Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
30 January 2020
Grimsby Town 3 Stevenage 1
A cold and breezy evening in Happy Holloway's home of positive thinking. Yes, we will triumph over the evil that is Stevenage!
Town lined up in that unsettlingly hollow 4-3-3 formation as follows McKeown, Hendrie, Öhman, Pollock, Glennon, Clifton, Hessenthaler, Whitehouse, Vernam, Hanson and Clarke. The substitutes were Russell, Hewitt, Waterfall, Benson, Wright, Tilley and Green. No changes. Mmm. Tactics. Mmmm. Diamond formation? Does anyone really know what that is? I mean, at least you knew where you were with Alf Ramsey's wingless wonders. You know? 4-4-2, 4-2-4, 4-3-3... 0898 654000, freephone double glazing?
Stevenage turned up in wishy-washy pink with more staff than fans. They looked like they were wearing the kit inside out to save on laundry bills.
OK, let's get it on
First half: gone in six seconds
Stevenage kicked off away from their 21 followers. After six seconds The Hess stooped, Jackson jumped and clattered into The Hess's head, hipping him to the ground, leaving our man writhing and flapping like a distressed kipper. Even the awesome and mystical power of Dave Moore's stare could not put Hessy together again and he was carefully carried away.
Town in a right tither, ten men went to mow, went mow a meadow. They should have been playing football.
Holes were unfilled, Carter skewed wide with Town's invisible defence in visible retreat. Jackson shimmered through Glennon's glazed glaze and Jamie Mack magnificently finger-flipped over the angle of post and bar.
And in the fourth minute Benson came on: woah, what a pass. Oh, what a fwibbling fumble by Slim Charles.
Oh, oh, oh what a woeful linesman. A corner to them when the ball wasn't out, play carried on when the ball was out. Offsides for onside, jumpers for goalposts. Mmm, yes, isn't it.
Town on a tactical suicide pact: short passing to no-one, long passing into the giant hole of holy-moly guacamole. Defenders scattered to the wind, marking the corner flags.
What the heck is going off out there? Two at the back, three in the middle, four up front, one's gone home for his tea. Beans on toast? Possibly: don't quote me on that. Less than marvellous.
Passing to them to them to them and they be shooting wide, and wider and wider and wider and wider and wider.
Is this what an acid trip looks like? Town are at the fractal phase, where geometric patterns begin to appear and seem very beautiful to those heads sitting on their toadstools and staring into space.
A pink corner and the Pontoon turned purple. Stripes followed pink and suddenly everyone was lined up on the edge of the penalty area and a huge doughnut of emptiness lay between Jamie Mack and all. Lakin sprinted in and just jumped at McKeown. Flapping, flipping and finally flopping.
Ah, that's better, a momentary moment of stripeyness. A tickle from Benson and Hendrie advanced. A glance and prance and deep, deep cross. Hanson arose beyond the far post and nodded down against Farman's foot. The ball rolled into the no-man's land a yard out. There will be no whitewash here, just the facts. Whitehouse loomed, but bunny-tailed Nugent poked in.
Oh how we danced and we sung and the church bells rung. Pollock chinned away, Pollock cleared into Cow Pie Corner. Yabberdy-yabber, flibble and flabber, oh what nonsense.
Moany-moany-moany-moany Stevenage. Dirty, nasty, snidey Stevenage.
Clarke danced down the bye-line, Farman flapped out into the corridor of certainty that no Townite would be there. The man knows us so well after all those years being impish. Hendrie and Clifton, chaos and confusion, Cassidy bedraggled wide, Digby bedraggled be-wider. That they be, lad, that they be.
A wallop headed on and Jackson drifted behind a daydreamer hooking into McKeown's arms. Bobble heading bumbles, dissolving defence, Carter placed lowly, slowly to McKeown's left. A cheeky chip in the channel at a free kick and Dibbly-Dobbler biffled hilariously high. Oh, you are awful. That's why we like you.
Moments, occasionally. Clarke scrumped an apple, Hanson walloped highly. A corner, Hanson headed nicely. Slim Charles vavoomed and wiffled lowly, Benson pinged passes. Merely occasional moments.
