A hard day's night

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

14 September 2022

Grimsby Town 1 Gillingham 1

Place, park, scene, dark with a harvesty moon shining through the trees. Give short shrift to the autumn drift.

There's a chill in the air but we don't care for it's good to be back home again where everybody says hello. You know there's nowhere else to go.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall, Smith, Glennon, Keirnan, Morris, Holohan, Clifton, Taylor and Richardson. The substitutes were Battersby, Maher, Green, Hunt, Wearne, Orsi and Simmonds. Well, what worked in Wales cannot fail, so let's have some home comforts from abroad.

Gillymen, all in blue. What more is there to do? Kick off? Sparks will fly, when the whistle blows.

First half: Reflections in a flat game

Gillingham punted off towards the Pontoon. With a punt.

Wakey-wakey, Town are a little flaky. Punting, shunting, everyone hunting high and low. Ah-ha! Dilatory dawdling, Kashket shot for not quite a throw-in.

A break, Town awake! Flappy foreign keeping and there were colours and noise far, far away as Richardson swayed to the rhythm. A corner in, a corner out. Higgles and piggles, wiggles and waggles. The ball boombled freely, Smith slap-shot straight at their Morris who spoondled and squirmbled and the greasy piglet was free. Taylor pounced to prod.

Bluesmen strumming, always running, how very cunning. A corner low, a corner high and the ref had a word with Smith and a big bloke in blue. Coiled highly, longly, Crocombe lost in bodies, the ball headed back amidst much flapping and faffing. Mandron Tiller-girled and whirled away as the custardian sought sanctuary in Dave Moore's magic sponge.

Toiling toshery for the stuttering classes. There is nothing. There is nothing. There's just a series of still images with no one under the illusion that there was movement. A half-remembered slap, a completely forgotten tickle. Waterfall headed a free kick back into the mixer – The Gillymen were not shaken, the Marinermen were not stirred.

Silent night, all is calm out there. Are you dreaming of Svalbard again?

Pinball pratfalls and Kashket wandered lonely as a cloud floating over to the corner. He fluttered and danced in the breeze past some cardboard cut-outs and Crocombe parry-punched away, away darn spot. Well, the penalty spot.

Moments, now and again. Kashket shot for not quite a throw-in. Holohan shot, now that is definitely a throw-in. A blue corner through everyone, everywhere. A blue corner again and Mandron arose above the sulkers to head in perfectly finely. What about the orange? An outbreak of delayed guilt and the goal was disallowed for walking on the cracks in the pavement before midnight. Ena Twigg never predicted that did she!

Moments. They're a box of chocolates. God, I could murder a Cadbury's Flake.

Town, a slow puncture, deflating in real time. The calls for Bicycle Repairman rang out. Ding-ding-ding, vague striped pressure, legs-a-thrashing, head banging against a blue wall. A Keirnan shot deflected off blue and smiggled down off the bar, nutmegging their Morris on the way back out. Thrashing limbs and Waterfall volleyed, Morris plunged low and right to tipple aside with unnecessary and certainly unexpected competence.

A Glennon free kick coiled, Efete headed down. Morris safely swept the ball into his bosom. Morris, always their Morris. What's ours up to? Beats me.

Two minutes added during which Adelakun power-walked the length of the prom, his day trip ended by a Waterfall block. Or was it Harry? Or was it an illusion? Was it a kind of dream, for there's a strange glow in the sky and nobody seems to know where the ball goes.

Two goals, two accidents, two of us going nowhere.

Second half: Shift that log

Now it's gettin' late and the moon is climbin' high, so Gillingham replaced Kashket with Green at half time.

Look at the sky, look at the river, isn't it good. The twinkling lights of Easington have never looked so enticing.

With everyone zonked out waiting for the sun to come up, a blue free kick was reversed to the unmarked Adelakun down in the Fanzone Zone. On he flew, flashing lowly across the face of goal, through the only flightpath that didn't contain a sliver of human flesh. Mandron slid and missed at the farthest post.

A full-court press and Gills gasping. Morris passed the parcel, Clifton crossed, Taylor back-flicked and a stray bluesman swept off the line. Keirnan chased down Morris and after a hoo-haa Holohan's shot skittled past the far post off several diving blue legs. A corner. Well you know the score, you've seen it all before, we've reverted to the pre-Waterfallian times. Ah, shame.

What have we but end-to-end emptiness. We have nothing but end-to-end emptiness. Holohan wibbled, our Morris wobbled, a dispiriting dispossessing and Crocombe patted Mandon's crinkle. Corners, headers, things, here and there. By them. What are we? Where are we?

Morris was replaced by Hunt. Did anyone notice?

Clifton clattered by Adelakun after a surge. A yellow card. The free kick was lost in music, we're caught in a trap. Wearne and Simmonds replaced Keirnan and Morris. There's no turning back. Hunt disrobed a Kentish stroller, Wearne wiggled, Efete waggled and the cross passed through the eye of a very large needle. Pinball wizardry, Holohan's long shot spoondled off a blue bottom and Morris leapt rightly to push aside.

Mandron was booked as Waterfall was felled by a stray blue body part. Holohan was booked for hooking a gliding Gill. The free kick lumped and dumped, halfly cleared and banged back lowly. Mandron poked in and sighed at the sight of a distant flag fluttering offside.

Four minutes were added and the game ended with Glennon slide swiping and missing the galloping Green.

Sludgery and drudgery, 'twas a chore to watch this bore. How can the light that burned so brightly at Newport suddenly burn so pale? I can't lie to you about our chances, I'd rather listen to a symphony. It was total toshball. But any defeat avoided, that's summat I suppose.