Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
22 December 2019
Grimsby Town 0 Scunthorpe United 1
It's dank, it's dreary, and we're so, so weary of feeling small. Will the Drifters come up short again against the Short One?
Six glorious years of snippy sniping and teeth grinding and what thanks do we give him? A shrug of indifference from the wider throng beyond the Dentists. We just didn't know how lucky we were.
Post-apocalypse Town lined up in the magical mystery tour 4-3-3 formation as follows McKeown, Hendrie, Davis, Waterfall, Gibson, Hessenthaler, Robson, Clifton, Vernam, Green and Wright. The substitutes were Russell, Pollock, Starbuck, Öhman, Cardwell, Rose and Ogbu. Look, we've got everything we need, satisfaction guaranteed. Town are sticking with the formation that has brought so much success, so much joy and happiness to us all. Nothing can go wrong now.
The Osmond was full, the opposition players warmed up in front of them. We can but shrug.
Let's get this over with.
First half: happy talk
The Ironists kicked off towards the Pontoon and, well, shall we simply cut to the chase. Novak slipped over when chasing a bouncing ball. That, dear reader, was the entirety of their attacking. It happened somewhere towards the 38th minute. Oh we chuckled as Nasty Novak tumbled in front of the Pontoon.
Here was all our yesterdays replayed in inglorious technicolor: a typical Hurstian approach to awaydays. A poverty of ambition from the form team of the division; keeping it tight, keeping their shape, hoping to nick something and hold on. Against a team who haven't scored since 1856. The Short One didn't have his Parslow on the bench, he was on the pitch from the start: Songo'o pacmanned in straight lines.
Town hurried and scurried against inert lumps. Momentum swayed one way, there was absolutely nothing of consequence emerging from sky blue feet. They kicked it out of play, they fell over, they clobbered Max Wright. They were tremendously tepid and allowed Town to slowly, slowly build up a rhythm and some confidence.
Caistor Boy, Caistor Boy, laced up his boots and failed to annoy. Vernam flew into tackles and, hang on... Yes, you heard that right: Vernam tracked back, chased lost causes and physically challenged opponents. Slim Charles slalomed, Hendrie chipped and the Hess headed highly, widely beyond the farthest post.
Brushed aside and pushed aside the Clarets have corked. Biffing, baffing, and big Town heads boshed back straight down the middle. A slight, light flick of a striped foot and Green rolled through three fey Ironists reclining in their armchairs exchanging witty epigrams about Clarissa, Countess of Crowle. Green swished behind the good, the bad and the ugly and into the nether regions, swaying slightly away from goal. Eastwood swept out to stop this nonsense any which way he can, smothering the Green tap a dozen or so yards out.
Bashing, clashing and Mariners mashing the iron filings into a pulp. As Clarets approached the Town penalty area, stripes dredged the Humber oncely, twicely and nicely thricely. Songo'o crumpled, Little Harry curved delightfully and Wright za-zoomed directly towards Jake the Peg. A feint left, a feint right and Maximum Wright walloped a slasher against the outside of the left post. Ooh I say Virginia! A shot.
Songo'o down, Songo'o up. Songo'o down, Songo'o up, Songo'o down and we're livin' it up as Songo'o goes down again. Town with forward motion, it's such a crazy notion. Songo'o's last dance ended and Ward came on. The Scunnymen changed us shape by accident and darn it, it stopped Town's forward motion.
For a bit.
Wright was felled once, fouled, twice and finally assassinated by Brown underneath the red noses of the travellers. A yellow card for the slaying of a yellowbelly. Ping-pong through the throng. Wright flicked, Robson roamed and Mick McGahey crushed the borrowed boy in the 'D'. Ooh, matron! A booking and the free kick hit the wall.
Dear reader, a confession, I have been far too mean to our county cousins in reporting this life of strife. A man with claret boots mis-hit a cross and Jamie Mack flipped it over the bar, just to be safe. That's a fact. It means nothing, it was nothing, and nothing came of this nothing.
Three minutes were added, mostly taken up with spittle-spattling caused by Novak's wandering extremities and unreliable narration of his emotional journey from the Gateshead gutter to a walk-on part in a bore.
Scunny were satisfyingly poor, bereft of any positive intent, simply satisfied to keep free-scoring Town at bay. Town got stuck in and were by far the least worst of two dire teams. Happy? We can but dream.
If you don't talk happy and you never have a dream, then you'll never have a dream come true.
Second half: wot?
Neither team made any changes at half time.
