The story of Oh

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

21 August 2016

Grimsby Town 1 Leyton Orient 2

Let us go through these half-deserted streets, muttering about defeats and restless nights in one-star community stadiums in Essex. An overwhelming question: "What is it?" A terrible Fentyfutured vision of a decade of wind-tunnelling. Hey kids, just say no. All that glisters is not gold.

Ah, football. On a warm windy day around 350 Clapton Orienteers somberly watched a shambolic Somme-centred ceremony. We're back in the League and back to what we're best at: a well-intentioned mess that is slightly embarrassingly performed.

Ah, football. Town lined up a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Davies, Gowling, Pearson, Andrew, Berrett, Summerfield, Disley, Chambers, Bogle and Jackson. The substitutes were Warrington, Mills, Boyce, Vose, Tombola, Vernon, and Browne. Boyce's meltdown finally brought in yeoman Shaun, while Tombola was randomly deselected. But at least old Cap'n Dizzer is back for some salty seadog tales.

Orient. Blokes in red and Palmer on the bench. There is nothing, nothing more to see or say.

The mystery Mighty Mariner stood around sheepishly and afar from the Pontoon. Foam foolery will just not be the same, merely a shallow, callow copy of a former glory.

Ah, what heaven we're in. Shall we begin the beginning?

First half: Oh grass cutter

The Leytoners kicked off towards the Pontoon. That's enough about them, why waste waffletime on wiffle.

Tippling and tappling from Town and Berrett chunked a chink behind the tall poppies. Omar bumped along, the ball plopped into no man's land. Bogle and Jackson converged then diverged, allowing Cisak the keeper to exfoliate as Omar slapped.

A moment of almostness of momentary nearlyness. Another minute, another moment.

Rubbish or rhubarb? That's just Semedo semantics and splitting his hairs. An interception and reverse ferret from Berrett released the hounds. Berrett fleagled firmly and Cisak plunged low and left to parry out to red legs and aside for a corner. Another moment in another minute. The corner shortened and creaked into the vast emptiness of the near post. Dizzer dipped and diverted widely.

Three minutes, three things.

And la-di-da, la-di-da, it's summer. Trains and boats and planes are passing by. They mean a trip to Lincoln or Leeds airport, but not for me. Not on a Saturday. Check your fixture list first before arranging anything. Ah, where were we? Oh yes, this is the dawning of the age of aquariums and we're the fish in the tank. Round and round we go.

Big welly, big Bogle dipper. A young Leytonian ducked on the stairs in the Osmond. It's not at the bottom, it's not at the top, for this is the stair where every Omar shot always stops.

Tickles and treats, and Disley twinkled into the Orient penalty area, plunging to earth when red socks swayed. The referee pointed north, awarding a free kick against the Dizzer and… nothing else. A foul for diving but no booking. I am curious, what about an orange card as a warning?

A bit of ducking and diving? Well, they are Cock-er-nees. Let's make them feel at home.

Little Cox scuttled right down the middle, with no monochromer within the same postal code. Or county. Or country. Or zip code. Settle down, they're worse than us

Town pressed against the flash and Andrew's appalling corners set up counterattacks. Little Cox scuttled right down the middle, with no monochromer within the same postal code. Or county. Or country. Or zip code. Settle down, they're worse than us. They are utterly anaemic in red.

An isolated moment of adequacy from the redsters: Andrew skinned and a cross roiled merrily across the face of goal. Unmolested and unfussed by Londoners, Gowling calmly hacked against Pearson's backside. The ball ballooned up and crawled over the crossbar.

A dink, a chase and a moment of ignoble inadequacy from Gowling. Deep inside the Town area, facing the Pontoon, our chief hair-bear swaggled a hoik against Bowery. The ball ballooned up and crawled over McKeown, who was forced to arise and finger flick over from under the crossbar.

That really is them done with. And it was us doing it for them, really. Yeah, really.

Omar! Orienteers stood away from the fragile ego, who wiggled, waggled and boggled a cross-shot hurricane. Jumping Alex Cisak spectacularly gas-gas-gassed the ball over. The corner? I have no memory of such an event, your honour. I will not speculate in the absence of facts.

With regard to the curious case of the clenching of the Bogle, dear reader, I shall give you facts in the absence of speculation. Omar drifted around the face of the penalty area, heading off towards the covered corner, rolling and growling through two and three tackles and falling as a shot was imminent. A corner given, a corner wasted by wafty Andrew. Them be facts.

Let's just go with the flow, it's still all Town. Andrew river-danced down their right and treacled a tempting trickler into the near post. Jackson slid in front of static caravaners and poked wide from inside the six-yard box. At least they're now missing at the near post, rather than missing the chance to miss at the near post.

More? Yes, there's more. Berrett with some sort of shot from way out that went wide. Jolly good, carry on. Summerfield. A shot from way out. Cisak flung himself low and left to scrumble aside. Jolly good, carry on.

More? No, there is no more.

Orient barely exist, a nondescript nonentity of nothingness. Town are playing a blank canvas but are faffing about mixing their paints. Just dip the brush in the paint and put the brush on the canvas. We've seen this game before: it's how we sleepwalked into the oblivion of the Conference.

