Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
7 August 2022
Grimsby Town 1 Northampton Town 1
On Meggies' Lower East Side the early afternoon traffic is audible, as is the cry of the gloommongers.
Welcome back, welcome home, come on in and close the door, our house is almost full. This is the happy house and we're happy here in the happy house. Oh it's such fun, fun, fun.
Some people say this town looks good in snow. Tell me, how long you gonna stay here, John? I hear the distant call of the mythical fishmongers: the past is the past and the present is pleasant with pheasant burgers in the bar. Oi, enough of your allusions, illusions and delusions, get on with it mate. What about the footyball?
Oh we're football crazy, we're football mad as every seat was sat upon except for those in the pink in the Osmond. Dear me, less than 500 Cobblers could be bothered to follow their dreams north after last season went south because of Plucky Scunny's implosion. The past is the past and their present isn't quite so pleasant in that raspberry-milkshake shirt.
Town lined up in a 4-3-3 formation as follows: Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall, Smith, Morris, Green, Keirnan, Holohan, Clifton and Taylor. The substitutes were Battersby, Cropper, Amos, Pearson, Khouri, Wearne and Maguire-Drew. Our old-new shoulder-popping striker was smiling in the stands so old Ryan, the trusty old sheepdog, sat in the shade in the rose garden. I spy, with my little eye some new player beginning with Oooh. I, for one, dear reader, cannot wait to see Aribim Pepple's crazy Canuck hair blowing in the air. So, who's the other Hatter heading north? My money is on Dewey Bunnell.
Oh yes, Northampton. In the pink with Fox and his locks on the bench, with a right pair of trundlers up front in Hylton and Appéré. Weren't they that end-of-the-pier comedy act third on the bill to the Nolan Sisters in 1979? We'll never top when Ray Allen and the Rockin' Berries had a full summer season. Ah yes, the good old days when Cleethorpes was a summertime sensation for the citizens of South Yorkshire. Top stars and reet good value!
Ah yes, the football. There be chaos and confusion as the Pinkies lined up applauding some mystery matter while Town stood around staring at them in befuddlement.
Just get on with it.
First half: Two of a kind
The Pinkies kicked off. Ups were undered and the whole ground thundered with rows and rows of the finest virtuosos. And in the 76th second we had the sound of silence. Hark, I see movement! A vision was softly creeping as Efete was sleeping. Nothing happened.
A beach ball crawled across the pitch, a Flock of Seagulls played on someone's phone and hung overhead. Irony? Synchronicity? A metaphor? A semaphore? A Quaver? Cheese and onion flavour.
Bumbling, stumbling, bibbling and bobbling. And that's just Appéré's hair, an image going down, down, down, down. Soapsud serene, like bubbles. He's no trouble.
Clamping and damping down on sinking pink. Passing, movement, passing moments, passing the time as Holohan's dribble drabble passed by the post. An up was undered but no rolling thunder, there's nothing to see here. Please move along. Please. Move.
Cobblers! They moved along by playing it long. Pinnock long-chucked longly. It took a long, long, long time for nothing to happen. Now we're so happy the ball found Crocombe's gloves.
Stripy slickness slicing and dicing. A Town corner rightly, away headed away. A Town corner leftly, Burge flapped his burgers at the near post as the rest were chasing Waterfall at the back. Nobody was moving too fast. Slick flicks, the occasional trick and Holohan's wrap flew over the stand and far, far away. This time, this place, too long, too late. Crosses, many crosses to bear. Naught from the crosses. Waterfall back-hooked a poke across the face of goal after higgledy-piggledy piddling about on a three-piece suite. His knees knocked that from Shackleton's, you know.
The Pinkies pac-manned across the park. Ha'pennies were shoved, the ref was unmoved.
Oof, they move! A break, Hylton sent round and round in circles, a deflected shot spoondling spinningly off Little Harry's toes and safely into the gloves of Mad Max in deep purple. Danny boy ain't no speed king. A chip and pin deep inside the Town area. Appéré flounced as Smith pounced. Ah Louis, why did you fall? Cause the free wind is blowing through your hair. I tell ya, that's entertainment.
A lump was lumped. Momentary Mariner indecision and a lack of precision, but Crocombe induced a collision with Hylton's shins. Keirnan upturned an applecart with an ungentlemanly nudge. As the massed ranks of Hercules awaited beyond, the Pinkies cheeky chipped down the sidelines. Pinnock swivelled Kiernan's chair on the bye-line, sniggled lowly and early. Stay frosty. Crocombe flipped aside.
Moments, mere moments of pinkness. Town were knock, knock, knocking on the Cobblers socks. The Mo' Green combo eased through the middle, a cross was cleared, but Big Mo had momentum. Ringo dripped, Keirnan slipped in front of Koiki to slide poke over from the edge of the six-yard box.
