League Two Table
Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
Any Old Iron!
By: Tony Butcher
THE tax man's taken all our dough and left us in the this stately football home: Cleethorpes on a sunny afternoon. Sun, sand and that Grimsby wind flying into the Pontoon making the trippers mince in their cravats and hush puppies.
A sea of bubbling claret greeted the Town fans, the entire Osmond End covered in local produce and balloons, the temporary seating 'twixt Pontoon and Main Stand virtually full, the auld ground a heaving mass of Lincolnshire liposuction.
The hibernation was over: this was the Battle of the Blands.
Town lined up in a 5:3:2 formation as follows: Williams, McDermott, Whittle, Forbes, Jones, Bull, Fleming, Crowe, Pinault, Gritton and Parkinson. The substitutes were Crane, Downey, Reddy, Ramsden and Heggarty. You can tell by now who played where, no egg sucking required surely? A load of gristly haslet with a little French dressing. Well, the transfer deadline has passed so Rantin' Russ couldn't sign "any woman from the street" to fill in for Stacy C. Pinault was given an extra special reception when his name was announced; the clapometer suggests he'll be back next week. Ah, Glen Downey, back by popular demand. We've missed his stylish sitting, nobody does it better.
No Dish of the Day. Not even Players Tipples. How do we know what to make for tonight's high society dinner party? The Town nation demands!
Scunthorpe United played in all yellow. Butler was wearing a blue golf visor. The pitch and put is further down mate and take your mashie niblick with you; we've seen enough of Torpey's elbows already. Oh, he's got blue splodges in his hair. How stylish and elegant.
The Scunthorpe fans hate curry, apparently.
There weren't any ball boys. Part of Slade's master plan, we presume, to keep the tempo down to a soporific 4/4. Now is the hour.
They, them, "the others" kicked off towards the Osmond Stand. Don't worry, they gave it straight to Town. Hayes, trying to be clever, twizzled around and ran straight down the middle, but only into Fleming and Crowe. Don't do clever, it doesn't work matey, stick to your basic bashings and clashings, it's what you do best.
Ooh, perky Parky pesters a pickled pepper. A diagonal run to the left, past three festering gherkins, into the areaâ€¦excitementâ€¦expectationâ€¦a goal kick. Parkinson kicked the ball straight out when trying to circumnavigate the globe known as Crosby without the aid of modern satellite technology. He'd forgotten that when the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars. And, let's be honest, haven't we all?
What happened next? A dog ran on and headed the ball into the empty net as Musselwhite adjusted his shorts? Not quite, though Musselwhite does suffer from VPL. They really should use lower temperatures when washing his kit, too much shrinkage doesn't do an old man any favours.
Beagrie was clobbered by two Townites and tossed his pancake in anger. Oo-er, look at little missy hissy over there. Calm down dear, it's only an advert for fourth division football. Beagrie floated the free kick to the far post, Whittle rose like a giant redwood above privet hedge Hayes and winked the ball away. Hayes remained on the ground, clutching his hair. Scunthorpe fans murmured and play continued until Town kicked the ball out. A long delay during which someone realised that Roy Orbison was dead. And did we have a minute's silence to commemorate this? Just count the hours of silence we've had this season as our very special tribute.
The Scunthorpe fans hate Cardiff now, apparently. At last, something to agree upon.
Pfft, Torpey, on their left, fooled the ref by crumbling under a particularly intense stare from Whittle. Whilst Town were growling the referee allowed the free kick to be taken quickly, from the wrong place and with the ball still rolling. DÃ©jÃ vu? Noo. Ridley clipped a cross in low and flat to the middle of the area. Hayes, perhaps ten yards out at the near post, tossed his head from left to right, let the ball kiss his forehead, and watched it saunter across the face of goal beyond the far post as Torpey lumbered near. Serious questions were asked in the Town defence. Does he or doesn't he use Harmony hairspray?
Six minutes gone, just like that.
Ah, the referee, beginning to annoy with his inconsistent approach to male bonding. He clearly saw Scunthorpe as the alpha male in this relationship. Sexist pig!
Pinault dinked towards Macca, a corner to Town. Monsieur Hulot took the corner, it was half- cleared back to him and he shaped to score a wonderful dipping volley into the top right-hand corner. Luckily it hit a defender, thus remaining inside Lincolnshire and inside Blundell Park. Ping-pong and some hoppalong inside the area with the ball eventually falling to Whittle, 20 yards out, who scraped a low slow shot goalwards. Musslewhite finished off his mackerel roulade before dealing with matters. Whittle received a late boot for his troubles, a defender blocking. Off he went for treatment, not allowed back by the referee until Scunthorpe had finished their next attack.
