You only sing when you’re rowing. Match report: Grimsby 0-0 Cambridge

In isolation, that wasn’t a bad 0-0 to watch. In the context of three consecutive goalless draws at Blundell Park, during which time we’ve suddenly made scoring look about as difficult as the EFL co-ordinating a live broadcast of a simple cup draw, it’s naturally irked the supporters who pay hard-earned money in return for the promise of some goals.

Let’s be fair to the players, though. That wind today was an absolute bitch. While we could quite easily groan at the lumpy nature of their distribution, the defence did well. McKeown, who hasn’t always shone in aerial battles, had a very solid afternoon and made a couple of crucial saves. And he absolutely nailed the art of kicking the ball straight into the dugouts despite having plenty of time to work out which way the wind was blowing.

And Cambridge’s former international goalkeeper David Forde showed in the first half that at the tender age of 37 he was able to move much quicker than he could take goal kicks to tip Scott Vernon’s header wide of the post and kept the game locked at 0-0.

He could do nothing about Sam Jones’s early effort, though, which rebounded squarely off the foot of the far post.

The thing I didn’t get about Cambridge was their attitude. They showed in short spells that they had the capacity to win the game, but it appeared right from the first minute that they’d come for a point.

Their lack of ambition was probably what stopped them from winning the game today, and you could probably level the same accusation at us, too.

As our top scorer and only genuine goal threat, Sam Jones was taken off in the second half and replaced by JJ Hooper, who barely touched the ball for the remaining 15 minutes.

Our next best attacking threat and second top goalscorer, Siriki Dembele, was then withdrawn for the guy from Norwich whose name no one seems to know how to pronounce, and he too got fuck all service in the remaining minutes as our tactic appeared to go from ‘kick it right hard’ to ‘kick it right high’ and those substitutions absolutely killed any chance of us nicking all three points.

On a day when the wind was driving the ball towards the corner between the Osmond and main stands, it would’ve been interesting to watch us at least try and pass it along the ground to see if that would negate the conditions to some degree. But why bother trying when you’ve got central defenders who are so good at punting it into the channels, irrespective of whether our strikers are making those runs.

And that’s the problem the fans have with this team at the minute. We might be seven unbeaten; we might have only lost once in our last 10 games – but our approach to games and our tactics within them are so bloody obvious it almost makes me want to cry. You could hang a bloody neon arrow with the words ‘coming this way’ above the heads of Vernon and Jones for about two minutes before Nathan Clarke and Danny Collins actually lump it that way. Cambridge’s two centre backs won almost everything in the air all afternoon.

We became a far more interesting team when we had the ball on the ground in the final third. Luke Summerfield had another effective game in the engine room. He might lack finesse but he at least looks to keep the ball on the ground and retain possession by keeping it simple.

James Berrett also put in a tigerish performance, but he constantly looks like he’s on the brink of getting a yellow card. Martyn Woolford showed his experience down the left but there just seems to be a lack of a partnership with him and Paul Dixon that inhibits our progression down that wing.

Only Morecambe and Crawley have scored fewer goals at home this season than us. However, I’m a fair man and I accept the point Slade made in his post-match interview that had we won our recent away games at home and drawn those boring home games away we might be feeling a bit more positive about our progress this season.

Our defence will keep us away from danger but it’s our attack that will prevent us from getting a sniff of the play-offs. It may have occurred in the league below us, but after signing him in January last year, scoring two goals in his first two games for us and looking sharp in pre-season, Adi Yussuf today scored a hat-trick for Barrow in their win over Aldershot.

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Wilted spinach. Match report: Crewe 5-0 Grimsby

Every time I go to watch Grimsby Town play a match of association football, we’re shit. Totally shit. Absolutely hopeless.

Now, I know this isn’t a very fair reflection of where we are right now. We’re not shit, totally shit or absolutely hopeless, generally. We’re actually just six points outside the League 2 play-offs.

We’re only shit, totally shit and absolutely hopeless, it seems, when I’m in the stands.

The trip to Gresty Road was my eighth match of the season – I’ve seen us win one (at home to Morecambe on the opening day), draw one (at home to Barnet in Marcus Bignot’s first game in charge) and lose the other six.

And all those six have been to nil. And totally shit, of course.

The home defeat to Cheltenham was bleak. The home defeat to Portsmouth was painful. Let’s not forget I paid over £80 to go to Stevenage a fortnight ago, where I was treated to a load of shit on a concrete canvas.

Oh, and I saw the home defeat to Crewe, too.

Last season – a season in which we were quite good and won promotion – I only made four away games, and we lost three of those. And I thought that defeat at Halifax was shit.

All this makes following the Mariners more difficult than it needs to be.

The thing about Gresty Road is that it’s one of the least intimidating grounds to play at. It has one huge and sparsely populated stand with no one making any noise, and Town’s contingent tucked away in a concrete replica of Blundell Park’s wooden Main Stand, making all the noise.

