Decline and fail

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

21 October 2019

Grimsby Town 0 Leyton Orient 4

There are so many lonely people, why must they be apart? That's what training's for, eh, Mickey J. Welcome home, welcome, come on in and close the back four door.

A cool breezette crept into the faces of near 400 red legs in the Osmond on this day of days when history will be repeated. What, again?

Town lined up in the bellowing chasm that is the 4-3-3 formation as follows McKeown, Hendrie, Ohman, Waterfall, Gibson, Clifton, Hessenthaler, Hewitt, Vernam, Hanson, Rose. The substitutes were Russell, Pollock, Davis, Cook, Whitehouse, Ogbu and Green. Slim Charles and Ahkeeeeeeem flanking Big Jim, whatever could go wrong? Just look at that midfield. It's hard work.

Ah, the Lazarus of the lower leagues: Leyton. Oh, what a rag bag of Town cast offs from our days of yawn: Widdowson, Clay, Harrold and chuckling James Alabi, very much the Aldi to Lenell's John Lewis. How can we fail against those who've failed for us?

Oh, it's Town. Let's get on with it.

First half: noddies at the seaside

And we're off. Hoof, chip, chase, bouncy-bouncy nibbly noddyness. Incoherent claptrap! Yes, indeed. Welcome to our world of blunder.

Town, as a matter of public record, were attempting to attack the goal in which the Orient goalkeeper meandered, which as a matter of recorded fact, was the one in front of the Orient fans.

Your honour, I will let the court draw its own inferences from those facts.

Red pass, red move, monochromers mesmerised. Piffle and skiffle nowhere of consequence outside the Town penalty area. Vernam flannelled feyly under the feet of Clay and Hendrie swiped danger away. Alas, the peeper had peeped for Slim Charles' chin-stroking challenge. The free kick drooped and Harrold arose upon striped backs as the ball was bonked back. Vernam shrugged and a red cross was crossed. Hewitt dawdled, Ekpiteta collected his coupons, cashed in his cheques and clipped lowly in the centre. Hanson watched as Happe strolled along, slapped once against McKeown's gloves and slapped twicely, nicely under McKeown's body.

Harrold mauled his markers, Town crossed into the stands, into the feet of Clay. A momentary moment of red peril, Waterfall wafted away. And all the while Townites chased after the laddies in red in lukewarm pursuit of the ball. There is nothing of note, I'll get me coat.

Red punting, double Town grunting as Harrold's head on headed on. Dyson skipped away and plunged under the hot breath of Hess out near the left corner of the penalty area. The free kick whipped, Rose stretched and missed, Hendrie back-heeled down scruffly against Coulson's big chest, who casually hooked high across Jamie Mack into right side of the net.

Two free kicks, two centre-backs, two shots, two goals, a mirror image of Mariner mess-ups. Your honour, I put it to you that Michael Jolley will be a little disappointed with that.

Shapeless, formless, hopeless. Nothing happened.

A moment. No, the moment, the only moment. Hess clipped, Rose rolled and back-heeled, Hess drove on and drimbled lowly. A brill save by Brill lowly and rightly at the foot of the post.

There is no more to tell other than the referee booking the tall, skinny, black defender for timewasting at a throw-in by the small, bearded, white winger. Even small beardy man complained to the referee about the mistaken identity. And got booked.

Is there more? I told you, no. Red rings around Town posers. An embarrassment, a shambles, a mess. A normal first half with knobs on.

Three minutes were added and Clay took pity on the maudlin masses and tackled his own player for comedy relief.

What wretched formation prancing in ill-fitting nappies.

Town don't have to fall apart, but they do have to fight. What have we done to deserve this?

Second half: We can't go on like this

Clifton and Vernam were replaced by Green and Ogbu as Town moved to what was, in effect, a 4-2-4 formation.

Intensity, passing, Town got into 'em. Ooh-ah, just a little bit of Ogbu and a little bit of fright on the right. Moses marauded and a cross deflected off red shins. Green sneaked in front of Coulson at the near post and  Brill brilliantly parried instinctively upwards. Rose was carried away by Ekpiteta's lunging swipy feet.

Town thissing and thatting, crosses overhit, underhit, wobbling free. Hewitt fell in a red mist claiming a red arm. Green kissed the turf after expectations of Cockney clatterings, Rose rolled around an invisible trip to the dentist.

Ogbu was fouled but retained possession dead centre and a free kick was awarded, amid apologies from the pastel peeper. And on this bombshell Whitehouse replaced Hewitt. And all momentum was lost.


Hendrie was barbecued and slippy sub Dennis slashy-sliced over an opened goal. Waterfall fell near Harrold in a trite attempt to con a free kick. After much bumblage in the jungle Clay coiled and McKeown over-spectacularly slapped aside.

Pumping, dumping, slumping. Hendrie swung a swirler into the centre of the middle, just six English yards from the goal. Big Jim almost stretched and missed the ball.

Slipping, dipping, whipping, Hendrie swung a swirler into the centre of the middle, just six English yards from the goal. Big Jim stretched unmarked and missed an open goal.

Infiltrations, moments, the semblance of stodgy nearlyness. Rose, Green, Green, Rose, Hanson: nothing but the hint of hope. Remember those holes.

Thinking, linking, dinking. Hendrie swirled a slinger into the centre of the middle, just six English yards from the goal. Whitehouse arose freely and headed widely wide from the near open goal.

With Town getting ever nearer to not missing, Alabi replaced Harrold: a limited loanee for a limp loanee. There are 15 earth minutes remaining.

Do Town have any excuse for the reign of terror unleashed by the arrival of Alabi?

A red corner rocking farly. Whitehouse headed back into the six-yard box, Coulson flashed and Rose rocked away from off the line. Town walloped deeply, Orient be-thwonked neatly. The ball bounced in the centre circle. Alabi rolled Gibson, then performed some interpretative dance with the Hess. Off he ran down the middle unmolested and Alabi calmly passed under Jamie Mack and into the bottom left corner.

Cue the exodus.

Five minutes of time. I saw three ships a-sailing by.

A ping down their left and Alabi ran off behind Waterfall. Luke lunged and, after all these years, Alabi won his Grade One swimming badge for a perfect dive to the bottom of Chapman's Pond. Wright stroked the penalty left as McKeown sprawled right.

Five minutes of time. I see sea shells on the sea shore.

And then three more were added. Is there no end to this shame?

Oh Town, it's the same old story. The wheels on the Town bus go round and round, and then fall off in October. There is nothing at all to add to what you already know are Town's individual and collective failings, in both management and players.

Orient looked like a team, Town looked like strangers on a train.