Ball and Chain

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

21 August 2019

Grimsby Town 2 Colchester United 2

I saw a man on a moped chase a chicken in Caistor. Is that a metaphor for Jolleytown?

And here we are again on a pleasantly still evening with around 150 tripping Essexers down in the covered corner. Perhaps it's best if we look at a Town home game as a Glee Club.

Town lined up in the trendy 4-3-3 formation as follows: McKeown, Hendrie, Davis, Waterfall, Ring, Hewitt, Hessenthaler, Whitehouse, Green, Hanson, Ogbu. The substitutes were Russell, Pollock, Clifton, Cook, Wright, Cardwell and Vernam. Press 3 for Ring back. No, we'd rather not, thank you. There isn't much going on in midfield, is there, apart from running around in straight lines. Oh well, we'll see what's what soon.

Colchester turned up in all blue with some small players, some big players and Green Dean Gerken in goal. And beyond that there is the sea.

You know it’s 50 years since Woodstock and the only wavy gravy in Grimsby is on your chips. And they call that progress?

First half – Too Much of Nothing

Town kicked off towards the covered corner with an up and under.

Up. Under. Over and out of play, out of our minds. Has anyone seen the Haxey Hood? I know football was better in the past, but not the 14th century.

Moses mooed, Ring ripped a dipper and Moses diffidently poked straight at Green Dean Gerken. Foul throws, long throws, Town throwing up a bunch of balls. Deep dripping and Waterfall headed into the outermost side netting. Hanson headed upply, downly, sidely, widely. Diddly-diddly-do.

Hewitt failed to fell a tree, receiving a booking in the post.

Colchester? They are here, aren't they?

Round and round the cauldron go. Ring and The Hess doubling-up - Town toil and in trouble. Joltin' Jake, snookered in the deep left corner, spun and whacked against a blue bottom. The ball squirtled to more blueness, who tickled to even more unremarkably unmarked blue boots on the corner of the penalty area. Davis stood away and Nouble walloped a slinky stonker across Jamie Mack and straight into the top right corner.

Meet the new Town, same as the old Town. It's the dissolution of the monochrome before our very eyes, playmates.

A move, a pass, Nouble nibbled and nobbled past Desperate Davis, McKeown plunged and pawed aside. Three decades later up went the linesman's flag for standing on the cracks in the pavement. Darn these new FIFA laws.

A pass, a move, lonesome Norris schmooched into the centre, noodled firmly and Jamie Mack magnificently parry-punched aside. Hewitt hoiked and a corner was given because the ball didn't go out of pay. Par for the linesman's course; he's playing Odd Balls down the Prom, blindfold with a sprig of parsley.

Are they yawnsome tonight, do we miss Harry tonight, are you sorry Town's defence has drifted apart?

Sterile Town, static Town, simpering, whimpering Town. We're on the road to nowhere. Big balls up, up in the air, up on the roof, hoof after hoof, I'd rather listen to Spooky Tooth. It’s all too much of nothing and we're feelin' bad.

Crosses on Prosser's head, Clampin clamping and Town having Senior moments, frequently forgetfully passing straight to the tiny prancer.

We are nothing, this is nothing, there's nothing going on.

Two minutes were added. I can see no reason, 'cos there are no reasons, what reason do you need?

Nothing, nowhere, then something, somewhere. A bit of a befuddling muddle in the middle, a blue Brown pass snickered through wafting limbs and Nouble was hurtling freely on their centre left. He sauntered and casually clipped a dink with the outside of his boot as Hendrie simply stood aside. The ball arced over Davis, Norris strolled along the strand, arose above the non-arising Ring and nodded down from three yards out.

Oh Town, it's the same old story.

Second half – Rollin' Blues

Neither team made any changes at half time as Town emerged to a chorus of indifference a few hours before the complacently lackadaisical colander boys.

Biff-bang, is that the plan? We're back on the chain gang.

Town curdling in the corner. Whitehouse wifted, wafted and clipped a pass along the bye-line. Moses is in bloom! Ogbu rolled around his marker and plunged to earth. The ball rolled goalwards with Townites baying and praying for a penalty as a Collyman dropped his rubbish in McDonalds car park.

The referee watched the ball sail out of the ground, thought about the consequences, looked back at the linesman and pointed to the penalty spot. Hanson calmly rolled down the centre left as the Green Gerken flew right.

Collywobbling, balls a-bobbling, spatial awareness Jobling! Oh, sorry, I've fallen asleep and into an early nineties reverie. Where was Dave Gilbert for that pass? Spatial awareness Hewitt, this year's ultimate utility man.

Boom-boom-boom, Prosser and Eastman took turns to hug Hanson. Big balls, higher and higher. It's a Grimsby thing, and it's a terrible thing to lose like this, isn't it. The Hess powered, Moses glowered as a blue boot legged him up enough to distract, but insufficient to fell as he shot powder-puffily at Gerken.

Takin' a dive as he couldn’t halt the slide, it's a bad dream for Senior. And off he went. One-two-three what are we waiting for? Don't ask me I don't give a damn, the next sub is Charles Vernam. Tombola 2 was replaced by the Wolds Panther. Nothing changed. Wright replaced the woeful Whitehouse. Things changed slightly.

Breaks. Shots. Saves. All down the other end. Nothing special, in fact, a bit of a bore. Davis booked for a rugby tackle. Why? Town are playing rugby.

Hanson wheel-clamped unsubtly as the ball sailed on. Town got out the mortars, Colchester hunkered down in deeper trenches. Lobbing, sobbing and flash-mobbing as the Blues feigned fells.  

Cook replaced Hewitt and Colchester sent on their largest lump, their biggest blimp, the ginormous Sowunmi, to command the air corridors above their convoy as Town got another free kick, another chance to hoof and hope.

The Hess chipped, a bunch of big blokes converged, Sowunmi head-bonked out to the "D". Green took a touch, took a moment and took the roof off with a smashing grabber into the top right corner. And we took to Mr Green for scoring the sort of goal we usually concede but never score ourselves.

Five minutes were added, moments happened but nothing occurred. Davis ate grass and a blue man inspected his underwear as a free kick boomed into the U-benders' penalty area. Town dunked their donuts, but the cup had runneth out.

There we are, a victorious draw from the jaws of revolting defeat against equally mundane opponents. And in the end everyone gathered around the ref and had a moan. So everyone is happy.