Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
8 March 2020
Scunthorpe United 0 Grimsby Town 2
Just take a look around you, what do you see? Scunny kids with feelings, like you and me. Yes, Town are at United and they've changed Blandford Park to the Sads Venue Stadium since we last sailed our longboats down the Trent. Now that will be derided.
Numbers we've got by the dozen. Everyone's uncle and cousin can't live without the buzzin' of Derby Day when there's so much at stake. A tectonic shift in the existential power dynamic between two fading football teams far out on the Lincolnshire limb. I spy with my little eye some suspiciously familiar faces in the home stands.
On a clear, still day of nothingness Town lined up in a mighty morphing 3-5-2, 5-3-2, 3-4-3, Pennsylvania 6-500 formation as follows: McKeown, Hendrie, Waterfall, Davis, Wright, Whitehouse, Hewitt, Grandin, Glennon, Clarke and Vernam. The substitutes were Russell, Pollock, Davies, Clifton, Benson, Tilley and Green.
Whatever they were supposed to be, Glennon and Maximum Wright were the flankiest swingers in Town. The Wolds Panther lurked near Ashby Decoy while Billy Boy soft-shoe shuffled in the spaces between fiend and foe. Three at the back? Is it worth two in the bush?
Can we count on you Harry and the Lukes? We hope you'll catch that villain Van Veen.
OK, open up your beach umbrella while you're watching on TV all you ticketless Mariners and let's get ready to grumble.
First half: borefare for the common fan
Town kicked off towards 2,000 happy-clappy shoppers and boppers with a whack and a waddle and a quack in a flurry of eiderdown for a corner. Davis arose and glanced widey-highly.
Nice this and thatting with Town toe-twinkling and slapping. Remember that only the flankiest, crumbliest wing-backs waste crosses like they've been wasted before.
The Homesters? Hoof and hope. It's kick and rush at a push, or rather kick and rush with a push. A clog here, a clog there and Wright was felled by tumbling planks. A chip and some feeble phishing, Clarke bewibbled through maroon socks straight to Watson.
Oh their radioman is going crazy at these juvenile delinquent wrecks as a rusting Ironist slapped into the Trent and whiney Miller crossed into Marks and Sparks. Oh what powderpuff piffle, there's feather cannons everywhere from both sides now.
A Town corner noodled away and off a Scunnyman skipped, straight down the middle. Glennon and Davis took turns to wipe out windy whiney Miller, with the Jogging Ant booked for the unsuccessful leg of the legging up. The free kick? Who knows, who cares?
Hubbling, bubbling, ricochets and rebounds off gnarled and nobbly shins into the nether zone twixt black and blue. Waterfall launched himself full frontal towards an Ironist with a studs-up slidey stamp and stayed kissing the turf. A hullaballo of affrontation and confrontation in a massed meringue of writhing mithering. Out came the yellow card and a free kick dead centre, 20 yards out.
Ah, there be the pantomime villain Van Veen. That house-proud town mouse, all tight lips and cold feet, carefully curled around the picket fence and around the post. Ah, so soft and gentle like mild green Fairy Liquid.
O whither Earl Beauchamp's Warping Drain, just beyond the passing train. Are they chasing Haxey's hood? Neither team are any good.
What scraps can be shoveled into a paper cup from this table of woe? A Scunny corner flobbled floppily somewhere beyond the far post. Jamie Mack smothered the lippy-lappy-tap from someone faceless and paceless in a blue coloured shirt. Vernam was out-shrugged and off they ran beyond the monochrome wall and in to the area. Waterfall slide-blocked the scamp. Moments, mere moments of almostness between the dregs of drossyness.
Three minutes were added in this wilderness of pain. All fourth division footballers are the same, waiting for the summer rain.
Town wouldn't shoot, but would pass nicely if left unhindered by brute force. Scunny were simply awful at everything: their tactic of kicking the ball in the air and running after it wasn't working. Town's tactic of launching to Hanson's head was clearly not working either, perhaps because he wasn't playing.
We got up early for this?
Second half: the return of the giant hogweed
Even the police were laughing when the tannoy requested Town fans sat in their designated seats.
Pollock replaced Davis at half time. Scunthorpe didn't change a thing. After all, it was all going so well for them.
