Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
6 October 2012
Grimsby Town 0 Dartford 2
Roll up, roll up for the tragical misery tour, step right this way. Was it really 50 years ago today that Town lost 2-0 to Bury in the old Division Two? We've been going in and out style since then. The past is another county.
A hundred and forty-odd Kentish long-tails followed the sun to the banks of the old lagoon. Didn't anybody tell them, didn't anybody else see Scooby Doo on top of a van in Caistor?
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Wood, S Pearson, Pond, Thomas, Colbeck, Disley, Niven, Neilson, Cook and Hannah. The substitutes were Hatton, Miller, Artus, Elding and Southwell. Back to the new normal; let's hope they don't revert to the old normal.
Dartford: in a nice shade of lightish blue and looking full of stoutly planted oaks from the garden. A cloud of smug entitlement wafted over Blundell Park as an extra thousand swanked back to see what all the fuss was about.
Let's get this over with, we all have more important things to do. There's a comb that needs de-fluffing somewhere in this land we call England.
First Half: Not Fade Away
Town kicked off towards the Osmond. There you are, a fact.
The Dartymen darted about, hassling, snipping, nipping, tripping and yippee-kay-aying freely. Town moved crabbily and shabbily amongst divots. Aswad sneaked and was flattened by a Blue Meanie right on the edge of the penalty area. The whistler lost his pea.
What can we say, what can we see? Monochrome meanderings, noodles to nowhere. Colbeck clipped a corner beyond the far post, Pond bumble-headed into his lap, and the ball truffled to the keeper. There was no more.
A blue bloke wafted a foot or two over from way out. Time. Space. Co-ordinated movement. Not Town. A free-kick coiled safely straight into McKeown's wobbling hands. They had the ball, they tobleroned in circles. Town didn't have the ball and played Greensleeves on a trombone. Town players kept bouncing off Darters like feeble weebles that did fall down.
Cook. Two things, and two things only. A harmless hard shot wide and a cross to where he would have been had anybody been anywhere. Niven skipped widefully, passed woefully and it was August all over again. They were trying, but trying our patience too. The visitors were adequate enough to repel insects using the power of the mind, a sheet of crepe paper and a comb. Only occasionally did they need to use their shadow puppetry skills to cast spooky silhouettes to the wonderment of the naive northerners.
Hints. Clues. They were there for those that had eyes and a semi-functioning brain. Town were loose in defence and useless in attack. The artful Darters were built for mugging these rosy-cheeked joskins. A Town set piece dissolved and Aswad ambled towards Albania, watching as Harris and Birchall ganged up on Wood. Not all linesmen are our foes as the flag went up to heaven. McKeown plunged at the near post as a blue boot stretched before him. Remember, the clues are there.
After half an hour of arm wrestling Town snapped out of their trance and into the groove. Niven spectacularly volleyed and Botticelli spectacularly tipped over with a save he should have made. Town pressed for what was almost two minutes of stuff, with a Pondish header dribbling off Hannah's shins a few yards out. A couple of these Kenters decided to lay down like lambs and on came the tubby trainer. The barely discernible momentum was lost, the invisible spell was broken and the arm-wrestling continued.
McKeown dived unnecessarily at a long shot and Wood butted Burns away from Jamie Mack as a punt sauntered keeperwards. Down went the little blue booster, clutching his face and back came Mr Tubby. If one was inclined to fair minded comment, then the words penalty and red card would appear in a sentence very close to the name Bradley Wood. But then, doesn't it always.
Interesting, but without action. Dartford are no mugs, but Town will be if they don't awake from their golden slumbers.
I have a sandwich to eat. TTFN.
Second Half: It's All Over Now
No changes were made by either team at half time.
Let's press fast-forward. Right, stop... now! Something happened.
A town corner, wasted as usual, punted back upfield. Niven waited and faffed about, possibly nudged by a cheeky chappie. Aswad waited, wafted, faffed about even more, possibly nudged by a very cheekie chappy, and stumble-scrumbled vaguely. McKeown hurtled to his left and tried to keep the ball in play. A corner, long and past the far post. Town players bounced off thighs, stood back and watched the bluemen plot a route back home. The ball eventually reached Champion near the edge of the penalty area, on the centre right, who carefully and calmly steered through various legs to McKeown's right. Just like Stockport's goals, Townites chased the ball like six year olds.
Then Town turned to mush. Defensive organisation cycled off towards Knaresborough with a packed lunch and an invitation to meet a stranger at Old Mother Shipton's tea room. It was joined by offensive competence on a bicycle made for two as Dartford made a monkey out of Town. Can you ride tandem?
As the stripes muddled forward and ended up face down in a puddle, Birchall ran off, free as a bird. Some higgle-di-piggledy stuff happened, and the ball hit a post during some scramblage. Just picture Townites humping hopelessly towards a slag heap of stripes and Darters darting back unmolested. There you have the last half hour.
Cook kept winning headers and so was taken off. Niven stropped off for Artus and Town lost their sophistication and fluency. They played the same way, but with even less effective players.
Colbeck crossed near Hannah. Whoopee-do. Hannah twisted his flax and scrimped off the outside of the near post. Artus sliced awfully high and artlessly wide. Southwell replaced Hannah.
Some people seemed to get mildly excited when Elding uninterestingly curled softly into Boticelli's arms. Some people believe wearing turquoise trousers is a sign of elegance and sophistication. Oh look, they broke quickly and nearly scored. Oh look, the returning "supporters" are going home.
Wood roamed and crossed dangerously. Elding cleared at the near post for a goal kick. Artus rubbished a free-kick into the striplights in the Pontoon. Town hoofed and hoofed, Southwell sliced horribly, horribly widely-high from eight yards out. With less than ten minutes left, Thomas was felled in the shadow of the Findus. A blob of Townites stood on the edge of the penalty area and we could see the future before us. A vast expanse of green populated only by Wood and a sleeping Thomas. Wood woefully shanked, they ran off and Birchall walked around McKeown to tap into an empty goal. Entirely predictable, it was entirely predicted by Pontoonites pointing out the dearth of defenders and organisation. More die-hard supporters cried their way home.
A triplet of flying blocks averted false hope, as Townites ignored the lesson of the first Dartford goal and tried to slap rather than steer. Wood grazey-headed away from a Thames Lurker and they had other chances on the break that I just cannot be bothered to remember.
And in added time a Town free-kick was lobbed hopefully. Botticelli wandered and talked to the trees. And still Town failed.
There we are, the little Pips mugged the Miss Haversham of the Blue Square. The best team won.