The long hurl

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

30 September 2013

A bright, clear day of sneakily surreptitious breezes in the Stadium of Sighs with about 40 midland mumblers sprinkled across a sea of red plastic. The ball on the girder, which may be a quirky Belgian film, had already gone from a cinema near you.

Town lined up in a crumpled flatpack 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Hatton, Pearson, Doig, Goodall, Disley, Kerr, McLaughlin, Neilson, John-Lewis, Hannah. The substitutes were McDonald, Thomas, Rodman, Cook and Hearn. Disley was on the right of the midfield and Bignot was gone and forgotten already.

Tall Tamworth turned up in electric blue; long and lean with a couple of little puppies on a leash. Ah, the son of the father in goal - never go astray and stay an honest lovin' son.

First half: 45-minute warning

Town kicked off towards the Pontoon and the Staffordshire ball terriers gnarled and snarled at Town's ankles. How irritating, don't they know their place? We're the princes of passing, let us past.

Yawnsome shoves, tiresome gloves, Tamworth time-wasting as Belford preened and plucked his chickens. Neilson legged up, Neilson set up, Neilson Prince Charming-ed with a forearm smashette. How we love the spoilers and toilers of Tamworth with their munchy-wunchy long chucks and spearing searing corners throbbing danger. A long-haul, long hurl battered into the nettage: disallowed for jostling and coshing.

Town: all wellies and wallies, over-whacking wallops downwind and out of sight, out of mind. Disley scampered free and wafted a waster into the Pontoon from way out and way wide. Why don't we show you the way, why don't we do it in the road? Why does the brown cow buy white milk when it only shops in Asda? That makes no sense. Well, neither do Town's tactics.

Ah, a Pontoon plunge, a free kick, 20 yards out. The wall marching to Georgia, Hatton coiled and curled marvellously around, through and over the blue wall of dearth. The orange man skewered, the ball skewed off the inside of the left post, across goal and the moment was gone.

Elford-Alliyu, a dribbling wiggling wallflower, waltzed through the wide open spaces and bedrumbled softly, lowly at McKeown from afar. More hurls and hoiks from the bluemen.

Town with moments, passing strangers, strangers passing in the street with crosses almost crossing from a to b. Hannah, tackled by a defender and the lurking Shop. Pressure, pressure, pressure fizzling out, like an old bottle of pop. Half a pound of tuppenny rice, pop goes the weasel.

Neilson crossed and John-Lewis knowingly undersold himself, hanging behind a defender, jumping vertically, avoiding contact but appearing to challenge. Here's another snaphot in our time: The Shop grazed on nowhere as Hannah lurked. Moments where something may have eventually occurred, but didn't. Barely worth mentioning really. Why did I bother? Sorry for wasting your time.

From the half hour the world changed for the worse. Tamworth tossed gaily into the heart of Town's darkness, the middle of the six-yard box. Chipping upwind into the corners and forcing hoofs. Corners were frequently flapped. McKeown missed and some big bloke, just five yards out, headed straight down and the ball bounded over the bar. Another corner arced under the crossbar and Jamie Mack flap-punched away as bodies enveloped his personal space. Flapping, scrapping, a punch away, a graze away, a wimoweh, a wimoweh. It's a tight fit inside the Town penalty area.

That's that, just them thwacking great throw-ins and cabooming corners. Town disjointed, barely cohesive, but strangely adhesive.

Only one minute was added despite a lengthy stoppage due to Lenell's head being titanically clashed. Well, one's fine, we wouldn't want any more of this medieval siege re-enactment.

Bring on the empty horses.

Second half: Turned out nice again

Neither side made any changes at half time, and by half time I mean any sovereign state that is a member of the United Nations as of September 2013. Good luck.

Oh how tedious Tarquin, the below stairs artisans are throwing their toys again. Chucked, mucked, snucked away somehow as the ball plopped inside the six-yard box. Another long stoppage as their gawky slipshod number 6 headed LJL again. There was blood on the tracks and grease is the word. Gawky boy was smothered, not in love but in Vaseline, becoming their petroleum jellybaby.

Hannah felled, Hatton awaited. It was only a fantasy. The ball was too high, as you can see, no matter how you try you cannot break free of the fact the ball crawled over the bar.

More hoiks and hurls and Hatton turned ridiculously back towards goal rather than wellying downfield as another torpedo shinkled inside the penalty area. The Hatman sliced away for another throw-in. This is Dumbo football.

Ooh, a Town corner. McLaughlin flat fished it low, causing confusion and consternation. The ball bumbled, hitting an arm-like substance and Pearson pounced to pummel lowly through a punnet of strawberry-faced Tammymen and into the bottom left corner.

At this Tamworth took off the troublesome Kerry and flung on the hulking huge Rose, who by any other name would have big feet. Trouble. More big men, more throw-ins.

Was this before or after the Shopping Trolley turned and wafted high high high? Does it matter? Town turned up, tuned in and turned on. Hannah hopped free after a clattering kaleidoscope of calamitous clatterings. Out came the orange flake and Hannah skipped, turned and crossed perfectly to the unmarked no-one at the far post. Tick that tock on another minute. Disley tickled and Hannah bustled behind the bigmen to drumble a mishit. Hannah beautifully plucked and lifted over a defender and onto the unmarked Shopping Trolley's chest. Lennie the Loincloth chested on, held off non-existent challenges and carefully volleyed yards wide when stood on the penalty spot. Should we shout or should we scream, what happened to the Shopping Trolley's dream? Oh Lennie, what have you done?

Never mind. Nicked and notched, Neilson flannelled Disley free. The Dizzerman timed his crumble to roll over the obliging telescopic legs of smear-headed Gawkyboy. Hannah stepped up and slapped straight down the middle as Belford plunged left.

Nothing can go wrong now.

Of course it can. Hatton didn't clear, didn't clear again and out the ball smeared for a long chuck. Bazookaed from under the Findus, Town heads avoided contact as Tamworth played head tennis. Headed on, headed up, headed back, McKeown came out, went back, came out, went back and watched as Todd swivel-turned his non-marker to hook in from five or so yards out. It'd been a slow train crash a-coming.

The Tams tickled Town's tummy. A free kick under the Police Box coiled in sneakily and Pearson superbly fell back and twisted a steering header away from prying boots at the far post. More of this and that, which was all about the others, and all just British bulldogs in the playground.

The Shopping Trolley was replaced by Hearn. Disley rolled a tackle, McLaughlin latched on to the rolling ball and rolled a pass down left. The Hearn of old skipped free, awaited the keeper and steered lowly, with an orange hand plopping the ball and it slowly, slowly teased the last defender as it made its way to paradise.

Elford-Alliyu wouldn't let it lie, driving, dribbling and nibbling like goldfish at our toes, but he didn't have fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun, sun. A cross swished through the six-yard box, and EA arrived between Pearson and Hatton, five yards out beyond the far post, to poke-steer wide.

Did I tell you Cook came on? No, I didn't, did I. And so did the player formally known as Thomas. Hannah and Neilson went off. 'Aswad' even did a dangerous cross, the dangerous old dog.

Tamworth just wouldn't give up. But you should. There's nothing for you beyond this point other than four minutes of added time mostly frittered and wasted in an offhand way down in the corners.

Town won, that's all you need to know and remember. It wasn't Tuesday, but then again it wasn't the previous Tuesday. It was somewhere in between with a happy ending. I need to mow the lawn now, goodbye.