Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
6 February 2022
Notts County 1 Grimsby Town 2
It's the biggest game in football anywhere in the world today, or at least anywhere near the World of Mowers, or is it Mower World? I always get those two mixed up. Yes, yes, yes it's the monochrome Midlands derby, two clubs hitched together in a shared history of ups and downs and flying around, looping the loop through the divisions and just about defying the circling scamsters.
It's raining again with no cracks in the clouds to reveal blue skies as Town turned up in powder blue against the 'Pies. Behold the visiting vista of 2,454 travelling Townites, watch the chantering and bantering disappear into the silent sound of the half-filled ground.
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall, Pearson, Amos, Sousa, Coke, Raikhy, Clifton, McAtee and Taylor. The substitutes were Smith, Fox, Wright, Burgess and Abrahams. C'mon, c'mon I can see no ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, that's just the way it is. Why change horses in midstream? We dodged a bullet with our central stodge city last week.
Ooh look, a man with Australian hair! It's Jeremy Kyle Cameron strutting around with a squashed hedgehog on his head.
Who'll be flustered first by the blustering wind?
First half: Tittering and tottering
Kneeless Notts kicked off towards the emptier end, where the Town fans lurked in the sidebar that is the Jimmy Squirrel Stand. A Town throw-in and Sousa spun his web of deceit in the corner for a corner, but he be no cornerboy. Raikhy clumped, Shaun of the Pearson arose and bewthonked back across and wide and, well, that's all there was to the first minute.
We had a very good minute. Outstanding.
Chips, chumps and chases and Crocombe passed out, then Crocombe chucked out. Such sloppiness in the slippiness, leading to droopiness in the stands.
Striped slitherings on the flanks and their Taylor crossed lowly with no home boots or heads on this side of the Trent. The other wing-back backed his wings and learned to fly, zip-zapping a teaser through the abyss, where no man be found. And here we go again, wing-backery, Town slackery, are we here? Is there a midfield? Strangulation by triangulation, have you seen Town's little piggies, crawling in the dirt? There's something lacking, we're in for a darn good whacking.
Eluding and deluding with another cross and another fall, thankfully they aren't tall. I suppose we'd better start talking about Mr Roberts. Short, stocky with an acute sense of sight and hearing and a highly developed sense of touch in full flight. Town were rocky when this raccoon sniffed around. Remember, a raccoon's forefeet are extremely agile.
Roberts rolling in the dirt, leaving blue shirts flapping. A swish and dishy dink sailed over the sliding Wootton, was scraped back and knock-kneed up off the prone striker at the near post inside the six-yard box. Crocombe claw-pawed from under the bar, slapping back to a waiting blue boot. Whoah, whoops, wow!
Roberts, Roberts, Roberts, on their right, right, right, scuttling and scurrying hither and thither. Cutting in, cutting out and widely curling from the corner of the penalty area.
There's an existential hole in the centre of our world.
On the quarter hour Crocombe chip-clipped down the middle. McAtee shrugged when some bad hair approached. Roberts hoovered up near the halfway line, sashayed in a straight line slalom towards and past the old trickling Waterfall, into the vacancy where Efete would have been had a 'Pie not wafted beneath his nose, and crackled a crinkle lowly back across the Kiwi-keeper. I can hear Barry Davies, for you have to say that was magnificent.
As Roberts soaked up the rain and our pain Crocombe picked up the ball and belted it back upfield – straight against the back of the ref's head. He was now both soggy and groggy, dazed and confused, does he know where he's going, does he know where he's been?
There were moments. Now and then. Efete accidentally crossed into the side netting, Rodrigues legged up the prancing Efete. There wasn't much more Michee could do without movement from a Mariner or two. Slowly, slowly, Town pressed against the Pies. Are they all sauce and no meat?
By-heck, that's a surprise. After weeks of unseen man-handling the referee saw things few others could see. Lateral flappings and collateral damage. Hedgehog head gently ploughed through McAtee on the very edge of the penalty area, thunder-heading clear. I hear thunder in the heart of Nottingham, a storm raging they could barely control as they howled into the wind. Taylor waited for the boo-hooing to subside, then smashled lowly and left of Jaros, right into the corner. The short-haired loanee from Liverpool stretched and finger-tipped against the post and the ball skittled out for a throw-in.
Mr Roberts well, well, well you're feeling fine. Mr Roberts, you come and go, you come and go. Dribbling, drabbling, Town scrabbling in his slipstream. A dink over and under winking eyes and twinkling toes, the ball avoiding contact with the human race. Now. Now is the time, to be aware. Oh my, there's something in the sky. Ah, yes, the ball will be waiting in the car park afterwards for me and you and the dog named boo. Blah, blah Roberts, blah, blah, slippy-rippy-nippy and a Brunt punt slip-slided away into the Trent. Roberts twisted again, Rodrigues spunwiffled a piffle for Crocombe to clasp lowly, barely making a drama out of a crisis.
Mr Roberts, who on earth do you think you are? A superstar? Well right you are. Waterfall outpaced and he who is king of the road curled wide. Yes, Roberts, a soccer superstar at this level. Running, dribbling, scoring a goal.
And then a funny thing happened on the way to half-time. The Pies sagged. Town turned the tourniquet, squeezing, pleasing, easing back into the game. Pressure. Efete started to roam again, Sousa, well, when one thinks of Erico one word springs to mind. Sausages.
