Gripping Yarns

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

21 August 2022

Grimsby Town 0 Sutton United 0

Sutton! Who?

Whither shall they wander North, the journey from Goosey-Goosey Gander Lane is such a pain. So well done Us, all 105 of you. You do know the greatest surface underfoot is springy turf? When was the last time the pitch had a haircut?

Welcome to the land that time forgot. We used to be somebody, we used to be contenders, for our name was everywhere, in the grime on lorries bound for Harwich and beyond. Mr T knows, Mr T remembers and we remember Mr T: 40 glorious years of velvet-voiced disappointment.

Town lined up in the now mostly usual, mostly most-times-except-when-it-isn’t 4-2-3-1 formation as follows: Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall, Smith, Glennon, Morris, Green, Wearne, Holohan, Keirnan and Taylor. The substitutes were Battersby, Cropper, Amos, Pearson, Clifton, Maguire-Drew and Pepple. Who among you is surprised by that? Oh, you, you behind the bike sheds, you laddie, you wanted Little Harry restored to his plinth. Didn't we all, but you can't always get what you want. Sometimes you'll find you get what you need.

Sutton! What? They are what everyone else is in the league: meaty, beefy, big and bouncy.

What a lovely day, bright and breezy from behind the Pontoon. A Devon cream tea around ten to three will be splendid and later, perhaps, after the game, crazy golf with an Amish couple we befriended.

OK, what's next?

First half: False grit

The yellow perils kicked off towards the Pontoon. It's high enough, it's long enough, it's straight enough. I've had enough of this already.

Hoof, boot, boot, hoof, hoof-hoof-hot footling hoofs on to the roofs. They stumble, we mumble, they're ducking and they're diving. Rigorous and vigorous, rucking and mauling, hey, don't forget the falling, falling; they're gonna drop like a stone. They're killing the atmosphere on a warm afternoon.

Yellow fiddling and faddling and falling about, a block by socks, a tumble, the ref rumbled, Boldewijn coiled a free kick into the leaping wall. A Garryowen, a grubber, and big booms into the room behind Town's back four. Whack-whack-wackaday, whack-attack. Karakakora, what a load of cack. Dozy, Beaky, Mich and Tich, our four flankers of the apocalypse, lost in a haze of yellow whirls and curls. Imagine no Town possession, it's easy if you try.

Fragments of moments of almostness. Green's ministry of silly walks toe-poked across the pitch and Holohan steer-walloped straightly past the left post.

He could sidestep three men in a telephone box, he's like Bambi on speed. Chase me, chase me! It's Duncan Neufville nutmegging Efete and swaying to the music on the radio. Waterfall stood and swiped at the near post: away with yer damned spot. The corner quickened and crossed, Boldewijn emerged farly and nearly to head back across the face of goal. Or it may have been a throw-in. Frankly, my dear I don't give a damn.

They're still not standing after all this time? Whenever the ball arrived in any penalty box some yellow clad bounder hit the turf and the referee provided non-comic relief for the bounders. A nonedescript yellow chuck-in was clattered away from the deep Town left. A perplexing peep and the weirdest drop ball ever in the world of weird drop balls. Even in the year 2525, if man is still alive, there will no answer to this riddle. The whistling wally wandered across and simply dropped the ball at the feet of the winger, waving away defenders. Repeat inaction: hoof, head, fall, free kick. Hoof, head, fall, free kick.

Their arms hangin' limp at their sides, their legs got nothin' to do. Wearne and Keirnan, as much use as a lighthouse in a desert today.

And again the ghost of Waterfall's past rattled along the corridor of uncertainty between his ears. He remembered who he was, not who he is. Wilson hassled and disrobed our Warrior King, waltzing towards the Pontoon. Crocombe swooped like a Scooby Doo monster, the ball boombled back and up for Wilson, who veered wildly, swayed away from the line, away from the line, away from the line and out for a goal kick.

Long balls, longer balls, balls that were long. Balls, balls, balls, but although their world may be frantic, they're still romantic in their own way. A long chuck halfly cleared and volleyed by Wilson in some way that many will claim to be adjacent to football. In my mind it's similar to a cow kicking over a milk pail. It’s a SNAFU, it's a fol-de-rol.

Ah, moments. Keirnan flibbled and flabbled far away across the fields. Bog-standard big balling, a yellow shot blocked and scrambled clear by Holohan. Keirnan hared off, pursued by a bear and was legged up. Glennon's free kick flew off a southern man who kept his head. A corner. A corner delayed as the turquoise turnip ticked off various humans for pushing and shoving. Glennon coiled, the ball dropped, ropey Rose flapped and the ball flopped and plopped straight into the net. Happiness for half a second. Happiness, the greatest gift that we possess, but it's just an illusion. The peeping pillock was filled with delusion, seeing an invisible hand and invisible touch, disallowing the goal even before Glennon had raised a boot.

