The return of the son of nothing

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

18 March 2021

Grimsby Town 0 Tranmere Rovers 0

It's plain to see the facts are changing but at least some of us keep feeling fascination for this purgatory.

And so the conversation turned until the sun went down. Why is Hanson wearing black socks? Is it a sign?

The two-tone Tranmereites turned up in black and purple on a warm, still evening with Town becalmed in the doldrums, waiting for it all to end. Nothing changes, nothing changed, we are and expect nothing.

First half – What goes on?

Tranmere kicked off towards the Pontoon. Hurry up Harry!

Purple double-takes on our flapping full-backs and fortunately there's flaky pastry passing of their parcel. No, I don't want a cup of tea. Town are hanging on in there, battling through that first minute.

A Lamy cross was cut out then the pictures cut out. One minute up, one minute down. What's going on?

Purple rage with some semi-detached suburban Scousers actin' funny, I don't know why. Lamy booked as a man lay crying into his soup claiming monstrous calumnies upon his gentleman's particulars. Ah, 'tis the death of Little Nell recreated at their leisure and for our pleasure.

A pool of purple ripples gently lapping against the beached whale. Suit up, boot up, let's enter the sterile zone.

Double diamonds make wonders down the wings, up with Hendrie hauling Blackett-Taylor to earth. Spearing wiggled, Clifton slip-sliced the cross aside inside the six-yard box, the corner a magic carpet ride as Blackett-Taylor muffled through the throng. The Shopping Trolley's wheels jammed and Town's ham was accidentally cured.

Colours moved on a screen. There is no more.

A chip over Harry, Woolery winked and dinked, Hewitt nut-megged himself to shin-clear backwards. Lunging Luke debagged his tormentor in the Somme beneath the Frozen Horsebeer Stand. The free kick arced archly, Nugent ducked and Jamie Mack sank low and right to shovel-scoop off the line and Hewitt slashed away at the jungle.

What of Grimsby Town, football team? We have Little Harry's enormous triangle of despair as he overhit a return pass to Lamy. A long throw that would have reached Lamy if it had and Lennie the Lion charged down a goalkeeping grubber way out west. Attacking goal kicks are almost like goals aren't they?

Bishing and boshing, purple teasing, Blackett-Taylor dribbling and wibbling through the fallen trees, Hendrie breakdancing to avoid handling. Back they came as Spearing speared longly, Woolery wandered past Little Harry and the cross deflected dangerously into the centre of a vast void, a black and white hole where time turned in on itself. Town were a compact mass through and from which nothing could escape.

Lamy broke free from the shackles of feyness, mugged the right-back and swung his right foot. This foot hit the ball, the ball moved through the air and arrived in the hands of the Tranmere goalkeeper standing in front of his goal. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I put it to you that this was, in fact, a shot. Not only a shot but a shot on target.

37 minutes is all it took for Town to muster the semblance of a shot that was probably a cross, but, you know, if the goalie was doing a word puzzle he may not have noticed it and it would have gone in. Town are just sooooooooo unlucky.

Break out the iced gems, we are truly blessed tonight! Just seven minutes after this historic event Morais swung and sliced several years wide. A corner! Morias unelevated, a purple missed and the unmarked Hewitt shinned wider than Mad Jock McWide near the post.

One minute was added and Tranmere turned up the heat to gas mark 2 – they'll really burn Town's toast if they're not careful. A cross, a clearance, a cross again and Nugent collapsed backwards to noodle over the centre of the goal from the centre of a giant scrimmage.

One can only sigh. We know the first half is always the good half.

Second half – It's too late

No changes were made by either team at half time.

Plop, plop, plop, ploppity-plop-plop-plop. Stop, stop, stop, when will this stop-stop-stop?

Morais lay down and Ira ran on. Blackett-Taylor sneaked off, Lloyd-McGoldrick snickered on. These are the days of our lives.

Shopping online is all the rage; raging at the Shop online is all we have left.

Ooh, hang on, what's this?

A free kick to them for a crime against fashion, perhaps Hendrie was spotted sporting flares during the hours of daylight. A purple man free and a right Charlie farly beyond Wonderland. After lobbing there be sobbing in Port Sunlight, if not wailing on the Wirral, as well, there be nothing to report but another 3cm growth on our tomatoes. Well, it was sunny this afternoon.

It wasn't anything. It was a mirage, an oil tanker floating above Blundell Park.

And Town came a-bouncing. A purple corner was cleared like all corners before and since by Big Jim and his amazing dancing hair. Jackson set Lamy free to fly, to fly, to fly straight into Clark the Venus Fly Trap as he entered the twilight zone of the opposition penalty area. When you are starving a rubber bone is tasty.

We're waiting for them to score, we always are in the second half. Clifton wafted a vague limb and Woolery wobbled to earth. A booking, a free kick way out right twixt and tween nowhere. Lewis arose and headed over.

Passing, movement, is this real, is this really Town? Hendrie crossed, Lennie noddle-plopped gently. And as I looked up from the newspaper the ball passed by the keeper's right-hand post, suspiciously involving Lamy's feet. Is it possible this was a shot?

Why oh why does the ball always have to end up with Lennie?

Jinking Jacko rock'n'rolled through at least three Wirralites doing the Len Ganley stance and slithered a slippery pass through the centre. Lennie was free and alone on the edge of history. Davies froze in no man's land and swayed lowly left before ball and foot had been introduced. The Old Shop passed gently into the arms of the falling flailer and another one bites the dust. Two games, two sitters, two steps closer to Kings Lynn.

Town, Town, all Town as finally Townites emerged from the bunker into this dying night.

Matete spread a little happiness from left to right, Hendrie slid Coke behind Ridehalgh and the cross deflected for a corner. They broke away, Town repelled the piffling thrusts. Matete crushed grapes, Jackson disco danced through the purple haze, flat clipped a cross and Ray arose to flick just over the bar. The corner half out and back, Hanson grazed, Lennie rolled near danger. A corner, a throw, Lennie swung and missed spectacularly to transition Town from attack to defence. What a link player he is.

And here we come again as Lamy twizzled and clipped and Menayese graze-dived widely. We all love Little Harry, but not even his mum would say that was a shot.

Boom-boom, bang-bang, slips and slides. Spearing and Matete: Titans will clash. Tranmere hauled off Nugent and Lewis, then threw on Crème De Monthe to bolster the backline as stripes flocked by night.

Ricochets and bobbles, bumbles and stumbles. Minor mayhem, minor moments of alarm at isolated incidents of occasional activity near McKeown. What else have they to show for the second half? A Clark header, a corner wide as Coke wallopped lonely, Davies scooped. Matete's magnificent muzzling and mugging made life easier for everyone.

Three minutes added. Well done Harry! There's nothing more to say.

Town were inert in the first half and frivolously frisky in the second, almost entirely down to the impact of Ira Jackson. A little bit of direct action goes a long way. There were even moments when it was realistic to believe that Town might score.

All this adequacy is far too late, we can't fake it. Something inside had died but there'll be good times again.