Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
12 December 2021
Grimsby Town 0 Chesterfield 1
Where do you go to dream? To a place we all know - the land of make-believe down Blundell Avenue. They do say the BT cameras never lie as we've been put in the promotion picture and cut down to size.
Is today the day our teddy bears have a picnic?
Town lined up in a 5-3-2 formation as follows Crocombe, Efete, Longe-King, Waterfall, Pearson, Crookes, Fox, Coke, Clifton, Bell and Taylor. The substitutes were Revan, Sears, Scannell, Maguire-Drew and John-Lewis. Well, there is the Lord, the Fool and eleven Boggins. Keep it tight, keep us shape, with five at the back we might just escape with a gloriously victorious draw.
Nameless, faceless watchers in the Dentist's Stand asking questions, pleading answers of those two forgotten sons of the blue bench: Asante and Payne. You may as well whistle down the wind.
Out there in the cold distance, rousing and carousing, the singing of songs. The Osmond packed with day trippers with a good reason to be heard. Ho-ho-ho, such witty ditties cut us into little pieces.
After this bit of fun to warm up the crowd the Sway Hood was then thrown up in the air.
First half: Stuck in a rut
Mouse against louse, town against town, if a man meets a man, knock him down.
Chesterfield kicked off towards the Pontoon. Hibble, bibble, nibbles and dribbles. Little Harry slide-swiped a passing people carrier. No damage, no insurance claim, everyone got back on the road before the police came along. No need to exchange insurance details. Chesterfield have got insurance, haven't they?
Blue sways, stripes in a daze, big blocks by blackened socks. Clashing Harry, dashing Harry, hurry up Harry! Triangulation and strangulation but no elevation from the Foxy corner. C'mon everybody, Hurst's been doing his homework all week long.
Twenty minutes of tug-o-war, Waterflaw roamed and dinked diagonally deep into their penalty area. Williams dithered, Little Harry soared and headed back across and over Loach. A flickering flame of hope died as the ball drooped and dropped over the angle of post and bar.
The crooked Spireites took an age to take foul throws, meandering and maddening the ref so much he wagged his fingers not once, but twice! Is that it, the sum total of half an hour of queuing for a bus? It surely is, just two teams hoping to nick an orange when the grocer is distracted.
Ha! A passing resemblance to passing and movement. Fox nodded down for some sexy ball juggling by Bell and a volley-scuff wide. Ha-ha! Ah, the Bananarama is full of provincial towns we jog around, Town passing the time passing the ball. A dink, a dive and panic in the streets of Chesterfield. A bluesman headed straight up and down, Efete lurked centrally, awaiting ball droppage, for droppage was all we needed. There's nothing you can see that can't be shown on the highlights. Efete's volley simply spooned into Loach's arms.
Ding, dong, ding, ah-ah, ring that Bell. The busy Brizzleboys surged but Fox befuddled a low wastrel corner. No ifs just buts.
Occasional visitations from aliens espied. Now, now, now is the time – time - time to be - be - be aware. Scriffles and scruffles down their left and Miller swiped a cross accidentally against the top of the bar. As strange lights were seen skittling across the sky a meandering murmuration of starlings deflected through to Crocombe for a close encounter of the 43rd minute kind. Kinda nothing really.
Oh hang on, here we go again. Just when you thought it was safe to queue for your Quorn and quinoa quiche, a stray and lonely shot skittered off stripes and into the path of Kellerman, sneaking into the Efete gap. Fear not, our Kiwi fruit is blossoming. Crocombe's arms are long for he reached out and he was there, clawing across the face of the farthest post, saving superbly. No worries.
One minute was added. During that minute 60 seconds passed, whether anyone on the pitch did is another matter entirely.
It could have been worse, it could have been better, it was what it was. They were energetically efficient, Town efficiently energetic. Everything was going to plan with the Spireites smothered into accidental efforts.
Where there's a draw there's hope and hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
Second half: Spirite-ed away
Neither team made any changes at half time.
Coke tuned in and dropped kicked Weston out of sight and out of mind, finally being booked for a masterclass in flim-flam wham-bam-thank-you-mam trips and slips.
What is going off out there? Don't hold your breath for any football. It's the East Midland Premier Division Kabaddi championship finals. Near the hour Tshimanga took a gulp of salty air and skipped through the tulips and tall poppies, shimmering, swaying and flailing widely high.
