Don't stop believing

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

24 August 2022

Grimsby Town 0 Nottingham Forest 3

Remember, it's all about the journey these days.

It helps if the trains don't stop leaving Grimsby Town station before the last train to Cleethorpes. You had to be there by 4:30, despite your reservation, so no time for coffee, reminisces or a bit of conversation. To Meggieland forthwith, the game is afoot!

Floodlights, people, that's where you find emotion.

Sit right down and wait for the gift of the sounds and visions of a ram-packed and pumping Blundell Park. It's a free hit and we're all right now. I know what you're wishin' for: love in a peaceful world. And you know, just not embarrassing ourselves. A goal would be nice.

Town lined up in the current bun usual 4-2-3-1 formation as follows: Crocombe, Cropper, Efete, Waterfall, Amos, Morris, Holohan, Keirnan, Green, Clifton and Pepple. The substitutes were Battersby, Glennon, Pearson, Khouri, Braithwaite, Wearne, Maguire-Drew, Orsi and Taylor. Ah yes, Mr Orsi and your dazzling teeth, handy when the energy prices go up again. When the clocks go back just stand in the covered corner and smile, the reflection will light up our world and cut the electricity bill by 27%.

Efete at centre-back, eh? Eh? I suppose rich boys run fast and he's the quickest we have. There's sense, if not dependability. Ah Michee, we think him everything that is worthy and amiable.

And what of the visiting royalty? The oddities and soddities of those on the fringe, those left in the basket after their spending binge and a bunch of kids on the bench. Gibson-Hammond – didn't Keith Emerson used to play one of those with some knives and forks? It's a shame they left Frumious Bandersnatch back home in their Academy, there's a spare space or two on their bench.

Don't whinge about the lack of stars, we'd only be in the gutter, and we know we'd never score against our old chum Dean O'Henderson. Mmm, so, Mbe Soh, who be he? He's from PSG and big enough to give us the heeby-jeebies, but can he handle that old footballing cliché, a dry Tuesday in Grimsby? There's only one way to find out.

Let's find out shall we. It might not take us long to find out if these day trippers are up for the cup.

First half: Bats in the upper belfry

Yellow Forest kicked off towards the Pontoon with a kick and stylish rush and there's a kind of hush all over the ground as Mighten twiddled and twirled like a Scotty dog, running through Amos's legs and widdling down the line.

So listen very carefully, get closer now Danny boy, get mean and get tight on Mighten. He's a small man, now keep your shape. Whoops, the little scamp skipped away and carooned a cross. Cropper swished and missed, Dennis swished and missed.

Pestles and mortars, a Cropperchuck along the line and Keirnan swivel-lobbed from deepest, darkest fanzone corner. Cropperchucking, Pontoonchuckling. They don't like it up 'em!

Nibbles and nurdles, the evening about to curdle. A chip and chase in the shadows of the Police Box, Waterfall wrestled with Surridge's id, Efete stood aside, watching, waiting, a single word tattooed on his forehead – TURMOIL! Michee wafted against the falling Waterfall, the ball boombled to yellow. A stroll, a roll and Rowdy Yates, who can gambol better than he drinks, shinned into the top right corner from the edge of the penalty area.

Pfffffffffffft, the tiny hand-reared artisan beach balls imploded, as grown men exploded in rage at Michee's messing about near water.

Forest gumption, Town dysfunction, but don't make assumptions. You can always tell a lot about a person by their shoes. Oh Dennis, Dennis, we’re so lucky we found a striker like you against us. A slip, a slap, the wide netting brushed, Town not crushed. Yet.

Run, Forest, run! Yellow pressure, tiny tickles and tough Town tackles. Cropperchucks and Cropperhurls, Waterflicks and Waterfurls. They knew what to expect but still seemed surprised. Chucks and churls and Danny Boy wallied wayly over from way-away.

Hennessey took the goal kick quickly with Surridge waiting alone, deep, deep inside the Town half. A tussle'o'war to be sure and a throw-in to Town under the Frozen Horsebeer Stand. Cropper speared infield, straight to Green, a yellow duvet, a fey tumble, Cafu (not that one) tapped, Surridge sauntered into the penalty area, waited for movement and caressed into the space vacated by Crocombe.

And another one gone and another one gone, another beach ball bit the dust. We weren't ready for this, we're not hanging on the edge of our seats anymore. ANYMORE.

