Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
30 September 2018
Grimsby Town 1 Morecambe 2
I'm sure you would agree it couldn't fit more perfectly than to have a party on the day Town came to be. Happy birthday Grimsby, happy 140th birthday! Look at all the balloons… oh… the empty bin bags scuttling across the turf. How apposite that no-one has the appetite for a party.
A bleakly pleasant day with a chill wind blowing through our souls; I think we're going cold on Mikey's New Model Army. So close your eyes, count to ten and let's see who makes up Jolley's men.
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows McKeown, Hendrie, Whitmore, Collins, Davis, Woolford, Welsh, Hessenthaler, Embleton, Thomas and Cook. The substitutes were Russell, Hall-Johnson, M Rose, Clifton, Pringle, Hooper and Vernam. What a defence! What? A defence. There is no defence for the ailing Collins and failing Hendrie. And finally, and in colour, we have our 456th left-back of the season: Harry Davis, a lumbering right-footed centre-back.
Not so much square pegs in round holes as no pegs and no holes. Oh woe is us.
Oh, hang on, it's the shrivelling Shrimpers rolling into town isn't it. Listen lads, we can still do this, for how can we take a team seriously with Zak! and Oates embedded. Hey, Oates couldn't hack in it non-League, so we're on easy street today.
Here we go, hold your breath, let's see if something blows in this crumbling land.
First half: Vegetable men
Morecambe kicked off away from the many varieties of their 57 fellow travellers. Collins retreated; his mind went sleepwalking as Oliver bullied an old man when he was down. Poor Danny Collins, he'd rather be anywhere else but here today.
A gentle lob into the emptiness known to you and I as Town's penalty area and Leitch-Smith lolloped alone. McKeown edged forward, waltzed back and then swooped like a mountain lion to devour the tame little deer. There are no fractions in space: there are only holes where everyone can hear you scream, Danny. Poor Danny, poor old Danny in full retreat at the sound of distant drums. Let's share all the good times before it's too late.
A vacancy on the Town left and behold Jamie Macc's top corner tip-over from a Tutte thunderclap. Five minutes in and Town should be two down.
A horror show of shadow puppetry and muppetry as Townites passed to red and black shirts hidden in plain sight. Morecambites were extremely polite guests and only accepted the gifts at the third offering.
Welcome to Zombieland.
Ah, so, there is life as we know it after all!
Rebounds and red frowns as Cook nicked and knocked, setting the Sunderland scamperer free inside the Town half. Embleton's young heart ran free as he ran on and on and on into the centre of their penalty area, jinking, winking and caressing a coil around Roche into the bottom left corner.
It's the goal of the month! It is the goal scored in the month of September.
Within a few minutes two passes were successfully completed and a cross was crossed. We are blessed.
Full-back fumbling, striking stumbling, central crumbling and Collins took the old-fashioned route, crudely walloping a festering boil. A free kick floated, and artless panic duly noted as McKeown shaved off the rough edges. And Wildig wildly slid a slog into the side netting in the demilitarised zone on the left.
A punt into space, Roche and Thomas collided. Town got a throw-in. We can't even be bothered to get fake botherment about the clobber.
Slip-shod clod hopping and a series of pathetic non-clearances. A block, a block, another longshot from Tutte wobbled and was tipped over by McKeown.
Welsh strong-armed with his feet and Cook's shot swished over. Embleton swished wide and swashed over. He's getting further away as he gets used to Blundell Parklife. I suggest that to get an enormous sense of well-being during his lonesome loan he starts to feed the pigeons, and sometimes feed the sparrows too.
One minute was added. What a waste of time. An utter blob of trash. Morecambe should be three up
Blah-blahdy-blah. Blahdy hell. Useless, a collective uselessness of awful appallingness. Incompetence, incontinence and a parting before the Red Sea. Oliver took pity and walloped over.
Pathetic shuffling, inadequate hustling, what a bunch of turnips. Vegetable man where are you?
One minute was added. What a waste of time.
An utter blob of trash. Morecambe should be three up.
Second half: Scream thy last scream
Neither team made any changes at half time, which was a surprise as the crowd were awaiting the announcement that Danny Collins had retired from football. And that The Short One had been sacked by Ipswich and was "coming home".
Sometimes we just need to keep us shape. It's the shape of things to come.
Them. Us. And after all they are very ordinary men in polycotton. This way and that. A bit of pepper in the grot and Woolford volley-poked straight at Roche.
Whatever they did can be a folk memory for the valiant 57 to recall when singing songs around the campfire. My feet were far too fascinating at this point.
A bish and a bosh and Embleton crossed to the near post. Thomas glided in front of his marker and guided a volley against the underside of the crossbar. If only, eh, if only.
A linesman flagged and Cook was booked for kicking the football slightly before an opponent. Oates wigged and waggled and Davis writhed in agony, for a different kind of misery. On came Hall-Johnson with Hendrie moving to left-back.
Ah, moments. Red shirts swamped and Town breaking. Embleton dillied and was disrobed. Oates ran from the halfway line all along the Meridian as Collins retired and poked across and under McKeown into the bottom right corner.
There's a certain kind of hush where you can hear hope die.
Faffing and fiddling here, there and everywhere. Mariners refusing to manhandle Shrimps – just chuck 'em in a bucket. Mandeville twiddled and dinked, Leith-Smith leapt, unmarked Oliver stretched and the ball drivelled into the bottom left corner.
Isn't it strange how little we change. Isn't it sad we're so tame, playing games we've known end in tears for 140 years. We've kicked the bucket on this Nantucket Sleighride back to oblivion. Three years, three years we've been playing on bended knees and we've still found no whales in the sea.
Rose and Pringle replaced Woolford and Welsh. Woolford volleyed straight at Roche. Woolford swiped straight at Roche. No, hang on, that was earlier, wasn't it? Or in some other game, at some other time, in some other dimension. Or was it all a dream. What more can I say?
The appearance of pressure, a shot from Pringle bumbled meekly off bodies and rolled to Roche. Whitmore headed a corner over.
And all the spaces between all the lines were filled with humiliating keep-ball from the delighted day-trippers. A humiliation unseen and unthinkable by those who can only see the scoreline. We watched our little piggies being skewered and roasted on a spit, in our own kitchen, using some of our old forks.
Six minutes were added, which added nothing to the sum of human knowledge or increased our wellbeing coefficient with the Office of National Statistics.
It's time to go, better run and get your bags. I'm off to see some acid rock – Gary Kemp and his electric wok. Egg noodles and ketchup to you.
We know what we're seeing, we know where this leads. I don't want to go to Gateshead. Oh no, it does not move me.
There is only a case for the prosecution: there is no defence. It's goodbye. Nobody cry. Goodbye, goodbye…