Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
12 April 2013
Luton's Short-Term Contractors 1 Grimsby Character Actors 1
I've heard a rumour from Twitter control. Oh no, don't say it's true. The Town 300 got a message from that John Tondeur man: huge changes, reserves and the forgotten few. Sordid details following.
Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Wood, Miller, Ford, Thomas, Taylor, Thanoj, Artus, Southwell, John-Lewis, Hearn. The substitutes were Fleming, Hatton, Naylor, Niven and Hannah. At last the wanderer returns. We all know Simon Ford was unlucky, strung out in Shropshire's high ground, hitting an all-time low in Telford. Now that's a pretty strong team for a reserve match. Ah well, it's a practice match, let's have a party-party.
Oooh what a terrible pitch, it'll ruin our hoofballing.
First half: The circuit's dead, there's something wrong
Town kicked off daftly, not deftly, with Artus stodging straight out of play. Town gave it away, Town gave it away, Taylor gave it away. Luton lashed Town on their left, Martin be-jiggery-pokering past the wallowing Wood. A cross, a miskick by some orange-clad loon. Was it Shaw? Yes, we're certain. Artus gave it away, a shot, a save, a minute gone.
Lutonites ticked and tocked at pace with one-touch passing and movement through the mudheap and scrapheap in the muddle of the middle and the cat and fiddle. Whither Town? A case of when, not whether, the orangers would score. Corners, passes, more corners, more passing, more corners again. A free free header, panic, chaos, confusalations and no jubilations. Gray nodded, Artus stretchered off the line. Big Jim passed the rebound goalwards. Miller blocked, Miller blocked again. Town bodies tossed into the line of fire. Corners, corners, crosses, Luton, Luton, Luton. Eeek. Five minutes of frantic frisbee flipping inside the Town penalty area.
A chuck and chase, McKeown sprinkled and slid out to clear. Up hopped the hobbling Jamie Mac, secretly clutching knees and calves. The skies above erupted in celebration: fireworks for free kicks!
Hearn descended to the earth, clutching his calf as McNulty lumbered into his rear. The Hunter remained face down in the dirt, causing much unmerriment in Marinerland. He got up. We breathed again.
Corners, corners, attacks, attacks, attacks. Wood's face and knees, Miller's discreet polo neck, Ford's aurora borealis diverted danger. A blur of tangerine dreaming. Heady hoopla from Gray. Wood sliced a mis-hit corner agin the post, Lawless swiped, and a Town vest deflected wide. Restless, breathless, headless chickens free ranging in a field.
OK, had a breather? Here they come again.
Taylor dissolved, Luton licked their lips, Gray swayed his hips. Ford perished, Gray stepped inside five yards out. Beautiful Bradley hurtled and hurled himself at the flashing blade. Another corner or something, another moment or something. Town's bodies twistin' and turnin' in a thousand ways. Eyes all rollin' round and round into a distant gaze. Shaw shindiggled back across a gaping goal after more galloping gourmets down the Luton left.
Don't be concerned, they will not harm us, it's only Luton pursuing somethin' they're not sure of, that elusive butterfly of love. Shaw? Yes, we're still certain he walloped wide.
I now detect an alien vibration here There's something in the air besides the atmosphere. A Town corner! Fizzling unmolested through the six-yard box, there were signs of life in the moribund Mariners. Thanoj passed, Thomas spurtled and crossed and Not-So-Brill spilled as a stray shopping trolley rattled nearby. Thanoj spun a million, billion miles out, fliggling fantastically from afar. The ball dodged asteroids and other space debris sneaking goalwards at warp factor 3. The Weeble wobbled and cobbled a scoopy scuffer save to scrimp the ball aside. Wahey, we're having a good time. The Shopping Trolley chesty-turned and hooky-volleyed from the corner of the penalty area. Wibbling and wobbling, the Brillo paddled away iffily.
Goalless but not soulless. An entertaining kaleidoscope of calamity and calmness.
Second half: A Space Oddity
Neither team made any changes at half time.
What happened inside those chicken sandwich-stained walls of the away dressing room? Town, Town, Town, Town, Town, Town!. A whole team tackling, passing, moving with skill, verve, vim, and vigour. At the beating heart of this new-found passion for passing was the Grand Vizier Thanoj, the visionary at the heart of empire. He twisted and turned, scuttled and hustled and dominated the game for 20 minutes.