So how are we going to mess this one up then?

Second half: O Palmer, where art thou?

Neither team made any changes at half time.

Town, Town, Town, Town, Town. And more Town. Disley dinked, Jackson jinked and Cisak plucked the apple from the tree of vague hope. Davies chucked chucklingly and Jackson jiggle-juggle spin-flicked around a giant deadwood, down the touchline, along the bye-line and towards the awaiting keeper. Jackson stroked lowly and Cisak hung out a big adopted antipodean arm to flip aside at the near post. Chambers chivvied and chived to chip a cross from under the Frozen Dead Beer Stand. The ball floated on and floated onto Berrett, who arose above his non-marker to head very over from very close as the goal a-gaped and Cisak a-gawped.

More Townness, more Town mesmerising miss-messing. Chambers swingled and swayed into side nettage. Chambers was felled and the free kick was rolled behind the Maginot Line, but Omar was shut inside a crowded house.

And in a bound they were free. A miss-mash of mush and Andrew hared off upfield just as the ball was lost in the muddlefield. The vacant space was occupied by a redman, who flashed a crossy-shotty thing into the places where people congregate. A corner, probably off Jamie Mack's fingernails. And… who cares.

Hey, that's just a dead cat bouncing.

A miss-mash of mush and Andrew hared off upfield just as the ball was lost in the muddlefield. A stray, forgettable tourist ambled towards the bye-line and rolled a gentle pass into the waiting arms of Jamie Mack. And he waited… and waited. Butterflies fluttered by, bees were attracted by his shorts, grass started to grow around his bootlaces. And the ball finally arrived.

Alas poor Jamie had long fallen asleep and down the rabbit hole we plunged. The ball piffled away from the gloves of McKeown and perfectly into the path of Kelly, alone at the near post with just a sleeping goalkeeper for company. We're drowning in our own dry tears.

Shall we make small talk in elementary French? "Dude, ou est ma chat?"

Them. A bit of pressure – well, by their standards of doing nothing at all until this point, that's pressure. A corner, headed wide. How did they get the corner? I'm glad you asked, for that enables the secondary plot to be brought back. A big whack and Gowling let the ball bounce, so Bowery pounced and Pearson saved the day by stepping in to slop out Gowling's bucket. Good old Pearson. Reliable.

Town were still nibbling at their toes, but it was not fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun, sun. An air of gentle, creeping despair began to wrap itself around striped heads and toes

And here we go again. Cisak rushed out towards Spurn Point and madly clutched the ball outside the penalty area. A free kick, no booking, and after huffery and puffery a Berrett mis-hit was steered slightly less wide by the ducking Disley. A corner was headed into the vast void about eight yards out. Unmolested, Omar twisted and swiped wide. I can hear you sighing from here.

With about 20 minutes left Vose replaced Berrett. Chambers moved to the right and Vose was nominally on the left. There is no need to think about Vose until added time. Shall we skip on a bit?

Humps and lumps from some kind of set piece. Pearson teed himself up and spun a slicey swizzler over the angle of post and bar. Someone crossed and Omar watched it go through the corridor of uncertainty. L'Orient brought on the shorter haired Oliver Palmer, to much indifference.

Town were still nibbling at their toes, but it was not fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun, sun. An air of gentle, creeping despair began to wrap itself around striped heads and toes. The collective collapsed into individuality. Don't they know late capitalism is dying? It's all about your base.

Triangles and flicks around the Leyton penalty area ran aground and a big boofy walloppy clearance was wellied. Pearson, dead centre of the pitch, waited, stretched and stood on the ball. Palmer strolled away down the middle, waited for McKeown to sign his next contract and simply rolled a pass into the bottom right corner.

Vernon immediately replaced Jackson. A few dozen immediately walked out of Blundell Park. What moral fortitude they have. That's the spirit that won two world wars and one World Cup, isn't it?

Holes. We're waiting for the end. Red breaks, a Pearson tackle, an Andrew tackle, Orienteers offside, Orienteers wasting time, the referee indulgent. Waiting for the end.

Four minutes were added. We're waiting for the end. Vose dinked delightfully into the far post nether regions. Two Townites converged and Chambers stood on the ball three yards out. Cisak simply picked the ball up and belted downfield. Back came the ball, with Vernon shielding and Chambers fielding. Vose winkled his toes shrugging left, right and left again, before clipping a clop against Hunt's thigh. The ball spun around and over Cisak into the top left of the goal.

One can but shrug in excitement. Go on, shrug a little bit with gay abandon (the aftershave for men).

And in the last seconds their risible left-back dillied and dallied at a throw-in. Chambers ran over, picked up the ball and put it directly into Semedo's hands. Of course Chambers was booked for over-aggressive ball-boying.

How did we do that? It takes great effort and skill to engineer a defeat against such odds. The Orienteers were barely cardboard cut-outs and hardly moved into the Town half, let alone had what one could label, generously, as an attack. Five egregious errors were made in the Town defence, and two goals were conceded. Those are facts, and they are recurring facts. There is great and immediate need to be cured of these recurring facts.

Soccer suicide, we know what you are.