Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
21 April 2014
Alfreton 3 Ross Hannah 3Oh, to be in Alfreton now that April's here. And whoever wakes in Grimsby sees, some morning, unaware that there's an accident near some roadworks on a motorway on a Bank Holiday. To be late once, Mr. Fenty, may be regarded as a misfortune; to be late twice looks like carelessness.
Let's not be kettles calling the tin a pot.
At least Alfreton has a cultural quarter, its boulevards lined with bistros and barber shops. An April afternoon of dining al fresco in Alfreton, quite alliterally mate. What an Easter treat.
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Hatton, Boyce, Pearson, Thomas, Neilson, Thanoj, Kerr, McLaughlin, John-Lewis and Hannah. The five sad sitters were McDonald, Fyfield, Colbeck, Tounkara and Cook. Everyone was where you'd guess them to be, unless you think Jane Eyre wrote Great Expectations, in which case would you like to invest in this pyramid?
Alfretoners warmed up in red, strutted, wandered, yawned, did a Sudoku or two, pruned some overhanging bushes, made some elderberry wine, had a picnic, listened to the grass grow and watched a thousand Mariners seep into the arbitrary concrete pig pens and queue for the meat pies.
Let's queue for a pie, it's something to do while we await the coach potatoes.
Wahey, fashionably late to the party, Town arrived at last. It'll be over by midnight.
First half: It's a gift
Town kicked off at quarter past four away from the major mass of humanity and towards the home end. Let's get down to business, there's no need for repetition, hesitation or deviation – that's just Town's tactics.
Yes! Passing! Deep and crisp and evenReds break, reds cross, Town cross as the linesman missed a handball. Oi granddad, the police have it on camera. You'll be embarrassed when they show it in Ready, Steady, Cop next year. A little red rooster crossed, Akinde was a perfect cousin, missing his flick when back to front in front of goal.
Space, action, things, movement, almost passing. Extraordinary.
Rowe-Turner passed to Neilson, who coyly coiled a loopy loop of a lump beyond the trees deep into the far bottom corner of the homester penalty area. Worsnip chugged and Hannah mis-scraped with his right shoelaces, lowly, lowly under the Parsnip's boots slow, slow, slower and slower and slower and gently into the far corner. Oh how we laughed, how we danced in the aisles.
Alfreton directed traffic McKeownwards with simple totem pole tapping and roving rushers. Akinde rocked and rolled around Pearson, foot tapping and arm wrestling. Moments of nearlyness when something never happened.
The Shop was chopped by our old spelling mistake. Kempson the clattering klutz crudely oiled his axe and lumber-jacked Lennie to the ground, stripping his bark in the process. Kerr crisped, Lennie licked his lips and snickered on. The Town end cleared its throat to chuckle, but Worsnip superbly sailed low and left to flick away.
La-di-da, nothing going on, but something happened. Diffident defending down the middle with Townites in mass retreat. They passed, they moved, they crossed and panic ensued. The ball rolled and Law wellied high, McKeown batting away into the top left corner of the net. The son of the father had confounded and astounded, and that's a statistical fact.
Their dander upped, the locals loped and groped with their giant wall passing. Akinde wriggled, McKeown swept the ball off his feet with an offer of a romantic weekend for two in Bakewell. Ooh, what a tart. Town piddled, and Alfreton fiddled from a corner. Slapped low to the near post, Akinde stuck out a toe and prodded into Jamie Mack's expanding expanse of grey poly-cotton fibres.
Town weren't handling a bit of up and under very well. Let's get back to the swell passing we've suddenly found at the bottom of the barrel.
Yes! Passing! Deep and crisp and even. One-two-three and Neilson snicked on for Thanoj to amble and curl around the parsnip and post. We walked past the Parsnip and Post on the way to the ground, the food looked a bit too recherché.
Well. We're back again. Kerr clipped a free kick to the far post, Pearson headed back and Boyce, like a flower bending in the breeze, swayed back and swayed wide with ease. Oh you could hear those marimbas start to play in the fitfully fretting home defence. A redster passed straight to Neilson, who flashed a smashing pass from right to left. Kempson slid and missed, the Shopping Trolley careered on and scraped low and slow across the face of goal. Typical John-Lewis - weak, woeful, wayward and wonderfully setting up Hannah to tap in from inside the net. What a partnership – see what patience gets you, all those quick to the groan at home.
More of this and that. Crosses and corners and free kicks galore. I'm sure they have a few good men somewhere, but the truth is Alfreton couldn't handle vaguely accurate airborne attacks. A corner ricocheted off two red heads and into the keeper's arms. Another corner hit deep and Pearson looped back over Worsnip. A red leg, possibly a red wooden leg, clumped away and off the line.