Town carried on carrying on, nibbling at the shipwrecked and comatose Iron toes. Robson was elbowed by nasty Novak way, way off the ball as Town broke. Wiggling, waggling, haggling by the bye-line. Green bundled, and the ball trundled off claret for a corner. Underhit then overhit and Waterfall wellied well over.
A clip, a slip, a flap and a clap - the Wolds Panther dribbled to the bye-line and pulled a sharp cross lowly into a throng at the near post. Wright swept, Eastwood plunged lowly right, woozily spiffling across the face of goal into a magnificent void to no-one. All three Townites had headed for the same spot.
And Town came again and again, like little waves lapping against the shoreline in the dog days of summer. Robson swimpled along the bye-line and sky scraped, neither crossing nor shooting.
Ooh, hang on. What's this? A Scunnythorpe attack? Yes, it is. And a shot! Their very first too, perhaps we should bake a cake for them? Skiffling on the edge of nowhere the ball rumbled to Ntlhe, way out. He took a touch and wibbled a wobbly drooper into McKeown's awaiting arms.
Green dithered as a moment became a memory, Scunny slaps were tickled, Stripey slips were tackled. We're living on the edge, and no-one just can't help themselves from falling on the slippy-sloppy sponge of a pitch. Way out wide Hendrie disrobed a plucky Scunnyman and surged on like Serge Makofo. Ironists fell away as Hendrie careered onwards, exchanging glances with Wright. On he roared into the penalty area, swaying past one tepid tackle, swooning around a lukewarm lunge and across the face of goal. Eastwood collapsed, the goal was a-gaping... and Hendrie stumble-bumbled a pooper-scooper with his left foot that ached embarrassingly into the arms of the prostrate keeper.
At this the ailing Brown was replaced by some virus software and off they ran by accident. Hubbling, bubbling in the middle of nowhere and a Hess hack was paddled back into the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars. With Townites misplaced by attacking intent the ball bumbled to Ward, who skipped off down the centre. The wily Ward awaited the right moment and passed to their Dutchman on their left hand side. Van Veen strode on and carefully, casually clipped over McKeown into far left corner.
He gave them music and made them jump and prance as the Osmond finally awoke from their whining at dinner time. The rest of northern Lincolnshire sighed at the inevitability of doom and gloom. Van Veen was booked for showgloating like a nincompoop in front of the Lower Frozen Horsemeaters.
Town mentally imploded, with Vernam particularly losing some heart, reverting to his usual avoidance of human contact. Scunny saw this weakness and really went for the jugular, doubling down on their avoidance of attacking.
With 20 minutes left Rose replaced Clifton and Town moved to a 4-4-2. A couple of minutes later Green trudged off, having ground to a halt, and on came Moses the Enigmatic.
Something or other down the far end, and Ntlhe fell over. Howls and scowls from the Osmond as the ref booked him for a reason, and let that reason be diving. The hullaballoo diverted attention away from Perch's Wright smack, the assault unseen only by those in luminous nylon.
Back Town came, up and at 'em. Ogbu spun past some flabby Ironmongery and plunged to earth as he entered the penalty area. His ankles clearly clipped, the ref waved play on, then booked Whiny Ward for a moan too far in the aftermath. Ladies and any stray gentleman passing this way, the fact is Ogbu was brought down after contact with an opposing boot. A degree of disappointment was discernible and Limbrick was booked for expressing this through the medium of mime.
Another striped swizzle, and more claret clippings just outside the penalty area near the right corner. The whistle blew and Eastwood flew low and left to plungy-pattercake away Robson's medium pace out-swinger. A corner and another corner and corner and Mad Mick McGahey feigned an invisible punch from Rose as they grappled over the Haxey Hood.
As Town revved up, the sub Ward was subbed off. Hendrie torpedoed a fizzing whopper from May to December right onto Slim Charles's big left toe. Vernam took a touch, shook his hips, cut infield and crimped a daisy cutter. Eastwood flip-flopped aside from the foot of the post. Along came a spider as Gibson cracked it back, Eastwood flop-flipped upwards and Vernam was disinclined to have his head whacked by an ironworker.
Five minutes were added. Vernam va-voomed and vexed many by vacillating over. Vernam got on his Vespa and zig-zagged through the tourists, drimbling drumblingly into Rose's flightpath. Alas Ahkeem scraped widely-wide. As Town threw everything and everyone forward holes were filled by devious day trippers. A lump was dumped short and off they ran. Van Veen looked and licked left and Jamie Mac's big bonce blocked Proctor's plop. With the goal emptied of McKeownness, Van Veen buggled badly wide.
That's it. It was what it was and what it was always likely to be. Scunny got far more than they deserved because Town could be trusted to miss, miss and miss again. One day we'll fail to miss, and who'd want miss that?