A pre-ordained decision, based on assumptions. Nitwittery at its most nitwittiest. Only the U-benders were laughing.

Town vaguely Towning about, haphazardly shinning and skinning rabbits. Holohan walloped wayly over, Waterfall tripped a sprinter. Pressure, crosses, headers, clearances, half-hearted half shots, so what kind of half is this? An empty shell, ah well, mustn't dwell.

Two minutes were added, enough for Papa John to cry after Taylor's perfectly normal leap forward. We ended as we began, with a whimper.

Indulged spoilballers toiling, foiling and falling as the home crowd was boiling. This was nothing. Yeah, watching this game you're suffering, with the worstest of curses.

Second half: Ooh you are offal

Neither team made any changes at half time.

Piecing together an occasional vague sentence and some garbled chanting heard during these small hours, it appears that our victims were making their way towards the home support in the Pontoon Stand when they were set upon by a gang of miscreants.

Bit of them themming themmingly in the way them do. A shot. Wide. They kicked the ball high, they kicked the ball long, they ran after the ball, they fell over. That's entertainment?

So what happens now? Another foot race and another fall, tedious and tediosity made flesh. Eastmond successfully fell over Holohan's slide. A booking.

The change it had to come, we knew it all along, but before the hour? He must be seething, John, seething. A double subbing with Morris and Keirnan replaced by Clifton and Pepple. Town moved to 4-4-2. Va-va voom! For a while.

Zip and zap, Clifton tapped Efete to the bye-line. A low cross through the eye of many needles, dissecting, bisecting, vivisecting but not intersecting with any stripey boots. Little Harry hassled, Pepple added pep, both were very nominatively determined.

Them, the drearily effective functionalists, they shuffled their deckchairs, not the arrangement of the deckchairs. Balls were still big. In a series of fortunate events the back of Green's head and the back of Efete's head stopped the ball arriving in the back of the net.

Slugging, chugging, this game is bugging us, baby. It's aerial kabaddi and calamity colliding, a big disgrace to the human race. Ah-ha, have we a gift from the Magi? Milsom messed up marvellously, tickling perfectly into the flightpath of Pepple in the shadow of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand. The Bim with vim voraciously hovercrafted towards the quaking keeper. Rose stood his ground, Pepple watched the keeper ache left and carefully passed low and right against the last of Rose's trailing toes. The ball spundoodled up and away for a corner, eventually. A Town corner is simply a prelude to a Sutton free kick for some clownish pratfalls half seen from the corner of the referee's eye.

With a quarter of an hour left change is all around and, it is fair to say, the increasingly round Jogging M-D arrived to much fanfare. And what was his contribution to road safety? He wasn't any worse than Wearne.

Pepple! Shuffling, shaking, baking bagels in front of the yellow wall. A swing, a sway, a cute curl and Rose flew right to parry aside. At least he's made things happen and is exploding into space. He's learned a lot in a week.

Ah, between the bad beginning and the end we have the penultimate peril as substitute Smith slalomed and slung lowly through the thicket. We're not on the slippery slope to misery or the ersatz elevator to defeat, you can rely on Mild Max to scoop the poop.

Pepple again, throwing pebbles into the millpond, causing consternation through moving limbs. The ball squimbled and squirtled and Taylor spun-scruffled a dribbler from the penalty spot that slunk apologetically past the left post.

And them? Still balling bigly and falling quickly. A boom! Waterfall waited for the sky to fall as Kouassi flew in unseen from Mars. Boos were hooed as Kouassi lay face down in the dirt as his mates were all a-twitter, trying to get Big Luke sent off. Victim blaming is so popular these days. A Town free kick with much ado about nothing, the pastel peeper satisfying his lust for glory by booking Green and Boldewijn.

Hi-ho silver, open up your beach umbrella if you're watching on TV. Activity in front of the Pontoon. Hacking and thwacking and the ball burst. New balls please, we're British. What a farce.

Six minutes were added, most spent watching Suttonites dibbing and dobbing, slipping and sobbing. Ah! It's here, this is it. The moment that makes up for this dull game. Pepple picked a pocket and tappled to the unmarked Taylor. Oh dear, the old man stumbled and fumbled as he made his way to the shops on his mobility scooter. If only he'd bought the deluxe sports model with that bigger battery he'd be able to go faster for longer.

Time and tide wait for no man. Rose scootered out and wrapped the pensioner in a tartan blanket, with a cup of tea and digestive biscuit on the side table.

Remember the end of THE END can only be found at the end of THE END. This is the end and it was not beautiful, my friend.

There is nothing, for this was nothing, a bad game ruined by a dingbat official indulging the visiting rugby team. Today there is no black or white, only shades of Gray.