Le Gazze Ladre

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

31 October 2021

A semi-serious football match in two acts.

After a morning of miserable monsoons there's a brisk westerly wind chasing the clouds away and chasing the masses through the streets of houses. Look - a rainbow!

Are we ailing or are we failing after sailing through the summer? I'm sorry to inform you that we are entirely out of the fruit in question. Yes, we have no top bananas, just Lennie today. Is a banana a fruit or a herb? It's both, just like Lennie, who is both a striker and not a striker.

Town lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation as follows McKeown, Sears, Waterfall, Towler, Crookes, Sousa, Coke, Hunt, Clifton, Fox, John-Lewis. The substitutes were Pearson, Revan, Khouri, Bapaga, and Taylor. Is it wrong to be without Wright? Is the Kingsley Black Memorial Hole now officially a Fox hole? There are more questions than answers. The more we find out the less we know.

The minty green Magpies turned up with over 1,000 fellow travellers. It's nice to have a wall of sound to banter-bounce the bonhomie.

Lock up your spoons we're in for a lumpy ride.

1st half – Heavy metal blunder
The Mintymen kicked off towards the Pontoon and the inaugural Cleethorpes Human Chess Rugby Championship began. Pawn to Queen's Knight 3, Clifton clattered. Huffing, puffing, nicking, knocking, chivvying and chasing.

Playing along County lines, Rodrigues dived over an invisible foot, an official finger wagged. Ooh-aah Sousa, a Fox in the box, a Fox in a hole, Fox in a foxhole.

White Be5. Minty NF3. White BxE5. Check!

Little Harry was attacked by a street gang as he roamed the roads between the lines. Mintymen muzzled as they are exposed to their own inadequacies. How? Stand by your man, give him two arms to cling to, they won't have good times doin' things they don't understand.

Ah Lennie, our chaos engine, the unknowable trap door, falling following flattery. Twenty yards out and slightly off deadish centre. Hunt coiled, the ball hit a post and rolled along the back of the back of the net. Keep yer hair on. A post, not the post, that big red post keeping the roof on.

Ah Lennie, the engima wrapped inside a Lidl bag. Town, two-touch teasing and pleasing, easing into the game. Lennie rolled into the covered corner, swiveled and swayed and coiled a big dripper from afarly and acutely. The ball dipped and kissed against the top of the farthest crossbar.

Ah Town, slowly turning the tourniquet. Tic-tak-toe, Little Harry lofted a lovely diagonal dink behind their static caravans. Sousa scampered, Sousa sliced and many Magpie hats fell off many Magpie heads in the deepest, darkest recesses of the Osmond.

Ah, man down. A fey green man was swiped aside by a Sears smear. Alas, alack, the green man fell upon our trusty knight and off Sears went, arm in a sling wearing his heart on his sleeve. And on came…Revan, at right-back. Revan looked lost playing on the dark side of his moon.

The ref went to the managers to have a long chat and the crowd were reminded to be civil and respectful of fellow human beings.

Ah Lennie, the man who can arrive both too early and too late for the same teapot. Snap, tackle and poptastic passing, Clifton clipped and Hunt shunted on. Lennie, dear old Lennie, arrived alone, arose alone and performed a tone poem, heading into the ether, neither here nor there, somewhere inside their penalty area.

Ah, Lennie! Chasing rainbows, chasing the elusive butterfly. The minty pies were concerned as a big grey bottom unsubtly bumped Lennie aside as he pursued the bouncing balloon.

Four minutes were added. Town surged, Townites urged, Hunt's corner splurged to the nearest post. Sousa's bicycle kick was blocked, Lennie lurked beyond the far post and his blast was biffed vertically, Patterson flopped and flapped and the ref chickened out.

And finally, Cyril, Rodrigues was booked for dredging Harry the heartbeat.

Has Jamie Mack touched the ball? Have they had a shot? Have they had a cross? No, no, and thrice no! These Notts knitters are nothing, these Magpies are mundane, but then again these Mariners are meandering. There's nothing to beat. And so say all of us.

2nd half – Light finger buffet
County castled at half time, with Nemane and Roberts replacing O’Brien and Kelly-Evans as they moved to a back four. Ooh tactics!

So what happened next? Much hoop-la and head tennis ending with Crookes looping to Patterson. Crookes!

There can be a fascination in watching arm wrestling, but not for 90 minutes. Ah-ha, football. Some striped zipping and whipping, Sousa chested and turned on to the unmarked Lennie. Lennie. Unmarked. In the penalty area. There is only one outcome. The last row of the Pontoon instinctively ducked and successfully avoided decapitation.

Foul throw. FOUL THROW. They gave a foul throw. And we didn't even have to ask! It's a ball of confusion out there.

Roberts finally remembered his instruction and clobbered Clifton into the Lower Frozen Horsebeer Stand. A yellow card for some cowardly custardness. They're just picking on the smallest kid in the next class.

Slackery-dackery-hackery in the home ranks as Harry passed straight to Roberts on the edge of the Town penalty area. The piddling Pieman swung his pants and McKeown parry-punched off the tip of his nose. By jove, they've had a shot! How jolly nice for them.

Uh-ho, minty pressure, toes need stretching. Ah-ha, Sousa salsaed through greens inside the Town area, swished up and around and coiled perfectly down the bye-line into the flightpath of The Flying Shop with no street furniture to impede his path to glory.

Dear Old Lennie missed the ball and the moment was lost.

Perhaps it is time to mention the Notts County. They had a couple of crosses, momentary infiltrations and the hints of incision, all dealt with by the WaterTowler. Keep calm and let's just carry on and follow that camel.

Town ratcheted up the pressure. Fox flashed a crack that shimmered off the inside leg of a green beanpole. Corner, corner, corners again, head up! Elevation! Coke looped, Crookes stooped and headed high and wide at the near post. Crookes!

Foul throw! Another foul throw! And we still didn't need to ask. They only give 'em when you didn't point it out. They're like toddlers aren't they.

With quarter of an hour left Taylor replaced our tired old retail outlet.

Sexy Sousa laid it down for all to see. Swinging and dodging out on the left, a green head headed back the curler, and Sousa re-curled the return towards the top left corner but Rawlinson grazed and raised the ball above the cross bar. Elevation young Master Hunt. A Countyman headed again. Remember the elevator! The keeper flapped and Erico failed to grow sufficiently, heading upwards three yards out.

Town rhythmic, fading and in unending procession as Sousa swayed to the bye-line, pulling back to the centre where Clifton awaited. The ball trundled behind Little Harry, who stretchy poked goalwards towards the momentary emptiness. A piefoot impeded home happiness, but Taylor spun and swished over the angel of post and bar.

Town's free flow halted for a free kick for minty cramp. What a cramp decision that was. We're dribbling away to the end of nothing.

Aaah, we fade to grey.

As three minutes were to be added Sousa slithered across the sea of green. A tiny tug, a perceptible push, and the ball was walloped into the space vacated by the advancing Crookes, behind the covering Coke. A handily misplaced midlander wandered into the void and McKeown palmed Palmer's cross towards the penalty spot. The eternally ephemeral Rodrigues waited and walloped into the top corner.

How irritating.

Bapaga immediately replaced Coke. And? And nothing.

Should have been a goalless, soulless draw; wasn't. They did to us what we did to Woking: a little late shoplifting. These things happen and they just did. It told us nothing we didn't know about ourselves as the facts are there in black and white – the moment we have to rely on Lennie alone Town stop scoring.