Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
1 January 2012
Grimsby Town 3 Lincoln City 1
Look around. See it, hear it, feel it. It's like old times, a full and expectant house of hope. So you think 2012 is going to be a good year, especially if Shouty and Shorty see it in together? We have some reasons to be over-optimistic.
Town lined up 4-4-2 as follows: McKeown, Wood, Miller, Garner, Townsend, Coulson, Panther, Disley, Artus, Elding, Hearn. The substitutes were Thanoj, McCarthy, Makofo, Duffy and Silk. Mad Frankie retained his place after his controlled frenzy, as did Garner, the only swinging centre-back in town, apart from that tall slender chap over there. Miller, we've seen him before. He's always looked good against us, but then who doesn't?
Where are we going with our Miller puns and Miller funs then? Tonight Matthew, I shall be making a tortuous allusion to Roger Miller's 1965 hit recording: with failures for sale or rent, we have yet another new king of the road at centre-back. And Grimsby swings too. We'll let the professional hacks do the obvious ones: they have to amuse themselves somehow.
Down, down, deeper and down at the Osmond End there was a mass of red plastic on view, the only empty seats in the house. A large lump of Lincolnites sat watching jogging green hoops surrounded by the throbbing fullness. 750? Is this all you take away? They must have come in 250 taxis.
Break out the Battenberg, we've got guests.
First half: A man like that is hard to find
The Witham wastrels kicked off towards the Pontoon, straight out of play. Nice.
We started as we finished on Monday: all Town, in control, buzzing and shuzzing Imps into holes. McKeown lamped long, the ball rolled off Hearn, Disley stridled and strudled to swish a swerver about a foot wide of the left post. Ooh, I say.
What next, what are they up to? Pish-posh, push-me pull-me plinking from the Powered plodders as Townites shepherded the flock of Sincil sheep. Ooh, Townsend curled a long, slow free kick just over the wall and just over the bar as a Kingsley Black tribute act.
It started to rain.
Townsend, Townsend, Townsend: disrobing shaky Sheridan and roaring unmolested down the flank. A-ha, a roll to Disley and a rock back from the bye-line behind all. Minor panic in the hoopla of hula hoopers. Town were a wolf pack, possessing swarm intelligence to systematically explore and overcome the obstacle as one. Collective action! Lincoln were atomised individuals, each doing their own thing, for themselves.
Townsend mazed and mashed but a green leg appeared. Hearn performed a Reesian roll, Artus swingled perfectly and Elding stretched nearly. A moment. A fine cross, fine tuning required. The moments were becoming momentum.
Yeah, yeah, they had a shot. Weak. Straight into McKeown's weeblage. Miller flicked a switch and glided effortlessly across the path of Taylor to divert. Effortless and cool, no cucumbers were harmed in the making of that sentence. McKeown wished Garner luck as he waved the ball goodbye. Not a Town tear but a cheer as Garner noodled away from near the line while hugged by hoops. Whatever happened to hug a hoopy?
Town had the big mo: after all, we were bigger and faster. Coulson had Van Persian visions to seductively slink and dink. He wallied over. More like Van Halen as Osmond Impites had to jump out of the way. It wasn't the worst you've ever seen. Oh, Coulson this and Coulson that, tapping to Hearn, who wrapped his marker in a double bow and whackled across the face of goal. Near Elding. Things were always near Elding.
This game's got a one-way ticket and here's Manny the ticket collector. Twisting, turning, turning, twisting, causing palpitations in those uneducated in the ways of the groovy cat. A gentleman, a scholar, what an acrobat, the rinky-dink Panther twiddled alarmingly, but safely, to Garner underneath the mistletoe and whines of the full Lower Findus. A careful whack landed on Hearn's chest as a Lincoln body barged from behind. Boo-hoo-hoo. Play on! Artus crinkled cross-field. Townsend arrived, arose to the challenge and swooned a perfect dimpling cross into the very heart of the penalty area. Disley pirouetted, Elding struck an attitude derriere and Hearn sneaked around the back to chest and smack into the near post as the keeper guessed far. There was much Mariner merriment.
If you see the video of this goal, don't be fooled by any green hoopies that may appear in the picture: they are CGI characters done in post-production. In olden days they used to be clay stop-motion figures. Much more realistic, you know.
Coulson probably shot very high and wide at some point. He usually does after 32 minutes. It's a rather comforting event in its own way.
The referee took existential pity upon poor Lincoln and kept awarding them free kicks for falling over the weight of their own disappointments. Coulson was oddly booked near the toilet block/snack bar nexus and little Taylor flick-headed the free kick safely into the upper reaches of the Pontoon. That was something that could have been something, but was nothing. That rather sums them up neatly.
The swarm intelligence led them into cul-de-sacs of despond. Platt accidentally got in the way of a cross, almost alarming us by having the ball near goal, but Disley captained his own ship into harbour. No need for the Humber pilot; he knows where the shifting sandbanks are now.
Possession is nine tenths of the iceberg, isn't it? That's the law. Junior Psycho bashed and barged, steered and sneered his winger into a little ball and then ran off with the big ball, wafting wide. His wallowing cross so poor that it was a brilliant chip which orange Anyon finger-slapped away from the top corner like Level 42's bass player. Wood: never more dangerous than when not shooting.
Pressure, pressure and two minutes of dreamt-up, made-up imaginary added time. Town retained possession left and right, with Disley prominently ticking in charge of the bomb. Hearn flicked, Townsend sailed by, cutting back to his right foot as something green headed for Mablethorpe. From near the corner flag a sumptuously flighted cruise missile headed for the middle of the middle of the penalty area. Coulson leant back and carefully steered a header back onto the right side of goal. Anyon had been tangoed, Lincoln had been kippered and the half-time tea was brewed.
