Out of the blue

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

19 September 2021

Grimsby Town 2 Eastleigh 0

Right comrades, what have the Petwoods and Stockits ever done for us? Well, there's the sausages. The improved irrigation. And don't forget the lack of whine. Yeah, yeah, that's something we really don't miss, Reg.

The sun is shinin' in the sky, there ain't a cloud in sight and don't you know it's a beautiful day on the Costa Blanca y Negro on the streets where once was pity. Cleethorpes, it's the place to be!

Town lined up in a 4-3-3 formation as follows: McKeown, Efete, Waterfall, Towler, Crookes, Fox, Hunt, Clifton, Sousa, Taylor and Bapaga. The substitutes were Pearson, Revan, Coke, McAtee and John-Lewis. Never change a winning team. Except when you do. If it works. What, no Maximum Wright? No, no Maximum Wright. Brows furrow.

Lastly and leastly, what about Eastleigh? Achtung! Neunundzwanzig Spitfeuers an der Osmond. Warum? Leider, habe ich keine ahnung.

Let me introduce you to their party people in their club: lovely-jubbly Boycee's back! J-Low's on the floor and Ryan Hill is wearing a wig. They're playing in blue, what more do you need to know?

Right, on with the show.

First half – A bodge job

Town kicked off towards the partly populated Osmond with a chip into a nether world. Ah, his name is Rico, he is our diamond. He was escorted to his lair, and he saw Efete dancing there. A low cross, but alas, Near-Post Taylor was afar for once and McConnell scooped.

Tip, tap, tip, tap, wallop. Tip, tap, tip, tap, wallop. Pacmen pacing across the pitch, Blue Meanies shunting and hunting down stripes. Moments, occasionally. Hunt dripped a corner from the left, Rowdy Towler raced in to freely head over.

Can we dodge the stodge? Is our midfield a bodge job?

Occasionally moments. A blue corner, quick and short. Taylor tracked House and what could have been something was nothing at all.

This game could have been something, but it is nothing at all. Attentions wandered. Grown men took selfies of their gourmet sausages. Hurry up, it'll get cold. Stray children started to chatter, next generation Mr Purple started to chunter.

Ooh, was that a pass? Was that some monochrome movement? Little Harry bedrimbled a bedraggler straight to the keeper.

It's handy that these Spitfires aren't airworthy. Statistically it is probable that, one fine day, one of their punts won't go out of play.

Harper, nominally their left wing-back, used his charm to end O'Sousa's salsa. A booking for hooking. O'Sousa shimmied and dinked, Little Harry headed into the middle of the penalty area and headed straight and down into middle of the middle of McDonnell's midriff.

And the day trippers? Got no good reason for finding the easy way to con a penalty. House tripped over an imaginary daisy. What a silly billy.

We go left, they go right. We go up, they go down. They kick the ball out, we pass the ball out. Coagulation not triangulation: the concrete is setting.

Someone give this pudding a stir? Clifton charged, Crookes barged to the bye-line and Bapaga was wrapped in a duvet. Sousa ran around and around like a sausage dog but Rico went a bit too far across the face of goal as Kelly sailed across to bar the way. Sousa's coil curled welly-welly wide.

As throats were cleared for some gurgling a Town corner distracted. Hunt flat-punted to the exact same position as Waterfall's Wrexham glancer. Efete arose and twonked straight into the top left corner as the green man stayed static.

Well, that's nice. And it was nice. Very nice indeed. Lovely. What's that sound? A thousand throats de-gurgling.

One minute was added. After a minute of no added value there was nothing to add.

Forty five minutes of nudging and fudging. A goal at the end of it. That's the long and the short and the tall. Without Coke and McAtee Town look very non-League.

Second half – Blue skies sinking

Neither team made any changes at half time. You know how the old saying goes "If it ain't working, don't fix it".

What have we? The same shoddy noddy nonsense again. A foul here and a booking there. Where? There on the stairs for a little clog by Waterfall ending the briefest of flirtations with possibilities that Eastleigh would get over the half way line.

A modicum of momentary Marinerdom. Head tennis bingo. Fox headed on an up'n'under and Efete barged Taylor aside to back flicky-loop a crossbar crawler. The ball landed on the top of the net. Let me hear you say "Oooooooooooooooooh".

Who set their Hare running? The blues squeezed the bellows and pumped to the farthest post, Bapaga watched and pointed as Hare arose alone to majestically head further wide than he already was. Bapaga was informed of his duties by older, wiser gentlemen.

Pritchard. He curled. He curled wide. Wakey-wakey Town.

Just after the hour Hunt was clipped by clogs and replaced by McAtee as Town moved to a 4-4-1-1 formation.
And the game changed. It stopped being junior Kabaddi and became football. He looks neat, shall we talk about our treat McAtee, not just any old Iron.

A block, a cross and waves of McAteeness. Bapaga stretched and managed to miss in the middle. Urging and surging, McAtee moments merging into one. He's so dapper from his napper to his feet.

Efete targeted for treatment, felled by House then felled by Miley the mouse. Wingers winging, Sousa swaying, Bapaga obeying instructions, zipping and zapping, cutting in and McConnell spectacularly batting aside the swipe.

Ship ahoy! It's getting misty out there in the Humber. Don't fret, it's Eastleigh who are all at sea.

Efete dinked down the right, McAtee chased a non-cause, shrugged off a Bluesman and rolled a pass into the void, that rectangle of possibilities, the corridor of uncertainty, the oblong of optimism, the pentagon of promise, the tetrahedron of teasing. Or just through the six-yard box a bit in front to Taylor. It was poetry in motion.

They made changes. Like you care? It didn't make a ha'porth of difference to their day. They've been crushed by the wheels of our industry.

With quarter of on hour left Jamie Mack punted long vaguely towards Taylor, the ball dropped and plopped on the edge of the penalty area. McAtee tickled and teased, tapping aside perfectly into the path of the lurking Fox who lashed it with his pony tail as straight as an arrow past grasping green fingers into the left side of the net. Woah.

OK, relax, it's time for some retail therapy. Lennie the Lion replaced Taylor for a nice little training session.
Oh, and Revan replaced O'Sousa. Oh, and Boyceee headed a free kick wide.

Everybody knew ya didn't give no lip to big John. McAtee harried and hassled and flew freely in the shadow of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand, shrugging aside some paper bags. On and on ran Big Bad John lowly thrashing across the face of goal and inchlets wide of the farthest post. How did we get him? He just drifted into Town and sways all alone.

Pumping and clumping, this way and that, McAtee charged down a fly hack and slapped his thigh as it za-zoomed past the frozen McConnell and an inch or two past the left post.

Boyceeee wasted time wafting well wide from way away.

Five minutes were added. Perhaps the ref was enjoying the atmosphere and, in these dog days of a dying summer that wasn't, didn't want his day out at the seaside to end. He's beside himself with glee. Ooh look, a sailing dinghy.

Here we go. McAtee skipped away down the right and rolled a pass onto the toes of the flying Bapaga. Dancing, glancing, Little Willy drove them silly with his star shoe shimmy shuffle down, finding a leg to fall over as he poked towards corner flag. A penalty and McAtee hovering. McConnell sighed to his right, McAtee passed against the left post and knocked the rebound wide, but went to jail without passing go for no-one else had touched the ball so... so... so there we are.

A so-so game of forgettable fruit flinging nonsense where a weakened Town ground down weaker opponents. When McAtee emerged a switch was flicked and football flowed. McKeown never had a shot to save.

It wasn't entertaining but it was satisfying. An excellent practice match to get a few fringe players fit. Job done, just don't try it on too often, we won't get away with it every time.