Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
23 December 2018
Grimsby Town 4 Notts County 0
Ah, we need to laugh in this world of nebulous nit-wittery.
The sun is out and we've got something to laugh about as 436 dwindling Piemen marched eastwards just as their hopes are heading west. And they find themselves behind the wheel of a large automobile, and they find themselves parked outside a small terraced house. And they may ask themselves, well, how did I get here? A52 to Saxondale roundabout, turn left and then up the A46. Don't people use maps these days?
What a beautiful day, with a beautiful noise coming up from the old ground. The silent purr of contentment. It's all going to be alright in the end.
Town lined up in a more or less 4-4-1-1 formation as follows: McKeown, Hendrie, Davis, Whitmore, Fox, Cardwell, Clifton, Hessenthaler, Pringle, Embleton and Thomas. The substitutes were Russell, Pollock, Hall-Johnson, M Rose, Buckley, Woolford and A Rose. With Vernam absent, which is which and who is who? Cardwell filled the Vernam hole with Embleton still free to sting like a butterfly and float like a bee. Or is it the other way around and round 'n' round?
Haven't you heard, football's a battle of nerds these days. Managers plot and the lines on their laptops move from side to side. Of course Big Harry was St Michael's wingful wonder.
Notts County, so what? They turned up in blue and let's hope this team full of Freddy Freeloaders were feeling kind of blue by chip time. They're very tall at the back, can Town take the flak that'll be flying?
Town are triple-Harrying from the start; nothing can go wrong now.
First half: Harry, Harry, Harry
Town kicked off towards the Pontoon with a pre-programmed McKeown slow welly. Turley tussled with Thomas, causing much tutting with his roving hands and roaming forearms.
Hoik, hoof, fall and crawl. Bobbles bumbled, men stumbled, County crumbled, the Osmond stand mumbled. Up, then an under, nowhere, somewhere, this way and that. Embleton swept near the Police Box, Cardwell slowly controlled with his chest and rolled towards the bye-line. With Bluemen parallel parking, Big Harry walloped lowly, the ball ballooned up off the keeper's boots and hovered along the line. Thomas lay down with the lamb Turley and Little Harry Clifton bundle-headed into the empty net from a yard.
County clattering, the ball squirting and flirting near Fox but not in the box. Nathan Thomas tickled and Foxtrotter swiped left to delete. The black and white barrier shrank then expanded with the addition of another blue brick in the wall. There was dark sarcasm in the Pontoon as two men stood over the ball and simply wellied it straight into their blue brick, then wallied the rebound straight into the same spare brick.
Magpie mauling, bodies falling. A corner clipped and Turley arose to firmly be-thwonk inchlets wide. Hurly-burly from Turley, our Thomas face down in the dirt, clutching his shirt, the ref's response was curt. Get on with it, have a pot of yoghurt.
County got on with it, pressing, barely caressing, Town in need of some Hessing as the ball sailed longly, quick over the land mass in the middle. Their Thomas jinked and jived and McKeown scoopled up safely. No worries, mate.
Fitzsimons was swamped by humanity as Big Harry shouldered on and Medium Harry Davis arose a yard out to bundle-head in
More Nottingham niggling with the wiggling Embleton cuffed. Harrumphing at the unpunished whack, the little loanee legged up Jones. A finger wagging and a little nagging but still no cards delivered this Christmas. Town broke and Big Harry suddenly awoke to waft waywardly wide.
Isolated moments of nearlyness between two sheets of emptiness.
Oh I say Virginia, here's a thing of shreds and patches. A wandering minstrel, finger plucking some noodles on an old Spanish guitar down the left. Embleton, Town's talismanic troubadour, wiggled and waggled and coiled lowly from afar and a-from the left. Fitzsimons scampered across to flip aside. Pringle dingled and dangled a corner or two. Fitzsimons was swamped by humanity as Big Harry shouldered on and Medium Harry Davis arose a yard out to bundle-head in.
They're a big team, but they're not in shape. They canna cope in the air with our lack of height.
How tiresome, they're still trying. Their Thomas sneakled through three half-tackles and pulled a pass back into the centre for Town to showcase their refound passion for poetry. Remember, personality is everything in art and pottery.
And now here's a man ploughing a field…
There you are, a lovely interlude wasn't it. Mildly engaging, but not so much that you'd missed anything if you looked away.
A messy game on a mushy pitch. They're terrible, Muriel.
Second half: Joy, joy, joy
Neither team made any changes at half time.
