Silent Night

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

24 November 2021

Solihull Moors 2 Grimsby Town 0

If it's Tuesday, if we're away, it must be raining. It's Tuesday, we are away and it's raining. Welcome to Solihull, an enervating Legoland jammed between Jaguar Land Rover Gate D2 and Airport Car Park 7. Ah, the evocative memories we'll have of this night.

Blue Town lined up in what passing pilots peered down upon and pondered "Is that a 4-4-2 formation?". If it was, it was as follows: McKeown, Efete, Waterfall, Pearson, Crookes, Clifton, Fox, Hunt, Sousa, Bell and Taylor. The substitutes were Towler, Revan, Coke, McAtee and Bapaga. Sousa was on the left, Clifton the right and, ah yes, the new boy, he is the one and only Sam Bell with high hopes and aspirations. You can't take that away from him. The Bristol Bell fluttered like a butterfly around Taylor's aura.

Tally-ho! We've got a Fox Hunt in midfield, they've got a couple of Ball Boyes. Thank you, you've been a wonderful audience; I would get my coat but I'm already wearing it, it's a bit peaky.

First half: Spooky Moormen hell dream

The Moormen hacked off towards the Town fans spread along the tin shack, a little old place where we can get together and grumble. Shin of Sousa, Eye of Crookes, Open Sesame! Town lacerated on the left, an open and shut case for the prosecution. Clarke skipped away and knees knocked in the centre.

Fox in a fix, playing like a hick, Sousa watching the wheels go round and it's just a shadow you're seeing that Crookes's chasing. What can you hear here? Nothing. Is this the sound of the suburbs? A deadening end and dead-end streets.

Rub your eyes and stop your yawning, it's a Town attack. Bell turned, Bell curved and Clifton's sniffle was snaffled by the hands of Boot. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, punk. What would Noam Chomsky say about that?

Is it genetics or environmental issues which lead to Town conceding a goal on a rainy night in Jaguarland? Well, no-one has yet suggested that wearing earrings is in our genes.

Neon signs a-flashin', taxicabs and buses passin', the distant moanin' of a plane and a sad refrain of "Sort it Hurstsy". Sousa pigging in the muddle, Crookes left in the lurch and tempted to fill the void. Cantering Clarke clip-clipperty-clopped along the line, down the line and Town were hook, line and sunkered. Rooney sweetly swept in from a dozen yards out.

C'mon Town we're right behind you. Literally, not emotionally or vocally.

The ground not quiet, but silent, a vacuum, a void, an ocean of doubt and dross. Yellows stood back and watched blue boot heels wander. Town sleepy and there's no place they're going to. Taylor and Bell, merely estate agents measuring the curtains.

Howe hurt, Howe down, how long has this been going on? Twenty minutes that felt like twenty years. It's dire, where's the fire. We may grumble but have we been rumbled? There ain't any use in pretending it could happen to us any day.

Vroom-vroom, rah-rah, Efete roared up the right and yellow boots, possibly even Big Orange Boot, booted the ball out for a corner as Taylor lurked. Elevation demanded, elevation achieved and Pearson's noddle was noodled away from the line by some custard tarts.

Home falls, we're bored. Waterfall instructed fellow bluesmen to get an Efete head on it. He, Waterfall, not Efete, got a head on it in front of Mean Mr Maynard, who always seemed to shout out something obscene. Practice watch you screech.

Ripples of blue nibbling at yellow toes, the illusion of action. Hunt plopped corner after corner into the hands of Boot, except when he didn't. Waterfall arose alone and headed overly to a visibly audible sigh.

Creaking and leaking Town in need of tweaking. A chip and chase and Pearson body slammed a passing big bird. As the ref sprayed his can Pearson sneaked off. The peepster looked up, hand reaching into his pocket and forgot who did it. We could see what he was thinking "was it number five or six?". Well, to tell you the truth in all the excitement, he kind of lost track. A snitch in the crowd bellowed "It was Sears!". And Pearson ran away with a bio-degradable spoon, unusually unbooked, unabashed and thoroughly unashamed.

I wish this game was bio-degradable. Their pitch looks like it's got implants? Are they playing on a toupee?

Four minutes were added during which the first offside of the evening occurred as the little flag man in front of the seated Townites awoke form his slumbers.

But for all their great intentions, and occasional inventions, here it stays as a losing stalemate: Town tangled up in blue again. That's why I'm saying: it's raining, we're crying, Town sinking, the season dying, hope sinking in the crowd.

Second half: Tomorrow is a litter day

Neither team made any changes at half time.

You'd have thought Town would give it a go, wouldn't you. Perhaps they did, in their own way. We saw colours moving in front of us, of that there is no doubt. But what did you see? Was it a blue dress or a candelabra? No, just Erico, shinning not shining today.

Them, theming, themmingly now and again, but not often. They had no need to worry as we closed our eyes and drifted away. McKeown paddled away a coiling corner with a top spin smash down the tramlines. The Sol men, brought up on a side street, were happy to stand around and hear us bleat.

I remember the blankness when the void was calling. A cross from the left, then a cross from the right. Hands on hips awaiting the corner, but Solihull just keeping it tight. Just scribblings and jottings on scrap paper. It's just not good enough.

It's time for a change. On the hour, on came Sbarra for them, and McAtee replaced the jellyfish, our Portuguese man of flaws. Bell shimmied to the right-wing to accommodate our Mancunian Messiah.

Ah-ha, it's alive! Bell ran around and there's panic in their disco. A corner, a cross, a duck, a dive, Taylor back-heeled and Boot squelched for a wasted save as a free kick was given for, ooh, I dunno, playing football in a built-up area in the hours of darkness.

A Yellow corner and Fox trotting down the left twirling, whirling and curling to McAtee who pulled back to where no blue man stood.

Efete tunnelled and Taylor tickled a loop beyond and behind flailing ailing homesters. Efete roamed on, but Boot's chest smothered aside narrowly. Bell cramped up, leaning on a goal post at the corner, over near the seats. Oh me, oh my. Elevation, consternation in the nation, as Pearson towered and glowered as his header hit a lemon meringue on its way in. The ball was pushed aside as a yellowman ambled towards the corner flag. A crinkle up the line and all is not fine. Sbarra slinked and slithered all along the watchtower and slapped lowly as McKeown slipped. Suckers gonna punch.

And when finally the bottom had fallen out, the becalmed Bell was withdrawn and Bapagapen twinkled on.

There's still 20 minutes left. Anything could happen! Yeah, and I've seen an elephant fly.

We have trains and boats, they have planes to take us away from the torpor. Wishes and dreams come true, but not for Grimsby. It wasn't easy listening as later on, when the crowd thinned out, something was muttered underneath the collective breath.

Hey, look, it's not a wasted journey, we can get £15 off skip hire! Book early. Crookes and Clifton and Pearson took it in turns to get booked late on for being kippered on toast.

I don't care, you don't care, who cares what happened next? Sbarra wibbled and wobbled wide. McKeown made a save or was it a waive. Wish 'em luck as they wave us goodbye. Hunt snipped just over, McAtee was charged down and off they went for another something or other that had them oohing if not aaahing down in their tin potting shed. Four minutes were added and off we went as Efete passed back to the ball boys not Jamie Mack, summing up perfectly Town's imperfections.

And as we stood on the side of the road, mud falling off our shoes, heading back to the east coast, we looked into the void. Lord knows we've paid our dues watching Hurst Town tangled up in blue. Again.