Raspberry Ballet

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

13 November 2022

When the mist's a-rising and the rain is falling, and the wind is blowing cold across the moor it's time for your average flatland Tyke to nip down t' Meggies for a paddle and a bag o' chips. Hello again, dear Donnyfolk, welcome back to your past. 

A clear, bright and spinky-spanky day of stillness by the banks of the Humber where the sun is low and grown men slumber in the home stands. Near twelve hundred sons and daughter of York bobbed along in the Osmond, the covered corner full; it's standing room only in an all-seater stadium. Now there's an illogical conundrum for you. It's déjà vu all over again.

Town lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation as follows: Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall, Smith, Glennon, Morris, Hunt, Clifton Holohan, Khan and Kiernan. The substitutes were Cropper, Amos, Maher, Khouri, Richardson, Simmonds and McAtee. What worked against Plymouth would obviously work against Donny, eh? Obviously. Nothing can go wrong now. And look who's coming to tea. Look at the small print. Here's Johnny.

Doncaster kept their coats on, revealing their latest creation only after all the pre-match rituals had been completed. Shocking, positively shocking that pink outfit be. And they're big in a Plymouth-big way. You know, big blocks with big shoulders.

Let's cut these tall poppies down to size.

1st half – Men at Work
Town kicked off towards the Pontoon and, for the four seconds it took for the ball to fly out of play, dominated proceedings. Savour them four seconds, they were the best of times. We were happy with our lot, for we had the spring of hope.

And in the fifth second we entered the winter of despair. You see, Doncaster had the ball and, boy, did they have a ball with the ball.

Triangulations, strangulation, fizzing, whizzing, crash-bang-wallop. Did you see that? Have you seen the little pinkies crawling past our shirts. And for all those quite big pinkies life will not get worse. There they are, lined up licking their lips, clutching forks and knives to eat our bacon.

Nicking, knocking and Knoyle crossed out for a throw-in. Pink pressing, striped messing, a slippy corner swiped shonkily by Efete at the near post. A roaming Rover befuggled Glennon, Miller shed his dowdy feathers and flew a little bit, and Crocombe's spectacu-parry was eventually hoiked aside by a fortunately placed monochromer.

A welcome welly down the right and Kiernan dribbled, dithered and was dispossessed as he entered the outer limits that some called the opposition penalty area. Donny chipped and Miller chased into the twighlight zone between Smith and Waterfall. He wiggled, he waggled, he saw a vast void uninhabited by the local tribes far, far in the distance. Georgie Boy rolled into the Glennonlessness, Knoyle knocked back across the face of goal and Miller stood by the farthest post and tapped into the most unguarded of nets.

And off he went behind the goal, swinging down the street so fancy free.

Pink flashings, striped hashings, we're in for a darn good thrashing. Or maybe this is a replay of last week and they'll sink into comfortable complacency?


They really do need to have a word with their kitman. So many players with loose boot laces. It can't be a coincidence, it must be a defective batch.

Messy Mariners and a panicking Pontoon as the pink hordes flew forward towards our custardian. Falling, falling, falling Donnymen always falling when danger lurked in either penalty area.

Holy Mackerel, holey left-backs and Biggins blasted into the pier. Holes, holes, so many holes, right and especially left. When Glennon advanced Donny danger was enhanced and a nobbly Knoyle filled the void. It was almost as though they'd been watching us.

Kiernan. Let's get this out of the way now, I know you've been on the edge of your seats. What about Big Bren? He was offside. When? Always.

Look, over there, did you see it? I thought I saw the trees move. Harry bedraggled and the ref pointed cornerwards. Glennon failed to elevate on instruction, Holohan ducked at the near post and the ball rose above the stands. The ball boy waited, arms hangin' limp by his sides, legs got nothing to do, staring skywards, standing alone, still standing now as you read this in the year 2525. The ball is lost. All is lost.

Holes again, Knoyle again! Town certainly not whole again, as the left was left alone and their waltzing wingish back was smothered by Smith's big block of cheese. A corner flung and hung and Harry ran away with the spoon. A square on the hypotenuse and Khan's shovel sent Clifton clattering goalwards. Villain, take my purse! Mitchell raced out to the very edge of the edge of his penalty area and Little Harry carefully passed against yellow socks.

Oh dear, their shoelaces have come undone again. And here they go falling over again.

Town? Look, I told you, Kiernan was offside. Efete almost crossed once. Almost. Holohan passed the buck rather than try his luck. There are distant memories floating down through the clouds, or is that just another drop kick from Max? Town were shapeless, formless, hopeless, hoping to come third in a two-horse race.

