Drip... drip... drip... drip...: Rushden & Diamonds (a)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

28 August 2010

Kick and Rushden 4 Wet Drips 1

A grey day in a grey village with Townites comprising a third of the crowd crammed into a tenth of the seats. Squashed in an unnecessary corner and patronised by old men in fluorescent plastic, the afternoon started on a high. Nothing can go wrong now in this miserable midland meander, where the plastic owls are what they seem. They've got plastic flowers growing up the walls and no doubt in their corporate suites the nylon suits eats plastic food with a plastic knife and fork.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: Arthur; Samuels, Kempson, Watt, Wood; Gobern, Hudson, Cummins, Eagle; Connell and Peacock. The substitutes were Garner, Corner, Ademeno, Fuller and Thanoj. Town were slight and bright-booted, whereas the homesters were all angular height. And they had that irritating Rene Howe, who only plays well against us. Why can't you just walk away Rene when Town comes to country.

Hey-hey-hey kids! Now that's the funkiest linesman this side of Wichita!

First half: Move along, there's nothing to see

Town kicked off at 14:57 towards the non-fiction end, away from their support group in the basement. I can confirm that human beings were espied in the areas not occupied by the Town support. Actually kick and Rushden may have kick and rushed off. Does it matter?

They kicked rushily and Town defended mushily. A cross, a block, a corner, an extended game of head tennis. The Nene Valley Kickers slapped down the right behind Town. Arthur came out, Kempson stopped, Howe bustled King Kenny into the gravel. Kenny was displeased and aching.

NVK dumped and humped tiresomely as the game bored by three o'clock. Header, header, header, header, header. Throw-in, header, throw-in, header. This is basket ball and NVK are definitely not globetrotters. Kempson waited for another punt to roll out - it didn't. Samuels crumbled before the apples entered the dish. This work experience just isn't working out, he may have to go back to school.

Carry on dreaming - NVK did their thing, Town did nothing. Lots of headers by them, some by us. The ball deflated. New ball please. The second ball deflated, new ball please. Hopeless, artless airball; killing the footballs, killing football.

Town hoofed accidentally towards Connell, who twisted, turned and gurned for a penalty as the ball hit a home hand. Eagle swiped the corner low, Cummins ran around and poked goalwards at the near post. Roberts slurped it up off the turf as monochrome boots lurked. A few minutes later Cummins walloped a "clever" free kick routine wide and Watt softly headed wide from another free kick.

That, my fine fellows, is the absolute entirety of the Town attacking in the first half. Three set pieces resulting in nothing. Town did not exist in any way but as fence posts for NVK to stumble around, through and over. Think of Town as a footballing style. It's the only style we had.

Around the half hour it started to drizzle. And as the rain beat down upon our weary eyes some started to cry. Kempson sauntered as a punt was pumped beyond him, Arthur emerged and Howe poky lobbed from the corner of the penalty area. The ball dinkled into the side netting as Howe and Arthur collided. Arthur stayed down, then eventually gingered up.

Samuels' pockets were pinched, Kempson waited for the ball to roll out of play and an NVKer sprinkled to the bye-line, rolled a pass to Porter and Arthur excellently puntled aside, low to his right. Samuels' pickets were ponched, Kempson waited for the ball to roll out of play and Green spliced wildly over the angle of post and bar from a few yards out

Headers. Headers. Header. Headers. Town forgot that we're footers, not headers.

About five minutes from half-time They broke in the usual way, Town disintegrated in the usual way and Wood slinked a cross away for a corner on their right. Some chappie chipped into the centre of the penalty area. Watt was motionless and missed his header, Peacock was just motionless. MILLER chugged into the chasm and nonchalantly nodded firmly across Arthur into the right side of the goal.

A couple of minutes later Howe glanced wide as Watt again snoozed. I can't be bothered to go on about the first half anymore.

It was absolutely rotten. A complete void. Town players did, collectively, absolutely nothing. Individually a couple were seen running frequently. NVK were allowed to play how they wished - chip and pin, cardholder not present. In the very, very, very few moments when a Town player managed to rouse themselves to apply some pressure to a homester the ball was controlled out of play.

How bad was it all? Five different balls were used by half time. Even the footballs were trying to escape from the wasteland.