A lump, a dump, a bump and blue rumps clumped. What have we for tea? At least we really value our random variable, Bell's curvy runs. We're still searching for the good times, but we'll just have to wait and see if time is on our side. Tick, tick, watch the clock tick. We'd take a draw now, wouldn't we?
Ooh, football? Oh, football. Fox flicked and Efete bustled behind Miller... to slice into the Pontoon. It could have been the catalyst to spark our revolution. What a waste.
Ooh, football! Oh football. Clifton curled after a Bell curve and swerve. Oh yes, the Bell boy, always running at someone's heels, a persistent pest with zest trying his best. Bell hither, Bell thither, Bell whither?
Time ticks and time tocks, both attacks trapped in a defensive lock. Scrapping, flapping, and much tip-tapping. Has either keeper made a save yet this half? Crocombe caught a cross, Loach poached some eggs. Everything in the path of the Sway goes down before it, including hedges and walls. Are we chasing the Haxey Hood? It'll all be over 12th night.
Here comes the chaos engine. With 10 minutes or so left Town, hoping for a bit of retail therapy this benighted festive season, replaced Taylor with John-Lewis. Dear old Lennie, these days he's the pantomime dame of the Bananarama. Where is he? Behind you!
Where did the ball fly? There's shuffling and scuffling in the middle of nowhere, Longe-King nudged and winked at Khan in the centre of the middle of the Town half. Or maybe it was the middle of the centre. Say no more squire, know what I mean? A peep and a quick blue sweep sideways as Miller chugged unmolested up their left as Townites clumped together in the centre. The referee peeped again, demanding a re-take. Are you ready for your close up now?
What's plan B? Was there even a plan A? Men talked, big blokes ambled into the heart of darkness and the ball was simply chipped down the centre. Kerr arose and nodded into the absence of humanity twixt penalty spot and six-yard line. Dear old Lennie nodded off and Tshimanga sneaked behind to sweetly smear a volley in. Such faith in retail is misplaced these days, it's in decline.
There's a conflict in every human heart, between the rational and the irrational, between good and evil. And good does not always triumph. Sometimes, the dark side overcomes what Graham Taylor called the better angels of our nature. Every man has got a breaking point.
You and I have, and Mr Mauve has reached his.
Ah yes, Mr Mauve, very much the vegan sausage to old Mr Purple, dropped his nosegay, arose and announced "Up with this I will not put". The rest of the Pontoon refused to accept such prepositional inelegance, noting his preening peacocking was just making his tea get a little colder. He's Grimsby 'til he cries. Standing all alone, alone and crying in the rain.
And all the while as Mr Mauve moved himself to tears Tshimanga ran along the Lower Frozen Horsebeer Stand and never stopped, taunting his taunters and all for the price of a yellow card. He calls that a bargain, the best he's ever had.
Double subbing happened at last as Big Scanz™ and Maguire–Drew replaced Chaise Longue and the Bell boy. Tell you more, tell you more? Did we get very far? No. Big Scanz™ was mugged and off they chugged down the Town left. A shimmy by Tshimanga and Crocombe big-pawed aside at the near post.
Four minutes were added as effing Stefan Payne replaced Chimichanga to a chorus of disapproval. Arms wrestled, legs were akimbo, Town in the land of limbo, neither chugging nor mugging. Stick it in the mixer!
And, as the end is near, we reach the final curtain. Town finally threw the utility room sink at the bluesmen. In, out, out, in, Pearson raging and rampaging, volleying a wallop through hedges on the edge of the six-yard box. The net untended, the crowd awaited, Crookes flew forward but the balloon drifted up, up and away off bony parts to break our hearts. Much too little too late, we're simply in the middle of ending something we knew was over.
It's the end of the affair. Did it sound great on the radio?
Chesterfield. What keeps them going? Chimichanga. I don't have to listen to rumours about a man when I can judge him for myself. Without him they're a solid wall of pac-men grinders. Town huffed and puffed, standing tall, standing toe to toe with their foe, but once again couldn't blow the house down.
We're out of puff, we're feeling rough and we need new stuff.
Hope is a dangerous thing, my friend, it can kill a man's spirit.