We've only just begun

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

7 May 2018

Forest Green 0 Town 3

Here is the clock, the Nailsworth clock. Telling the time, steadily, sensibly; never too quickly, never too slowly. Telling the time for eight hundred Mariners marching up Numpty Road towards an afternoon of terrace wittertainment.

So here we are again, back in Brigadoon, boiling and burning atop Beanburger Hill. It's hell up there and we've lost a lot a men since the last time we took it, just after the Tut Offensive against the Short One.

Town lined up in the now usual jolly japing 4-1-4:- formation as follows: McKeown, Hall-Johnson, Clarke, Collins, Fox, Rose, Clifton, Summerfield, Woolford, Hooper and Cardwell. The substitutes were Killip, Davies, Osborne, Berrett, Kelly, Jackson and Matt. There you are: the new normal, and that's all there is to it.

The Frothy fluorescent Foresters? How can you take any team seriously with Gavin Gunning as the prime pivot. That's what we used to call him, isn't it? Watch out for arbitrary shelling by big puns as we advance… will Town manage to Doidge a bullet and keep a clean sheet? Huh, missed by miles.

An open terrace and Gunning an open goal for the grizzlers amongst the sizzlers on the wide open terrace, where the only hazy shade was in the winter of our discontent. That doesn't make sense? Neither does having a football team in Brigadoon.

Right men, action stations.

First half: Gimme shelter

Gunning baiting, baiting Gunning, Gunning being basted as he wasted the ball, trying to be cool and coolly having his best performance in a Town game with his unerringly accurate passing to Mariners. About a year too late, laddie.

A stray Gunning elbow, a stray Gunning pass and Town hassling and harrying the green men. Laird legged up Little Harry off the ball as the blue waves lapped against the tofu-toed tremblers. Tick and flicks and a little nick. Sumptuous sumptuousity and vimful of virtuosity with Reesian flashbacks. Rose dinked, Woolford back-rolled a nutmeg and the Mitchmeister's shot snickled off green boots and high into the side netting as their pink keeper crouched.

Summerfield rolled the corner shortly, Woolford nutmegged a back-roll and much merriment in their muddle. Pinky flapped and scrapes were scrapped with a bibble-bobble mish-mash of muffling causing local miffs.

Wahey! Gunning tried to be clever and ended up being stupid, passing on to Summerfield's shins and rugby tackling to cover up his embarrassments. Well, we know he doesn't actually like football, preferring oval-ball-based sports. A booking for the man we pan. That was in the plan, wasn't it?

Oh hang on, what about the Fruity boys? Who are? What are? Them? Whoah-whoa-whoah well here they come. Well, well, well, there they go. The drovers kicked the ball into the Town half. That's nice.

Beautiful beautifulness and a flash from the past as Town passed and moved at will through the saplings. Woolford spreading happiness and the ball, Hall-Johnson roamed, rambling Rose bloomed, Summerfield shimmied, and Big Harry haplessly rolled from the penalty spot: a leading contender for the greatest goal never scored this season.

Halfway through the half the players wandered over to the dug-outs for a water break. Hey, what about us, our chests and nuts roasting on an open terrace? If we don't get some shelter we're gonna fade away.

Town in a deckchair, Doidge in leisurewear. A couple of corners, cornered cornerly and headed widely wide as the Clarke-Collins axis leant gently upon green shoulders.

It's gentle, gentle, but what is a flentl? Like the Forest Green crowd, it is the non-musical sound that continues after Gavin Gunning has kicked the ball out of play.

Much ado about nothing as men meandered in muddles, strolling in the sun, a kickabout in the park. Town enervated by the heat, the Greenies renovating a barn near Stroud. A big green hoof from nowhere to nowhere down the Town right. The unmolested Clarke tobleroned a header sideways, straight to Reid, who tickled their wily coyote into the Clarkeless void. Shuffling and scuffling into the area, to the right of goal McKeown smothered Doidge in a duvet.

Town played football, Forest Green had three shots. Can we go inside now and have a nice ice cream?

Isolated moments of occasionalness as the sun dripped down, sucking out the life from local limbs. Blue, blue, electric blue, that's the colour of the broom sweeping towards Pink Collins. Green Collins half-hearted away, Blue Collins walloped and Big Harry inadvertently thighed a soft looper to the keeper.

It's a saunter in the sauna, what lovely fauna and flora down in the valley below. They're waiting for the angels of Avalon, waiting for the goals to flow. A chuck in on their right, way down in the corner, chested back into the gaping gaps of Grimsby. Cooper passed goalwards from 15 central yards. Jamie Mac sprawled low and right and the ball trinkled gaily off Clarke's shins to spin around the left post.

