A dereliction of duty

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

20 April 2015

Southport 2 Grimsby Town 2

Strolling' down Haig Avenue, see how the sun shines brightly, let’s keep us shape and defend tightly. Say hello to Mr Blue Sky for there ain't a cloud in sight. A cloud of doubt maybe, but let’s not get metaphysical, let me hear your body talk.

Welcome to Pointless Football.

Town idly lined up in a 4-4-2 as follows: McKeown, Parslow, Pearson, Gowling, Magnay, Chapell, Brown, Clay, McLaughlin, Pittman and Palmer. The substitutes were Bignot, Mackreth, Arnold Hannah and John-Lewis. I really cannot be bothered to pretend any of this matters much. Whatever, they stood around. Arnold crumpled in the warm up, but did not succeed in getting a note from matron, he couldn’t go home. He had to sit around and suffer like the rest of us.

The Brodieless Sandpipers only had three subs, one of ‘em a keeper. We didn’t even have a pantomime villain to divert us from our impending impotent fury at Town’s furiously impotent impression of a football team. No-one wanted to be here, so why are we?

1st Half – we foolish things

They kicked off towards the six or seven hundred Town fans gathered along the open terrace, with a pleasing panorama of an empty sports field, the A570 to Ormskirk and a lone droning aeroplane performing flat spins and loopy-loops. The six or seven hundred Town fans gathered along the open terrace had an unpleasing panoramic view of eleven men walking, their season in a flat spin.

The men in yellow let the men in blue have the ball. The blues curdled with arthritic ambling and static shuffles, crossfield traffic jams on an undulating carpet of divots. I guess that’s why they call it the blues.

They let Gowling and Pearson have the ball. No-one moved. Eventually Shaun the Sheep or the Hair Bear kicked it away for a goal kick. This is what it was. This is what we are.

McKeown stupidly passed across the face of the penalty area straight to one of them. Themboy wiffled the ball straight back to McKeown. Did Palmer have a shot? Yes he did. Am I interested? No I am not. Palmer back-heeled, Pittman rocky clipped way over. Was that interesting? Yes. Was that very interesting? Not really. That plane has red wings and their toilet had only al fresco drying facilities. Ah, that explains the procession of Max Bygraves impersonators.

Percy Parslow hamster-farmed his winger and he was booked for a session at the Southport Jazz festival. You squares out there would just say he’d received a yellow card, but I think the ref was as bored as the rest of humanity and wanted to jazz things up.

They fall, we bawl at the referee’s call. Free kicks dipped and whipped in the wind like candy floss as Jamie Mack flopped onto these rabbits.

Southport's cunning plan was to let Town have the ball all the time for eventually it was bound to end up near the toblerone toes of Clay or Percy Town’s dismal dominance disintegrated and Southport had rubbish attacks and irritating pseudo-pressure. How could such a thing happen? Southport’s cunning plan was to let Town have the ball all the time, for eventually it was bound to end up near the toblerone toes of Clay or Percy. One of them crossed lowly, McKeown’s arm thrusted up and Pearson nudged away. Another one of them tried a big dipper, which disturbed some hot chocolate way out towards the toilets. Come to think of it Hot Chocolate’s late 70s ubiquity was quite disturbing.

Southport Sunday school outinged a throw-in on the left. Unmarked Brown up’n’undered to the unmarked Chapell, who embarrassed a shinny-scrumble into the net. About time. They have no defence whatsoever, just a rhubarb crumble.

Parslow hoiked a drooper to the far post, blue men and yellow men sort of jumped together near where it might be. Diffident dumblings from indifferent dumplings. McLaughlin steered goalwards through the meringue and the ball hit their keeper. It wasn’t a save, it was an accident.

A route zero wallop went straight down the middle. Palmer spectacularly big dippy volleyed overly. Don’t get overly excited.

