Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
6 October 2021
Altrincham 2 Grimsby Town 3
Another Tuesday another open terrace; another suitcase in another Premier Inn hall. So what happens now?
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Sears, Waterfall, Towler, Crookes, Bapaga, Fox, Hunt, Clifton, McAtee and Taylor. The substitutes were Pearson, Revan, Coke, Sousa and John-Lewis. We were in clover against Dover so why tweak in the week. Same faces, same places, will we be at the races? Have we covered all bases? Will Town be inspired in insipid blue?
So many stormy nights, so many wrongs to right. Well, it ain't raining yet.
First half – Electric glide in blue
The alternative comedians kicked off towards the Town hordes with a chip and chase into space. At least they've have more grace than Bromley. What a lovely bunch of people.
Bish-bosh, tip-tap snap! Blues flying, reds trying, who's crying now? Two teams born to run, who will be the lonely one? Fast and loose on the left, keep it tight on the right. Up and down, here, there and everywhere. It's too good to be true, can't keep my eyes off those in blue.
Or those in red. McAtee teed up and smothered at a corner, Colclough hugging the touchline in no-man's land. Fizzing and whizzing, Town dizzy, our heads are spinning, like a whirlpool it only ends when Little Harry leaps into action.
McAtee mashed wide from a corner. Or was it into the side netting? Was it a corner? Was it McAtee? End to end to end to end, this way and that, isn't it the most. All we are saying is give us a goal. Be-bop-apaga can shake his feet like this and shake his feet like that. He swingled and swayed past dingle–dangling scarecrows clipping across the face of the far right post. Ooh aah, just a little bit. Jamie Mack flap-punched and clutched the bedraggling swipe that followed. More swings, more roundabouts, Mooney swayed in from their right and coiled a dripper over the farthest post.
They pull out a knife, we pull out a gun. That's the Grimsby way.
Chips with everything down the left. A red head nodded like a donkey, Clifton pounced, Taylor tickled, Bapaga side-stepped, shuffled his shoes softly and slapped slickly past Tubby Thompson's tubby fingers. You know what they say, where there's a Will there's a way.
Pools of homely sorrow but waves of joy are drifting through the open terrace. The blues on the ball, possessing and caressing. It's a beautiful game, what a beautiful noise coming up from the dark.
Ah, they've been watching. A Town corner, Big Luke surrounded by trees with men manning each post. Hunt clipped at ankle height and Waterfall swished wide. Whatever ever happened to diving headers?
The Tellytubby T put his weight behind a flay-hack, Jamie Mack scrimbled and scrambled as the ball sailed past the left-hand post. They huffed and they puffed but they couldn't blow the little piggies house down. Why? Well, we've got the friendly Fox in our box.
Town tourniquet tightening, Altymen desperately gurgling. Little Harry burgling, McAtee arising with the goal a-gaping. Tubby Thompson star-jumped and the ball double bobbled off home heads, hands and hearts.
A minor moment of nothingness, an irrelevance, a fleeting Bapaga slightly tugged a flying full-back who barely broke his stride. A yellow card. A trifle, why worry.
Two minutes were added to, or possibly for, the gaiety of the nation as water droplets dropped upon the massed Mariners. Yes, raindrops were falling on our head. And they kept falling.
The Altyboys were rather excellent pingers with wingers, but Town were simply superior. Pressing, passing, moving as one, slick and quick with a trick or two up their sleeves. What a cracker.
Second half – Snap, crackle and pop
Neither team made any changes at half time.
Into them, into them, Town flew into them. A swish, a sway, a half-hack away. A red dribble met a blue swarm. McAtee flashdanced down the right, Mullarkey stretchy slippy-sliced at the near post and Dipsy slurped his orange juice. Taylor slipped on his brown overall and put a real shine on the floor by tipping under the green Tellytubby.
Into them, into them, intense intensity, Bapaga scruffled, Dipsy delved to scoop.
