Supper's ready

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

21 November 2021

Grimsby Town 1 Southend United 0

Walking across the sitting-room you turn the television off. Why? It's only Aaron McLean and his supertight trouser talk. But if you go down to Blundell Park open your eyes, it's full of surprise. Oh, there's mums and dads, no-one's sad and everyone's happy to be here.

It's Friday night and the lights are on; if you're looking out for a place to go, come on down to the show.

Town lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation as follows McKeown, Efete, Waterfall, Pearson, Crookes, Sousa, Coke, Hunt, Clifton, Fox, Taylor. The substitutes were Towler, Longe-King, Revan, Bapaga, and McAtee. Fox in the hole? That worked so well last time. In this great future, you can't forget your past. So dry your tears, I say. No Lennie, no cry. Don't shed no tears, the man they all fear is here: it's the return of the Mc. He's back up in the game and will soon be running things as we get back in the swing of things. Pump up the world, but keep it on the deck.

The ailing Essexers turned up in yellow with 214 Shrimpettes pottering around the covered corner. They're not tall, nor small, just ordinary people who don't know which way to go. They'll live and learn as they crash and burn.

Hang on, is that Mr Stanley Collywobble up there in a flat cap? It surely is. He's zipped up his boots and gone back to Roots Hall, appalled at the Brownian demotion. Good on yer lad. As John Lennon said, just stick in a cauliflower until you can think of something better.

After the winter wobbles where have our feelings gone, will we remember our songs? The show must go on. On with the show.

First half: Dig it

The yellowmen kicked off towards the Yellowbellies with a hump and dump towards Efete's rump. Let's play British Bulldogs.

Whoah, this ain't in the script, they're supposed to be flaky pastry. Walsh wandered and crossed around Crookes, McKeown half flapped but fully flopped on the drop, with Waterfall ready with his mop.

Barging, charging, chipping and chasing. Fox outside the box, retrieving on the right. Clifton clipped, Taylor ducked and Southend vertically challenged. Higgles were piggled near static caravans and Taylor simply swivelled in the centre to steer a pass lowly leftly.

Two minutes, too easy, shall we squeeze the lemons until their pips pop?

Fizzing and whizzing and a cross bumbled through the yellow box bouncing like a rubber ball bouncing, bouncing. Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, Coke looking up at the stars but volleying into the guttering and Sousa blocked by flying lizards as Fox passed the buck. We'll stretch them till they're thin enough to tear.

Stretching, sketching, etching, wretching - these words rhyme. Rhyme rhymes with time. Time ticks on. What are you on about? Ticking away, away, away, play away, play away, Southend playing away, and have a way to play. Sleek and slippery, a cross whippy dippy. Crookes crooked, Walsh wellied and McKeown pawed the deflection aside from near the post.

Town slipping, Town leaking. Blimey, there are two effs in Efete today. Wakey, wakey! Yellow moments, got no time for explanations, got no time to lose. Ah Murphy's law of diminishing returns; it's a question of balance. Has he an inner ear infection? Yellow diver, yellow diver, it's in his blood. There's nothing finer than to watch a whiner wail and fail. Oh, when times get rough and friendly refs just can't be found.

A corner, a scramble, hacking, thwacking, Town in a tither. Coke, just a bloke with the occasional poke and Fox on the rocks as the tide went out. Town maybe driftwood but Waterfall will find you, bind you, grind them down. And Pearson will be near, son, so worry not, they won't have a shot.

For everything Sousa longs to do, no matter when or where or who, has one thing in common, too. It's his shins.

A clash of titans and clash of yellow head and black boots. Dunne done for, head in a sling. A quick chat and shuffle after the kerfuffle and Mariners were merry again. Let's just forget the trick short corner. Were they thrown into confusion as they kicked the ball out so silently. It wasn't an illusion. It worked on the Waltham whiteboard, no doubt about it.

