Death of a goldfish

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

2 March 2017

Grimsby Town 1 Colchester United 0

It was a cold night, it was a still night in the land of make believe with 140 Essexers dancing in the moonlight. Don't worry, they don't bark and they don't bite. Is that them or us?

Town lined up in a piddling puddle in the middle of a muddle as follows: McKeown, Mills, Collins, Pearson, Andrew, Gunning, Bombalurina, Osborne, Clements, S Jones and Dyson. The substitutes were Boyce, Davies, Maxwell, Comley, Vose, Yussuf and Asante. Oi, Marcus, no. Bombalurina is a fictional cat. You meant Tombola, didn't you – a fictional winger in your fickle formulations.

What ever happened to 4-4-2? It got an ice pick, that made Alan Buckley's ears burn.

Behold the New Way and follow the Magi Marcus to the promised land of finely finessed fluidity in a miasma of mystery. How can the opposition stop something that doesn't exist? How can they plan for the unplanned?

Colchester mingled with the stewards, looming luminously in the distance.

Town. A riddle wrapped up in a mystery inside an enigma, but there is a key. What is that key? Oh, hang on, I think we've dropped it behind the non-chairman's sofa.

And when we recruit Pig, Topov, Octavia and Mrs Muddle during the summer, Marcus the Puppetmaster's plans for world domination will be complete. It's… time.

First half: A Handful of Songs

Town lined up in the shadow of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand and hoofed straight outta play, straight down into the Osmond. No-one should be in to the Osmonds. Too much cheese is bad for you.

Mills passed out of play. Mills passed to them. Andrew Neweyed down the line. Town corners. How? Well, isn't life a mysterious adventure. Underhit, overhit. There is a rhyme, but there is no reason. They made Town turn, turn, turn with their fluorescent flouncing and falling exposing the flaws in Town's floorplan. Pffft, there is no floorplan, sit where you like. I love a party with a bit of atmosphere. Walking in silence, confusion, an illusion of exclusive, elusive elevation on those crosses.

See the danger, always danger.

Hi-diddle-di-dee, fluorescent fancydanning and Fuso fabulously wellied a wobbler from afar. McKeown plunged. The ball thumpled against full face of the right post. Ho-doodle-di-do, luminous lurking and Pearson swished away to save the day.

There's time to build up, time to break down and time for Osborne to turn, turn, turn and bedribble a drubble causing no trouble at all, sir. Ooh, that was a shot. Make a note.

Oh Mr Porter! Do behave. Get up and stop mithering.

Fosu fumbling and stumbling as Townites took it in turns to leg him up. It's the only way to deal with this elusive butterfly. Don't be concerned, he will not harm you. And here they come again. Wright wriggled through the non-existent left and fell as Pearson stared. Hoiked away, the big yellow taxis kept cruising around for a fare. Tippy-tappyness on Town's non-existent left and Fosu was lowed to wander lonely as a clown. A flick and Fosu freed, he spun and gunned lowly with McKeown's right foot diverting danger. A corner. Town, having learned so much from Saturday, walked back into the area as Dickenson sauntered back out to the edge of the area and slapped wide.

Are you really that bothered about Andrew's wasted wafted waft into the wall? Are you really that sanguine about their free kick through the Cumberland gap that hit a silly sausage? Are you really that bothered about Jones's tank manoeuvres and dull thud from behind a bush?

Moments, mere moments, and none of them magic.

What better thing to do than take a jolly jape or two and pass the ball to Jones, who slidey-stretched into the unmanned nettage

As Tombola was felled far away, McKeown sat down and demanded attention. Probably a little bored. As aerosols and lubricants were spreading a little happiness, all the players ran off for a drinks break. Gotta keep hydrated in this heat. The sight of 22 men drinking roused the crowd from its torpor. Noise!

No, it's just an illusion. The football restarted and the crowd sank into distraction, the game a backdrop to the convivial badinage between acquaintances. Ah, yes, mention of aerosols and lubricants brings back memories of Jay and Silent Bob promenading the catwalk in front of the Pontoon. Well, it kept some amused.