There will be those who have memories of moments from the post prandial perambulations they call "the start of the second half". Or maybe they are suffering from false memory syndrome. It's all a dream and the 21st century starts right here, right now. Scunny never did replace us as the plucky underdogs in the second division. Mike Newell does not exist, he’s just a gin-soaked nightmare. Does Chase Town even exist?
As stories were swapped about mad cap parking and pickled gherkins, Town tippy-tappied up the right. Triangles and trombones and Grandin's long shot looped longly off maroon toes, straight to Glennon, way out west. A tap back and Hewitt hooped a big dripping looper deep, deep, deep into the home penalty area.
Vernam ambled into the amazing void and nodded high across Watson from eight yards out, unmolested by Blueboys. How did that happen? A lack of elementary defending, my dear Watson.
We didn't know whether to laugh or cry with laughter.
Shaken, rattled and trolled, Ironists sought solace in ankle scraping. Glennon was dredged on the outer limits of permissibility, and was finally replaced by Tilley at leftish-wing-backish-generally-wide-person. It's a loose description for a louche interpretation of instructions. Let's say Tilley was sometimes there sometimes. Well, sometimes the truth is harder than the pain as Van Veen cut inside.
An up was undered and Vernam chased down the left. Watson headed out of town straight to Clarke, who slide-ruled a fizzing flat volley that was fizzling and slip-sliding away. The remaining homester scissor stumbled aside from beyond the goal for a corner. Clarke in-dripped to the far post, Waterfall arose five yards out, bonked down and Scunny were out.
Vernam caressed a pass with the outside of his foot inside the outermost defender, Tilley touched on and Clarke slapped over the angle of post and bar.
A blue free kick, chipped of course. And another and another, dipping, dripping and nibbling on the edge of noddlyland. Farmyard ducks trailed their chains in the mud as a biff, a whiff and a bang clanged against striped shins, thighs and 1 per cent body fat. Those desperate oohs down in the distance were a soothing backbeat to our bopping.
Ooh, what did they ooh for? Absolutely nothing, say it again. Ooh, and another free kick headed on, chance on, shot on. Oof Roly! Miller was blocked by Hendrie's sprawling, crawling body three yards out. A slight infiltration toe-blocked into the side netting, Van Veen momentarily freed and slicing past a surprisingly small policeman's beard. The policeman was small, not his beard, which was perfectly proportioned to the rest of his body. It is important to have clarity in such matters.
A cross across and Hendrie thighed aside before Miller arrived. Town could have played five-a-side and Scunny would still have failed. Ooh they got cross at their crosses coming to naught but half a page of scribbled lines.
Their Green sub marvellously miffed onto the railway line as huffs were puffed and on came our Green sub, replacing Clarke. Matt Green. He was on the pitch. At some indecipherable, unimportant time in our lives he headed a Wright cross just past the post. The third post along in the Clugston Stand. For a throw-in. There is no more to say.
With ten minutes left Whitehouse was felled near the half way line, yelping as Levi's studs tore down his leg. Limbrick launched himself towards the meringue and off Sutton went, followed by the dribbles and drabbles of the ebbing Ironsiders leaving the ark two by two.
The ref's aerosol lost its puff as he ran out of squirty cream after Vernam's ego was tripped on the edge of the area. A mellow melee where Town failed to make hay after Grandin's waft was diverted vertically. What else doc-doc-doc-doctor beat? Hewitt was booked for using his professional charm in the centre circle as a local lad passed by on his way home.
Five minutes were added, or had been added. In all this excitement I kinda lost count and lost track of the lack of activity. Everyone was far too busy plotting our long march to freedom, or how to avoid the car park kettle. Our victory feast shall be on the conquered land. I brought my shopping bags and I'm off to Tesco for the weekly shop and some fine dining in the café.
Well, that was easy, and Town didn't have to be anything other than present to accept this gift of three points. Boy, have they got problems.
Oh Scunny, I can't lie to you about your chances and you don't have my sympathies. Jamie Mack never had a save to make, and there was never even the hint of a close shave.
There was nothing there.
Like their ground, they were heartless and soulless, an aesthetically awful collection of barely functional rusty iron and flapping plastic on the fringes of human interest. They are the worst team Town have faced this season, being just a bunch of shockingly insincere strollers playing kick and rush dumbball.