Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
24 March 2008
The Wembley Dreamers 1 Brentford 2
Buy the scarf, paint your face, whistle down the wind... the wind, the wind, it's calling your name... Wemberbbubbly.
Oi, excuse me, what about today?
Town lined up in the spluttering 3-4-1-2 formation as follows: Barnes, Bennett, Fenton, Newey, Clarke, Hunt, Boshell, Heggggarty,Till, North and the Mysterious Mr Butler. The substitutes were Montgomery, Atkinson, Sir Lumpsford, Karen (sic tannoy) Toner and Taylor. So like Saturday, but with some different smiling faces. Now we know why Toner was absent for so long: he's been taking the hormone tablets and the transformation is almost complete.
Brentford turned up in two-tone blue nylons with a hundred pillow cases watching in the covered corner.
Don't get hurt, lads - you may miss your big day out.
Town kicked off towards the Pontoon and into the gale. Billowing, ballooning, spooning, swooning and gooning around and about, the ball careered crazily for a throw-in. And a throw-in. And a throw-in. And a foul throw-in. And a throw-in. It's a day trip to the seaside and a kickabout with a beach ball.
Hurrah, the ball's on the ground... but Town passed to them - why? Ah, too many people wearing blue nylon anoraks in the Main Stand. It's as plain as the chocolate on my digestive. Dentists and denizens of detached houses: it's all your fault, stop shopping in Binns.
A shot, well wide from well away. Well, well, something to see, something to say. Eight minutes is two boiled eggs and a slice of bread. That was a dunk in the yolk.
Who are we? Town passing slowly, aching forward as the breeze blew back their hair. Except Hunt, of course, the granite obelisk dominating the centre. Lay down all thoughts and surrender to the void, his head is shining, it is shining. Clark tapped a shot, Butler faffed a shot, both were blocked by three men in a wok. Are we going green? Energy conservation was high on priorities.
It's all too much effort in this wind.
At last, some action: North spinning himself free down the centre with Clarke unmarked. Alas, North did not look; he only mucked things up. Silly boy.
Ah, passing, purring, finally something stirring. Hegggarty defrocked his bishop and Newey dimpled perfectly to North. The keeper rushed and North lushed a lofter against the chest and out for a corner. Cleared to Bosh, who stooped and steered the ball back to Heggarty. From the bye-line a masterly cross and crafty nod at the near post by North, the ball drifted into the bottom left corner. A goal. Happiness in a blizzard.
Wakey-wakey! Brentford barrelled back. Big Elder barging Bennett, and Connell carousing in to area. Fenton thighs diverted danger and the referee slapped his own like a pantomime dame. Elder slapped, Barnes tickled, everyone giggled as the ball was held.
The more Town pass inside the more there is to see. Beautiful flowing football with Till teasing and Hegggarty wrapping his full-back in little pink bows. A cross dipping, a cross slipping by. Let's "ooh". North released, but failing. A second go and a second fail: he is failing, he is failing, at home again his crosses are free. Hegggarty hurdling and curdling crosses. Till released, tackled and retrieving possession. On his own in the area, shooting low, saved low, the ball rolling free and North must score... oh, the curse of the pink panther strikes again: Cato kung fu kicking when standing still will do.
Heggarty slicing, Butler flicking, Brown dicing his carrots and fumbling his bananas. Wahey-hey Mr Brown, don't drop your aitches. Butler free, Butler falling, no penalty. What? No penalty, that's what. Hegggarty crossing, Till glancing, the ball drooping onto the roof of the net.
They're nothing but a bunch of scamps. Town only one up, though it should be three.
Up, up and away went the beautiful balloon. Heggggggarty headed wide. Let's snooze for ten minutes.
It's panic on the dancefloor, it's murder in the tea shop. Call the fire brigade! A corner dropped, Barnes flopped and the Keystones copped it away through the appliance of the science of sleep. Town stood back and avoided human contact, but obeyed the signs: No Ball Games; Do Not Walk On The Grass; Do Not Touch Men In Blue Nylons.
Biffing, banging, Town hanging on as Brentford launched mortar bombs towards Barnes. A Bee tripped and play was waved on as Town stood still to avoid a free kick. They stood away, watched and waited as these southerners with comfort arranged their flowers. Pead, on the right, dinked without challenge and Connell, ten yards out, ducked and nodded into the bottom left corner as Bennett stood next to him, admiring his floppy blond hair.
It's a shame they don't collect the rubbish over Easter.
Five minutes later Toner and Jones replaced Hunt and North. North had been terrible; Hunt had been impassable. The cornerstone had been removed: stand by for JENGA!
Ah Mr Till, so nice of you to drop by. Swishing wide, the ball stayed within Blundell Park, that's all. Stand away, stand off, let the children play! Monsieur Mousinho headed over and the giant Elder glanced a long throw across the face of goal. Clarke headed away when no-one was near. The crowd bellowed at the bilge pumpers below. Wakey-wakey, said a purple-faced seer.
On the hour Osborne threw his kitchen sink dramatically at the ball and passed to our Bennett, inviting and encitingly unmarked on the penalty spot. The right leg flashed and the ball smashed against the empty seats beyond the empty goal. A miss, a miss, a terrible miss. We'll pay for this, you'll see.
Drifting on into a fog of fudge, Fenton headed softly to Brown and we all sat down. No more distractions, just fractions of action with Town in traction. The pain, the pain, ring the bell. Nurse! Butler was replaced by Taylor.
Connell spun and small boys ducked in the heart of the Pontoon. Dickson docked on the green, green grass as Newey twisted and fell by their Poole, and Elder buried a header. Town are shadows in their own sunlight.
A Town free kick, wasted and wafted, rolling beyond our Karen to the halfway line under the Frozen Beer Stand. Toner regressed when chased by a butterfly, passing back towards Clarke. Towards, but not to. Clarke lunged and repelled, but forward came the hordes of Brentford with Connell playing whist inside the area. Broken hearts are trumps. Happy clapping to the left of goal, Brown the substitute poked a shot under Newey and past a static Barnes. The seats and minds flipped as Toner and Clarke exchanged insurance details. Knock for knock sir? We'll see you in court.
The Elder was pruned by Clarke the constant gardener inside the Town area, but the referee saw only storm damage. The twig lay upon the ground to be swept away by a roosting pigeon. Have we died yet? The stake was through the heart but one last gasp saw Town grasp the Brents by the throat. Jones tickled Taylor free; he zoomed to the penalty area and lapped a pass to the unmarked Heggggarty on the centre-left. Little Nick bounded past his marker and thrapped a low shot across the face of goal. Brown the keeper sprawled like an urban nightmare of concrete and neon light to fingertip the ball inches past the far post, feet in front of Taylor. Town let go of the ledge of promotion and fell back to the dark, deathly earth below.
As time ticked by Poole thwackled a free kick towards the top right corner. Barnes pushed the ball aside. It made no difference, he needn't have bothered. This game was over, this is the beginning of the end of the season. It's all about next year now.
Town threw away three points through indolence. They should remember: the more you give, the more you get. With next week being next week it's all been too much for Town.