Who didn't pass to pink? Hendrie applied some medicinal compound to avert near post numptyness.
Two minutes were added, just enough for Öhman to daftly dink out for a corner of no consequence.
Stevenage were absolutely awful but should have been five up. Had Town turned up to play with kaleidoscope eyes? Has Marcus Bignot returned as the secret creative director of free jazzball? Forget structure, just groove baby, it's a gas. Playing out from the back was catastrophically inept, the players were bamboozled by their instructions. They literally hadn't a clue what they were supposed to do.
Let’s go to the black and white room and just chill out.
Second half: Harry takes a trip
Neither team made any changes at half time.
Wait, no, yes. Town emerged from their cold turkey sandwiches looking like humans, just like you or I.
Push-me, pull-me. High jinks and hi-karate as the pink 'uns continued to throw themselves at any passing human. Lakin complainin' as his tumbling led to grumbling from the mass of moaning minnies.
Fire up the Vernamator, vroom-vroom! Hazy, crazy, maziness into nowhere. An infiltration and excitation as Little Clifton toe-poked Dibbly-Dobbler in his dobbly-dibblers. Shut up Bunboy, accidents will happen, not every foul is murder.
Town this, Town that, pressure cooker madness, whistle a happy tune. A corner dipped and drooped and clattered against shins as bodies drooped at the far post. Farman flopped as the ball rolled gently across the face of goal.
Around the hour and up on the hoof, Hanson headed on, Clarke tickled, Clifton snickled and tumbled, feeling the faintest touch from Cuthbert. The ball rolled on. Little Harry considered the lily, and allowed his body to succumb to the laws of physics...
... no wait...
The worst linesman in the world ever started waving his little flag and there was peace and harmony throughout this land.
Moany-moany-moany-moany-moany-nurgh. Hertfordshire harrumphing from New Town numpties.
Farman danced and sung and swung from tree to tree as Clarke calmly clipped down the middle, took his shirt off and was booked because rules is rules and without them we'd descend into anarchy. Bunboy Nugent manhandled the ref and was told off. Rules isn't rules all the time.
They, that is them that shall be ignored, fluttered and twittered and Cassidy headed weedily to Jamie Mack. Stevenage: an occasional annoyance. Which is, of course, that Town's motto. It's on all their street signs.
Charles Vernam approaching! What do you mean Charles Vernam approaching?
Under the shadow of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand, strange new potions were brewed. Slim Charles tickled a fancy, Benson bopped and caressed to the Caistor Lad. Run, run like the wind Slim Charles! Wiggling, waggling, skipping gaily through flapping laundry and across the face of penalty area, Vernam poked with the outside of his boot and the ball zimmered into the left corner. Well, that was nice.
Much shoving and fist shaking from the venal visitors. Moany-moany-moany-moany, dirty old divers, must you keep rolling, rolling into the night.
Them and their incessant themness, dragging left, lifting right, dragging lefter, lifting righter, getting further and further and further away with each weak wafting nurdle.
Green replaced Hanson. Matt Green: very dull.
Hendrie was clattered by Fakin' Lakin, and a yellow card was finally flung. Hendrie taunted and teased the rancid Westley, and was booked for an impromptu game of shoveha'penny. And Bunboy Nugent was finally booked for his hairstyle.
With 10 minutes left Clarke was replaced by Tilley, the new Marc Goodfellow.
Blathering-blithering-smithering and the side net a quivering. Glennon listed left and List wimpled into the side netting.
Five minutes were added.
Boring boringness as the pinkies bored down their right. A cross, a pass, a something or other of who cares whatness. Where are they know? Over on their left, 25 yards out, Lakin pirouetted and wibble-wobbled a skimmer that skipped past a static McKeown, wide-eyed and legless, and the ball was in the back of the net.
Hurrying, scurrying, a block, a deflection, a header and there is nothing more than Tilley powdering his nose and poking against Farman's shins after being released by the Vernamator.
What a mess, at least that bad trip is over.
Ollie: don't try that again. It was lunacy.