Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
17 February 2019
Grimsby Town 1 Cheltenham Town 0
Now then, don't forget to start stockpiling your stores of optimism.
A deeply clear and warm afternoon in the Costa del Grime with eighty or so sobbing Robins bobbing around in a small piece of the ground in our home town.
It's all going very well these days. We can only moan about having nothing to moan about. We have to invent our own postmodern existential crises these days. Now that's progress.
Town lined up in our traditional 5-3-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Hendrie, Hall-Johnson, Öhman, Collins, Ring, Embleton, Hessenthaler, Woolford, Thomas and Cook. The substitutes were Russell, Grayson, Whitmore, Davis, Clifton, Vernam and Dennis. Err, you know, it is what it is. Deeper thinkers deep in the Pontoon were worried about the absence of the Parslow Point substitute.
TURN IT DOWN. Annoying tannoying with the volume turned up to twelvety. There's no need for psy ops – there are very few Central American dictators holed up in the Pontoon these days.
Cheltenham turned up in yellow. The pitch was tufty and sloppy in the shadow of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand. There were people in the stands, ships sailed by.
Shall we just get on with it?
First half: The slightest touch
Town kicked off towards the Pontoon into touch near no-one nowhere into the dark, dank, corner of sponge twixt Pontoon and Frozen Horsebeer Stand.
Chips were chased, yellows threw themselves turfwards. You better run, you better take cover – can you hear Cook's thunder at the injustice of nitwit flagging?
Can we turn back time? There is no time, the scoreboard frozen for five minutes. Was it mass hypnosis? Were we abducted by three-eyed pinhead aliens glowing slightly from their toes?
Tumbles, stumbles and fumbles at throw-ins most foul. A finger was wagged at Raglan for time-wasting, then waggled again for egregious dawdling. Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall.
A Town corner, a hubbub and huddle, ricochets and rebounds and the ball slowly arced into the hands of Flinders.
Bouncing balls bouncing slowly on a ginger sponge of a pitch. The bouncing ballet of bashball live from Blundell Park, featuring the touring Bolshy Ballet Company from Cheltenham.
Slick and quick with the occasional flick. Town za-zoomed through the centre, Embleton stroked into space, Ring took the high road as their wing-back took the low road, and rolled a pass into the centre. Thomas slid and steered a slicer that faded away from the far post.
Fizzing, whizzing and yellows in a tizz. Embleton caressed into the void and Woolford ached on in to the right edge of their penalty area and crinkled lowly straight at Flinders.
Wahey, this is bubbling up nicely. Ah, the ball is bobbling up highly.
To bounce and bounce and bounce again. Ay, there's the rub.
I'd forgotten about them. A nice psychological state to be in. A yellow dissolved under the merest of stares down near the covered corner. The free kick dripped into the centre and Reg Varney, alone again, naturally, ducked to head very wide.
The bland monotony of dreary drossery on a sluggish pitch. Perhaps Town should bring on the off spinner
Them. A cross, a blocked shot and The Hess stole their short corner. Woolford and Collins indulged in some old man banterball and, well, they will claim they had a goal disallowed. Collins was disrobed, a yellow man passed to a yellow lad. The lad was offside, then he put the ball in the net. It all adds up to the same hill of stale baked beans on toast.
How desperate are you for knowledge? They had a corner, Old Reg ran around beyond the near post and headed it wider than he was when he started. Yeah, that's a highlight. At least the ball didn't bounce.
Tedium, boredom, wearying at the ennui, the bland monotony of dreary drossery on a sluggish pitch. Perhaps Town should bring on the off spinner.
Embleton flew through the air with the greatest of ease, just outside the penalty area on the centre-right. The ref counted out eight decreasing steps with a nifty sidestep halfway through after blatant obstruction by a yellowman. Embleton cleared the bar, but not in a good way.
