Reversal of fortune

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

22 February 2005

Grimsby Town 1 Chester City 0

Cold and bleak, the depths of deadwood: Cleethorpes in February. Around 12.5 Devaboys in the Osmond, out there, somewhere. Why there?

Snow, snow, white and clean, snug in the Pontoon. Nice.

Town lined up in a 3-5-2 formation as follows: Williams, Whittle, Ramsden, Forbes, Crowe, Fleming, Hockless, Coldicott, Bull, Gritton and Reddy. The substitutes were Crane, Young, Jones, Pinault and Parkinson. 3-5-2, 3-4-1-2, who knows, who cares, aren't they the wheel arrangements on the Flying Dutchman? Oooh, don't mention Cas. Hockless floating like a snowflake, beautiful, ephemeral, likely to melt...

Sestanovich was booed and booed; how rude. The Belle of the ball was absent, Whittle's head safe.

Dish of the Day: Rodger's Sunday roast beef. Let's hope there's no worcester sauce in the gravy.

Chester played in yellow; the ball was yellow. They clashed with the ball; we clashed with the sky.

First half
Town kicked off towards the Osmond, or maybe they didn't. Figures shimmered in the haze. Hoof, hoof and hoof again, three touches, three
whacks. Ah, the pub team, living up to the billing. We'll show 'em. Oh, that's us hoofing. They'll show us. They did.

I'm bored already.

Two minutes, Hockless free, Hockless hopeless, shooting straight, shooting 15 years wide. Put your baseball cap on, mulletboy, and suck a lollipop. Hockless free? He will be soon.

Another five minutes, an egg hard-boiled. They have it, they pass it, lovely moving, this way and that way, sideways, overways, wing-backs roaming, Town gloaming. Ramsden a rock, Bull rocking. No shots from the yellow fiends. A shot by Gritton, forgotten.

Gurgling from the Pontoon, groaning from the Main Stand. Horrible, horri-Bull, Terry-ble. Whack, whack, whack, the ball lost on the blizzard.

Snow flurry, Town in a hurry, footballing slurry, I want a curry: hot and spicy, needed for feet. Toes colding, toes curling at bilge, bile rising.

I want to go home.

They have it, they keep it. Transit Stan, white boots on a white night, not our white knight any more. Familiar shaking across the pitch, beating one, two, three, four, passing back. Wasting everyone's time. Booed again. Keeps us warm, I suppose.

Has their keeper touched it? Have they got a keeper? Do they need one?

Still them. "Hey, it's our ball!" That's the way to do it. Pass, move, pass move, look around you. Watch them and learn. Chester flutter, Chester flatter, can't cross, miss by 20 yards. Let 'em cross. Let it snow, referee. Transit Stan shuffling, huffling, scuffling a shot 15.23 yards wide. Been here done that before; déjà vu, soon be Deva vu for the Cheshire cats. You'll learn.

Another shot, wider still, awful.

I'm watching snow fall. Oh, it's the ball. Keep it down Town, or we won't be keeping our teas down. Hockless touched the ball again; the Iranian government remained intact.

"We only sing when we're skiing."

Better: a Town pass. Hockless curling, Reddy reeling away down the left. Past two, to the bye-line, pulled back, blocked. Excitement, in context. Hockless probing, Reddy raving down the right. Past two, to the bye-line, pulled back, blocked. Here comes the mirror man.

Stanley bamboozled by Crowe, locals content.

Snowing harder. I cannae see them captain. Hockless perked up, Hockless shot from 25 yards, straight at Brown. They do have a keeper!

They fall, a free kick - pah!. Curled in from their left, Hope falling hopefully, failing to fool. A corner, minor flappage in the Town area. Pingle-pongle, the ball shambling its way through knees, bumbling through, scuffled away. Something almost nearly happened, but didn't.

Four minutes of added time. Why? Foy in the area, dribbling like a persistent scottie dog on heat, rolling the ball to Williams.

