Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
11 August 2019
Grimsby Town 1 Bradford City 1
You know nearly everything possible has been done to spoil football: the heavy financial interests, the absurd publicity given to every feature of it by the media, but the fact remains that down here in the doldrums of old Division Four it is not yet completely spoilt.
It's back, we're back. Life can begin again.
Out on the wild and windy moors the Bantamites came in to town two by two and they all went into Blundell Park, just to get out of the rain. A full house, John? Bingo!
Newly-new Town lined up in a trendy 4-3-3 formation as follows: McKeown, Hendrie, Öhman, Davis, Hewitt, Clifton, Hessenthaler, Whitehouse, Green, Hanson, Rose. The substitutes were Russell, Ring, Pollock, Cook, Vernam, Wright and Ogbu. Same as last week, with our only fit left-back Rusty Ring reduced to dusty bin on the bench. I have seen the writing is on the wall and don't think we'll need Seb Ring at all by January.
What about the orange? Ah, look at you Big Bradford and your big summertime special following. Have you forgotten what life used to be for thee since you became a culture club? A razzle-dazzle boomingly bright kit and a bunch of sturdy blokes.
I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning. Shall we begin?
First half: The good companion
The Bradford boomboys kicked off towards the Pontoon in a little squall with a big booming ball into the Lower Frozen Horsebeer Stand. Aha, they've acclimatised already.
Hustling, hassling, barges and charges. A dink and Donaldson power spun past our static Swedish caravan. Öhman hauled and various Yorkists looked appalled by the absence of red in the card flashing. The free kick wheeze? Lost in the breeze and the haze of alcohol soft middle age as Vaughan headed precisely 18½ yards wide.
He's big, he's in our life now. Standby for some Hanson d'amour, ra-ta-ta-ta-ta.
Jinking, jiving, a hive of activity. Slicing and dicing with danger as Town imposed a court press; Bantams in a mess. Corner, cross, cross and corner. In-out and back again. A Whitehouse swish blocked, a Rose swipe through the hedges knock-kneed away by O'Donnell. Heads up, tails down. An orange break as Little Harry slipped, Donaldson's shot looped off monochromic toes and dimpled into the Pontoon.
The Bradford corner? Well, it's very nice of you to ask but in polite society we don't talk of such things. More tea, vicar?
Momentary moments of concern in the local hostelries; a Bantam clocked a sight of goal after fizzing and whizzing from wing to wing. Palmer's wobbler wibbled straight at Jamie Macc's nose.
Green enthused his way infield and clapped a cross-shot lowly, hitting Rose and barundling into an orange meringue. A deeply dipped cross dripped near Little Harry. Chucks and hurls fell near black boots, near the line, but not off the line. Behold the spectacle of Whitehouse's spectacular tumble. A rumble, a mumble and a few years later he chippled the free kick aimlessly, artlessly over bar and far, far away.
A Town counterattack down the left and Rose headed infield and suddenly plunged head first into the mud, beating the ground. Off he went holding his hamstring and on came Moses, the new man of cod.
Twenty minutes of rolling thunder. A bout de souffle? A little. We may as well catch the wind. Diddy-di-dee-de- diddy-diddy.
Town cleverness was defeated by the dumb luck of an arbitrary wind as a free kick drifted above a remarkably unmarked blonde bombshell. Or maybe the dumb luck of being fourth division footballers.
Whitehouse plunged way out left. The Hess coiled a mid-height teaser into the near post. Town boots waggled and O'Donnell held his nerve but not the ball to parry-punch aside. Big boom that ball. Town did. Bantamites boomed it back.
A flowering of fluorescence as Town were unpicked on the right. Behold a marvellously miserable welly-welly wide by Gibson. Shouldn't have been something, wasn't anything at all. Wonderful.
Two minutes were added and is there any need to grumble at Green's bumble bump against standing stones? No, there isn't. Stop mumbling, it's time for you to stop all of your bobbing up and down.
Town had slightly the better of a frantic, frenetic game of kabaddi. It's a lottery in the wind so Town brought on Tombola 2. Hard fought, hard running, hard times indeed.
Second half: Let him have it
Neither team made any changes at half time.
Into them, into them, let's get into them. Town got into them. Little Harry and Hewitt tittered down the right, infiltrations and exaltations waiting for a celebration. A cross toe-sliced, a Green shot blocked, Harry hopping, a corner dropping, Öhman nodding and Big Jim's twist was smothered in orange. Town with the big Mo, a Green slip for Hanson to slap. The side net ruffled slightly as the ball made its way to its seat in the Pontoon.