Other things didn't happen, nearly, but if they nearly happened they nearly happened in stripes.
One minute was added. It just was, that's all.
A half of competitive almostness, not too bad all things considered. Saturday afternoon's alright for shopping, but it'd be nice to get a little football action in.
Second half: That kitchen sink feeling
Louis, Louis, oh, you gotta go at half time as on came Bowie for Appéré. Hah, I know thee well Hylton the eggman, you serviceable villain. Oh the wit and repartee, bandages and badinage.
Town came out with fizz and pizzazz. Chip, chip, chipping away at the paper tigers, Town intense and pinning the pinks against the fence. Taylor flicked, Keirnan dipped and Burge flew right to parry aside. Morris retrieved and shovelled well over off an invisible raspberry back. A goal kick and howls of rage, the crowd affronted and energised.
We're up for this now.
Rocking and rolling as Cobblers were strolling. Waterfall hacked away at recobounds and ribochetes when pongs were pinged. It's in, it's out, they're falling, we're calling the ref appalling. A cross, a cross, a pass, a crass decision as pinksters held their foreheads and fainted.
Ooh look, a bit of pressure from them. Just close your eyes and drift away. And then Danny Boy Hylton was no longer in play, replaced by Haynes.
Waterfall wiffled at the far post as a free kick arced beyond, missing the pinks. The words in the Pontoon were sharp and oh so clear. Town ascendant, dominant without danger.
Glennon intercepted a stray missile za-zooming straight up the wing, tinkling a teaser into the desert behind their right-back. Little Harry's 30-yard request to be touched by the hand of Magloire was finally accepted. Down he went by the corner flag and up drooped the free kick from Glennon. Green arose in the centre, six yards out, and face-flopped straight into Burge's waiting hands.
Off they went. Little Harry fell under a spell in the shadow of the Lower Horsemeat Stand. Bowie's in space. Bowie's in spa-a-hace. Whatcha' doin' out there, man? Bowie dinked over Smith into the void. Haskins jingled into the jungle and walloped across Mad Max into the bottomest, furtherest corner from the narrowest of angles with an unfortunately excellent finish. Now, we didn't ask for that.
At this Wearne replaced Green as Town moved to 4-4-2. Acemer!
Grit and graft leads to craft. Crocombe drop-kicked deeply, Wearne picked up the pieces, Glennon overlapped, Keirnan bullet-headed off pink shins, Holohan scraped through the hedge but straight to Burge. Morris drivelled through a different hedge. Pinks in a panic, the ground turned up to 11 in surround sound. Onwards, onwards, passion is a fashion. Holohan drove up the right, Keirnan nicked away from the flaccid full-back, Wearne swept and Burge kept his nerve to stoop and scoop.
Shots and blocks, crosses and tosses, Wearne coiled, Burge plucked. Stripes swarming, the atmosphere warming, Efete thricely timid as the ball rolled around the pinball machine.
With a couple of minutes left Clifton was replaced by Jogging Maguire-Drew. Lumps and dumps and Big Luke walloped back downfield and over the top down the centre left. Keirnan chased and nudged a celery stick aside, sub-Reesianly back-heeling into the flightpath of Wearne. He poked, Burge prodded away to the right, Maguire-Drew bumpled down and the ball bompled up into the top left corner.
Ooh hello, you're still here? Cobbling, crossing, crossing, crossing back and forth. Crossfield traffic, someone needs to run over to Haynes. A tickle, a turn and Crocombe booted Bowie’s blamp aside from the near post.
Six minutes were added.
And the fun really started. If by fun you mean grizzling at amateur dramatics and feeble officialling. There seems to have been some disturbance here. Pardon me, sir, did you see what happened? Yeah, I did. I's standin' over there by the tomatoes. And he just crumbled when he heard the call of the fishmongers.
Don’t look at them Luke!
That's it, kid. Take that ruined choir. Make it sing!
Pressure, pressure, always pressure from Town. Something here, something there, something almost everywhere. Waterfall power-washed someone's drive with a header from a free kick. A cross, a block, a cross again. Taylor rose and a Pinkster's head flashed in front to graze away then sit down claiming murder most foul. Sherring: what an outrageous ham.
The ref stopped play as Town attacked, then gave the ball to Northampton's keeper. Oh how we chuckled at that. Whatever happened a pink man plunged and held his head. And that's that.
Phew, that's better.
A draw was the least Town deserved and the most the opposition did, for every minute this game went on Northampton got weaker and every minute this game went on Town got stronger. What have we got? Intensity, graft, grit. That should be enough to survive.