Burning down the house

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

10 January 2021

Port Vale 3 Grimsby Town 0

Get them out!

Hold tight, we're in for nasty weather as 'neath the halo of the Burslem lamps, Hurst turned his collar to the cold and damp. There be snow piles and the sound of silence echoing down the line.

Why do things decay? Neglect.

It's still the same players, isn't it.

First Half - It's all your fault, John

Blue Town kicked off towards the homiest of stands. Green on the rampage! A throw-in, nowhere, but somewhere, we're everywhere and nowhere baby, that's where we're at.

A Hewitt hoik za-boomed through the six-yard box. There's nobody but the homesters home. Hendrie hassled a homester and plunged like the temperature. Bennett coiled a free kick farly, Pollock arose alone and thwonked firmly back across the keeper, against the inside of the post and back across the face of goal. Mr Brown, stood by the furthest post, turned around and, as if by magic, the ball appeared in his hands.

There's a fog along the horizon, a strange glow in the sky. And what does it mean? Oh, is it a dream? Well, to these cold eyes, Town had started brightly.

Ah well, we're back to life, back to reality. The flying Vs flew down Town's powderpuff blue left. A dink and that sinking feeling as rusty McKeown scrimble-scrambled and Montano's shins arrived beyond the back post. A muddle, a cuddle and a home style corner never quite cleared. Rose was sold a sprig of parsley, Little Harry was of little use nearby and space was not their final frontier. A cross from their left dropped deeply beyond that far post. Pope arose above piddling Preston and Brisley sauntered and sidled around waddling Waterfall, invading McKeown's space, to pokey-prod through the yellow-matted custardian from barely a couple of yards out.

Thou hast slain me. Villain take my purse!

Now, if only we had VAR to notice goldfish toes were offside.

Hewitt roaming in the gloaming, blues a-tumbling dice. Bennett swung a free kick from the right, from the vague spot that led to Mr Brown’s fortunate grasp. Waterfall rose and plonked back across Brown and into the left corner of the net.

Hurr... ugh.

A flag fluttered in the corner of this foreign field. No VAR required, we had a dream.

Oh you plonkers, just pay attention. In, not out, in, not out, not out, not out, not out again as a half dozen chances to hoof it were eschewed. A cross-field crack was missed by Preston, a jinky-winky dink drooped, Rodney arose above the absent Waterfall to nod at receding McKeown's hairline and through drowning hands.

O untimely death of hope, I know thee well.

Town triangles, Hendrie infiltrations and Bennett's shot was delayed and battered down. A Morais marimba, but Green headed against a flying V. The corner rolled, Morais retreated to the "D", flicked up and spun a volley straight at Brown.

Bennett scissor-controlled a bunion, swinging the pendulum back. You know what happened next? Well, you do if you were watching. Some bloke, some time, had some kind of shot that went some yards wide. Sometimes facts create friction, so let's smoothly move on, or else forget about it.

What it is it they say about madness? Another Town free kick was looped back into the dead centre. All alone or in twos, the ones who really annoy you walk up and miss when it's easier to score. Green and Hewitt fiddled and faddled a woefully weak free nod to Mr Brown.

Piddling nonsense between the stickmen as the parcel was passed. The music stopped as Pollock calamity-kicked against himself on the edge of the Town penalty area. Rodney helpfully plonked a stuttering bedraggler into the snow piles over in the Peak District.

Two minutes were added because, well, they were. Just enough time for Montano to muscle through a muddle of Marinerdom. Jamie Macc superbly swung low and left to flip aside for a corner that Smith headed over.

Apart from all the bad bits, Town looked all right between the two penalty areas. There was even a clear method, a plan that was being implemented, but we all know that at some point the ball will go near Matt Green.

The sad thing is we're used to it and expect it. And so do these players.

Second half – And it's all your fault too, Hollow Man

Clang, clang, clang. All change, all change. Clifton and Preston were replaced by Wifty Williams and the hopefully fit Habergham, whilst the Valemen took off Rodney and put on Burgess.

And what do we see? A series of close ups of ball-boys' shoes. Shoe gazing and soft shoe shuffling in soft focus. They're trolling us softly with this pong.

Ah, here we go. Crossfield ball trafficking, Morais snapped back over to unmarked Bennett, who jinked and slinked to the near post and alas, poor Matt Green, we know him, well.

Ah, there we went. Pans do flash.

Looking for release from limitation? There's nothing much without illumination. Every hour, on the hour the milk turns sour. A sleepy time over nowhere and a sudden dink into space behind the creaking Habergham. Worral waddled on and crisply crossed across the face of goal. A double blue slide as a stray Valiant lurked beyond and Waterfall expertly used his experience to poke in from a yard out.

Two assists and a goal, what a fantasy day for old Luke. You can either profit from this or be destroyed, for he is Luke Waterfall and he is here to rescue us, supposedly.

Poor old Sam Habergham, he just looks like a man who hasn't run for a year.

Green became Gibson as the Short One experimented with his non-striking lack of options. Oh look a Hendrie surge, Bennett twirled to debraggle painfully slowly through the thoroughly disinterested defence and widely wide. Look, I know you want to have a hat to hang on to, but they are all made of straw.

What do we see? Hewitt the homeopathic Groves, forever arriving late in the box as the ball sails over his head.

It's time for you cocoa, Mr Morias. On bounded Maximum Wright to swish and sway in his own way, drawing defenders to the flay trap and ticking aside to the centrally unmarked Bennett. A touch, a smooch and a huge edge down the leg side as the wicket-keeper swayed to first slip. Brown adjusted his thermal underpants, flew back and left and magnificently groped aside. Oh woe, woe and thrice woe, we can't even get a wasted lucky break own goal. Pollock headed the corner wide.

White substitutes. Like we care.

Hendrie hopped along. Maximum Wright dribbled along and Gibson slashed a long way wide. It's been a long, long time since we were glittering, happening, hovering anywhere but in the gallows.

Wahey, if there be hope it be in the twinkling feet of our secret Max factor, jinking and slapping off white thighs for corner and a corner. And then there were none.

At this point I must confess I noticed Mr Rose was still on the pitch. Just a glimpse, out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look but he was gone. Yet also still here. Yes, we have no bananas but do have Schrodinger's midfield maestro.

Is that the time? It surely is. I must put the oven on, pizzas won't cook themselves. I did take it out of the freezer, didn’t I? Four minutes were added. Pollock was smothered in snow at one final corner. And that was indeed that.

Port Vale never had a shot in the second half. Of course they scored from that shot they never had. Town had loads. Of course they missed the banjo.

Town are merely the blunt Blades of the bottom feeders, okay between the penalty areas but you know at some point the ball will go near Matt Green. And then Montel Gibson.

The score, the result flattered them, deflated us. This poisoned inheritance is fundamentally flawed with severe, almost terminal legacy issues. Only time will tell whether there is enough time for yet another resurrection.

New Rome was never going to be built in a day. There's always tomorrow.