Stop all the clocks

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

23 October 2022

Grimsby Town 0 Bradford City 0

Is everybody in? Is everybody in? Is everybody in? The tide is out and the ceremony is about to begin.

There's something strange in our neighbourhood. It's all going so very well these days. Strange days indeed.

Town lined up in a 4-3-3, sometimes 4-1-4-1 formation as follows: Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall, Smith, Clifton, Green, Holohan, Khan, Taylor and Kiernan. The substitutes were Maher, Morris, Hunt, Richardson, Maguire-Drew, Simmonds and Orsi. After all the Hurstian fluff, what has changed is that nothing has changed.
Just one question: how high are the clouds? No, no, not that one, there's only question in town today: is Crichlow's hair the elephant in the room?

Actually the clouds are high, the sun is up, the sky is blue, there's not a lot more for us to do except stand up, stamp our feet, bang that big bass drum. What a picture Blundell Park is. All we want is a seat with a view and a sight worth seeing.

OK, vision on.

First half: Countdown to ecstasy

Town kicked off towards the ram-packed Osmond with a wallop into the Dentists Stand. Never again in the field of football conflict shall so little… 'Old it! Flash, bang wallop, Wright skipped away and things almost happened.

Tickles and tackles, cast off those shackles. Disrobing and disruption and Big Bren boundered away, crossed deeply and Crichlow ducked and haired away from the lurking Taylor. Worth on ooh.

Ooh are yer? A tickle inside the slumbering Efete and Wright acid-dropped away on his skaterboard. Alley-oop, phew, there's a flag fluttering that stopped the muttering at Michee. Big Luke had a word. Crocombe clobbered downfield, a Bantam battered back upfield and Chapman chuntered away, a way beyond stripes, straight down the middle. The Kiwikeeper crept out, Chappers broke his stride and, as if by magic, Smith appeared to hook away from their Harry. C'est magnifique.

Sliding, swiping, dripping and dropping, stripes just about stopping the runaway train. Low blocks, high blocks, pull up those socks. Sock it to 'em, baby! A nudge and nurdle and the referee played a one-two with a scampering Banterboy. Waddyamean play on? He's in the way and they ran away to play the fiddle in the middle as we're feeling diddled. Lots of shots but what have you got? A corner leftly, a corner rightly, Cook rose on the penalty spot, the ball arced through empty air towards a pair of resting nesting birds. Glennon arose above a Bantam to head up, up and away off the line. Lucky that chickenboy was particularly flightless.

This is a conflict of strategy, of organisation, of technical apparatus, of science, mechanics and morale. We shall fight them wherever they roam. And take a very long time over a goal kick.

All that pressure got you down, has your head been spinning all around? Feel the rhythm, check the time. Twenty minutes. Don't worry, something will turn up and we can have a good time. Ah, a drinks break. Well, it is unseasonally unchilly out there. Have a sip and take a tip from the Brains Trust. Listen to Deputy Doig: get a grip.

Sorting was sorted. Clifton got carried away and Khan was smothered. A corner. That is more information than is necessary at this point in your life. Let's move on shall we and pretend it never happened.

Bishes were boshed, battles weren't lost. Move 'em on, head 'em up, cut 'em out, ride 'em in. Keep movin', movin', movin', got to keep on groovin' on a Saturday afternoon. Taylor tapped, Khan zapped and his cross zipped across the noses of many. Holohan retrieved and Green swept a swipe around and over waving gloves and against the angle of post and bar. And? And we're back to mudwrestling, me hearties, with Keirnan booked for lately arriving to a party without a Watney 7. A can of cider will not do.

And back the Bantamboys came. Red sock blocks, stripey slideys, monochromic mashes. Pereira cut in and bedraggled as Crocombe knelt down and simply patted divots. Cook headed across the face of goal and the remarkably unmarked Wright freely headed wide from a couple of yards out. Stay frosty, there's a flag fluttering in the distance.

Just a minute for all that hesitation and repeated deviations? That'll do nicely. Keirnan cutely crawled past a paltry poultryman and rolled into the void at the heart of the Bradford defence. Holohan slid and swiped overly from nearby and that almost did for them nicely.