Eh, what? A funny thing happened on the way to half time? Colchester, tipping their taps and strutting their stuff in the middle of nowhere. Jones nicked off luminous toes and released Tyson Dyson to roam down the left. A stutter and sway and Dyson whooshed past a man, along the bye-line and noticed a similarly dressed young man all alone inside the six-yard box. What better thing to do than take a jolly jape or two and pass the ball to Jones, who slidey-stretched into the unmanned nettage.

Oh, you had to laugh. We did.

Two minutes were added, and big balls were pumped. Gunning challenged Dyson, a corner followed and Dyson cleared. Now go away for quarter of an hour.

Town were offensively dreadful, defensively offal, but we have half-time happiness. How did that happen?

Second half: The Flumps

No changes were made by either side at half time.

Out they sprang, these spring-heeled luminaries. Boing! Boing! Boing!

Big-toed one-touch passing and moving through the static caravans. Lapslie, the tiny tiny tot of a number 4, wriggled into the penalty area and wrenched lowly across Jamie Mack. Mills stood on the burning deck and hacked off near the line. Town gave it away, then gave it away again, and back they tittered and tottered, dilly donging down their right, unpestered by monochrome. Dickenson fizzily crossed deep and low into the heart of darkness. Yellow toes met orange gloves and the ball skipped by. A push, a shove, a foul, a dink, and big bird Elokobi arose to thrunkle a free header wide of the right post.

How could they let this happen, in this day and age? The foulest of throws, followed by the foulest of throws. Is this crown green boules? You say bowls, the Pontoon says petanque. Gesundheit.

A Town attack of sorts. Three, maybe four passes. Mills sliced into the Pontoon. And ten minutes in, Osborne was replaced by Comley. At this very moment the fog cleared and we could see clearly now that Town lined up in what is often known as "a formation". I counted them all out, and I counted then all in: 4-2-3-1. Comley and Gunning stood in front of four defenders and Dyson roamed the savannah alone, seeking to chase rabbits down holes.

Jones the Steam Powered Tank Engine managed to convince the referee his tumble was man-made. Dead centre, 20 yards out. Clements tried a triple bluff but flappy Walker flopped right to clutch the ball where his head had been before he moved his feet. You, yes you behind the bike sheds, stand still laddie. That's all you have to do to succeed in this modern world.

Them, passing, long shot, Jamie Mack scooped, the ball plopped out and then back in.

The moments were dribbling away as Colchester stopped dibbling towards Town. It was like watching eight-year-olds in the playground chasing an old dog that had sneaked in through the fence

Collins ducked, a long luminous leg flicked out and freed a roaming raider on their right. The boy raider riveted lowly and McKeown shovelled aside oddly.

The moments were dribbling away as Colchester stopped dibbling towards Town. It was like watching eight-year-olds in the playground chasing an old dog that had sneaked in through the fence.

To add to the confusion Town started to make substitutions. With five minutes left the poison pace of Vernon replaced Tyson Dyson. Off they went and Fosu, beyond the far post, volleyed a deep cross against one of his chums for a goal kick.

Balls were bigged, but Town were getting bigger. Man Mountain Maxwell, the human wardrobe, replaced Jones the Steam. Yellow balls up high in the banana tree. Vernon flicked a trick outside the Town area and Tombola hurtled away from the chasing pack, za-zooming past the Police Box, into the area, looked up, saw Vernon alone and Clements afar, and passed to the lone lurking Luminati on the penalty spot.

Five minutes were added and the Essexers, hacked off at the futility of attempting to play football, relaxed their policy of no long ball games and simply hacked away. Balls! Big! Headers, hackers, thwackers, thissers and thatters. Vernon burstled free and… let us skip over the details to save the innocent from disturbed sleep.

And with a mighty phew the whistle blew.

Well, if the opposition absolutely refuse to score then you can't look a clothes horse in the mouth. There's nothing to take out of this but the points and a certain collective doggedness. Other than that Town were a dead dog.

Are our methods sound? I see no method at all, sir. Perhaps that is the method.