Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
9 February 2014
Grimsby Town 0 Southport 0
It was a bright day; it was a warmly cold day. It was a windy day; it was a very windy day. The wind, on this day, was windy. If you meet any of the 40 Sandpipers who headed east on Saturday 8 February 2014, they will say it was a windy day. Singing their song, they were walking in a windy wonderland.
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows McKeown, Bignot, Pearson, McDonald, Fyfield, Rodman, Kerr, Disley, Neilson, John-Lewis and Hannah. The five jazz saxophonists of soul were Hatton, Thanoj, Colbeck, Cook and Tounkara. There is nothing more to add to that.
Gateshead, sorry Hereford, no, I mean Southport had the wandering wally in tow; the man who is the anchor in every sinking ship, who puts the shrill in Skrill, the toss in the pot, everyone's favourite fall guy. It's a new supporting cast for the Brodie Bunch, but still the same weary joke. He's a disreputable disrupter but no longer ours.
Let's not mess about with Brodie baiting. There's a man at the Pukka Pie stall with a terrific beret that is in danger of blowing away.
First half: Brodie's bunch
The seaside Scousalikes kicked off towards the Pontoon. Were we born sloppy? It's windy, so don't welly it into the arbitrary swirliness. Wibble, wobble, balls of bobble, can't we cobble together a rag-tag band of mavericks to take on the SS?
Hannah offside. Who? A recurring one-joke character in Hurst's Heroes. Ooh, titter ye not, hark on her Everard. Slippy, snippy Brodie, the campest 'hardo' in non-League football was having a hissy fit. Yeah Brodie, a psychopath ain't a professional, and we did call you a 'hardo'. Any more queries, deary?
Them. Long shot. Way over. It's windy. The eastern flags flew west, the western flags flowed east and the detritus of consumer society danced itself dizzy in between. This is liquid fools' gold.
Rodman roamed on the right, folding his marker into a sheep pen. A cross and we're cross, for there's no-one home, no one homer near. Rodman roamed again, burning bridges from penalty box to penalty box, caressing slowly and lowly into a vast chasm of chasming voidyness inside the Fake Scouse six-yard box. Little Hannah Offside and pen-pal Lionel John-Lewis held hands in the distance. If there is one lesson the toddlers can take form this lifeless experience it's: ATTACK THE NEAR POST!
Them. A corner. Pearson holding, pinning down Hattersley. The referee stopped play and, oh no, it's Yoko Sutemi-Waza. Both players adjusted their shorts, bowed and resumed battle. Pearson wrestled Hattersely to the floor and the crowd hushed. The referee paused, thrust out his arms and called an Ippon Seoi-Nage. As no-one knew what the heck he was on about, play just carried on regardless. Nsiala ducked and crooked a header tantalisingly but pleasingily overly the bar.
What a mess, the ball ducking and diving in the gusts; Town thrusts were a busted flush of overhit, underhit wobbling trees. Southport's number six was a free man in Paris, for Brown out-Kerred Kerr and out-Dizzed the Dizzer.
Town are Rodman, Rodman is Town. We have nothing else to declare. Nsiala scythed the A-Rod 'neath Frozen Horsemeat Stand. The ref was looking, it was a booking. Kerr coiled the free kick deeply, up went Pearson to safely clear from inside the six-yard box.
Them. A corner. Pearson wrestled Hattersley to the ground and everyone was tired of judo, if not tired of life. Poor Danny boy his eyes, his eyes were crying at the injustice.
Hannah was no match for the cruel twists of meteorology and metaphors. The isobars were too close together and Nsiala was too close to his shorts
Ah, the pantomime dame obliges. Where is she? Behind you, Scotty. Brodie, lately of many teams, late on Kerr, arguably 20 minutes too late in the ref's book. The Lower Horsemeaters had a fine old finger wag and fist pump at the travelling clown, the itinerant idiot of amateur ambling. The Pontoon proffered that Kerr was injured. The dentists demurred and, like a herring, he was cured. In came the free kick and there was a bunch of bumbling about between the flying balls and burger trays.
That was the game wrapped up in a discarded fast food container – a bit of stumbling and bumbling now and then that just flew away into the air and left the ground in a swirling eddy of unedifying whiffery. There's one bored every minute – call the midwhiff!
Town Rodmanning on the right. A corner or free kick: who knows, who cares? Burgerboy avoided burger trays and flicked at the near post. The ball disappeared into a time warp, the keeper had a mind warp, and some blueboy gawped the ball off the line.
They had moments, but the wind blew the ball to McKeown or out of play, with Fyfield Whittling well on all fours. If Town got a new ground near Morrisons, then it'd be a wind in the Willows, wouldn't it. It's anchoring alliteration that's important, not an anchor tenant.
Oh, they had a moment. Brown skipped and clipped a spooky cracker from way out west that flew on the jet stream and curled milli-inches wide of the left post, with McKeown sailing across the Humber towards the eroding Easington foreshore. My, that's a long sentence. Well, it was a long way out. And it is still not as long as the sentence we endured watching the wind.
Is that it? It surely was. Fill in the gaps yourself, for there was nothing but numptiness. The Shopping Trolley was rusting motionless in the Freshney, unloved by humans, of use only to the laziest of ducks. Hannah was no match for the cruel twists of meteorology and metaphors. The isobars were too close together and Nsiala was too close to his shorts. Elsewhere there was nothing but Alex Rodman and some twigs.