So Town can attack after all.
Second half: Long Tall Shorty (mainly)
Neither team made any changes at half time.
Town had an attack, I'm sure they did. I distinctly remember those blue shirts milling round in front of us. Or it may have been the local police. Life is such a whirl these days it's impossible to remember every little thing.
Alfreton. Them. A variant on kick and rush, with Akinde the messy Eton wall in their game plan. The ball was whooped to his feet, Pearson retreated, allowed the silly sausage to roll and lunge. Out came the fickle finger of fate and a yellow card. Akinde placed low and left as Jamie Mack headed off to join the queue at the Heights of Abraham.
Them again, enthused, bubbling, fizzing, passing and moving. One-two, flick and flash as Law volleyed and Town's defence disintegrated. In the vernacular, it was spectacular.
A big pitch for a big game - space everywhere.
Akinde's travelling circus rolled and poked into the side netting. Flicks and tricks and strange diversions near blue hands inside the Town area. Balls. Many of them. OftenNeilson passed to them, Neilson passed to them again, Colbeck got up and the change it had to come. We knew it all along. Then Neilson was liberated from his folds of doubt and suddenly started running and passing and shooting and woah, this is Easter excitement. The chubby charmer exchanged glances on the right, bumping a shot inches over off a defender's bumps. The corner scrumbled away, Hannah jinked and dinked for Nielson to volley eight yards out. The ball knocked off Wood, with arms aloft, who lay face down in the dirt. In a tizz and turmoil, a fizz and ferment, the ball suddenly za-zoomed straight back into the Alfreton area. Hannah stretched and Worsnip plunged right to pluck.
Up it went, back it came, McKeown wellying down the middle, the centre-backs colluded to collide and Hannah snuck away. Kempson pursued and man-hauled little Ross down. We weren't yelling for yellow, but that's what came out. Hatton wallied into the wall, or over. Whatever, wasted and woeful.
Woah, wake up little Sammy, wake up. Town were shredded on the right and McKeown's boot bonked away a low little grubber.
A foul for felling one of our fine fellows. Humped high from the right, Pearson arose and noodled a parabolic pearler from the edge of the area. Worsnip shrank and the ball smacked onto the crossbar and was snuggled away for a corner. Kerr took the advice of a respectable bespectacled observer and added elevation to his clippings, causing a minor commotion with much parsnip-based flapping. The ball sailed on, drifting slowly out towards the other corner flag. Pearson chased, spun and turned Kempson into an origami dustbin bag. The walking, talking origami dustbin bag couldn't resist stroking the old shirt one last time. Out stretched the fickle finger of fate, but no yellow card. Hannah walloped straight down the centre as The Parsnip lunged right.
It could've been four. Hannah crossed, McLaughlin lurked at the far post, stuck out a knee and knocked over. It wasn't four.
And now the fun doesn't begin. Twenty minutes to go. Let's get ready to stumble, to grumble, and to mumble. Alfreton streaked away on their left, Law cut in and rolled low from afar. McKeown scuttled and shuffled along his line to weirdly waft away. Balls arrived in places no Townite desired. Town were in the bunker without a sand iron. What's the caddy going to do?
A corner. Cleared. Returned. Dangerless in the corner of some foreign field. No red shirts near. There is nothing to be worried about. This is just routine stuff. Why am I even writing about it? Thomas, on the left corner of the area, arose to marvellously steer a screwball header back across goal to the far post. Clayton stretched and poked. Thomas had choked.
I forget to tell you Cook replaced John-Lewis. Yeah, whatever, like that's relevant to anything this side of 'Frisco.
All them, all them. Town are a blue backdrop to a red miss. Akinde's travelling circus rolled and poked into the side netting. Flicks and tricks and strange diversions near blue hands inside the Town area. Balls. Many of them. Often. Hatton disappeared, Pearson failed to clear, and a cross was crossed from the bye-line. Akinde, alone ten yards out, side-footed towards the gaping nettage. The ball hit someone blue and diverted away in a most curious and suspicious fashion. With a little bit of luck, with a little bit of bloomin' luck Hercule Poirot isn't on holiday at Chatsworth House. They'll never find out whodunit.
Oh, that's it. It's all over now, baby blue. It may well be. To lose a lead once, Mr Shorty, is a misfortune…
Should have won, could have lost. It's all in the mind, and to listen to the grapevine, I think we're losing ours. It would have been an enjoyable game if it wasn't for them pesky points we need.