Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
5 September 2021
Grimsby Town 4 Barnet 3
Into the face of the young men who sit on the terraces of the old Pontoon there had crept a look of furtive shame: the shifty, hangdog look which announces that a Grimbarian is about to eat a gourmet chilli dog. With couscous.
It's a new world, it's a happy world and we're happy, shiny people laughing. Yes you can meet me in the crowd, if you can find me in our crowded house amongst the sea of faces in search of more and more of this thing called love. Love is in the air and all around, in our fingers, in our toes, where it ends no-one knows. Town: something we now believe in.
Town lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation as follows: McKeown, Efete, Pearson, Waterfall, Crookes, Sousa, Hunt, Coke, Bapaga, McAtee and Taylor. The substitutes were Revan, Fox, Wright, Clifton and Essel. What-oh! Wingers winging, so no whinging please.
Barnet. Well, they're here. What has happened to Joe Widdowson's hair?
Let's give it a go and have a go and put on a show.
First half – Crazy Horses
Town kicked off towards the 57 varieties of Barneteers in the Osmond with a lumpy-dump into the rump of the rear of last year's Bananarama, the soggy bottom boys of a season of misses and fallow fruitlessness.
A tickle, a tackle and ramshackle roam or two. Ah, as Jimmy Hill said "when in roam". Sousa swished and swayed on a raid on the right. Hunt punted the corner, Waterfall arose afar and Widdowson wafted arms akimbo. The fickle finger of fate pointed spotwards as Barneteers dropped their nosegays and swooned. McAtee seized the ball and seized the moment, rolling calmly left as Sargeant rolled calmly right.
Let's get the party going. Where's the cheesey wotsits?
Bees buzzing, fussily fizzing away. Passing, moving, a cross, a corner, a corner cleared, a corner kinda weird got Town's chicks in a twist. Moments. Wingers turning and burning from both sides now. Well, maybe not Bapaga. Yet.
Sousa, ele quer dancar salsa! Teasing triangles and a pleasing cross flushing through the Barnet six-yard box just in front of the stretching Taylor. Bapaga dribbled to drivel as stripes lurked unheeded ahead. Pleasing triangles and a teasing cross, Taylor stretched at the near post and swiped over slapstick Sargeant. Alas the linesman was flagging for a reason. There is a reason, for there are reasons. What reasons do you need to be shown? Does it matter?
Sesay flew into the penalty area through a selection box, some say smorgasbord of non-tackles on the left. He galloped, he walloped, he watched the ball arise into the Pontoon.
"Bloomfield, you’re having a mare!" bellowed the baldy man in blue with a cunning plan. Over and over and over again. One catchphrase isn't enough for a career on the stage. Well, you could crush a grape, for Bloomfield was not bovvered. Is he free? Yes he is. A clearance dropped, McKeown marvellously scrambled the dipping volley away from the foot of the right post for a corner.
Urgency and insurgency as Ambers ailed and flailed. Strings pulled, monsters mashed and Bapaga, alone on a hill, dilled and dallied, passing the buck. Crookes crossed and McAtee leant back and steered across the face of goal. Taylor ducked and glanced at the near post. Finally, a striker attacking the near post. It's only taken 30 years.
So many things Town could have done, but clouds of doubt got in the way. The ebb flowed from one side now. An anonymous nonsense nowhere near nothing, a chuck-in by the Police Box. Sesay bustled through Crookes's timid tap tackle, hit the bye-line, rolled back and Tasdemir swept through stretched stripes and under McKeown.
Oi, tell DJ Harry not to put the Cocteau Twins on the play list. It's a party-pooper.
Bloomfield bumped on for Widdowson to wibble, wobble and wiggle his way through some effete Efeteness. From the corner of the penalty area Mighty Joe coiled. The ball sailed slowly, arcing, dipping and ripping over the angle of left post and bar as an amber face was held in amber hands, knees sunk into the turf.
Stop me if you've heard this one before. Ticking away, ticking away, three minutes to tea time. The Bees buzzed as stripes stood off. A tickle and turn and Sesay burned rubber behind Crookes as Bapaga watched on. Sesay hit the bye-line, rolled back, Bloomfield turned Waterfall and slapped across McKeown into the farthest corner.
Bloomfield! Baldy Bloke in Fantasy Land is having a 'mare - he gets two points for an assist in that goal. Now go and get your couscous burger.
Three minutes were added for the playacting of 1,000 Bees. One last heave me hearties! Bapaga ran at a Barneteer, Taylor leant back to head at the near post and the ball plopped to Sargeant.
Happy then sad, we're sloppy and slack. Barnet ran rings around the complacent and timid, accepting this gift horse in the mouth of the Humber. Buck up!
Second half – Having a party
Neither team made any changes at half time.
Town pressed, Town impressed, Town won a corner on the right immediately. Pearson arose alone at the farthest post, thwonking downwards back across goal. The ball hit an amber heel inadvertently present, bouncing up for Sargeant to pluck under the far bar.