There was huffing, there was puffing, but we didn't blow their house down. Cropperchucks raining upon the Waterfall leapt long and headed wide from a deep, deep Morris free kick punted farly. An infiltration, little excitation, no good vibrations as Green face planted loopily. Big Luke trademark arising steered over from another bit of Cropperchuckery.

Two minutes were added. Passing, movement, Holohan crossed, Little Harry failed to grow six inches in six seconds.

There we are, three mistakes, two goals. The very definition of the word ruthless. Town? Valiant efforting.

Second half: Who's crying now

Taylor and Wearne replaced Pepple and Keirnan at half time.

You know it is gradually dawning on polite society that Brendan is just the kind of player of whom everybody speaks well, and nobody cares about; who all are delighted to see, and nobody remembers to talk to.

Yellow Forest slow, nowhere to go, but oh the magic feeling. Get into them! Town got into them.

Cropperchucking chaos and confusion, bibbling and a-bobbling near elite hands. Up, up and not away! Hennessey flip-flapped, Taylor scraped, the ball bamboombled through the flapper's legs, trundling goalwards. Kouyate walloped away. Hassling, hustling, pressing and no guessing at what happened next. A Cropperhurl rebuffed, retrieved and cranked back in. Hennessey stuttered into a blancmange of bodies towards the penalty spot, Taylor ducked, Taylor glanced and the ball skipped unmolested against the inside of the right post straight back to the only yellow shirt this side of the Fitties. Biancone hoiked away.

Snapping, crackling, but they ain't popping. Incoming! Taylor glanced, Hennessey clutched to bosom. Incoming! Tip, tap triangulation, Clifton clattered by the burger bar twixt Pontoon and Horsebeer as Wearne waited for the ball to drop. A free kick crumpled, Taylor stooped but didn't conquer.

Wave upon wave of monochrome movement. Morris coiled, Waterfall bedonked as only Watrefall can bedonk, Hennessey scooped lowly at the foot of the right post.

Breathless. Beautiful.

A break of rare yellowness and Cropper down inside the Town penalty area. Cropper out, Pearson on, Efete to right-back. Facts, just the facts, Jack.

Efete and Wearne lifting latches, turning and burning, Taylor stretching, the ball zimmering across the face of goal. A corner here, a corner there, a glance across the face of goal, Waterfall snickered around the back to stoop and glance over.

Got no time for explanations, got no time to lose. Surridge spun-plunged in the absence of human touch. A yellow card for a yellow diver.

Town playing the bagpipes, the hornpipes, the accordion and the euphonium. Strike up a marching band! Efete surged around dozing Donnelly, crimping lowly into the very centre as Green stretched. Bianconi stretched strechier and poked wide of the left post. Green glanced the corner and history repeated itself as the ball sailed through unmolested. And here we go again. Amos bossa novaed, Holohan leant back and steered overly.

With a quarter of an hour left Awoniyi replaced the satisfyingly anonymous and ineffective Dennis.

Town pressure at leisure, what a pleasure. Be careful, there be dragons about. A minute later a breakaway, two passes, and Surridge slapped in off the left post.

Ah well, there we are. Money talks in the end.

With ten minutes left Maguire-Drew and Khouri came on for Green and Clifton and the crowd just decided to have a sing-song as JMD give a little cameo of quintessential JMDness.

The Joggermeister slowly swayed infield and coiled a wiffler straight to Hennessey. A twizzling, sizzling, fizzling out as pirouette upon piroutte, step over upon step over sent yellowmen to queue in A&E. Jordan approached goal. Shoot laddie! He looked up, espied the scene with a gimlet eye, saw several Foresters standing by the penalty spot and precisely passed to one of them rather than one of us. Or just had a whack from six yards.

Four minutes were added. Word up! Time for some more cameos for the show reel.

Wearne loop-headed wide, Khouri slapshot and the keeper hand-jived aside from the near post. Finally, and in colour, Jogging Maguire-Drew twisted the melons one more time, stepping over like a fancy-dress Pouton on acid, gliding to the bye-line, but his chip failed to fly over the fountains of Wayne as stripes lurked beyond.
And there we have it.

What a cracking second half indeed, sir, but it was all so very Spurs in '92. Town were more than a match between the penalty areas but there's always a but. Small differences make a big difference in the end. Some will win, some will lose, football never ends, it goes on and on and on and on. At least we, and they, don't stop believing in this team, this club, right here, right now.