A McAtee dink, Taylor finagled himself into the dead zone where full-backs and wing-backs aren't, chested down and blimpled over the angle of post and bar. Hey Countymen, beware entryists on the left. Infiltrations and deliberations as McAtee was slippered in by Taylor, but blocked by cheese. A corner, a corner, with a bit of this and a bit of that and one of our own swivel-hooked well widely.
Much knee-knocking in the home ends as bluesmen swarmed. Well, they had been warned. Toes tapped, thighs slapped and Clifton swiped against the underside of the bar after some McAteeing upness.
Two minutes added, long enough for Coke's remembrance of things past with a super-scrape tackle of a fleeing local. Then everyone fled down the tunnel.
They hammered us then after half an hour, disappeared. They should have been four up, yet Town should also be level. Bizarre. Destination unknown.
Is the elephant in the room or has it left town?
Second half: Notts in knots
Fox replaced Coke at half-time.
All Town are we? Oh yes.
Here we go, here we come, here comes the sun even though the hard rain's gonna keep falling. Be-bop a-Sousa, he's really cooking those sausages now. Foxtrotting and Efete's electric feet. Sousa cracked and white-striped hands saved the day, the rebound falling McAtee's way to slapper a bumbler well wide.
Let's have a ball while McAtee takes the biscuit against fading white stripes. The Ego has landed, unlike the ball. Big John set free as a bird on the right and slicing into the emptiest part of the emptiest stand, where hurricanes and humans rarely happen. The Man dribbled and wibbled through the left as Sousa stood behind the last defender in front of goal.
Metronomic Mcslicing and Mcdicing. He's swishing high, he's swishing wide after Sousa was scythed in the centre. Little Harry infiltrations causing palpitations. He's giving us excitations. We've got good vibrations going.
Sometime, somewhere, white stripes approached Crocombe. Then they ran away home.
Boys keep swinging and winging. Heeeeeere's Johnny. A tickle and tease and fabtastic Fox shot through the white noise. Slap happy Jaros granny-shovelled wide in a most p-p-perculiar way. One-way traffic on a one-way ticket, is there free parking around here? Sexy Sousa made a fool of everyone of striped persuasion, flying into the spaces between friends, crossing behind the Taylor, twirling solitary Townsman.
Town, Town, all Town is it? It is. County dissolving under the slightest pressure as the boys in blue harassed and hassled, squeezing their pips, dishevelling their flower arranging. Get in to their face, give no time and space and County become Eastleigh without wings.
And what is their plan B? Sling on a big man and stick it in the mixer. You're so-phisticated.
Fox clashed elbows and heads with a homester and heads were rubbed in medically methodical fashion – is that part of the concussion protocol now? Ah, then Fox fell down clutching his highly strung hams. It's time for some Maximum Wright and Little Harry became centrally placed to scuffle and Savoy shuffle. Ah, what was sour has now turned sweet, what a treat.
Efete and Sousa constantly gardening, digging for weeds, who could ask for more, especially with County being so poor? Mr Teasy-Weasy Sousa tickled many fancies, McAtee manicured the lawn, Wright sat on a lap at the near post, the ball bubbled and Taylor turned to burn highly and ran off to Filey.
And the banterboys tumbled down the stands with legs akimbo and eyes a-popping.
Ah, the Kraken awakes. Those sleeping beauties emerged from their 40-minute snooze. All hands on deck, full steam ahead, Mister Boatswain, full steam ahead. A cross, a corner, a header wide. A cross, a paw, a cross, a claw, a cross, a scrimp and scrape. Cut the cable, drop the cable. Aye-aye, sir, aye-aye.
Wright in the wrong and a free kick farly. Mr Roberts coiled lowly, legs wiggled, Crocombe kicked away from lurking dangerness. On came a bigger man to join the big man. Ups were undered. Incoming! In the hole! Here's Harry, there's Shaun. A leg, a head, any old body part will do.
Anybody here seen old friend John? He freed a lot of people today but maybe his legs have gone. We just looked around and then he's gone. So now we see our new friend Abrahams.
So what happens in the last five minutes of every Bananarama game? Boom-bang-a-bang, as everyone knows.
As the last minute beckoned nicks were knocked in front of the Town support. Amos stepped in to a fey tipple and chased his high inter-poke as a lazing defender loped. Hassled by Cornflake boy he back-passed blindly. Abrahams snuck into the void and was plucked back by the unpacy Lacey. Just a yellow? Sir, you are too kind to your hosts, do you afear no pickle in your post-match corned beef sandwiches?
Amos and Riakhy stood over the ball waving, and Amos chipped beyond the farthest post. Waterfall nodded sagely and Efete arrived at the near post to toe-poke between the keeper's legs.
Ah the tumbling dice were in a hurry to get to the boys in blue, no-one stopped to worry about the consequences of their love. There's a lot of bruised shins in town tonight.
Six minutes were added. Don't you see the time flashin' by.
Abrahams chivvied, chased and ran down the clock by running into the corners. A shove, a block and back they came. Balls in the box! High, high, high, punch, paw, claw and parry. A corner skipped to the near post, Clifton headed out of Crocombe's hands and Big Max headed away the slap-shot. They're here, they're in the trees! Striped man freed, a striped man crossed, manfully steered away by Harry.
Is that it? Finally, finally the final whistle blew to make all those in blue full of the joys of this life. This season ain't over yet.
Hey County, this is what you get when you mess with us, we're in a calmer place now.
A game that encapsulates why each team thinks they can go up, but shows why neither team will. They were dominant but reckless. And then Town were dominant but feckless. They ran rings round Town, then Town ran rings around them.
For all that a cracking game. And then the lights went out when the last ball was kicked. Now that's entertainment.