A taste of honey: Lincoln (a)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

30 August 2008

Lincoln City 1 Grimsby Town 1

A balmy afternoon in the city of brotherly loathing with around 800 travelling Townites bewitched and befuddled by the biosuit football match taking place in the car park behind the ground. Was this Lincoln's warm-up routine? Oh no, they play proper football now, don't they. You know, all that passing the ball to each other on the ground stuff they've seen on telly.

Town lined up in the regulation when-in-crisis 5-3-2 formation as follows: Barnes, Clarke, Bennett, Heywood, Newey!, Hegggarty, Heslop, Hunt, Boshell, Till, Jarman. The substitutes were Monty, Llewellyn, StraightPeterBore, Taylor and North. So what happened to that mobile hairdresser? I suppose the Butler didn't like what he saw after all.

There really is no honey left in the larder. Someone needs to go shopping sometime soon; you can only get by so long on bread and dripping.

Town wore the all-blue kit and looked lovely again.

First half
Lincoln kicked and rushed off with their boom-bang-a-bang football that everyone knows. Town stood in a line and extinguished the flickering flames with a bucket of sand and a cheery smile. There were free kicks, there were crosses, there were stones gathering no mosses. Rudimentary is not a Dutch full-back targeted by 'Ull.

Lincoln were given a free kick: they wasted it. Lincoln were gifted a free kick: they wafted it. Barnes pinched a peck of pickled pepper. No he didn't: Barnes watched diligently from his seat in the tea room as they wafted and wasted.

Till spritzered past a dodo, but Heslop was Heslow, so wake me up before you go-go. Till tickled and teased the old Roman gravestones Lincoln decided to place at the centre of their defence. He rubbed off the dust and weeds, but there was no name displayed.

Hegggarty jumped and an Imp bumped to the ground. Out came the yellow card, over came the free kick and Till mesmerised with pace and grace as Heslop cleared. Drifting past the remnants of a jumble sale on the right, Till picked his way through the unusually stripey tank-tops to lick a pass to Jarman, 20 yards out. The Jarmster sidestepped Sinclair and sideswiped a shot straight at Burch.

Settle down now, it's time for a snooze. Let Hunt be your Radio Smooth FM.

Hello... hello... are you awake now? It's time for your pills. Lincoln hoofed and Town woofed away for a corner. The ball drifted over Clarke and LL Cool J bonked a header on to the top of the crossbar. Now that was a surprise - Lincoln stringing a pass together.

Town stirred, Lincoln dissolved. Jarman twirled his baton, tapped his nose and winked Hegggarty free. Pass, pass, Bosh and cosh, Town started to light their fires. Jarman twirled his imaginary moustache as Town tobleroned down the left, and thrust a rapier into the bosom of the dastardly fiends with a little Mendonca-esque reverse pass between defenders. Till raced through with just Burch between him and happiness. Burch was happy as Till passed to him, rather than skipping around in ecstasy. Lovely move though, even lovelier than the shirts.

The time to hesitate is through, no time to wallow in this mire, Lincoln's wallops couldn't get much higher. Let Till be your Planet Rock.

Newey! flibbled a free kick straight at Burch. Jarman rock 'n' rolled past Sinclair and volleyed across and over the bar. Newey! flubbled a free kick straight at Burch. All Town, all football, all so fine, all good practice.

It's possible Lincoln moved the football into the Town penalty area and in what some could consider to be a vaguely threatening manner. They'd be wrong: Lincoln were a sandcastle washing away as the tide crept in.

After a bit of nicky-nacky-noo the ball rolled to Bennett, just inside the Town half. All before him stood and stared, awaiting an aimless punt. But Boshell looked towards the cathedral and was inspired. He saw a light, he ran to the light, straight down the middle, for there was no-one there. Bennett caressed the ball forward and Boshell nodded sagely out into the flat badlands to the east, where the peat preserves the past. Till sprinkled some magic fairy dust upon his boots, twisted inside a lame Lincolnite and, from the corner of the penalty area, curled a shot over and around the flapping Burch. A little corner of this foreign field bounced, while the rest of the ground flounced in a huff.

With this Town stepped up the competence quotient. Passes were fizzed and pinged, inch perfect and the blue riverdancers flowed upstream. Heggggartty to Hunt to Newey to Bosh: tip-tap, tick-tock, Jarman dreamed and leaned, Till terrified the locals with his persistence and pace. One, two - Town unbuckled Lincoln's shoe. Three, four - Jarman opened the door. Five, six - Till did his little tricks. Seven, eight - Burch closed the gate with a flamboyantly acrobatic one-handed save, pushing the shot beyond the far post. Clarke retrieved, cut inside, crossed and Till volleyed into the ground and straight at the keeper.

