Dead: Southport (h)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

28 April 2012

Grimsby Town 0 Southport 1

Wild, windy and waste of time. There were 148 of them, they didn't waste their time. Oh, to be in Grimsby now that April is nearly gone.

Town lined up in the usually useless 4-3-3 formation as follows: McKeown, Silk, Pearson, Miller, Townsend, Thanoj, Disley, Artus, Soares, Elding, Hearn. The substitutes were Wood, Church, Hughes-Mason, Winn and Southwell. You know, I just can't be bothered to blather on about the missing and the wishing. If they can't be bothered, why should I?

Southport turned up with a lot at the back and a few up front, with some in between. Two of them wore black boots, how quaintly old-fashioned. Do they love 1972?

First half: Stewed cabbage
The game kicked off, apparently. Town were kicking towards the Osmond, apparently.

Artus: a busy bee, buzzing wide. Things didn't happen for minutes on end, but then did. Miller gazumped Gray's hopes and dreams after a little bossa nova on the right. More things didn't happen, and then they did. Elding glazed inches wide of the six-yard line after grazing Townsend's punt from in front of the keeper. Soares was cynically tripped by the ball. No penalty, just sympathy.

Not that bad for the first friendly of pre-season. The wind blew hoofs and humps backwards. Crosses died, clearances sighed and, I cannot lie to you, the game was dull. No-one cared.

Artus: a whizzing wasp, whacking wide from way out. Silk sat down, Wood came on. Miller bedraggled through thickets of legs and against the outside of the post after a free kick was befuddled away. Artus: welly number three. Miss number three.

I looked up from my pillow and the ball was dribbling and drabbling towards the Pontoon. It is accepted, for the purposes of this deposition, that a Sandbagger's multi-coloured swap shop boots had connected with the ball causing it to move in the direction of the Grimsby Town goal. This is contextual information only, not direct evidence of any criminal act.

Please turn to exhibit A, m'lud.

The ball. An object that moves. Shaun Pearson. An object that also moves, though not necessarily in the same time zone. Pearson ached backwards as the ball was dibbled down the right. Whalley waddled, Pearson paddled. McKeown: motionless, crouching, creeping. The two monochromers squawked like auks as Whalley pokey-lobbed and the ball hung and swerved and drifted on the breeze micro-inches wide of the left post.

Pearson and Jamie Mack played duelling zithers in another dither. Perhaps the lad was discombobulated by Saturday night fever: discotheques and a bag of dolly mixtures on his birthday.

A Town free kick or corner was cleared from on or near the line. Well, it hit something and came out somewhere and some people "oooh"-ed. McKeown made a save - it wasn't difficult, but he touched the ball, which was nice. The lines for the burger van kept growing and growing.

Tubby Gray wifted and wafted in from their right, lifting and laughing to the near post. McKeown chuckled left. That was them. They had moments, but not magic ones, and not many.

Town had many not magic moments, that's in the DNA. Hearn flicked, Soares nicked in between no-one and blampered hugely over the crossbar from eight yards out, right in the centre of goal. Now that's what I call missing. Disley drimpled a bazooka from the edge of the area, billowing between the flared trousers, flicking off an ankle and an inch wide. Birthday boy ducked the corner over the bar at the near post.

4-3-3? Town were narrowly noodling nowhere, a staccato stilted shuffle across the pitch. Hearn isolated and wasted wide, Soares snoring and Elding alone against a yellow wall. Town had successfully stopped themselves. Tactical genius.

Second half: Cabbage on toast
Neither side made any changes at half time.

It's nearly over, just 45 minutes of choredom and boredom left. This half? Mostly Town, but not often.

The lack of intensity of the first half was not matched in the second. We watched paid professionals miming their bag packing. Artus forgot where he'd put his passport, Wood relied on his own underwear and a strong belief in local dry cleaners, Elding remembered that Mr Fluffy isn't around to give him a rest. Soares is the man who never was, so never will be. He had a meeting with his travel agent booked for quarter past four, and so sneaked away while no-one was looking. Winn? I wish we would one day.

Ah, those fleeting moments of grasping positivity. Hearn wibbled over the bar after a rather lovely Thanoj pass. Thanoj danced and drifted a curler wide after an awfully nice Hearnian foxtrot under the Findus. There was once a cross that... almost... possibly... not quite...

Southwell replaced Elding, but Town remained in a 4-3-3 formation. There is a strong suspicion that Southport tried to have a shot on goal. Cheeky aren't they.

McKeown caught a cross that died on the wind, releasing Winn with a chuck towards the dug-outs. Winn went on and on and on and kept his head firmly fixed upon his toes, dragging uninterestingly wide as several Townites huffed. In the context of this game that was exciting. You had been warned.

Town finally reverted to 4-4-2 and they started to rack up moments of almostness. Hearn scooped behind the defence, dishy Dayle twisty-hooked over the keeper to the unmarked defender at the far post. Hearn swizzled and swivvelled, crossing low and fast into the six-yard box. Southwell leant back and disturbed a snoozing tabby cat in the back garden of 75 Blundell Avenue.

With not many minutes left the Sandbaggers thought it would be appropriate to visit their hardy folks just once this afternoon. Junior Psycho spotted Artus and Townsend free way over on the left and decided to str oke a suggestive pass their way. Straight to a yellower. He crossed; McKeown flapped on his line; Wood and Winn wallied away straight to another yellow peril. A pass, a rinky-dinky sub-Cruyffian turn inside the 'D', and STEPHENSON slappered low towards the bottom left corner. McKeown plunged, waved his hands a bit and powdered the ball's nose on its way in. Pffft.

People started to go home.

Town? Whatever.

It all ended with a Townsend free kick coiling over. It was over ages ago, if it ever started. What a waste of time.