banana-balling from McKeown's drop kicks. Town were penned back by the wind as Lincoln lumped it forward in lumpen fashion for a right lumpy gravyboat of bilge. Nothing happened, the City of Lincoln, as usual, paralysed by a traffic jam of tripery.
I suppose that makes us daytripers.
Cardwell almost ran near goal wth the ball somewhere in the vicinity of his physical, human body. Davies had a shot. It happened, you may as well be told. Deflected for a corner it was. You don't need to be told what happened next.
Matt stooped as a red boot swooped somewhere out there in the haze. The free kick was foxily dinked and a red head helpfully snickled highly to the centre of the Lincoln penalty area. Cardwell crawled upwards and glancy-grazed a loopy header goalwards. The ball plopped against the angle of post and bar, dropping beautifully, perfectly, four yards out to blue feet. Woolford calmly took stock and stroked the ball into the emptiness, not the empty net. The ball hit the pink gloves and white post and bounded away across the face of goal never to be seen again.
Town having a shot. Does life get any better? Shall we go home now?
The wind did blow and Hall-Johnson was blown backwards as he surged. Hall-Johnson surged in sudden doldrum and Harry Cardwell missed his nod six yards out.
Half an hour gone and Jamie Mack hadn't had a thing to do… Ah.
Here comes the apple crumble.
Biffing and barging and Impites upped the ante by lowering their hoofs. A cross flibbled and bibbled off Rhead's bulge. Wharton swizzled and crinkled lowly through the hedgerow. McKeown superbly sprung low to parry-punch aside from the foot of his left post. Town sunk back in the breeze as the ball ballooned backwards and hardly forwards. Lincolnites bashed with the brawn and Green's cross tip-toed off Fox and onto the roof of the net. Ooo-er
In came the corner, up went big heads and blue heads, skewering sideways and on to Frecklington, on the left edge of the Town area. The small village near Sleaford miffled a volley bumbling through a thicket of blue socks. Past one, two, three bluemen, Davies stuck out a leg and flicked the ball into the bottom right corner.
Town are shot, life does not get any better. Shall we go home now?
Harrying, hassling, blocking and flocking forward with vigour and vim, the Red Stripes shortened their punts and lengthened their stride. Clifton threw himself at a swipe, Jamie Mack sprawled to block the offside Whitehouse. Dinking down their left Clarke's clearance was charged down, and thricely knockings saw the ball balloon back towards the corner flag. Clarke dithered and Frecklington back-flicked through old legs to set a chum free along the bye-line. A cross, stretch and the unmarked Green slid in from the centre of the six-yard box.
They probably missed again. Does it matter anymore? It's over. It's all over. This old beached whale is dead.
And here we go again. Again. A corner, half uncleared with underpowered heads and undermanned holes. The ball dropped to the unmolested Wharton, dead centre of everything, who carefully steered the ball generally goalwardsish and everyone watched it meander gently into the bottom right corner.
They probably had another shot or something. Who cares? Hey Mikey, this sky is falling under you. Forget the deadbeats you've been left, they will not follow you. It's all over now for the babies in blue.
Snow, wind, wind and snow. Yes, and how many times can Matt turn his headpretending that he just doesn't see? We’re flapping in the wind.
Two minutes were added as Town swept forward. The ball dropped to Clifton, 20 yards out, who swept a dripper and Allsop arose to finger-tipple over. Hurrah for Harry. Hats off to… Actually, keep the hats on. It's very cold. The corner drooped and Whitehouse slapped the ball off Clarke's forehead, eight yards out right in front of goal and in front of the referee's gaze. And the black arm of the law did point towards the penalty spot amid striped fake groaning. Davies waited for the sherbet to dip and plonked the ball into the top rightish corner off Allsop's pink fingers.
Lincoln were nothing special at all, but far more effective at being nothing special. Town excelled at being nothing and then the wind blew the ill-fitting toupee off. We need stronger chin-straps.
2nd half – snow bored
Town ran out early into a blizzard then ran back inside when they realised the referee and Impies weren't coming out into the whiteout. As the flurries faded we observed that McSheffrey had replaced Cardwell.
Mmm, that means Jamille Matt remains on the pitch. Hey, listen fellas, don't get excited, it's because he's tall.
Town had the reducing wind at their back. The wind was strong, but no longer wicked as the sun came out. Town: a bunch of long throws hurled at bigger blokes than we have. A bimble and a bumble, Matt spun and shinned straight to their keeper.
Ah, Lincoln, you used to be so small a long time ago when your grass was green and when we was fab. Walking down these unclean streets, distant memories buried in the past. We used to be a contender and now we pine for the days of the Parslow Point.
Aren't we just wasting our time? Hall-Johnson was replaced by Rose with Davies moving back to right back.
Up, up in the air in a beautiful balloon. Here's a tale. Let's spin a coin. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. A sideways Impie-skew, McSheffrey stretched to swipe over.
Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. A sideways Impie-skew, McSheffrey stretched and collided with their keeper.
Heads we lose.
We’re talking heads.
Lincolnite dawdling and dithering at a substitution, changing plans halfway through. Time ebbing away. Nothing was going on anywhere, red stripes content to let the fading blues twang around. The un-substituted winger Williams wandered off on a counter-attack, McKeown beat away the crackle and oh why-oh-why did I buy tickets for Coventry?
Oily Palmer replaced The Fatman and was determined to prove to the Town support that he can count to three. Frecklington flannelled from a channel, disturbing the grumbles of distant Grimbarians. At some point that cannot be identified for legal reasons DJ Jinky came on for Woolford. Martyn Woolford, were you ever here? There really will be no need to store your personal details when the General Data Protection Regulation comes into force in May. Hang on sleepy, that means Matt is still on the pitch.
Jamille Matt. Why? What's the point?
Minutes ticked on, car park charges crept up, potholes got bigger on the A46. McSheffrey drooled a tantalising free kick through the corridor of certainty between Allsop and Town's non-strikers. Collins hopped as we hoped for football fortune. Darn that lack of snowfall.
And in the end, during the four minutes of added time, when we needed a fox in the box, we only had Fox in the box. General muddiness and the floppy-fringed full-back was hooked on a feeling as he hooked onto the roof.
And finally we could go home.
Town looked feeble, mentally and physically. All it took for the house of straw to collapse was the big bad wolf to sneeze. If the materials aren't strong enough, and there are no foundations, the building will collapse, no matter what the new architect does.
We are relying on the kindness of strangers.