An amazing pudding

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

26 August 2013

A warm afternoon of humidity and hope, with scope for a mope, and around 80 Derby drifters hanging around aimlessly near a blue tarpaulin. We can dream of a better world, but where would we be without tarpaulin?

Town lined up in that squidgy jelly 4-3-3 formation as follows: McKeown, Bignot, McDonald, Pearson, Thomas, Thanoj, Disley, McLaughlin, Colbeck, John-Lewis, Hearn. The substitutes were Hatton, Doig, Rodman, Cook and Southwell.

Where has Aswad’s hair gone? Young girls have picked them, everyone.

And there he was, all alone in the centre circle. The little boy lost, aching for a game with his friends: Bradley Wood stood and stared towards the Townites warming up with giant kickabout, like a kid in the park, ball in hand waiting to be picked. Please mister, can I play too?

We wish you would lad, we wish you would.

First half: The swinging chickens of temptation
Town kicked off towards the Pontoon. They attacked, we attacked. They couldn’t defend, we couldn’t defend. They couldn’t shoot, we couldn’t shoot. Wish you were here?

Let’s talk holes. Is there a whole lotta love for 4-3-3? Not yet. Are there holes in our shoe? We’re letting in water and it isn’t even raining.

There are a lot of holes in the desert. One of them should contain Clayton McDonald’s contract.

Town? Don’t you know there was some passing down the right, with McLaughlin stripping their left back down to the wood ready for a primer coat. Colbeck used matt paint, so let’s gloss over his Mr Grimsdale moment.

The Big Whopper missed a dink; McKeown and Pearson smothered out. The blueboys shot over and shot wide. Aswad took the slowest throw-in in the world, ever. The Mascho Piru tribe in Peru made contact with local villagers to complain.

An attack! McLaughlin floated a corner dinkily and Pearson indulged in drunken head-tennis with various blue-clad daytrippers, hooking hookily vaguely goalwards as he fell on the penalty spot. Hearn poked, Atkins blocked and Hearn scraped between the massed legs of keeper and Wood.

Fenton punted, Clayton snuggled behind the dilatory dozers and McKeown smothered as Bignot checked Clayton’s shirt. The label said hot, the stain said not. No penalty, no charge.

Pearson dissolved, Akinde poked across the six-yard box straight to McDonald rather than the two unmarked humans of similar coloured clothing and wage packets. That could’ve been the catalyst that sparked a revolution. What a waste, what a waste, what a waste of time.

Four men, three men, two men, one man, but where is our Doig?

A-ha, salvation. McKeown collided with Burgerboy and off Burgerboy limped. Town had a defence now. Pearson became competent, Bignot and Thomas were told what to do. And they did it.

Another corner! McLaughlin floated floatily and Pearson bonked firmly, with the ball bumbling off Wood’s chest straight into the keeper’s arms. Colbeck hared off and trundled lowly to the near post. The Shopping Trolley was near and it was nearly exciting.

The ever-happy shopper LJL whirled his arms and bumped his hips like a short-circuiting vacuum cleaner

Yeah, yeah, them a couple of times, doing things that they would think were worth mentioning. One was even worth mentioning. Akinde turned Pearson into a rather fetching macramé necklace before swimbling through an unguarded, unmanned six-yard box.

With five or so minutes left until half time, the ever-happy shopper LJL whirled his arms and bumped his hips like a short-circuiting vacuum cleaner, causing consternation and confusion in the hearts and minds of the blue defence. Twizzling free, he tipped rightly to Colbeck, who bedazzled and frazzled lowly across the keeper and into the very bottom corner from a narrow angle. Goodbye blue world, it’s over, walk on by.

You don’t need to know anything else. Have a break, have a chit-chat.

Second half: A collection of small furry animals
Neither side made any changes at half time.

No, nothing changed. Alfreton flipped and flapped around, even having shots. And they should have scored. But less of that later, let’s wallow slightly in adequacy.

Passing! Yes, passing the ball. McLaughlin crushed grapes with Thanoj and the Dizzerman. J: rolled his marker and rolled a shot slowly, slowly wide. It looked close to being an "ooh" moment in the Pontoon and that’s good enough these days for an outbreak of mass hysteria.

The Shop was a menace II society, a perambulating pest, a prickly pear in the fruit salad of Alfretonian life; his knees, forehead and thighs diverting the ball away from, well, everything, especially the goal. But he worried them and discombobulated Fenton.

McLaughlin carefully caressed a teasing, low, swinging free kick across the shambling defence. Atkins crumbled and fumble-fingered onto the top of the crossbar and over for a corner. Top of the crossbar to you, sir.

Oh what a circus, oh what a show. Hearn steered infield; Disley drove on downstream to stonk a perfect pass inside the left back. Colbeck raced to the bye-line and crackled low to the near post where LJL pretended to try and score. The keeper was fazed and hazed and McLaughlin walked the ball in from two yards. Ooh, nice. Now relax a little.

Town did.

The ref went on a card-crazy rampage for five minutes. Pearson was booked for not making contact in a tackle and Disley was booked for being tripped by Fenton inside the 'D'.

The moments from Alfreton increased in frequency as Townites showboated and slacked. Bradley steered over when unmarked, Law steered low and McKeown marvellously tippled aside from the base of the left post. It’s Akinde! The man magicked past a static caravan, the Pearson range with optional shower attachment. McKeown blocked and slurped away the ricocheting rebound.

And then Town fell apart. Alfreton sensed their time had come. They nearly scored, then did score, then nearly scored again

The Happy Shopping Trolley continued to accidentally collide with passing balls near goal. At least he attacked the near post. Will he ever score? By Hooke’s Law or by crook he will.

Oh yeah, I remember. Rodman came on for Hearn. Rodman headed wide immediately. Offside, no harm done to any wildlife in the Main Stand.

And then Town fell apart. Hatton came on for Bignot with just a handful of seconds left. Alfreton sensed their time had come. They nearly scored, then did score, then nearly scored again. In added time a corner was halfly cleared. Hatton remained attached to the near post. Wood floated a cross back and Fenton arose with McKeown. The ball entered nettage off Fenton’s hairless bonce, missing a flapping hand and Hatton’s wispy flapping hair.

A hoof, a panic, McKeown was forced to pluck from the toes of a blue boot. A suitable ending.

A game of three segments. A low-level, holey mess at the beginning, then Deputy Doig came on to floss away the tooth decay in the middle. With the game won, Town ended with a whimper, nothing could be limper.

An occasional performance giving more power than need be to those who want some elbowing out of formations and personnel. This could have been a lot worse and in the end Town got their worst home result against Alfreton. You can take what you want from this, especially if you were shopping rather than watching the Shop.