Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
30 December 2019
Grimsby Town 1 Crawley Town 1
I closed my eyes, drew back the curtain to see for certain what I hoped was true. Ah, Christmas, when the team starts winning and the Town begin to play. Well, any dream will do these days.
The sky outside is dry and grey. So begins another weary day in the rudderless raft adrift in an ocean of doubt.
Town lined up in that old devilish 4-3-3 formation as follows: McKeown, Hendrie, Davis, Waterfall, Gibson, Hessenthaler, Robson, Clifton, Vernam, Wright and Green. The substitutes were Russell, Pollock, Hewitt, Whitehouse, Ogbu, Cook and Rose. There is, at least, stability in selection with only Green rotated in after the team-bonding bog-snorkeling away day in Cheshire.
Crawley: fanless, friendless but not less points than us. Something's not right with the outside world.
First half: the Golden Shot
Town kicked off towards the 38 Crawleyites who had crept into the Osmond. Up a bit, down a bit, left, left, left - fire!
Ker-pow. Ker-plunk. Slim Charles cha-cha-chaed, for some Maximum Wrightfulness. Robson nodded, Green prodded and Vernam va-va-va-va-voomed and boomed across the face of goal. Say yes, it's The Hess sweeping in to sweep in at the far post.
I'm sorry, did you miss it? Well, you should have gone to the toilet before the game started.
The Hess etched a sketch, Vernam wiffled, waffled and piffled to Morris. Max Wright, Max Wright, winging, swinging and slinging. The word is almost.
In a moment of charity the Creepy Crawlies were allowed to approach McKeown. Samson should not have cut his hair, for Palmer noodled nowhere with his noddle.
Vernam did burn 'em and turn 'em at will. Hendrie tickled, Green spun and scrimbled narrowly, Morris mushed aside into the expanse of nothingness. There is a hole where the second Town forward shall be and the next hour of our memory.
Ah, the great emptiness. A sloppy stodge-up as the pitch carved up and the redsters clipped Town's wings with horrible hoof ball and balls over the roofs and houses.
And they had a free kick. And Jamie Mack scooped up this poop.
And they crossed it. And they kicked it. And they fell over it. And you may ask yourself, how did we get here?
My god, what have they done?
Middling plip-plops of inconvenient inconsequence. Knock knock who's there? Not Jamie Mack. Take off your coat and come inside. A slow 1-2 and Nadesan pootled through the smoke and mirrors to stub a stab underneath the creaking door.
Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.
Green ailing, failing, unloved by the ref as he plied his trade, he tried to raid. We sighed and were dismayed by dismal drivellings. We need Slim Charles dribbling.
Finally a free kick as Green was slapped from behind out west. The Hess coiled lowly through the corridor of uncertainty. Boots stretched, toes curled and minor pandemonium followed, as did a corner and another and we had nothing to take home but our tomatoes.
Two minutes were added. The Hess hassled to welly well over. The two minutes ended.
After it started with some bliss we never thought it would come to this. All that fighting in the playground came to naught but half a page of scribbled lines. The time has gone, this half is over, hoped I'd something more to say.
Second half: shoot out in Stodge City
The change it had to come, we knew it all along – underpowered Green was replaced by Rose at half time.
They upped an under into the Twixtmas zone between Jamie Mack and Waterfall. Ball bouncing, much flouncing. And they were drifting through our backyard, and they were moving very slowly. And they were lying in the grass. Yeah, a whole bunch of nonsense, nonsense, nonsense leading to absolutely nothing, nothing, nothing.
Town. Attacks. Now and again. I say attacks, I probably mean charades, or pretending to be a cat called Milko. It was like someone learning to build a dry stone wall. Slowly.
Waterfall grazed a header wide. It was a corner, or a cross. Or an aardvark on toast. Isn't that supposed to be a healthy breakfast for the metropolitan elites down Humberston Avenue?
Half way through the half Ogbu replaced Wright, resulting in Rose moving to the left of the blunt trident. This pepped Town up, for now there was an unknowable riddle at the centre of striped striking. There was verve, there was Vernam and there was a Hendrie cross. Rose arose beyond the far post and managed to glance wide.
And there was still Charles Vernam, swerving the Checkatrade with his left foot like a hand grenade. There was magic from their Morris as he flew right to spectacularly parry the scintillatingly sizzling slap-shot aside. And there we were waiting to write a poem in praise, an ode to a high flying bird, inspired by a walk around the Carr Lane allotments. There, there, calm down. It's only a shade of grey.
Hang on, there's more. Moses retrieved and rolled around the bye line and... the pass piddled across the face of goal with nobody home. Alas, alack, for want of a second striker there goes our everything as we turn back the pages and see the happy years we had before.
They still haven't got into the Town half you know.
With ten or so minutes remaining the forgotten man of missing, Cook, replaced Little Harry. Pingers, zingers, and let's linger on Cook's foot flinger at the near post. Morris parried away and got carried away moaning to his groaning defence. The Hess floated the corner delightfully, and another and another too. Scrimbles and scrumbles, the ball was a-bumbling off near the line, near off the line. In, out, and back again. The Hess walloped and Morris flew right to push up, up and away. Stay frosty, the linesman was already a-flagging.
As Town attacked, the Creepies had a couple of homeopathetic counter-attacks. A couple of lumps and one mild panic fizzled out nearing the edge of the Town penalty area.
Three minutes were added. Creepy-Crawlies, creepy-creepy, crawley-crawley. Young Young, their right-back, came to a sticky end, don't think he will ever mend. Never more will he crawl around as he's embedded in the ground.
Laid out flat and tended by their physio, he doesn't seem to move at all. Perhaps he's dead? Dave Moore will just make sure. He simply picked this boy up off the floor.
Yes, Dave Moore simply had to introduce himself for there to be a miracle at Christmas as young Young arose immediately, levitated by the presence of a high being.
And that was that.
If any team deserved victory it was our Town, for they had intent, purpose and did at least have some attempts at scoring a goal. The Creepy Ones were miserably mundane in every aspect, a caricature of cartoon fourth divisionness, playing at "game management" and really, ultimately, in the end, simply hoping to keep it tight and, with a bit of luck, nick something, somewhere, somehow, and hold on.
We're stuck in a rut but at a higher level of ruttiness. It is now not a fanciful fruitcake's fantasy to suggest Town may score, or win. There were periods when Town looked perfectly decent.
Don't give up on Town baby. Remember, the future isn't just one night. They're still worth one more try.
We can still come through.