Whimper into your pea soup, Impies. This is football! Magnificent motion, marvellous marauding, fantabulistic fly-fishing! It started on the left, it ended with a goal kick, and in between the whirligig of dizzying, dazzling dancing and singing sent Lincoln into a tailspin. The Impites caught in a cat's cradle, with Bosh the fulcrum who finally coiled a first-time shot around Burch and around the left post. Let's get off the showboat and score a second goal, shall we?

In added time Lincoln finally had a chance. A hump was headed but fell to them. They surged, Town retreated; tackles were tackled, rebounds were ricocheted and LL Cool J crossed into the centre. Frecklington, alone on the penalty spot, steered a shot to Barnes' right, as the fragrant one plunged left. Out came a boot and the ball was diverted. Danger remained, bodies flung, boots flailed, a shot skittled through but was blocked by Gall and then it was time for tea.

After a timid start from Town, the game oozed the way of the righteous. Lincoln were awful. Without style or substance and a defence comprising three puddings and a cream tart. They were made to look foolish by the tiny Townites and Town really should have had a couple more goals.

It was all going beautifully, but it was only 1-0. If someone offers you a minty cone then you should take it.

Second half
Town kicked off and watched Lincoln prattle about. Not a good idea.

Lincoln prattled on and Green rattled a rasping whacker mere millimetres over the bar. Town continued to sit on the side of the road and watch the Skeggy traffic jam. It's what counts for entertainment, you know, in the Wolds.

Newey accidentally on purpose tripped an Imp on the halfway line and was booked. Lincoln screamed the free kick long and hard. A corner, a free kick, a corner, and a shot of sorts. Barnes made a save of sorts. Everyone crowded around the near post at a corner; Wright grazed out for a goal kick.

Town tempted on the break. Till was freed, but crossed to no-one. Till was freed and crossed behind everyone. Hegggarty fleeced the sheepskin coat at right back and crossed near some people. Till was freed down the left and crossed from the bye-line. Kovacs smothered Jarman as Sinclair rose majestically to head against the underside of the bar and the inside of the post. The ball rolled out to the penalty spot and Hegggarty flackled against a Lincoln bottom. Town got a corner, Burch caught it. Sit down again, your cheese is melting.

Stand up again, your toast is burning. Lincoln wellied forward and Heslop ran the wrong way. Bennett fiddled and Newey! Neweyed; a goal was disallowed. Hah, we could see that on Ceefax, it was so clear.

At this a man ran from the Town support towards Barnes' goal, pursued by three bears. Then another man ran after him; there was a kafuffle and play resumed. The sight of a silly fightette rather stirred and spurred on Lincoln: Town's spell was broken.

Jarman winkled Till away, but no-one was in the penalty box and the Impies bombed forward with a drop kick. Heslop became Hestop and a huge gap opened infield as Brown swung down their left. He crept infield and swingled, with Barnes ploughing right and parry-punching the shot aside. The Lincolnites swarmed and their little substitute, Mullarkey, tumbled as Newey! swiped at thinning air. Frecklington caressed the penalty to Barnes' right as Barnes himself flew left. A little corner of this foreign field flounced in a huff while the rest of the ground bounced.

Mullarkey fell over again. Heywood sneered and the Town fans jeered. Don't push your luck, sonny.

After 15 minutes of a model aircraft display near Heywood's eyebrows the immovable object that was Hestop was replaced by Llewellyn, and Jarman by North. Nothing much changed - Town broke frequently but mostly stood around on the edge of their own area waiting for Lincoln to pump it long and pump it high, though Llewellyn was a handy head in a tight spot twice nodding bouncing balls back to Barnes as danger lurked.

Let's forget their long shots which went wide, went high, went wide and hit Heywood's bottom. Town still threatened to threaten, with Llewellyn swishing to the bye-line and dinking a cross into the centre. Till rose alone and headed highly high from ten yards out. Llewellyn missed his shot completely when six yards out. North and Clarke triangulated and strangulated Till free, who slid in to the penalty area, staying upright despite his ankles being tapped. Curse his honesty! Town got a corner, nothing happened.

Somewhere in all this carnival carnage Straight Peter Bore came on for his two minutes of fame.

As Lincoln inflated their own egos Hunt placed a pass right down the middle. North raced through, Burch raced out. They collided and the ball rebounded out; the referee failed to see Burch shove North over.

Oh, didn't you realise, it's over.

What do you want to take from this? We didn't beat a poor side despite half a dozen excellent opportunities? Or Town were comfortably better and would have won but for a typical NEWEY! moment. The patched-up quilt that was Town's defence was rigidly applied and they defended with fortitude when Lincoln, whose wide players dwarfed the wing-backs, abandoned their subtle long ball tactics and just wellied it. When Town had the ball they created several moments of beauty. Whatever it is, it is still in there, somewhere. Jarman and Till worked well, worked hard, and worked out as a partnership. Perhaps that was the catalyst for adequacy.

It was perfectly fine, all things considered. Postpone indulgent introspection for a week and let's just laugh at Lincoln. Boy were they dreadful.