Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
10 October 2009
Ten-Minute Town 1 Burton Beermats 2
If we're talking about common denominators "in the building", there's only been one through this near decade of direness.
Another day, another new dawn in the age of the Town fan. How much fudge and how many nuts in today's pick-and-mix? Ah, Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: Old Nick, Master Bradley Wood, Bennett, Linwood, Widdowson, Forbes, Clarke, Sweeney, The Jarmster, Proudlock, Jones. The substitutes were Overton, Lairy-Leary, Bore, Frodo Fuller, Normington, North and Ak-Ak. Forbes on the right, The Jarmster on the left and everyone else where you'd guess they'd be, if you'd guessed they'd been selected.
Hmm, no Blond Bob today then. Where does that fit in with this week's sermon on the tablets of drone? What do we want? We want information... in-for-mation. We won't get it. By hook or by crook, we will. Where there's a will there's a way. Sorry, I'm drifting, just like Town - they're infectious. Is there a vaccine?
Around 500 Burtonians took the one chance they'll have to eat proper fish and chips; the ref wore shocking pink. Shocking, positively shocking.
On with the show. Must we?
First half: Nobody home
Town kicked off towards the Burton battalion and oh how we chuckled. How did they get promoted? The wagon wheels fell off as they flapped and squawked as Town's fox slinked into their coop.
Jones dinkled a long pass over the centre-back, Proudlock lurked, the insufficiently vowelled keeper ran out to the edge of his area and furled himself to spectacularly pluck. Forbes drivelled upfield and Sweeney swiped from distance. Burton's defence was divorcing.
Let's forgive and forget, turn our tears of regret, once more to tears of happiness.
Not now Artur! The doleful Pole dallied, dillied, dithered, delayed and died a thousand deaths as he walloped a kick against Jones's backside, the ball slowly looping into the place of mystery, the opposition net. Oh dear, carry on like that and it'll be a Pole on the dole.
Sweeney swaggered as Forbes was daggered on the right, be-draggling a low curling free kick to the near post. Proudlock poked and the ball dragged itself over the bar off the keeper's something or other. The corner coiled; Linwood leant back and volleyed beyond the sea.
Burton were a shambles. How many will Town get: eight, nine?
In the tenth minute the Beermen managed not only to get into Town's half but inside the Town penalty area. Town didn't clear, Town didn't clear, Simpson handballed and Town didn't clear. Sweeney and Clarke watched as middlemen surged across the face of the penalty area. Forbes had his hands on his hips. Wood was dragged across and Phillips crept up and poked a cross. Walker miskicked the ball to Corbett five yards out beyond the far post, who fell and shinned into the opposite corner.
Adrian Forbes: we're looking at you, as you were looking at them.
Town imploded. Weak in mind and body, devoid of collective personality, people hid. Forbes crouched with his arms out wide as passes were not placed within a millimetre of his desire. Clarke dissolved before our very eyes and Jones continued to do an excellent impression of Andy Taylor. Pearson fell and stumbled under as Linwood, the toe-tapping foot flicker, reprised his Underhill faux pas. No penalty and no booking for diving. We have a pink poltroon in charge.
Fifteen minutes of hopscotch followed where Town's butter was frequently scotched by the daft pink ref seeing foul where there was fair. Burton had free kicks, Town didn't and Branston headed wide left, James headed wide right. Colgan plucked professionally off Pearson's twinkling toes and Walker poked over after Pearson simply ran more quickly than Linwood.
Vegetable man where are you?
Clarke failed once, twice, three times. No, a fourth time! Simpson dummied a pass and ran away, Clarke stood still. Simpson received the return pass and carefully tapped into the path of the unmarked Phillips, who waited for Colgan and lob-lifted in off the underside of the crossbar.
It was just a repeat of the first goal. The centre of midfield failed, Wood was dragged out to cover, and Forbes didn't track back with the left winger. It's as simple as that. It always is with Town.
Well, Proudlock kept trying and Widdowson was booked. There's nothing else to say. That's it.
Second half: Waiting for the worms
The official matchday officials spent ages preening themselves before emerging several minutes after both teams. Jones was replaced by Ak-Ak.
Burton got a corner, they headed wide.
Ak-Ak spun brilliantly upon a Proudlock pass and crossed to the near post. The ball hit a defender and, from the corner, Linwood drifted a header wide. Burton were flailing and ailing with the Proudlock and Ak-Ak dance-a-thon. Proudlock shot straight at the diving Pole, then Ak-Ak juggled and cleared the Pontoon. And the facsimile of fun ended when Proudlock collided with a Burtonian and writhed around in agony, and North came on to replace him.
Sweeney tickled North and the keeper flew out to smother. Dull and flat, the game was simply being timed out. Only those without knowledge of Town could believe there was any tension, any doubt about the result. Isolated moments of nearlyness were wasted by timidity. In some ways you have to feel sorry for Jamie Clarke, his professional limitations being exposed in the light.
Bore replaced Jarman on the left at some point between the beginning and the end.
Colgan made a save, then another carbon copy: standing firm and tall at the near post to beat away a close-range slap.
Don't get excited - it's because we're short of talent. Ak-Ak swooned to the bye-line but there was no fellow stripey to pass to. Bore stood alone five yards out on the bye-line, and looked around with wide staring eyes, before passing towards Sweeney on the edge of the penalty area. North deflected the pass away for a Burton counterattack. Town took a short corner, but set up a Burton counterattack. North chested down dangerously inside the Burton penalty area, but set up a Burton counterattack.
Thankfully the Beermen kept hitting our little block of Wood.
Bore swivelled and swayed to swerve a shot that would have gone in if the keeper hadn't come back early from his tea break. And Bore managed to slice a shot out for a throw-in. I told you there's nothing to hold on to. You know more than you need to about nothing.
There were six added minutes, which only delayed the five o'clock news on Radio Humberside. Wood was superb in saving those killer third, fourth and fifth goals as Town lumps only launched Burton counterattacks.
We put a new damp course in during the summer: it's faulty. Do we get a new builder in or make the existing one repair it? Ah, now that's a question. The raw materials have proven faulty, that's for sure. There's no personality and no discernible method. Town played well for ten minutes, then they became hollow men in hollow shirts with hollow eyes at the first hint of discomfort.
The ordinary Town player is a shrivelled, desiccated fragment of what a footballer can be. It is within each man to re-make himself.