Oh what a circus

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

27 December 2020

Who's in charge? Ain't you?

At least my tenner's going to a well-run club.

It's raining again, I'm seeing it pitter-patter down on the lens. Oi, give it a wipe!

Ah, so here we are again in limboland, our only home. Rudderless and adrift, heading for the Bananarama rocks with a blind, deaf and dumb captain sneering at the ship's wheel.

We've got Ray Cooney in the boardroom and they've got Ryan Cooney on the pitch. Oh what a farce. Alex, may the farce be with you.

Give it just a little more time and this chairman of the board will be gone.

1st half – A swallow in winter
The Western Shrimpers kicked off towards the home end and into the wind.

2:18. Screenwipe!

Bishing and boshing, wishing and hoping, slipping and slopping: Bennett overhit an inside tickle as Preston pressed. They're trying, we're sighing, Pollock thighing away. I ain't lyin'.

6:21. Screenwipe Part Deux: Dark on the Lune.

Drop your shoulder, roll your rrrrrrrrrrrrrs, we're in Lankyshire after all. Pollock sprayed sidely, Bennett wiggled way-way-widely, a cat jumped and was over the moon.

12:58. Screenwipe Academy III: Back in Training.

And through the smudge we espy a free kick. To who? Where? And?

And the rain fell. And the wind blew. And there's some people on the pitch. Shall I open the fox in the box biscuit tin now?

19:44. Screenwipe IV: Resurrection

In the chilly hours and minutes of uncertainty I want it to be a corner to Town. I don't know how, but I do know when, for it is now. Bennett coiled uppily and wiffily from the left. The ball caught the wind, Halstead flip-flopped off the line and Pollock cow-pied through the gloop to nod and wink in. Top of the form and top scorer, you know.

Mud, mud glorious mud, there's nothing quite like it for cooling the blood. Follow me, follow down to the hollow hours of hitless and hopeless Shrimping.

At last the Shrimps pressed, Preston was compressed and the cross from Slew flew through the air with the greatest of ease. Hendrie dared to fly on his trapeze to flick head away from Mendes-Gomes farly. Corner in, corner out, Clifton and Hewitt hustled in the depths.

Red cross on the right, McKeown's delight as it sailed away towards the Heysham boys, those cockleshell cowboys. They won't keep the home fires burning with a chip into the void. McKeown fly-hacked the remaining attack.

And finally, Cyril, Bennett scruffled through the bedraggled hordes and Halstead safely slid and spanked aside. Ooh saucy.

Two minutes were added. Everyone getting wetter; it didn't get better.

Nothing happened. Town scored. Nice. Next.

2nd half – Headless chickens in a basket case
Neither team made any changes at half time.

Hmm, the homesters seem perky at the sight of some turkeys. They've got wind of our feeble flanks and wind beneath their wings. Preston, always walking a step behind Slew, the ball is flying higher than an eagle.

Gordon Bennett fiddled and faddled and off they roamed. Wildig waltzed away and wafted dangerously through the corridor of uncertainty and across the face of goal and retreating defenders. No-one nicked the out-swinger.

Town retreating and reverting to diverting with nudges and fudges. Silly free kick a-go-go. On the half way line way out left Phillips' big booming drooper arced and boinged and Jamie Mack patter-caked out from under the bar. A blue wall blocked old Medium Harry's wellies.

A Town break broken by Bennett. Town, a limp rag doll, after all they are just hand-me-downs.

Preston kept 'em onside and Hewitt squeezed Wildig's pips as we were about to squeak.

Morais laced daisy chains, Pollock's chin and Clifton's shin passed by and off they broke to be sushed into the slush. A foulish chuck and foolish ruck as Preston and Bennett dillied. Slew flat fizzled and Mendes-Gomes headed high into the net as Hendrie tackled without defending at the far post.

Wind-assisted booming, Mendes-Gomes floated up through the clouds of doubt and Pollock took a trip on a mudslide to save his hide. Boom-assisted winding as Waterfall missed a flick and McKeown sucked in a long range torpedo.

Town? There was a moment and here it is. Jackson persisted on his bottom, scraping to Bennett, which merely allowed Green to piffle off a puffle and off Morecambe gaily broke for another moment of almostness swishing across the face of McKeown's goal.

At this Gibson arrived, replacing Jackson. Gibson? You fill me with inertia.

Another Philipps up and under free kick bounded in from the half way line and bounced up for a McKeown flopperty-flip over crossbar. Lavelle freely headed farly over from the cross after a corner after the flip from the free kick. So where's the vessel with the pestle?

With Edwards waiting to replace Bennett, the redsters had a throw-in on their right, somewhere deeply unattractive. For the avoidance of doubt I can confirm to the ladies and gentleman of the jury that there are unconfirmed reports that Mr Bennett touched the ball, but no physical evidence.

Chucked daintily into the outer limits of the penalty area, Stockton turned our two salty pillars and crossed lowly twixt the grasping custardian and various vague blue shirts and socks. And shorts. Mr Mendes-Gomes poked into the unattended nettage. Contrasting scenes of joy and despair were visible through the unsmudgy haze. In living rooms in Lincolnshire there was only despair as thoughts turned to a horse's head in the bed. Who will make him an offer he can't refuse? You get nothing for a pair, not in that game.

Well, that's that, isn't it.

Shall we just tick off a selection of cheesy biscuits before we get to drown our sorrows? Long ball down the line, tra-la-la-la-la. There's a long ball down the line tra la-la-la-la-la. Stockton ambled away from the trickling Waterfall and poked wide.

Substitute coke for gin: Tilley for Morais, Williams for Green. The pictures just got a little smaller, Norma.

A whack straight at McKeown, Town piddled and no-one would shoot. Just things of no consequence.

Tilley tumbled after a particularly intense Paddington stare, 25 yards from what we fondly recall from them olden days of yore as the opposition goal. Williams Baled, the ball wibbling over the wall and skipping off the mud, Halstead plunged right and pawed aside. Pollock snapped back into the emptied net, the ball hit Davis on the line and rolled perfectly into Halstead's happy hands.

There is nothing else but Edwards falling over in their penalty area for an embarrassed silence to fall over the ground and McKeown saving after another hump and dump left some local chap scuttling away behind the boys in blue.

Four minutes were added. What a bore, what a chore, any more pie?

A Town free kick on the half way line. Everybody up! Williams underhit an underpowered whey-faced waft and off they ran. Phillips strolled away without a human in sight to roll past McKeown.

I may as well read the paper: "There's something profoundly wrong at Arsenal, something that goes beyond the normal roll call of managers and players, beyond even decades of low-energy ownership and incompetent appointments." They should be so lucky. Dreaming's all we can do, if only they’d come true.

As Freud wrote in his seminal work on Town's 1909/10 season: the root of horror is a confusion over whether an object is alive or dead.

The horror, the horror.

So what is the secret of our success? A summer of sign 'em cheap and pile 'em high.

A club with no visible support shows a club with no visible idea how to survive the plague.