The Impies have small round edges, but Town cut more sharply. The only thing to fear is fear itself.
I think I'll get the jam tarts now.
Second half: Let's fool around and have a ball
Neither side made any changes at half time, with Lincoln coming out early to practise what had just been preached to them within the confines of an old white-walled brick building with a low ceiling.
La-di-da, Town sat back a bit and allowed them to play their own lute. Elding responded to a lone bagpiper to swivel and drop-kick so far wide and high that I am wasting your time mentioning it. Isn't it odd that in October 1955 two men named Miller had hits with 'The Yellow Rose of Texas'. That was more useful for you to know than the Elding moment.
Lincoln fluttered around a bit, like a moth in a pantry. Disley plunged to Earth, felled by the thought of a green foot. Artus stood above the ball, on the centre-right, and delightfully floated a teasing, tempting dimple towards the far post, a few yards out. Bodies collided, the ball fell near the line, a defender panicked and swiped a clearance straight against Christophe's arm. Up roared the multitudes. The referee stood stock still, staring, thinking thinking where he'd parked his car, what filling he'd requested for his post-match sandwich and pointed spotsward. Elding calmly marched forward, plonked the ball on the spot, opened his hips and tapped left as Anyon sighed right.
There was immense confidence that Town would get a point out of this.
And Town sat back and let Lincoln knit as many cardigans as they wished. Sinclair donked a free header over the bar and crosses were almost crossed occasionally. The Withamers were very good at running with the ball, but they kept dissolving on the edge of the Town penalty area. This was all very lovely. Then they took off Wood's rabbit, having lost that loving feeling for Sheridan, and brought on Medley. Boom, he turned and wobbled a wibbler towards the top right corner. McKeown waited for the wobbling to stop before spectacularly parrying aside. Tapped short, Tiny Taylor spun around Elding and Wood to wrap a spinning waft into the bottom left corner as Disley ducked and McKeown looked.
The flick was switched. Silence from Townites and Impites suddenly vocal. Lincoln surged, Town buckled a bit. Was this Monday in reverse?
Another minute, another Medley turn and burn. Taylor suddenly flibbled from afar, with McKeown rising to parry down in a strange and unusual way before playing chicken with the inrushing forwards.
Now that would have been a goal! But it wasn't. Hearn received the ball inside the area and did his twisting thing but muffled to Anyon, who swept the ball up from not near Elding. Town started to tick again, then the clock stopped. Town broke and suddenly Panther passed the ball out of play. Danger ahoy, Disley fell and was unable to even stand up. Thanoj arrived without his suitcase but do see how he runs.
Anthony Elding, an enigma to rival Neil Woods in his playing pomp. What is his purpose? He only became visible when play was stopped, turning to the nearest stand and waving his arms and demanding supporters support. He's not so much a main striker as chief cheerleader. Shake yer pom-poms and do a cartwheel Elding: "Goooooooooooo Grimsby!"
Lincoln sensed a date with destiny and roused themselves into waves of attacks. Town half-cleared, quarter-cleared, half-cleared again and pressure mounted itself on the wall using an old can of No More Nails found in a broom cupboard. Do not have fear, children of the night, for Miller's mighty Mariners chest repelled the snake of doom. Oh, you weren't bothered.
And here's come Town. A break, a cake baked and presented to Anyon in a little airtight plastic container without any exploding candles. Coulson placed a soft shot safely at the garish goalie's ankles. Pressure, corners, or was it free kicks, all cleared halfily. Thanoj hoiked back, Garner flicked on, Coulson walloped a rising damper and Anyon excellently parried aside from his near post. The corner cleared, Coulson slabbered over and wide so overly and widely that penguins are complaining.
Tis better now, with passing and movement; Thanoj a mud-wrestler, Panther a martial artist. A corner was cleared to Manny on the edge of the area, who stood stock still and firmly headed down. The ball shimmied past legs; the keeper's view was blocked, but he brilliantly plunged right to scoop off the line. Manny, Manny, Manny. Just think of all the things we could do, if we had another Manny. We'd fool around and have a ball.
Ticking away, the Lincolnites were slowly drifting home across the Wolds to their fancy restaurants and traffic jams. Ticking away, ticking and ooh we don't need any of that sort of thing. Taylor suddenly swooped and swingled a low shot through many, not Manny, and the ball drifted a yard wide. Two substitutes tobleroned through the Town right as McKeown rushed out, stood tall and chested the shot up in the air. Smith noodled his header wider than he was already stood. Great clearing header. Russell flew past Wood; Taylor opened his body and steered straight at Jamie Mack.
We really don't need this nonsense.
As the board flashed four minutes of added time Panther defenestrated Sinclair and Thanoj was sent clear down the touchline. Attention was diverted to some audible grumbling in the pit of the Lower Findus and a bit of hula-hula dancing. Players rushed in where angels feared to tread. Who? What? The Findus demanded Sinclair's ejection as the referee played the harmonica with the linesman. Out came a red card for Manny the P. Sinclair stood alone, resigned to his fate, and got a yellow card. No need for his resignation then.
Nothing more happened, as Town saw out the added time very easily indeed.
Well, that was a lovely double-header of a fixture; who could ask for anything more. There really wasn't much to grumble about. The second half was a bit flatter in atmosphere and less Towncentric in terms of chances simply because all could sense the game was up. If needs be, Town could have scored more, as Lincoln's defence was no better today than it was on Boxing Day.
There is still some life in the old Town yet. If you build a winning team they will come.