A yellow free kick halfway everywhere in the Town half coiled up and down and into the area past everyone, nowhere. The ball bounced on the penalty spot and over the bar with McKeown’s finger tips waggling in its personal space. A corner and much Mariner moanage in the marsh. Nothing happened. They couldn’t elevate to accumulate.

Chapell fell over the ball. More details not necessary.

Against nothing Town collectively and individually had avoided doing anything. Memories of
Telford and Altrincham came oozing out. It has a stupid draw written all over it.

Don’t they realise we like going to Alfreton?

2nd Half – topping up on Vitamin D

No changes were made at half time.

Almond wandered up their left, wandered infield and casually leaned on the bar, scraping a coiler around blue bollards and inside the far post as McKeown stood motionless. Thirty five seconds. Town were reverting to type: a stupid draw written all over.

Hey, believe! Be positive! It’s our year remember. Town’s much-touted team spirit will see us through. Town's much-touted team spirit will see us through. What a load of blue bollards that turned out to be What a load of blue bollards that turned out to be. Oh how we pined for the passion, passing and competence of the Wrexham debacle.

Beesley wellied bigly, Jamie Mack parry-punched away from the top right corner. These pesky locals are running around and ruffling our feather boas. A Magnay mess up for a corner, Clay repeated a first half hit by stupidly grappling a yellow bird to the ground. A free kick on their right, coiled highly, Jamie Mack stuttered out, fluttered and flapped, and Foster calmly side-footed into the casual vacancy.

Hey, believe! Be positive! It’s our year remember. Town’s much-touted team spirit will see us through. Caine Winfarrah went to the toilet.

He didn’t miss a thing, as there was no thing at all. Things ain’t what they used to be.

Caine Winfarrah came back from the toilets. He’s too young to understand the cultural importance of Max Bygraves.

Pittman wiggled, wriggled and waggled an underscrumper low at Tintin. I really must pull that out as an example of something that was on the verge of potentially happening. Gotta be positive, gotta believe. Gotta pull the wool over your own eyes.

Ha, so that’s what they do on the training round then. Town’s superior footballing brain and sophisticated soccer skillery saw them bamboozle the Southport Amateur Dramatics Society with a mind-blowingly clever free kick. Not one yellowman touched the ball until their keeper picked it up. It was a blur of blue bollards.

Daytripper Pearson had a good reason for taking the easy way out, as when he awoke some bloke had flown. A yellow card, a free kick. Jamie Mack flounced upon the coiled dripper, spooning and spurdling out to a vague yellowman, vaguely nearby. It all dribbled away to nothingness.

And now we enter that Twilight Zone between the 70th and 75th minute when the masterful art of management is conjured up in the form of a substitution. The Short One hoiked off the dwindlingly anonymous McLaughlin and preening poseur Palmer, sending on Wee Jackie Macky and forces sweetheart Hannah Ross.

And a strange thing happened. Town started to almost do things. This thing they called doing was, in a nutshell, giving the ball to Mackreth. He did wingy things, at pace. And it inspired Chapell to do wingy things too. Jinking and dinking, Chapell was mauled as he entered the penalty area, then hauled his man down. A free kick to Southport, of course. A minute later, repeat. A free kick to Town as Chapell was mauled outside the penalty area.

A town corner. Hannah feigned to take it as a diversion, walking away as Brown took it immediately he arrived at the quadrant. Pearson arose alone to be-thwonk.

What else? Bignot replaced Percy and a yellow hand saved a blue shot. Should have been a penalty, wasn’t. Not a surprise.

Can we go home now? We really don’t want to come here again, you know.

Town rescued a stupid draw by playing for five minutes. That’s all. If they aren’t going to bother then just tell us beforehand and refund our tickets. John Fenty, you know who we are, just put the cheque in the post. Shall we agree on 20p per mile? We’ve kept the receipts for the incidental expenditures.

Town are ending the season with the usual whimper, furiously deflating the tyres as they enter the last lap. We need a quick wheel change before it’s too late.