Didn't Stace have a shot? Yeah, probably. So what?

Town awful, Town shocking; no passing, no movement, hitting, hoping, succeeding only in failing. The crowd was frozen in awe. Was it possible to be worse?

Stu's half-time toilet talk
"Strawberries, yes, but not cheese."
"I think I'd prefer Parkinson on. At least his legs move."
"Live fast, play hard, eat cakes."

Second half
"A warm welcome back for Grimsby Town": Chester came out, confused by the apathetic adoration.

The game restarted, apparently. Nobody noticed and nobody really cared. Going through the motions of support - being physically present with occasional noise. The diehards hardly care now.

The Devamen were dragged down to Town's level of ineptitude. They kept the ball, but did even less with it. Transit Van was booed, cut down with a statement of truth: "What a waste of talent." Indeed sir, that's his tragedy, not ours. Reddy made a run down the right, and crossed to the near post. The keeper caught it, wearing his shirt alfresco, or maybe al dente.

Crowe was nudged by Sestanovich. He stopped, shrugged, moaned, and stood still as Rancid Stan raced off. A hole on the right, filled by Ramsden. Crowe walked, Gritton threw some epithets. The subs warmed up.

On the hour, on came Parkinson and Pinault for Crowe and Hockless. Hockless is more a merlot than Merlin.

What is that formation? A wobbly 4-4-2, or wibbly 4-3-3? Ramsden at right-back, Pinault on the left of midfield? Weird, man. A shot. Pinault to Parky, space ignored, a dipping dopper from 20 yards, lilting a few feet wide.

Tony Gallimore wasn't so bad after all.

The snow fell, but not hard enough. End it, end it now, we need footballing euthanasia, that's Town's real youth policy.

Fleming passed to Rancid Stan. He never passed to him when he was ours; why start now?

Seventy minutes gone? Please say it's seventy-eight. It isn't. Twenty more minutes of frozen water torture. Everything was wellied upfield. We wanted to cry.

Ten minutes left, people leaving. Would anyone be left? Hang on. Pinault, finally given the ball, turning, burning down the centre. A look, a perfect pass inside the left-back, Parkinson racing into the area, lapping a low cross through the six-yard box. Gritton, unmarked, five yards out, shinned the ball high into the net. Gritton booked for scoring.

One moment of magic, one moment of skill, that's all it took, that's all we got.

Chester had a shot, maybe it was now, maybe it was earlier - it was wide so not a problem. What's going on? A million minutes of added time? Gritton 25 yards out, on the left. A cross? A shot? A swinging blue jeans swirler, twirling towards the top left corner. Brown did a Lindy hop across his line, tipping it away for a corner. Away, back, Pinault in space, 30 yards out. Brown off his line, Pinault lobbed, Brown plucked his eyebrows, then the ball from the sky.

C'mon, it's nearly midnight; the gritters have been out. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. Bull missed the ball, Whittle fleeced by a yellow man, flailing at scampering feet. Some Chester man in the area, whistling to the bye-line, pulling the ball back and an unmarked Devant thighed it to the near post. Williams hooked the ball away, with Whittle swiping clear.

The End.

Now they know how it feels to lose to a pub team. Revenge is a dish best served at sub-zero temperatures.

Nicko's man of the match
If you wanted to send a subliminal message to Slade then let's all pick Pinault, for the singular sensation of an accurate pass. But just one man was perfectly fine throughout. Can you remember any mistakes by Simon Ramsden? Thought not, for he is The Man.

Official warning
Allegedly N Millar, the beast of Blandford Park, somehow managed to see sinister intent in the merest look by a Townite. Perhaps he'd been suckered by Rush's chutzpah. Town were eventually given a free kick, which was really kind of him. I just didn't like him, maybe it was the way he held his hair. He gets 3.231, for managing to wear a different colour shirt from the footballers'. And Town.