Flicks and tricks and Gorgeous George ran rings around the loons, coiling above the farthest post and the farthest bar.

Two minutes were added, enough for a couple of yellow cards for striped pushes and pulls and Crocombe floppings ended Molyneux's mazy meanderings.

Caught cold, caught early, caught out, caught often. Town noodled whilst Donny burned through the paper walls. Without invention we need divine intervention. Well, McAtee is on the bench, there is hope of a second coming.

2nd half – Cry Baby Cry
Neither side made any changes at half time.

You could convince yourself, if you close one eye and think only in black and white, that Town gave it a go. A corner, some crosses, a free kick in the covered corner dropped farly. Holohan leant back, headed highly high and widely wide at the far post. Waterfall ruffled Gav O'Groves' hair. Don't worry, lad, next time. We can still do this.

No we can't. Wake up, get out of the shower, you're daydreaming again. I remember April when the sun was in the sky.

Glennon upended his nemesis in what would have been the shadows of the Police Box if it was about eight in the morning. Ah yes, the glorious sunrise and sunsets over Grimsby, it reminds me of the summer of '85, picking peas at Salvo's. Have you ever seen the sun come up over the Findus factory? Stunning.

What, eh football, oh yes. In and out, half cleared whence it came, winked back and quarter cleared by Holohan. To where? Straight down the middle, just outside the D. And there lurked a bubblegum boy, perfectly adjusting his pink pants. We could see the fuschia and it didn’t work for us. Biggins blasted straight as an arrow into the top right corner. Crocombe had no chance, and neither do we now.

Noodling and doodling, it passes the time. Town do pass the time, just not the ball. Donny had moments, I couldn't care less about them, and neither could you. So let's just fast forward ten minutes. There's nothing for you here.

On the hour three in, three out, as Simmonds and Richardson replaced Khan and Hunt. Wait, there’s more…McAtee-backatee-wooo. Big John replaced Big Bren. And the whole town erupted with joy unbound. He who is the messiah, but occasionally a naughty boy, has returned in the hour of need.

Fiddling, faddling, Town paddling around. Knoyle ran away and on and on as stripes retreated and lobbed into the great beyond. Miller hared into the triangle of doom twixt keeper and the unspatially aware centre-backs, waited for Crocombe to expose his intention and carefully prod-poked between yellow legs.

What do you hear? Voices out of nowhere put on specially by the children for a lark. There is no emotional rescue for the emotionally incontinent as the cry baby massive, with few good men amongst 'em, seeped down the gangways and ran off home. The truth? They can't handle the truth.

The truth is out there, in black and white. Donny in the pink, it makes you think, how far can we sink? They're living for pleasure alone. Knoyle was rarely foiled as Glennon toiled, his reputation soiled, by the well-oiled Rovers rolling thunder revue. A cross, scruffed by Miller into a hedge of slap-sticking stripes. Moments. They had moments, none of them magic from our perspective.

Their Hurst wimpled over, Crocombe dropped a free kick, Smith blocked their Hurst as he rolled through the prairie singing "oh what a beautiful morning". Crocombe saved something or other once in a while, now and again, probably, no, almost certainly. Are we even bothered anymore? Can't we just get this over with? Town are dead in the water.

You see the trouble with Harry is that he never gives up. With ten minutes left Clifton clamped a dilatory Donnyman halfway up the stairs. A tickle to our talisman and McAtee manoeuvred between some yodelling Yorkists and carefully, calmly rolled around the far away flailing fingers of Mitchell.

Look around listen to the sound of the suburbs…heeeeeeere's Johnny. He's back, he has risen.

Listen lads we can still…lose this by more. Them stories 'bout the way they lost their bloomers - rumours! The referee still fails to fall for their tall stories about tumbleweeding through the Town.

They crossed, we crossed, four minutes were added. Can we go now, please? Please. I want to go home now.

Can't they be happy with winning a great big teddy bear down the slotties? Isn't three a magic enough number for them? Miller cheeky-lobbed near enough to make distant Donny day trippers swoon but far enough away to keep the home fires burning.

And we end our sad tale of bad days with a Holohan dink-turn tapped against the keeper's shins by Trickie Dickinson and slapped against the keeper's palms by McAtee. Ah, right, we can go home now. Let's go home.

Sometimes you come up against a team that is just better. That's all there is to it. Town were intrinsically inferior. Doncaster crumbled Town like a stock cube by playing at the pace and intensity of the league above. Apart from McAtee no-one in stripes was capable of coping. They were boiling hot water and Town just dissolved. Still we contributed to a lovely afternoon meal for them on their grand day out.

More cheese?