Fleming, just in front of the opposition manager's dug out, did a full-blooded, full-frontal sliding tackle, slaying Baraclough, but winning the ball. The amateur dramatician rolled around and around, waving his neckerchief and demanding revenge for the Bloody Murder of the Foul Prince Romero. Fleming was booked. Foul Prince Romero got up and ran off.
Have we forgotten about Brian Laws? Or maybe we don't wish to feed his ego. You're history, ancient history, just one of many failures; we have so many to pick from we're spoiled for choice.
The Scunthorpe fans hate coffee now. Perhaps they aren't enunciating their vowels. They don't talk proper like what we do.
Have you got it yet? Not much happening, just the usual sturm und drang of a neighbourhood watch committee meeting. Football? Forget it, it's all about posturing, posing and not prettiness. Clang, clang, clang went the trolley, ding, ding, ding went the bell. But the bell ain't tolling just yet for thee, Mr Slade.
A couple of uninteresting crosses from both sides now. Almost, perhaps, not quite, nothing of consequence, just dreams and schemes in front of a circus crowd. A header here, a hoof there, defenders ascendant. "Get into them". A Bull raid, one flick, into the box, down to earth under an invisible tackle. You gotta be crazy to expect anyone to give that. Hey, refs eh? No harm trying. Bull again, sent free by a superb Jones pass. The ball carundling down the touchline. On and on and on it went, Bull inches away, feet away, a familiar final Devon Lock plunge.
You're not interested in Jones' header are you? Pinault took a free kick from the Town right, Jones at the far post glanced the ball well wide and high. Look, I did tell you that you wouldn't be interested.
How long has this been going on? Thirty of your English minutes. We're still waiting for the train.
A free kick to them; for what? Who knows. Way out on their right, way on down deep inside the Town half. Swung in flat to the middle of the goal, lots of yellowbellies darting, monochrome mumblings and Butler, in the centre ten or so yards out, stooped and looped a header straight at Williams. Now that, sirs, was a chance.
The tannoy demanded that the green seat sitters stop standing up. Yeah, you're blocking the views of the adverts. I need some industrial flooring right now and I just don't know who the specialists are. It's an emergency!
Oh, codheads, they hate codheads. We're not particularly well disposed towards Hullites either.
Ooh you dirty little chipmunk. Baraclough arriving13 years too late to tackle Crowe who was left face down in the dirt. Fleming and Forbes manhandled bilking Baraclough away. We wouldn't give him tuppence for his old watch chain. Twice they had breaks where Town were devoid of humans on the right. Twice Kell decided to pirouette into Crowe. Ah that vision thing. They don't know what they're in for if they go up: nine months of Chinese water torture . It'll be fun for us, in its own way.
And finally Cyril after 38 minutes a Town chance; the first real effort on goal. Gritton was dinkled free down the inside right. Into the area, shimmering through the haze, shaking and shovelling his way past two defenders, staggering as he stumbled and shinned the ball yards wide, ignoring Parkinson unmarked at the far post. And why not. Gritton never looked like he had control of his own legs, let alone the ball; he dribbled like a dissolving jelly, though some kindly folk thought he was dancing like Salome. Or was it salami?
Another minute another chance. Pinault chipped the ball up the right and Macca raced forward, but slowed as he saw Butler and Ridley converge upon the falling star. They didn't put it in their pocket, for Butler glanced the ball back towards, but not to VPL Musselwhite. Gritton surged towards the ball and, about a dozen yards out on the right, poked it high past the grey goose. The ball lobbed across the face of goal beyond Parky into a huge unmanned space. Crowe sprinted forward, leapt up and from about six yards out tried an extravagant, flamboyant scissor-kick volley. Crosby hurled himself at Crowe and the ball crawled over the crossbar by millimetres, with Musselwhite still pondering the effects of the spring tide upon Spurn Point. In fashionable circles, they say Crowe blaxed the ball over.
From the goal kick Town retrieved possession, the ball trumbling to Parkinson about 35 yards out. He spun and hit a speculative, but spectacular, dipping volley. Musselwhite was pulled from his shell to race back towards his line, reach and superbly tip the ball over the crossbar. A corner, pressure, nothing to report. Two minutes of added time. Nothing to report.
There you are: a clash of titans, much thunder, but very little lightning. They had two efforts, Town had three, the rest was midfield British Bulldogs. No-one was awful - save for Bull's idiosyncratic approach to controlling a football - with Town's back three very strong. They had to be, for Torpey had a referee who was lenient towards his leanings, and he made the most of his freedom to make scones. Their left back, Ridley, could chuck long throws, but do little else. The Riddler was a source of optimism for Town. As at Blandford Park, two rather mundane teams, with one collectively more effective than the other. Town seemed to be playing off the cuff as an attacking force, but they were wearing short sleeves.
Good game of footer between the kids at half time though. They passed, they moved. Hope the adults were watching.
Stu's Half Time Toilet Talk
"We get all our vegetables from Banana Bob."
The report continues in the Second Half
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