Town were strong and staunch and Cook's definitely lost his paunch, so if you're happy with parity clap your hands.

Second half: Can buy a thrill

Morris replaced Keirnan at half time with Little Harry moving to the right wingish and Holohan most certainly in the McAtee hole.

Into them, into them, Town got into them. Clifton clear and Clifton surrounded by trees. Efete's rambling roam up the coast was halted by land mines and mortars lobbed from a passing motor boat. Mugging and chugging, Big Luke hugging anyone who entered his personal space.

When times are hard you find yourself somebody who can do the job for free: a scuttling shuffle from the gaudy stripes was halted by Waterfall stepping out. Here we come, there they go, up and down, left and right, back and forth. It's in, it's out and that's just the crowd booting the ball away.

A Foulds cross flipped over, a corner shortened quickly, clipped and clopped and headed back. Chapman waited for the moon to fall, bumped a stripe aside, spun and crinkled lowly. Crocombe flew left, flicked his fingers and flipped up against the post. The ball boompled straight to Pereira, standing four yards out. Glennon lurched forward and the sky's the limit as earth's newest mission to Mars was launched.

Khan dispossessed a dawdler, midway between here and there, sweeping out to Clifton, and racing into the middle to fancy flick. The ball slowly coiled past a Yorkist, arced towards the farthest corner. Lewis leapt and clawed away.

With Bradford visibly wilting, Angol, the perennial rejectionist, came on for Pereira. So what, he's history. Town! Them almost almostly nearly. Town! Hooking from Holohan and the ball shimmered across the face of goal. Smith pressed some flesh for some Morris dancing and Holohan snuggled behind Platts. Lewis loomed, and our fumbling, stumbling Irish rover scrumble-buffled against the lime leaper.

Hang on, wait a sec. Yes, OK, I've got my breath back. We go again.

Roaming on the right, lilting on the left, they're giving us infiltrations and good vibrations. A corner. Elevation! Another, another and back-stumbling Lewis flip-flapped off the line as a Glennon drooper dropped. And another. Green stepped back and coiled overly as a deeper dripper arrived. Little Harry volleyed another cleared corner safely wide.

Bradford? They were trying, but we have Waterfall and Smith. Moments, mere moments, just a couple of distant thrumps and Angol on the angle, his left leg a-dangle but he couldn't wangle his way between Luke and Max.

They shall not pass. We did. Oh yes, we did.

Green hooked chickens off the rotisserie, Morris mugged many, Holohan picked a pocket or three. Efete punted a free kick deeply, Holohan sniggled behind Crichlow and chested on. Lewis pounced, Crichlow flounced, and as three men converged on the same spot Holohan spun and swung and bedraggled wide. And with that, with ten minutes left, the exhausted Gav O'Groves was replaced by Richardson.

Harry hurried, tricky Dickieson wiggled and waggled and Lewis beat away a head-high torpedo. Another minute, have another go. A headless chicken was mugged under the Police Box as Richardson retrieved and roamed and Lewis finger-flipped a low slap across the face of the farthest post. Blundell Park breathless and bouncing.

Andy Cook. Gone. Was he even on the pitch in the second half? Bradford getting closer to thoughts of an attack. You could see it in their eyes, maybe one more shove of the ha'penny and they may get the cuddly toy. With a couple of minutes left Maguire-Drew replaced the game and perky Khan.

Four minutes added – time ticked on, balls were balled, falls weren't called as fouls to the howls of the home crowd. Can we go home now? A punt, the barest of shunts and a free kick awarded to Bradford, just outside the penalty area at the very end of the end of the day. This is the end, surely? Hands raised, heads down, the ball was dinked deeply, towards double trouble beyond the farthest post. A sage nod travelled across the face of the six-yard box to Gilliead. He took a touch, turned and was mighty miffed to see that everyone had already gone home. The ref ended the affair, denying day-trippers one final miss.

If any team deserved an undeserved victory it was probably Town, in the end, just. Bradford duffed us up for a bit, then a tactical tweak or two saw Town overrun them. It was simply a superb game of football in a superb atmosphere.

The right result, the right stuff, all's right with our world.