A tweak and shuffle and Bantams ruffled Town's feather boa. The old left, right and boom as Bradford pumped the bellows to beat the 4-3-3. A drifter from their left and the unmarked Donaldson shrank below on the right. Repeat immediately. A chirpy chap chipped from way out East and Vaughan sneaked behind Hendrie to noddle firmly into the top left corner beyond non-plunging purple fingers.
Oh, now we can hear you caged birds sing. Huh, flares were so 2017.
When your prized possession of a sneaky lead starts to weigh you down, look in Town's direction. We'll be round. Town were round in a jiffy. New-new Town don't give up on us baby.
Clang-clang-clang went the trolley and Town gave them a minor key hell. Hanson arm-wrestled and swiped against the house of orange. Huffing and puffing, they just know he's gonna blow their house down.
Mr Green, he's so serene, he's probably got a TV in every room. A slap-cross, incidents and accidents and monochrome boots flailed. Bantam blockers, Whitehouse's shot snuffled off Yorkist ankles. Little Harry blocked and snaffled to the turf, spun-popped back up and lobbed a rinky-dinky dripper. O'Donnell's furthermost fingers flicked the ball onto the bar, the ball bounced down, Moses arose and headed in bringing joy to the masses.
Crosses, corners, head and tails, near but far, almost but not quite. Under pressure, bearing down on thee, Bradfordy.
If our Rose can't bloom then we've got Moses, mugging, marauding and mithering the Bradfordians. Oggie-Oggie-Oggie – bu-bu-bu shoved a Bantamweight aside, caressing for Little Harry. A moment of nearlyness as panicking boots splotted away. Have patience, dear reader. Moses turbocharged past a statistic in orange and superbly clipped a cross towards the penalty spot. Green, facing south, leant back and hooked towards Hull. O'Donnell spectacularly changed direction to flip away from the bottom left corner.
As promised in the press, Hanson didn't celebrate his goal out of respect for his hometown club. For about half a nanosecond
The Hess flat-batted the corner into the centre of the penalty towards a mass of monochrome, into the land of the giants. Hanson arose imperiously to head goalwards, and an orange thigh diverted over the grasping goalie. Oh, why not, it was going goalwards anyway, let 'im 'ave it. As promised in the press, Hanson didn't celebrate his goal out of respect for his hometown club. For about half a nanosecond.
Wait, there's more, for Town don't have laurels to rest upon. Balls in the box, big balls in the box to the big men. The Bantam balloons were barraged as Townites barrelled forward relentlessly. Another corner flat-batted to the far post. Öhman arose to nod down towards the emptying net and Whitehouse failed to get out of the way a yard out. An up was undered, or was it an under that was upped? Not having a FIFA coaching badge, it was impossible to say. O'Donnell flapped when surrounded by humanity, and eggs were scrambled messily into the bin.
They'd done a couple of substitutions sometime between their goal and now. One irrelevant, the other was Sean Scanlon. What a gift it was from our guests for them not to play this persistent pesky pest from the start.
Them, finally, doing something. Break from a Town corner with Town undermanned as a sea of orange crashed towards Jamie Mac. Well done young man – Hewitt smothered using just his psychic aura and some sticky-backed plastic. In the end you couldn't see the join.
A stray ball bouncing nowhere of interest. Öhman and Vaughan headed each other and Clifton was booked for being small, probably. Both players trundled off for treatment and Town launched the ball Pontoonwards. An aimless Bantam hoof towards the managers' dug-outs went straight to Vaughan, who'd just been waved back onfield. Oh, here we go, don't we always have a terrible time the day we play Bradford. Remember Carbone, remember the Alamo! Donaldson shimmied, shammied and curled nicely for McKeown to pluck with Vaughan unmarked in front of goal.
And finally Öhman was replaced by Pollock.
Suddenly they sensed blood. Fizzing and whizzing and Vaughan chipped into the rough, missing the green by miles. Out of the ground, outta bounds.
End to end, almost nearly, an orange cross hit an orange thigh in front of goal. Up one end, down the other, down the dustpipe. Four minutes were added and back came Bradford. Town undermanned, an orange overload, Scannell swept and McKeown marvellously pat-a-caked aside.
Well, that was worth coming back from Barcelona for.
To say that people paid their pennies to watch 22 hirelings kick a ball is merely to say that a violin is wood and catgut, that Hamlet is so much paper and ink. A cracking game in a crackling atmosphere, at least down our neck of the woods.
This Town were collectively committed, disciplined and with a plan on how to score goals. It wasn't a particularly pretty plan but is likely to be pretty effective. This Town XI look absolutely rock-solid fourth division competent. Like Slade in 2005, the Jolleyman has decided that if you can't beat them with beauty then join them in ugly effectiveness. It's the only way to make a living these days, free of income tax, dear boy.