A sausage has two ends

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

17 January 2021

Grimsby Town 0 Southend United 0

Two left-backs and two-right backs? Ah-ha! He's fully back to full-back basics already. It's comforting, in its own way.

Needs must; mustn’t grumble.

Chickens do come home to peck, for the summer of false economies has left us with a furloughed furrowed field to stare at. Get out yer wellies and welly it lads.

I don't know how you feel about these shrimps, but if we beat them, we'll never have to prove our courage in any other way.

First half – No cows on the ice

The slinky Shrimps kicked off towards the Pontoon. You do realise that this game does not exist, nor will it ever exist.

A mudslide, a yellow glide and a deflected cross skittled across the face of the penalty area. Oh Reeco, Reeco, because Reeco Hackett-Fairchild spun around and flashed into the side netting, the world the outside world isn't watching now. Was it ever?

Jumping Jehosaphat! Oh mud, mud, glorious mud there's nothing quite like it for cooling the interest in this game that's no good. Hewitt hurled a long short chuck into the muck and murk where danger rarely lurks.

And that was Town, where only Max Wright's occasional dressage display warmed the cockles, for where were our muscles? We're watching limp limpets and stringy shrimps dying in the shallows.

A piaffe, pirouette and passage from the peerless Max cantering across the battlefield, dodging the barbed wire, leaping across the craters and over dead cats bouncing. A tickle to Green who torpedoed straight to Oxley. Ooh, niiiiiice. Mighty Mouse Max twisted, Hendrie crossed and there's nobody home.

Bishes and boshes and a heck of a hullaballoo as Hewitt hooked Oliyanka – watch out, watch out they'll get your old cheese for getting their beard caught in the mailbox! No charge, no card and yellow's mardy.

Moany-moany-whinge-whinge. Official fingers wagged.

A triple-manned short corner arced under the crossbar, Jamie Mack slap-punched into the panic zone and why am I telling you about something that didn't officially happen? I'm not going to. Ooh, another clever short corner as they triangulated through the hay bales, rumbling on their right. We'd be grumbling all night if Hendrie hadn't scraped away from inside the six-yard box.

Whingey-whingey-moan-moan. Official lips shushed.

Williams, our softly-softly task force, catchee coldee. Spokes slapped over after, oh I dunno, something. Green galumphed and galloped while Williams was not at the near post, nor the far post. He was neither here nor there, neither up nor down.

Oliyanka finally limped off and on came a bilious billiard ball of seething rage, McCormack the McMoany midfield mitherer having a mid-life crisis.

Once in a while Nathaniel-George wiggled and waggled and, well, simply passed into McKeown's duvet from a long, long time ago. I can still remember how that music made me smile. Town have nothing to declare but our devious Williams, our sham striker ham acting at a nonentity moment of nothingness. One must have a heart of stone to watch the death of little George without laughing.

Three minutes were added and Southend awoke. Is this some kind of joke? Away they broke and Hackett-Fairchild sailing in on a shrimp sandwich, jinked and winked to dink. Nathaniel-George arose afar to softly head into McKeown's awaiting arms.

Now the half time air is sweet perfume, ah-ha, sausages. And you know what they say about sausages.

We have a bunch of farmhands, not athletes. Luckily they are playing on a potato field.

Just one question: no not how high are the clouds, but is February going to make us shiver?

Second half – All duck no dinner

No changes were made by either side at half time.

Momentary moments of striped almostness here and there. Green chased a long ball into the canyons of his mind, deep into the open corner twixt Pontoon and Main Stand. Right, now you know exactly where the ball was before nothing happened. Hewitt, that's all I'll say.

Hey there, Georgy boy, swinging down the left so fancy free. Williams danced to nowhere wasting everyone's time with a clever dumb trick – we could see the rabbit was in your armpit all along. Williams through on goal but offside. Williams again, on the half way line, snip-snapping a pass behind Spokes. Yellows swarmed and Hackett-Fairchild whacked straight down Jamie Mack's alley.

Yellow pressure, yellow peril abated as they got stuck on the mud.

You know, you won't stop talking, why don't give it a rest with your incessant talking, you're becoming a pest. At every tackle and every tumble, the yabbering yellows surrounded the pastel peeper whose patience was visibly shortening.

Minor matters under the Police Box. Hendrie threw quickly as Wright infiltrated the penalty area. A cross was passed and the moment passed as Hewitt's toes were nicked by a quick yellow fox in the box. It was nothing, but the only nothing we have to hang our hat on after half time.

Wright turned, Green passed and Williams, oh dear Williams, bye-bye. Here comes Big Jim, less running, more pie. He added heft. Headers were flicked.

Along the way in this great future, you can't forget your past. So dry your tears as Hackett-Fairchild's tomfoolery turned Habergham into the mushiest of peas. A pass, a pass and Nathaniel-George was blocked by a Big Luke Waterslide.

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, yup-yup, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, bunny rabbit. Shut it Moany McMoanyface.

A Wright break hit the ref and that was that. Deep under the Frozen Horsebeer Stand, Preston looped longly and Green snuck behind Whinger White. Alas the ball did not stick on the mud and the keeper scooped the poop. I'm not chucking my beret over that nobble, nor should you toss your titfer onto that. Have some dignity.

Every man has his breaking point. You and I have one. Ben Toner reached his in the 73rd minute as the Moany McMoanface and Whiney White double act was double booked for their trash talking tag team. Very obviously Ben's gone totally sane. That's what a bore does to a referee.

And on came Jackson for Green, though Preston remained.

Habergham blind bid for a exoskeleton on the internet, passing backly badly. McKeown made absolutely sure the ball exited stage left as peril approached from the right. Absolutely, just, probably.

When will this torment end? To background hubbub of vague mutterings in yellow out there, somewhere Jamie Mack punched and Spokes poked away once, then twice later, or now, or then. Ooh, it's all so fraught.

Southenders tumbled like dice and got one in three free kicks. Hackett-Fairchild befumbled wide from some mumbling toshery that was offside anyway, probably. And he goes again with his trickery-dickery-slickery. Scrambles were scrumbled, but Town didn't crumble. They still grumbled though.

Four minutes were added.

Push-me, pull-me, see me, feel me, touch me. What was that promise they made not to needlessly, heedlessly leg up late on? A free kick deeply dropped from their left and Pollock headed back and up across the penalty area. A nick on, and chance on, shot on and my money's on James McKeown. Nathaniel-George, inside the six-yard box, was swamped by the return of the Mac. Fists and foreheads flew at the following corner and there we are: a cult classic of its genre.

In truth they had more savvy, more skill and more chances than Town, but in the battle of the bottomboys Town triumphed through sheer will. A scoreless home draw does, these days, count as a triumph. Rots must stop somewhere.

Non-defeat is victory: full-back to the future!