Cook was mugged on the halfway line, slap bang in the middle of the allotments. As he rolled, Raglan sly-kicked him in the back when trotting past. Uproar from those with a lateral view. Ref spoke to linesman, and out came a yellow card for doing something they hadn't seen but thought he might have done. Which he did do, as we say in this neck of the woods.
Bouncing balls, bouncing balls. I say ooh, the balls are bouncing.
With five minutes to go before we could awaken from our deepening slumber, Thomas was tickled on the left corner of their penalty area. Oh, how we laughed as Wes felt the hand of history on his shoulder and let the music play on. A penalty.
Ah, now who's gonna take it? Obviously it won't be Thomas. Thomas rocked up with the ball tucked under his arm. The keeper dropped to his right, Thomas swiped left and the ball zoomed underneath the flying Flinders to keep the home fires burning.
In the background a vignette that epitomises this bunch of wild bores – a yellow pest tripped up Woolford.
Running, kicking, snarking and larking about. Bouncy-bouncy, pass the salt to the left please.
One minute was added. Oh look, a big boat.
It doesn’t matter what you say, no-one's listening anyway.
Second half: Living in a box
Neither team made any changes at half time. Neither team did anything after half time.
Bouncing, flouncing heave-ho humpball. Urgh. Free falling, mauling and calling for the end of this affair.
And that's just the first minute.
Spongey bounce, bouncey sponges. Hi-karate hoofing and a danger to the local roofing. The stain says hot but the label says not. This tosh won't wash.
At least we have The Hess to sweep up the roads and dig out the flower beds to prepare us for the summertime blues when the weather is fine. Go fishin' or swimmin' in the sea, life's for living, that's our philosophy. So why are we watching pro-celebrity kabaddi?
Billy Waters replaced Rakish Bingham. I'm sure his gran was happy.
Reg Varney was replaced by Duku Duku. Ay-ay the beat is crazy.
Bored by the apocalyptically awesome awfulness, Collins decided to spice up his life by slapping sloppily against The Hess, just outside the Town penalty area. Slapstick slides, Ludvig lobotomised and McKeown slid out to smother before Duku arrived anywhere near life.
Little Harry replaced the ageing Woolfman, our Phantom Menace replaced Thomas the Tank Engine. When? During playtime
Bouncing balls. A nudge in the sludge, a nibble and a dibble, what can this mean? Bouncing balls. Balls bouncing in aimless, artless disharmony. The Robins rocked up to toil and spoil on our soil. They certainly soiled our pitch today, they spoiled our artiness.
Little Harry replaced the ageing Woolfman, our Phantom Menace replaced Thomas the Tank Engine. When? During playtime.
It's playtime in the sandpit, Cook was buried up to his neck and the nasty boys poured water over his head. And when he got out of the sandpit Cook was boiled in his bag in the turnip patch. The free kick was clipped, a flick and Dennis sneaked into space, turning and mis-volleying straight at the keeper.
Cheltenham chugged around and chucked in crosses. To the Pontoon. Lovely.
We've reached the Parlsow Point with no Welsh. What to do? Medium Harry Davis clumbered on and kept marking Town's central defenders, like an ersatz Eric Dier. He ain't no Percy Parslow, the wrong horse for this course.
The chief yellow jester, Maddox, scotty-dogged a dribble across the face of the Town penalty area, dropping to earth when confronted by Ohman's giant shadow in the centre. The referee counted out twelve strides, Duku- Duku hovered around the end of the wall and Hussey nonchalantly coiled wide of the right post.
Four minutes were added during which Dennis was felled by a mystery ailment and told to go off for treatment. At a Cheltenham corner. Up came their keeper and…
We all bounced off down the Grimsby Road, happy together.
In a weird way this was the most satisfying victory this season. It was bloomin' awful, but Town never looked like conceding, let alone losing. This time last year, we'd have lost it 3-0.
Awful pitch, awful opponents, awful officials, awful game. Awfully nice result.