Heat. Hot hotness. Potatoes baked, passes raked. Doidge theatrically headed Collins' forearm and a free kick emerged 25 yards out, centre right. The laughable Laird coiled up and over the wall, towards the top left corner. McKeown calmly watched the whizzer and flying-fizzed fantastically, phantasmagorically through the air to parry-palm aside with the greatest of ease.

Town played football, Forest Green had three shots. Can we go inside now and have a nice ice cream?

Second half: The heat is on

Neither team made any changes at half time, but the sun crept below a stray tree or two, so the baking boys and grilled girls had some respite from the harrowing heat.

This, that, whatever. Minutes passed by. These things happen. Then it happened, Ooh then it happened. Ooh-ooh then it happened. Is it real? Is it fake? It’s so hot I could bake a cake. Is this a mistake?

Cardwell shrugged near the dug-outs and a free kick followed. Fox dripped farly, Collins arose and headed firmly downwards across the box towards the penalty spot. Hooper thighed and turned and thrashed around when surrounded by green. An envelope of ecologists crawled along the floor counting butterflies and bees as the ball rolled over daisies and buttercups. Hooper poked and scraped and chased this dragonfly with a butterfly net as nine ninnies from Nailsworth knelt down and doggy-paddled after the ball as it rolled, rolled, rolled along softly and gently, like fairy liquid, into the bottom right corner.

That time – oh, times! – we so laughed.

Bingo balls and flamingo falls. Green sliming, and McKeown pitter-patting down slaps. Blim-blamming and arbitrary bashings as the locals got around to crossing. A flash, a pan and Doidge was staring at Jamie Mack from eight yards out. McKeown akimbo! Town did indeed Doidge this bullet as the side-footed shot was side-footed away and everyone on the side called out for more four more years, after electing Jamie Mac president of the Pontoon.

Near the hour Trumpton's fire brigade arrived to rescue the mayor's hat from a tree. On came Dibble and Grubb. And Davies replaced Hall-Johnson in the 63rd minute, as is the law.

A flurry of candyfloss and whelks refused to be pickled. Ricochets left and rebounds right with no-one nowhere near. Campbell spun around like a record baby, scribbling notes on the bottom of the page as the teacher took in his homework. The ball stumbled through various leggings and snivelled towards the bottom right corner, McKeown pounced.

Superhooper thighed and turned and wondrously swept around various vegans into the top left corner with Pink Collins standing weeping in admiration

Town: I could tell you about Hooper's scrubbler and Little Harry's persistence. I could, well, I suppose I just have. At some point in this siesta the referee walked off, perhaps in need of a wet hanky. On came the rotund replacement. He was far better, he just let the season play out without too much unnecessary peeping.
I could tell you Matt came on for the wilting Cardwell. I definitely just have.

However much we try we can't escape the truth and the fact is we're ambling towards a long, hot, summer. When's the fixture list out?

Town walked through fields of wheat looking for a Cadbury's flake to put in their ice cream cone. Fox tickled to Rose who spun and swung towards the Green penalty area. A vacancy on the left, Hooper temporarily filling it. An eco-warrior shuffled across vaguely as the languid loper shimmied onto his right foot, 15 yards out. A goal kick or a throw-in? Ah Hooper, we were so sick and tired of your sighs when we called you last month at Wycombe. We've had a whole season of Hooperness, we know what happens next. Even Jolley can't alchemise this... Oh yes, oh yes, no-one doubted you lad. Hooper defied his history and coiled majestically over and across the static Pink Collins into the high centre left of the goal. Cor, we've seen proper players do that on telly.

Green deflation, blue elation. Summerfield took a free kick quickly, and Pink Collins punched off Hooper's nose, not his toes. Berrett replaced Rose. We can but laugh, and we did.

A welly and Green wallies as Matt flicked on into the centre of the centre of the centre of their half. Superhooper thighed and turned and wondrously swept around various vegans into the top left corner with Pink Collins standing weeping in admiration.

And we wept with laughter, for what can we say? Shining like the sun (Sup-p-per Hoop-p-per). Smiling, having fun (Sup-p-per Hoop-p-per). Feeling like a number nine.

Minutes were added and then they ended.

There we have the Battle of Beanburger Hill: lightly fortified, and of little strategic value, but psychologically uplifting for the victors.

What a pleasant stroll in the sun against pliant protagonists. And that's all there is too it.

Good riddance to this season, what a shame it had to end.