Sexy Sousa switched to the left and Sexy Sousa wiggled along the bye-line, swiping left when he saw Arnold's ugly mug. And swiping into the side netting. Infiltrations and salutions on the striped right. Congratulations and almost jubilations, it's so good to have you back where you belong. Little Harry sneaked in, flipped up and hooked across the face of the farthest post. Nicking and knocking nowhere much use, Clifton clobbered from the Flyover and the ball flew over heads and flew wide.

Here we go again. Shiver their timbers, here comes Hunt. A shuffle, a shimmy and a slap off yellow thighs, slithering past the left post. Elevation! No elevation. The corner returned, and Taylor took a ch-ch-ch-chance to glance, the ball arcing beautifully but perfectly into Arnold's awaiting arms.

And there then were four minutes added.

Stop, that's enough. Time for tea and punditry.

Town are very like Gareth's England aren't they – early goals make 'em crawl into a shell; they don't know whether to stick or twist.

Second half: Let it be

Neither team made any changes at half time.

Straight from the kick off Sousa shinned out. Arbitrary artichokes, calamity carrotball, utter drivel as Sousa dribbled up and down up and down up and down. A Town corner, a Town free kick and identikit inconsequences.

It's a shin line between drool and fool.

Clifton intercepted and drove all night on the right. Ah, Harry, we think about you when the night is cold and dark. Pass to the skylark on the left! Sousa dribbled and dabbled in saucery, swaying this way and that, slap-shotting and the eyes of the world are watching now... Oh Rico, Rico, because, Rico. At least it didn't go out for a throw-in. Just.

Look, we didn't come here to watch you lot. Don't do that again. Sleeky slippyness as Southenders swished through stripes and Brunt wibble-wobbled a wallop that crawled over Jamie Macc's retreating fingers and over the crossbar.

Yellow changes, there's gonna have to be a different plan. On came a jelly tot, Egbri, fleeter of foot, but only three foot tall.

Float, float on. Float on, float on. Fox bedraggled, sounds of laughter, shades of life as Sousa shinned across the universe. Rico, Rico, because, Rico.

Are we there yet?

Hi, his name's Harry and he's a dancer. Let's share our love for Harry, scraping into the side netting as Sousa dribble-drabbled and Southenders scrabbled around their derriere, rummaging ropily at their rear. Moments, moments as the gears slowly ground the chaff in the windmills of our mind.

Are we there yet?

Can you feel it? Can you hear it? Can you see it? Were you watching in Rumblerama, could you feel the earth move? I see the glory, I get the story, here he comes as the crowd awoke from their golden slumbers. It's a long time since we saw you, well, we know how time can fly. We go weak in the presence of McAtee.

Are we there yet?

Oh yes, Hunt got the shunt for the return of the Mc, letting Fox retreat from his hole. Dishing and dashing, wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin', but nothin' has changed. It's still the same, but it's just about OK.

Are we there yet?

Mmm, determined Demetriou dipped wide from afar. Thank you for your service. Please don't do that again. OK, what's next?

Tipping, tapping, ticking, tocking, and McAtee rolling his pins. At last another corner. Elevation! Elevation indeed. Pearson wandered unmolested from the goal line, arose and noodled agin the crossbar.

Are we there yet?

Tipping, tapping, ticking and tocking, a long welly sailed over Crookes and deep, deep into the Town area. Tiny Egbri popped up from behind a toadstool, swung back and swiped across McKeown and across the face of goal. Calm down, dear, Waterfall scraped away from the lurking, sulking Murphy.

Are we there yet?

Four minutes were added. McAtee was booked, Revan came on for Sousa, and Egbri was booked for nothing in particular. Yes, we're happy as fish and gorgeous as geese and we'll be wonderfully clean in the morning. We're there now.

Bodged up and stodgy, Town dodged a bullet with a functionally adequate throwback performance. Nothing to write home about. It'll do; it'll have to do.