One touch, pass and move, strangulating triangles of Town in perpetual motion. Circles in a spiral, wheels within a wheel, like a carousel that's turning running rings around these loons. Bapaga to Hunt to Taylor to McAtee to Hunt to you, to me, to McAtee and Clifton sweetly swept high, high, high into the net as the terrace behind levitated. You have to say that's magnificent. Just look at his face, just look at his face, oh such passing at pace.
We're gonna rock it and we've only just begun. Triangles? Get ready for the polygon.
Slicing, dicing, such enticing de-licing. The night is young, the skies may not be clear, but it's delightful, it's delicious, it's de-lovely. Here comes the judge, here comes the judge. Sock it to 'em, Johnny! Purring passing, marvellous movements, McAtee motored through and lilted against the diving Dipsy with a double rebound ricocheting wide.
Those raindrops falling on our heads? Now Town's got three, nothing's worrying me.
A butterfly flapped its wings in the ref's back garden. We dance, we sing, hang on what's that thing? Halfway to nowhere, way off in the distance a throw-in of no consequence, no danger, no-no-no-no-no. A black cloud crossed our minds, a blue mist rolled round our soul. A red card waving in Bapaga's face; for what, no-one knows.
Revved up and roared on, the redmen raced towards McKeown. Crosses, corners, corners, crosses, in, out, legs akimbo, Jamie Mack picked up a ricobounding rebochet in the chaos.
And on came Ben Pringle with his hairband.
Push me, pull me, pull me, push, c’mon, c’mon, now touch me babe. Zipping in, zapping out, Mooney leftly lurked on the edge of Town, sweeping a coiler over blue bottles and inside the near post with McKeown unsighted by Towler's hair.
Alty's constant craving left space for some raving. Incision, precision and McAtee haring free. Tubby Thompson stood tall and plucked away as we had no reprise of the Dover walkover.
Twenty minutes left and we've reached the Parslow Point. Batten down the hatches, here it comes... Taylor was replaced by Sousa. Eh, what? Surely shome mistake. Nope, the world has been thrown off its axis, there'll be palm trees growing on Cleethorpes beach by next weekend, you mark my words.
And here we go again, McAtee marching freely down the right, bounding away and chipping over the Tellytubby and the crossbar from afar. How can we best describe the moment? If it had gone in, it would have been a goal. But it didn't, so wasn't.
Corners, corners, corners, that's them with some corners. Consider this the slip that nearly brought us to our knees. A corner coiled through and out and an invisible touch was espied by officialdom. Incoming! In the hole! Swing, dipping in from their left many men meddling in the mud amidst much Mullarkey and Moult tapped in from a yard. D'ye ken Jake Moult? In the rain, shine or gale force nine his frames remain intact.
They go in and out and in and out and in and out and in and out, they're crossing all night, but our back four is all right. Here they come again. Swing those pants. McKeown punched away a corner from under the bar and some bloke with boots wellied over.
They wellied high, they wellied left, they wellied right. Welly-welly-welly – huh, I'll tell you more, they didn't get very far. We've got a Fox Hunt and we're gonna use it. Tally ho.
With five minutes left McAtee was replaced by the old curiosity shop.
A cross, a shot over. A cross, a shot at McKeown. Deflections, distractions and social interactions. Deflections, verbal inflections, reflections on how life used to be.
Red handball in the Town box! Unseen by no-one but the whistling fool. Red handball underneath the Grimsby Glitterati standing in the invitation only stand! Still unseen. Yes the Grimsby Glitterati, the only dry Grimsby thighs in the house.
A foul, seen at last by the foolish whistler. Hunt crinkled over and around the wall and round and over the left angle of post and bar.
Four minutes were added, less were played, many were unconcerned by this appalling time keeping as Town kept us shape, kept us head and headed home with the spoils of war.
An utterly mad and magnificent game. Town were immensely imperious against tip-top opponents, but the unexpected introduction of a handicap system nearly brought the house down. This game had everything. And the right result.