Second half: Please make way for the hearse

No changes were made by either side at half-time.

Within a minute Gobern skipped and danced on the halfway line, tipping to Watt, who skipped and danced past a hassler and caressed a wonderful pass around the centre-back and into a lovely large space into which the less than lovely, but large, Peacock was shuffling. Alone on the right, with waves of stripes pouring into the box Peacock carefully rolled a pass behind the retreating defence and into the path of HUDSON, who steered a first time shot into the bottom right corner from near the penalty spot.

And all was now right with the world. Town had passed once, Town had scored once. Mmm, the clues are there.

But that was Town's swallow, we had a summer of bitter pills in front of us.

Nothing happened for 15 of your Irthlingborough minutes, unless you count heading the ball an event worthy of memory or description. Sorry, this scribe fibbed slightly for effect. The people of the Irthling did have a shot. Kempson and Samuels produced their Abbott and Costello routine once more and after a bit of bibbling a bloke bobblinged firmly wide. Apart from that there was nothing. Nothing, absolutely nothing but rain, rain, rain.

And on the hour the world ended. NVK whacked over the top deep into the Town area. Watt and Samuels got themselves in a tangled tizzy, with Dwayne dweebling off for a corner. Watt pushed Samuels in the chest, Samuels shouted back. The corner flung itself in, the Kickers kicked and Arthur scrimbled way out to the left to stop the ball going out for another corner.

Oh dear, Arthur hobbled up slowly and chucked the ball out of play. After a couple of minutes the Northamptonshire nibblers threw the ball back for a goal kick. Watt took it, barely reaching the halfway line and plonking it straight on to a homester's head, who headed back down the middle. Charles was alone, in the centre and onside courtesy of Watt taking the goal kick. Watt stepped up, slipped on his backside and CHARLES carefully placed the ball over and past Arthur.


Town kicked off, NVK walloped the ball straight down the middle. Kempson and Watt stood next to each other, jumped up, wafted various feet and missed the ball as it shimmied off the sodden turf. HOWE ran on alone and carefully placed the ball low to Arthur's left.

Rank amateurs.

Shall we count that as three own goals by Watt?

The moaniest of the moaners got up and went home. Grimsby till they started crying, as they often sing.

Why change a winning formula? NVK kicked and rushed and rushed and kicked as Town made the impossible possible - they lowered their performance levels even further. Five minutes after the double entendre of Watt's whoopsy, Gobern sliced through a tackle, missing ball but gaining man. Samuels was harried, a cross was crossed, flicked on, passed back and PORTER, surrounded only by ghosts of Town defenders past, carefully placed the ball into the bottom left corner from a dozen yards.

Where do we go after rank amateur?

Some went home. Some stayed in sorry silence watching the defectives, where once they were so cute. How many more goals do NVK want? None, as it turned out. They had shots, Arthur even made a save, but it was all heads and turning tails. Eagle was replaced by Corner, Gobern by Ademeno. What's the use, what's the point? Cummins headed wide, Hudson Big Bertha'd millimetres wide from millions of miles away. Those were the moments, but not the story.

Is this the death of narrative football?

It was so poor hardly anyone could verbalise their true feelings. The silence of the Town fans was matched by the silence of the knots of knitters who support the Kickers. Perhaps they felt sorry for us, they were too embarrassed by what they had seen to crow much. The best Town player was probably Eagle, who was inoffensively competent in doing nothing much at all. Arthur was blameless, Gobern was Campbellesque in his invisibility whilst Wood wobbled a bit rather than a lot, making him the most "effective" defender. The midfield two were observers as the ball flew over them this way and that. It wasn't a case that they were passed through, or dribbled over as the game was simply one set of defenders humping it towards the other. In short Town were too short and stupid.

You can blow that harmonica now. Always onward roared the five hundred, down the Nene valley in their cars they thundered. Ah, but was it them who really blundered?

Uh huh, it was the Mariners.

All in all The Kickers were too big, too strong mentally and physically for our poor little waifs and strays. It was horrible to watch in every way imaginable. A personal apology wouldn't go amiss from the players to every single one of us who lost another day of their lives watching the slow agonising death of a clown.

Go drown your sorrows in whisky and gin.