Strange Days

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

8 May 2022

Hello little old Maids, come see a crowd with a big team, with their mild knobby faces, their bad teeth and gentle manners. Welcome to our party, no poopers please.

A bright, sunny afternoon in the Costa Del Meggies with a hint of a chill, so do take a pill if you've got sciatica. Balls! Beach balls. No, no, no, no, no! Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. What did your granny tell you! When the beach balls come out, Town suffer a rout.

Town lined up in the old 4-4-2 formation as follows: Crocombe, Cropper, Waterfall, Smith, Amos, Scannell, Holohan, Fox, Clifton, Taylor and Abrahams. The substitutes were Pearson, Maguire-Drew, Sousa, McAtee and Dieseruvwe. Chesterfailed failing again, McAtee back(ish) and 4-4-2? Mmmm, nice.

What a lovely day. What could possibly go wrong?

1st half – Luke's psychedelic breakfast
Town kicked off towards the Osmond with a Waterfallian clump towards the 54 sighing Magpies, sitting alone in the covered corner as the world goes by.

Scannell ooh, Scannell ah, Scannell tripped over the ball. Scannell wooh, Scannnell waah, Scannell scissored through criss-crossing yellows and lamped lowly. The keeper kicked away and Gav O'Grovesie galloped and galumphed across the face of the farthest post.

A little bit of ooh a little bit of ahh and Gav O'Grovesie wallopped high.

Easy, peasy, lemons being squeezied. The old maids are hiking to their communion with a slapping already.

Scannell down, Scannell, up, Scannell down again and Scannell over and out. Goodbye cruel world, he's leaving us today. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye. Maguire-Drew emerged and oh the diversity of it, the chaos! Stripes shimmering, glimmering in the sun as the yellow wall began to crumble as the home stands rumbled.

Abrahams licked his lips as he gave Massey the slip way out east. His shot took a big dip off a big lemon hip and clipped the crossbar. Heads and tails, tales of heads and fails as Cropper launched a long 'un. Minor pandemonium, very minor, more like an unfertilised egg of a possibility, not even an embryonic moment of almostness.

Cropper chucked down the line neath the Fozen Horsebeer Stand. Balls bounced, young and old maids flounced, and Maguire-Drew flicked against the keeper's nose. Slickness, quickness and Abrahams carefully swept into Gyollai's gloves after a little bit Harryness on the left.

How can one make a pattern out of this muddle? What have they done so far? Barratt sneaked, Cropper crunched and squealed and peeled back his socks. He arose and the corner was cleared without fuss or favour. Hums were drummed.

Noodles and doodles as the ball shanked off arbitrary toes in the middle of nowhere. What's going off over there? Fossicking and truffling in the Dentists Stand at a throw-in. They're alive! Chuck, tickle, tackle and winkle. Clerima simply coiled simply into an absence of yellow. Crocombe waited for the ball to drop into his arms…

Behind you!

Lethal Luke stretched and toe-poked past the helpless, hapless Kiwi into the emptiest of nets. Heads in hands, hands on heads, silence and silent stares. We didn't want last season's Luke back in our lives.
Nah, don't worry, he's an old pro, he's had plenty of experience of own goals, he can cope with this. Of course he can. Of course he can.

From the off Town's up'n'under was walloped back and bouncing-bouncing with Waterfall wandering and dreaming. What's he thinking about? His psychedelic breakfast? "Scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes. Toast, coffee. Marmalade, I like marmalade. I don't like coffee. Porridge is nice. Any cereal, I like all cereal. What a day! What? My head's a blank."

Behind you!

Don't look, Ethel. Doh, it's too late.

Waterfall turned and became intimately acquainted with Acquah's shorts, hauling down the hulk in slow motion over a period of ten years and ten yards. Off he went and off with his head as we always knew, deep inside, that if he goes chasing rabbits we know he's going to fall. Barratt whacked low and left under Crocombe's grope.

Has Waterfall had some kind of mushroom? His mind was moving slower than his legs, and that's saying summat. One minute of madness and the sadness of a career implosion, all that reputational rehabilitation wasted.

On the restart Pearson replaced Cropper, with Town moving to a 3-4-3 formation. Harem scarem, helter skelter, Town coming down to the Osmond fast but not breaking the yellow wall. The Old Maids rocking and blocking as Town were flocking forward. Pearson arose and amidst Magpie panic the ball drooped just wide. When, where? Over there, at some time from a free kick or a corner. Who knows, who cares, who dares wins sometimes. Pressure, bearing down on them, watching some defenders screaming "get it out". Chipping around, kicking Harry on the floor. This is one of those days when it never rains but it's a poor reward for the effervescent endeavour of the denuded Town.