The bluesmen were stomping out a furious beat, daddio. Welly, whack, whacky-well, well, well done Jamie Macc. Stead the stump against which balls were bounced; head tennis, pitch and putt. The ball fell to their Thomas, 20 yards out. Ker-boom, the missile cruised at head height through the streets and houses; McKeown was unsighted but heard the sirens. Where is it? There it is, it's out of control and heading your way. In a flash his hands flew up and flipped the bazooka over the bar.
The corner cleared and Town broke. Pringle looked up and saw three monochromers flying forward. And so passed wiffily to the sole bluesman on the halfway line, who lobbed forward. Slapstick nonsense as Whitmore missed the ball on the centre-left, Stead ran on and bedraggled wide of the right post. And still they drove on into the sunset. Sweeping and swooping across the mush, with their Thomas suddenly carousing a sweet dipping dripper which ached over the bar.
Agitation at Town's stagnation.
Get into them. Town started to get into them.
Thomas our Tank Engine set off on a day trip to Lapland, collecting orders from the sick and weary as he chugged along the Dentists' Stand. Don't worry children, Christmas is coming, just not yet. Have patience.
Hendrie hobbled off and Hall-Johnson cantered on. Ah, pace.
What a lovely moon, deep amber set against a royal blue sky, crawling over the Police Box and along the top of the Dentists' Stand, fading to cream and bright white as the night crawled in.
And then you find ten minutes have got behind you…
With County continuing to be vigorously ineffective dodgems, Mitch Rose replaced Pringle. Some beef replacing a tumbling leaf as the game drifted on and on and on and Town had yet to even misplace a tackle goalwards.
A-ha, another Town corner. And we know what happened at the other two. This is our time. Embleton curled inwardly, deeply from the left. Davis and Whitmore, like two peas in a pod, were alone two yards out beyond the static caravans and Medium Harry Davis hopped up and bompled into the empty net.
What an absolute shower. They're defending corners like eight-year-olds.
Crikey, they've taken off their Thomas.
Do we really care about the mere details of history? Do you really care what lead up to Jones fizzling lowly through a collection of humans and wide? Hemmings was offside. What didn't happen wouldn't have counted anyway.
What a relaxed way to roll into Christmas. With a severe lack of jeopardy, the Pontoon was reduced to playing celebrity death bingo. OK, question one: Peter and Gordon? Gordon's alive? Nooooooooooooo.
Fox on the run, Fox over the bar, Fox having fun.
A skip, a slip, and a whip from their right. County cursed with hope for a goal that was sought. Didn't they realise they were lost from the start in the duel that was fought? Dennis swung a crispy volley and Jamie Macc magnificently flipped up and aside with a one-handed parry. The corner coiled in, two Townites swung and missed, McKeown reached behind his left ear and flipped off the line, back to Blue who slaggled an inch wide of an opened goal.
Piemen cheered the keeper's unmolested pluck. You never know, it could be the turning point of their season – the moment they didn't concede from a corner
Piemen riled and stewing in their own miserableness, festering at Town's persistent pestering. Handbags and gladrags by the benches and Thomas and Hewitt were booked. Town won a fourth corner. We awaited the fourth goal. The collection of furry and furious Piemen cheered the keeper's unmolested pluck. You never know, it could be the turning point of their season – the moment they didn't concede from a corner.
If you don't have hope you have nothing. Let's hope for them, they're only down the road and are a convenient six points a season.
Bereft of the usual Parslovian performers, Jolley opted for Woolford to replace Cardwell. Trolling so subtle they never noticed. Embleton swung his pants and suddenly slung a snorter towards the top right corner. Fitzsimons finally made a save, raising his hand to flip over spectacularly. Mad Mitch began to sling passes from touchline to touchline.
Town swaggered as Mitch swung, oh there be a song to be sung. Up the left and over to the right. Woolford took a touch and slapped from afar. The ball arced up off a blue boot, dropping near the penalty spot. Thomas nudged terrible Turley aside, swivelled and hooked a volley lowly under Fitzsimons. Delightful, d'lovely, simply having a d'wonderful Christmas time.
Four minutes were added and it suddenly dawned on the Twitterati that one more goal and Town would rise another place in the table. You've got to have a purpose in life. Passes that included movement flowed hither and thither. Embleton was blocked. Movement that included passing flowered and Little Harry swiped, alas highly.
Town were no more than adequate, which was more than enough to overwhelm these shocking fellow striped stragglers. County were hapless and hopeless: they have no hope of happiness with no defence to speak of. Polite society will never speak of Notts County's defence.
Three fish on the shirt, three Harrys in the team, three points in the bag.
Now that's what I call Christmas.