More than half our squad live just a few miles down the M6. I mean, for Christ’s sake, an away game at Crewe couldn’t have felt any more like a home game for our lot.

Added to this, Crewe couldn’t win for shit. And their manager, David Artell – who’s one Sainsbury’s carrier bag short of being Angelos Epithemou – even did our team talk for us, saying that Alex have got better players than us.

That comment clearly didn’t ignite the fire in any of our players’ bellies because we went there and flopped over pathetically like a slop of wilted spinach on a dieter’s dinner plate .

I’m not one for being unnecessarily critical to the point where you ruin someone’s self-confidence or career, but I should also point out that I’m very fond of the cruel-to-be-kind scenario. Which works out well for match reports like these.

The first half, other than telling me that Crewe were better at scoring than we were – to the tune of four – it also taught me that:

Yussuf couldn’t hold up a post office queue of old grannies with a sawed off shotgun, let alone our mixture of panicked clearances and aimless punts.

I’m not sure I can even call it ‘long ball’ tactics because long ball, by its very nature, implies some sort of method – usually hoofing the ball in the general direction of a player, ideally big enough and strong enough to hold it up.

Dyson looks like he might be a bit taller and stronger than Yussuf. Unfortunately he also looks a clumsier and less mobile version of Andy Cook. I didn’t see us win one aerial dual all half.

We were carved open down the wings. Davies and Andrew weren’t full backs, or wingers, or wing backs. They can’t have been – because if they were, Crewe wouldn’t have put 214 crosses into our box in 45 minutes.

Pearson seemed to play more like a right back, Collins a left back, and Gunning completely exposed in the middle.

And if someone could’ve told me which one of Clements, Comley and Osborne was meant to be in this very modern ‘holding position’, then they’d have been lying because no one occupied that space at all.

We just let Crewe’s roaming forward line run at us, and run at us, and drive into huge, sweeping spaces between the centre circle and the edge of our box.

As for conceding from direct free kicks, it’s getting silly now. Portsmouth, Donny, Stevenage and now Crewe. It’s happening too frequently for it to just be ‘bad luck’. Clearly we’re doing something fundamentally wrong.

The fourth goal was probably offside, but we’d just wasted a load of money and a load of breath supporting a team that couldn’t defend against the fourth worst side in the entire Football League, so we weren’t about to waste more valuable oxygen on the officials too.

If it wasn’t for McKeown, it could’ve been six or seven by half time. I’m sure he made an incredible save low down at some point, but what with all those goals flying in it’s difficult to remember at what stage he made it.

He also made an outstanding save in the second half, but almost got caught out from a spectacular lob from way out (which he managed to push over the bar), before having a rush goalie moment and getting away with it.

Ah yes, the second half. After making all three subs at the break, Bignot shuffled his pack into a more familiar 4-4-2 formation and we immediately looked more comfortable.

Or Crewe took their foot off the gas quite considerably. It was one or the other – but most probably a classic mix of both.

Davies and Collins were full backs, with Pearson and Gunning as centre backs. Bolarinwa was on the right wing, Osborne was definitely central, while Comley and Clements appeared to take it in shifts on the left. Sam Jones and Asante were our new strike pair.

It’s difficult to know how to feel about that second half because the game had gone and the whole thing felt like a training match. We weren’t as much as a shambles – in fact we controlled large periods – but we still managed to lose the half 1-0 and blaze the only genuine clear-cut chance we created all game high and wide from six yards.

Their fifth. Yeah. Converted by a totally unmarked and unseen Crewe player running in on the edge of our box.

There was just enough time for Gunning to absolutely poleaxe one of Crewe’s tricky midfielders, who was weaving and sliding his way through the spine of our team like an Olympic bobsleigher until Gunning decided to give up on any thought of playing football and shoulder-barge the flash bastard to the ground.

He was kind of lucky not to be sent off for that, given that we know this ref sends players off for less.

At the full time whistle, only Pearson truly applauded the fans (before Bignot instructed the rest of the team to do the same after their huddled de-brief on the pitch).

It was a strange post-match situation, and not one I’ve experienced before. The majority of the fans wanted to let the players know that the performance was not acceptable, so they booed – but they weren’t really into the booing because, after all, this is a relatively new squad, with young players, and most of us are still on speaking terms with Bignot.

So it was ‘boo Town, you’re rubbish, boooo’ but then also clap, clap, clap, fair enough, you’ve not gone running down the tunnel. But still. ‘Boo, rubbish, sort it Bignots’. Then more clapping.

Then Bignot came over and spoke with the fans. There was some sort of apology. There was also something said that he took personally, but I didn’t find out what that was.

Bignot has built his side now. The January transfer window closed, and the squad is locked in. We’ve made our bed, and now we’ve got to lie in it.

But yesterday we defecated all over the sheets.