Can't we give ourselves one more chance?

A corner zoomed farly from the right, Harry arose above an arcing yellowman and, with the gaol a-gaping, managed to miss.

Three minutes were added and, in the very final minute of this weird half, Maidenhead actually had their first shot from open play. An actual fact that is both true and accurate. Unlike the shot. Way over, way out. Man, this was way out freaky.

As we head for the tills we linger alone, bodies confused, memories misused. How did that happen?

2nd half – When the music's over
Neither team made any changes at half time.

Have we started yet? Oh, yes, here we go. Row, row, row the boat gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily life is but a dream for Gyollai.

Clifton assassinated by foul foreign boots and Maguire-Drew piffled a wiffle into the wall. He chased it, he got it back. Roaring as Town were pouring forward. A corner, a corner, a cross, a cross, a horse, a horse, a kingdom for a shot.

Holohan tickled Tristan free inside the penalty area on the centre right. Alas with black and white bodies lurking unmolested, Abrahams saw only personal glory, passing across the keeper, who pushed easily aside. Listen lads, we could still do this!

The Old Maids set down their blankets and sat on the lawn. Crumpets and cucumbers for tea. Pearson pushed and Pearson prodded. A welly down the line and off they sprang. All hail Little Harry and his magic slide.
Action! Noise! Where's the poise? Pearson and Donnellan faced off downtown, with the Old Maid booked for chest-pushing Shaun of the Pearson to the turf. Raging in the stands, raging on the grass, shoving and shouting at set pieces as Pearson took on the County of Berkshire single handed. Come on, let's be 'aving you. Tumbling, rumbling, grumbling as Donnellan claimed a monochrome hand stand, rolling and screaming and rubbing his arm.

The ref, unimpressed by these amateur dramatics, let the fun flow and off Donnellan went before he was sent off, promenading in front of the Pontoon with a sarcastic clap to his new-found friends in the North.

Up the other end with a furry friend. Ricochets and rebounds, higgles and piggles, the ball strolled towards the covered corner. Pearson half-cleared up the line, but straight to yellow. A tip, a tap and bright Sparkes passed along the six-yard box to the lurking Upward. The inevitable sucker punch when you're short-staffed.

Oh look, half a dozen Real Madrid fans are leaving already.

Is that it? It surely is, surely. Maidenhead still sat back sipping their lemon tea and occasionally strolling around the rose garden. Acquah flapped into the side netting after some more Sparkes bright breaking. More tea vicar?

Fox tackled and tickled, tickled and tackled, haphazardly churning his way across the pitch from West to East. A final Old Maid felled and Fox espied a space between friends setting Abrahams free and flying. Big T flew into the ground as he felt the hand of history on his shoulder and the fickle finger of fate pointed spotwards. Abrahams stared into the abyss on the keeper's left, glanced at the gap to the keeper's left, peeked into the space to the keeper's left and slapped straight down the middle as Gyollai flew left.

Listen lads, we can still…get to Steels by 5:30.

With tennish minutes left Manny D replaced Taylor. Manny D, Manny D, not a patch on McAtee. Manny D, Manny D a man who's lost his magic knee.

Abrahams, nibbled free and narrowly, swingled and swung a shot into a smiley emoji at the top of the singing ringing tree corner of the Pontoon as many stripes waited in vain for a cross, a pass, anything resembling a collective consciousness and conscience. A little hope goes up in smoke, just how it goes, goes without saying. Abrahams playing solitaire.

As more Real Madrid fans gave up their ghosts Maidenhead finally had a shot which travelled directly into Crocombe's arms. We like to call that a save. A shot on target and a save. Nice.

Six minutes were added. Slapstick slap-dashery as the ball skittled twixt keeper and various defenders, whistling on its way past the post. Manny D turned and passed into the void in front of goal whilst stripes massed nearer the burger bar. And, finally, there is no more.

Just one of those games on one of those days. In many way this was a diluted version of the Stockport game – only the reduction of the superior team resulted in the inferior team achieving victory. We win some, we lose some. We lost.

We shall go on playing, for we won't find a new Town until next season. Strange days indeed. The curse of the beach ball has struck again and all we have is a sunny afternoon.