Roaring, but not scoring as Town were pouring forward. McAtee, McAtee, there's no-one like McAtee, he breaks the law of gravity. His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare – and when Barnet reached to break his stride McAtee was not there. Flash, ah-ha, king of the impossible. A cross deflected, a corner. The end of the moment.
A hoof and chase, a little nibble and minor wibble. Isn't it nice for them to get over the half way line. Sesay sashayed past Crookes and Pearson blocked away. A long chuck was simply bumped upwards and onwards at the near post. The ball arced over McKeown, Waterfall and Efete watched on as Widdowson walked on unmolested to chest in from a yard out.
How curious. Silence. No moans, no groans, though some looked at their phones and some left the scene of the prime time crime.
We go again.
Worry, why do we let ourselves worry? It's the crazy world of Grimsby Town and they bring you fire.
Rampages and damages. Crookes crossed, Sargeant flapped over Taylor, Sousa pounced and Doherty flung himself across the flightpath. The ball hit amber shirtage, arced over the bar, and the referee took a nanosecond to contemplate the consequences of denying home happiness. A penalty, a red card, an aural explosion.
Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, yup, yup, rabbit, yup yup, yup, rabbit, bunny rabbit, rabbit. With their incessant talking Barnet became a pest that crossed the Rubicon. The ref had had enough and out came yellow cards for who knows how many, perhaps even he lost count in all the excitement.
You fought hard and you saved and you earned but all of it's going to burn. Hey, you know Southern Man, better keep your head. Does your conscience bother you?
McAtee, McAtee, there's no-one like McAtee. There never was a penalty taker of such deceitfulness and suavity. Big John McAtee rolled down the centre right as Sargeant rolled way left and the ref rolled his eyes, rolled over to the benches and sent off Kewell for speaking words of drunkness and cruelty.
Town in tumult, Barnutters in turmoil. I write this sitting in a kitchen sink, for that's what was thrown as Town wrestled the initiative and captured the castle.
Amberites plunged to earth feigning foul deeds and injury. We've reached base cramp for their time-wasting expedition. Coke dragged off a dawdler as a double substitution entered its third hour. Brundle trundled and tumbled under an invisible push.
Bapaga swayed and Sargeant superbly slapped away the dripping coil. A corner, pressure, time-wasting, moans, groans, rousing and dousing Barnet in derision. Efete's cross sailed over Sargeant and missed by millimetres. Was that now, was that then? There's a fire within our soul, Town have suddenly got control. Here we go again, how can they resist us?
Left and right, up and down, back to front and side to side, break on through to the other side. The momentum seemingly stalled with Efete under the Police Box. Appalled that we'd stalled, Sousa took possession of his senses, swung his pants and dinked a cross into the near post. Taylor attacked that nearest of posts, diving to divert a header down into the bottom corner, with Sargeant motionless and the Pontoon a seething broiling mass of happy humanity.
Swoon as Hunt played a tune on the spoons, crinkling into the path of McAtee down the centre right. Sargeant's shins sent the ball scuttling across the face of goal and out for a corner that was given as a goal kick as Bapboy missed the googly.
With 10 minutes left Bapaga was replaced by Maximum Wright. Things, movement, noise. C'mon Town!
With five minutes left Little Harry replaced the slightly flat Coke. Ah well, a week off to blow some bubbles. Phwoar, what a scorcher! Clifton cracked from 25 yards out on the right, Sargeant prayed as the ball swayed just over, just wide. The world is not a just place.
Maximum Wrighting, McAtee lurked way beyond infinity to volley back across the face of goal, the ball edged into the slips by a Barnet bat for a corner that, well, remains forever autumn.
Six minutes were added. Yeah, at least, for all that petty and pathetic time wasting. And wasting time they continued to do.
We will not be denied our destiny. This is our day. C'mon lads, we can still do this! A chip and chunter and Taylor downed. Discussions were had, men talked with the boy, the boy sent the men away as an amber wall was constructed. Hunt espied the keeper plainly hiding out of sight and crackerjacked a clipping dipper into the toppish left corner as green fingers flapped.
Having consulted with top scientists I can confirm that this is what a black hole looks and feels like. Everything, everyone, every breath we take, every moment in time, converged on the same spot in a huge rush of sound roiling around the ground.
Ah yes, the modern Parslow point: Fox replaced Hunt. And suddenly Barnet were rushing. An excursion down our right, an incursion down our left, Pearson headed away at the near post for a corner. Sargeant ran up to sow seeds of confusion, the corner hit the angle of post and bar but, calm down dear, the ball had already gone out.
The winner takes it all, the loser has to fall. It's simple and it's plain, why should Barnet complain? They wasted their own time, they caused their own downfall as they didn't handle things with care.
Ah, supporters supporting not merely being consumers. Even at 3-1 down there was no audible negativity. The players responded to support and Barnet were crushed by the power of the crowd, truly the twelfth man. We needed a helping hand, but Town were ruthless and indefatigable when they sensed weakness.
Hurricanes hardly happen, how kind of you to come. Now, once again, where does it rain goals? What a show, there they go! So on we plod against the odds.
The spirit is strong.