Town didn't look like scoring against a team that looked like conceding. Mini micro-gales are an excuse for a collective fail.
Second half: Mr Brown's Boys
Neither side made any changes at half time. Wake up, Grandad, oh yes they did! Big Bad Brodie was replaced by someone else. With all the fun taken away from the fair, we're just going to have to shout at our own players now. The immobile distraction has been taken off the table.
Nothing changed. Rodman ran, Rodman was flattened, Rodman's hatches were battened. Rodman trilled and thrilled all the way down the right. He hit the bye-line and crossed. The ball died behind John-Lewis, who wasn't looking, wasn't moving, wasn't of this world and wasn't worth bothering with any more. He couldn't do anything, wasn't doing anything and was a waste of time.
Huh, passes. What for? Neilson puffed out his chest and did what he always does: thread inside and shoot wildly way, way over and wide. An ephemeral presence, like a beautiful butterfly caught in a tornado. Huh, passes. The ball scraped across the face of the penalty area and John-Lewis toe-poked over. At least he had a go, don't you go moaning about that. Timing is the secret of great moaning.
McDonald big-boomed a header straight down the middle. Hannah was finally not offside and bounded freely. The ball flew away in the breeze as he chased it like an over-eager puppy. Hurst advanced and Hannah dinked, up flew an arm to divert. A good save rather than a bad miss. Credit where it's due, we must be fair to the opposition – the wind did well.
Bignot. Pfft. I wouldn't mention it but it's that or cross-country skiing. Ah, my lunch has arrived. Just bear with me a few minutes. Woah, slow motion Zamboni action on the red button!
Do you really want to know more?
Have you ever seen The Reincarnation of Peter Proud? It's about a man who is doomed to die the same death twice. Lenell John-Lewis was still on the pitch.
Ah, a corner. Burgerboy closed his eyes, ducked and donked softly wide at the near post. Ah, a substitution. We closed our eyes, sucked in our cheeks and honked as Colbeck replaced Neilson. Rodman was sent out to the left. He was fouled once, fouled twice and rarely seen again.
The wind. It carried on blowing.
Ross Hannah. He carried on being offside, even when he wasn't. Tounkara came on and, as he put his duvet on and sat in the dug-out, Hannah was flagged offside by the linesman one final time.
Messing about without form or function: hey, that's life. Hey, that's Town. Hey good looking, what you got cooking? Our new present, the Tonka Toy, lost possession, nicked it back and Pearson passed directly to them. A themster thrashled lowly from afar, the ball zipping 'n' zinging a foot wide of the left post. They did other long things that were high things and wide things and were the shape of things to come.
Rodman was rolled into a mop and Kerr drooped the free kick longly from the shadow of the Frozen Horsemeat Stand. There was ball of confusion, of slaps and tickles, and John-Lewis swizzled to scrape low from the edge of the area. Through a thicket of thick legs the ball emerged and Hurst, late and lowly, parried uply. McDonald arose and, from a mere few yards, bonked a header straight into the rising keeper, who plunged and clawed to his bosom.
Bignot and Colbeck played charades under the Police Box. It's a TV series, three words, first word sounds like… foot? Boot? Useless? Leather? Leather!
With what top scientists have calculated as some minutes left, the unhappy Shopper was finally removed and on trotted Le Chef. Ooh la la, Le Chef et La Boutique. There was a bit more oomphage for bit and a lot fewer offsides. Suddenly Town had moments. Fee-fi-fo-field harrumphed up the left past one, past two and cracked a cross low into the centre. The ball deflected off Le Chef's ankles straight into the path of the flowing river Tounkara. The keeper spread his broken wings hopefully and Tonka tapped straight down the middle, straight in to the middle of Hurst's midriff, straight from the John-Lewis patented goal-missing method.
Hurst was having a blinder, touching virtually every shot that was hit straight at his hands.
Bignot and Colbeck played charades under the Police Box. It's a TV series, three words, first word sounds like… foot? Boot? Useless? Leather? Leather! Sound like leather… weather, ever! Third word… hula hoop? Polo mint? Circle. Leather something hula hoops? Ah, ever decreasing circles. That's as tortuous as their passing. Wahey! A big booming cross, drifting and dropping vertically as Hurst watched and waived. The Dizzer stood two yards out, two yards beyond the far post and headed two yards behind the goal.
And what of them? you say. Well dear reader, they, that is them, kept bringing on substitutes. And these substitutes discombobulated certain Townites, especially Pearson, with their pace and power. Oh dear, Pearson fell apart in the last 15 minutes, butting a blueboy like an angry goat, missing tackles and being brushed aside by their big number 8, an inflatable Sestanovich-a-like.
In among Pearson's imploding jellython Ledsham showed just why he's a natural for Town – slapping wildly from a short corner and slashing mildly across and through and past the far post when wildly unmarked wide on their left. Should have scored. Didn't. Good.
Three minutes were added and all we had was Pearson stood alone beyond the far post heading down and straight to and at Hurst. A suitable ending to an unsuitable game in unsuitable conditions.
Miserable. Another day, another home fail. No-one looked like scoring, or had any idea of how to unlock a cheap bike lock.