Mayday, May Day

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

16 December 2020

Southend United 3 Grimsby Town 1

Before the days of newspapers, the events of the day were retold by the street ballad singers. And here's one such eighteenth-century ditty:
There's a moral to all stories: though your cordwangle be poor,
keep your hands off other's moolies, for it is against the law.

How low can we sink with the town in turmoil? Dirty old Town turned up in a salmon pink football kit.

First half – Say no to piracy

The Shrimpers kicked off towards where we would have stood had they not put seats in, or would have been sitting had the world not been a great big onion.

Hey world! We got a great big job to do. Yeah, we need you. Oh.

A chip and chase, a clip and a Russell red-faced as Taylor snickled lowly through the crowd into the bottom right corner.

23 seconds. That's how long it takes for Holloway's hot air balloon to deflate; we're a limp blimp against the Shrimp.

Rose had a shot in the dark which wasn't a shot in the arm. Action Jackson slipped when chasing rainbows, Windsor stooped-grazed one step beyond the far post.

What are we watching? Bog snorkelling in the Essex marshes. Come join us for an evening of traditional songs from the south.

Oh for the golden olden days of bogleclenching. Edwards twirled to the bye-line after Hewitt's crosstown traffic, Jackson scraped the cut back against the inside of the furthest post and back into the Southend safe space - right in front of their own goal.

A Rose free kick dripped momentarily dangerously. You need soft eyes to see danger. Tonight that be soft tissues on a soft surface. Rose collapsed and Morais was the latest answer to this creeping malaise.

Half an hour of hopelessness: we had the ball, they had the shot.

Hey, maybe the answer is 4-4-2? Wingers winging? You know, football as it used to be. When we used to be a contender. Morais dancing and prancing past a pickled pepper at will, coiling a curling free kick into the erogenous zones. Windsor ducking and flicking, the ball looping and drooping off the cross bar. Scramble those eggs as Morais swiped widely.

There was a moment, just one moment, when the hosts who were nearly toast approached the day trippers seeking sympathy. Some bloke had a shot, the ball did not go past Russell. Beyond those words there be a land of fables and fairy cakes.

Morais floating through the morass, crosses causing consternation across the nation. Don't shoot Harry! Too late. He'd already got a free shot, sent into their grandstand, from right there in front of the home team.

He wouldn't win a race for he has no pace, but Morais, Morias, he's giving us a base.

Four minutes were added.

A big booming ball found Edwards a-leaping on the left. A jiggle, a wiggle, and a giggling gurgle across the face of their penalty area. Hendrie tickled on and Morais moved marvellously for, yes sir, he can boogie if you play a certain song. A tip from the top: hit the near post. Clifton's clip from the cross hit the keeper and Sniffer Jackson swept home.

Justice will be done: Town were by far the nearest to competent of these two feeble fumblers at the foot of football's funhouse. Town had achieved parity with a toadstool.

Second half – A Lummockshire air

Southend made two changes at half time, hoiking off their double dusters atop. Kind hearts and baronets would call them their "strikers".

Ooh. I must take those sausages out of the freezer.

10 minutes later...

A blue break and a void on Town's right. A cross poked away with the grace and wit of a warthog in a tutu. Every Townite retreated into the box with no humans between the penalty spot and Mars. The spare blue full-back wandered up from the half way line without any salmonite showing any curiosity. The corner passed into the wasteland and Clifford calmly swept through salmon shoals into the bottom left corner with Russell motionless upon the air.

You'd call a bunch of 10 year olds naïve if they did that in a kickabout at Ploggers.

I see colours moving randomly. There is no rhyme nor reason, no meaning, is this abstract video art? Has the streaming failed and we're watching a screensaver? Some subbing, more blubbing at the tiresome toshery on show.

And with every extra minute Morais became a man with a folk memory of his feet. Mild Mariner moments that some call pressure. Edwards slipped and swayed at a Town corner and an Oxley goal kick went out of play. A highlight or merely a moment that highlights the execrable ineffable feebleness of this festive frolic.

Well, here's something. Morais carefully coiled over the wall and over the bar after Gibson was legged up. Well, it was nothing.

After 71 minutes and 39 seconds the picture froze. Alas my fellow sentient beings, the pictures returned. This isn't football, it's the Ludovico Treatment. What have we done to deserve this?

Town, worn down by big boys on a bog. Just because the ball is round doesn't mean it is football.

More subbing. On came big old Halford, who equally amused and bemused those still awake by lumbering upfront.

Big blue booming to their left and a witless up and under dropped into the centre of the penalty area. Halford arose above Watefall and noodled softly, straight and down at the feet of Russell. No problem, old Sam is in the team because he has better feet than Jamie Mack. The ball plopped in the poop, skipped through Russell's legs and slowly, slowly, slowly rolled over the line.

Not quite as awe-inspiringly awful as Paul Reece at Notts County, but a pretty decent attempt to recreate that moment, just to bring some light relief in to the life of those downtrodden downbeat Essexers.

More changes for change sake as Sniffer Jackson was replaced by a man with no name or number. And so the legend of Touray Sisay was stillborn. Or was it him? It could have been anyone. It was just a big bloke wearing the same colour shirts as some others. And that was Town.

There was a brief moment when... no, let's not kid ourselves.

Four minutes were added. Why? Ah, just enough to let Waterfall show he can run like a Scooby-Doo monster into Halford's head. Not off with his head, but off with our head, our supposed leader, the rock amongst pebbles.

Town are becoming expert at embarrassing themselves in Essex. Make no mistake: they imploded against the worst team in the League, a team that ran around and got in the way for 45 minutes.

Shrimps beat wimps. Another day, another way to be thoroughly ashamed of this dead parrot of a club.