Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
14 April 2019
Morecambe 1 Grimsby Town 1
Under an azure sky of deepest summer, on a day as clear as an unmuddied lake we've finally found somewhere that makes Cleethorpes look glamorous. No, that's not right. Morecambe makes Grimsby look glamorous.
A stray Forest Green fan wandered along the flared prom as scooterboys rocked by in their zoot suits, white jackets with side vents five inches long. They're still living at home. Morecambe: best viewed behind you; lovely vistas.
There is no dark side to the Lune Valley, as a matter of fact it's all dark.
Town lined up in purple in a supersexy 4:4:2 formation as follows: McKeown, Hendrie, Collins, Davis, Ring, Vernam, Hessenthaler, Woolford, Grayson, Dennis and Cardwell. The substitutes were Russell, Pollock, Whitmore, Hall-Johnson, Clifton, Buckley and Burrell. With the Davis Divot experiment abandoned after being as popular as the Parslow Pivot, Town were back to meat and potato pie, with another homeopathic tincture of Shortyness: the double full-back fall-back with Grayson wide left of midfield.
In their version of the Dentists Stand there were some sophistos from the caravan park right around the corner. The stewards were smiling away... jollying and vigoreeting. Then suddenly, my friends, the disc on the tannoy faded out. And in the short lapse before the other one started, the Town fans came in with a burst of singing...
"He rubs on Vick where he used to splash Brut, Kev's the oldest swinger in town."
But enough of words. Actions speak louder than. Action now. Observe all.
First half: flapdoodle dealing
The Shrimpies kicked off on a lumpy-bumpy pitch towards a near 300 travelling Townites with a Mandeville meander and welly-welly wide, oh my brothers.
A red cross was punched away by Jamie Mack. A twist, a turn, a block but no bridges burned during the inert dominance of the homesteaders. They hustle, they scuttle, they shiver and shake. Sideways, sideboards, bored by both sides.
Rusty Ring our Dusty Bin was robbed, Old Man Diver wastefully whacked into the dusty breezeblocks. Twenty minutes of seagulls fluttering overhead awaiting for the chips to fall.
No alarms, no surprises. Silent. Silent.
And then it was like for a moment, oh my brothers and sisters, some great bird had flown into the away end and I felt all the malenky little hairs on my plot standing endwise and the shivers crawling up like slow malenky lizards and then down again. Town had a shot.
A tip, a tap, a slap and Slim Charles Vernam arose on the right to head back lowly across Roche, the man with bars in his eyes. Tonight Matthew, Barry Roche shall be Alf Ippititimus, flapdoodling in most strange fashion. Grayson slipped in a slapper and Bazzer stood still, shindigging away-away. The distant Vernam scrumped to the near post, Bald Bazzer bashed away. A corner flapped, a cross tapped, ropey Roche had an aversion to handling with care.
Five passes, three movements in D minor and Woolford's shot hit a purple person on its way west. A marvellous Grayson pass released Dennis, who dribbled and drunk against red shins for a corner.
Corners, corners, corners as Collins arose above all, all the time, for ever. Scrambles, mild panicdemonium, this and that, here and there, almost something there to remind me of these foolish things.
A whack, a Cardwell nod and sneaky Dennis twisty-turned and missed his swing. Passing, movement, a turkey carved and Vernam piddled about rather than shooting. Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now. Movement, passing and Grayson wastefully swept way-way over the bar.
One minute was added during which 60 seconds passed, unlike either team.
After the overture was over, it was Town playing the angel trumpets and devil trombones and were having the better of it. Though that may rather overstate what "it" actually was. Morecambe sank quickly into mundanity, Town eventually arose to it.
Second half: long, long, long
Food alright? Try the whine.
Neither team made any changes at half time.
Humping, dumping, lumping, ping-ping what a pong as everything went long. This isn't the weather to wear a thong. This was supposed to be the day they kicked racism out of football grounds, not the football out of the ground.
All games have their moments with hoofers and fiends that we can all recall. This game is dead, barely living.
McKeown is back to being McKeown. Dithering and dallying over a roll back, his fly kicks were charged down twicely, but nicely for us as nothing of aught arose. Why? Because Danny and his three little droogs in defence had made up their rassoodocks what to do of the evening.
That was Morecambe's sole threat to our road safety: Jamie Mack's hacks.
Town: occasional forays with occasional crosses behind the occasional tables. What an occasion.
Half way through the half, the limp Shrimps made a double-derring change. Off went Ellison and someone else. There's still nothing going on. Town? The change's gonna come, oh yes it is. It's been a long time coming, but Little Harry finally replaced Big Harry: replacing shuffling with scuffling.
And this is the real weepy and like tragic part of the story beginning, oh my brothers and only friends. Hess and Harry skipped and slipped in a sloopy dropper. Roche plucked and plopped a wallop downfield. Ring crumpled a pathetic shinner vaguely towards McKeown. The sprightly Shrimper sub sniggled in a snipped ball across the face of the penalty area. Jamie Mack stretched out his right arm and the local lad plunged. The long arm of the law was still stuck at Lancaster station awaiting his connection, but assumed misdeeds had occurred in the parish of Morecambe. He donned his black cap and pointed spotswards, declining to send McKeown to prison, or even caution him for murder most foul. Their Collins wellied the penalty down the centre right as McKeown saddened to his left. Well, that's the end of the fun in the sun. Morecambe hadn't had a shot on target but Town were still managing to lose. Typical Town, eh.
The man in the mac immediately did a double substitution. Off went Rusty Ring and Woolford and Town morphed into their new comfort blanket of 5:3:2. Whitmore schmoozed into the back three, Grayson to left wing-back, RHJ into midfield and Vernam introduced himself to Mr Dennis for the first time ever.
Hey, that's Joe. He lives here now. The lodger, that's what he is. He rents your room Seb.
Fizzing, whizzing and purple pressure hosing. Hess jinked an dinked, RHJ infiltrated and almost almosted almostly. A corner, flapped by Dolly Parton. A corner, flipped by Englebert Humperdink. Hall-Johnson's ability to move his legs beyond 1mph caused cockle-picking consternation. A bit of the old in-out, a flip, a flop, a dink, a delightful spin-turn by Dennis on the bye-line to crankle lowly to the near post. Vernam perused and pondered the possibilities and poked through the haze. A goal, a goal, a goal, a goal. I was there when Grimsby scored a goal!
Reclamation! Joy before the angels of cod! The point is made and the point is that it works.
Vernam chivvied and chased down every roll back to Roche, a Hess cross was grazed away by the last hair on Old's head as Hall-Johnson za-zoomed expectantly away.
Four minutes were added, just enough to miss the 4:55 bus to Lancaster.
There we are, there we were, a day trip to forget and remember. It took us so long to find out, but then Town found out how to score a goal and avoid losing a scoreless boredraw.