Thanoj spun and swung past several static hatstands, drifting across the face of the penalty area, poking to the unmarked Southwell. Dishy Dayle took a touch and, as orange socks appeared, wafted inches over and wide of the top left corner.
Thanojian masterclass in general twirling, shuffling and dribbling delight.
Hearn and Thomas rekindled their old love affair, exchanging glances and passes all the way down the left. Don't worry, this is a family film. The ball arrived at the feet of the leading actor who twinkled a smile and a crackling crackerjack of a shot. The ball shivered goalwards, over the drowning Brill, smurfed against the underside of the crossbar, bounced on the line and up. An open goal awaited the arrival of a suitable suitor. Dear, dear Lenell bounced forward and headed backwards. Some kind of scrumbling scrambling followed. We just have our memories of this supreme moment of nearlyness.
Town were dreamily dominant, Luton a distant ship's smoke on the horizon; Town were coming forward in waves.
A free kick for something no-one need remember was given to Town way out on the left. Artus coiled vaguely towards the far post where Ford's existence sowed seeds of doubt and confusion in the divoty heart of the Orange defence. The ball bumbled straight to the unmarked Southwell, six yards out, who shinned fumblingly. Dishy Dayle poked again and the ball bedrumbled slowly against orange socks loitering without intent next to the left post. These Luton Socks swung and shinned the ball over the line before swiping away. Up went the linesman's flag and 300 happy hands from Humberside. Now we've everything we need to keep us satisfied. We're having so much fun. Our lucky number's one.
Martin marauded immediately and was hauled down right on the touchline. Lawless drooped a dreamer to the far post, where Griffiths ducked and backed the ball wide from four or five yards out.
But still Town attacked. Taylor winged and wrapped a cross into the near post. Hearn arrived, stuck out a knee and guided the ball over as Brill affected the standard Scooby Doo monster pose. Thomas tickled and teased to the near post as a cross bounded off McNulty's ample chest. Luton indulged themselves with some totally daft football inside their six-yard box. Mad Frankie retrieved from a waft away and carefully caressed into Hearn's feet. The Notts Gnasher spun around, did a couple of widdle-overs and walloped wide.
There was a dominance and coolness that oozed from every Town pore, for they were poor no more. It were mighty darn fine, for there were no worries, no problems and no mortal thoughts that the locals would have any happiness .
With 20 or so minutes left, Taylor and Thomas were replaced by Niven and Hatton. Mad Frankie shuffled to the wing and Wood to the left. Oh dear me. At least it didn't really matter.
Town returned to the clucking chickens mode. Hatton was stripped of his dignity by Martin. Niven was on the pitch, often within the same postal code as a Lutonite. We're back to the first 20 minutes here, people. Corners and crosses, passing and movement, Luton fearsomely fluid and dangerous. Town a retreating blob of black and white, relying on some on individual valour. A magnificent sliding block by Ford, a Miller nut and nudge, Wood's face and thighs. A corner, drifted from their right, Hatton static in the vicinity of the ball. Griffiths alone and allowed to control and volley ten yards over from ten yards out.
The force was strong with this one.
Luton flowed as Town ebbed. Town bedraggled themselves in ever-decreasing circles and Niven tried to pass the ball, something that was never recommended by his manufacturer. Off the Orangemen skipped, triangulating towards McKeown. Hatton backed off and off and off as Martin trimmed a cross beyond all. They retrieved, they crossed again and Lawless, with Niven static nearby, chested down and carefully lampooned back across McKeown in to the bottom left corner.
Waves and waves and waves of orange: Miller's head a useful diversion. A long ball stuck in the mud, McKeown came out of his area to slidey-clear. The ball squirtled to Lawless, who weakly lobbed back to the waiting Jamie Mack. Hatton was disrobed by Martin, Gray bonked a near post header high and wide. Wood failed to cut out a cheeky Gray cross at the near post. Wall stretched and slid and poked high and wide as McKeown collapsed behind him.
Pressure, pressure, the pressure hose was turned on Town. Crosses and corners, deflections, urging and surging, it was all Luton, all Luton; wingers winging and buzzy things buzzing. Gray took a wall pass from Wall, snaggling a shot through a corridor of monochrome. McKeown raised both hands and parried up, up and away for a corner.
Town may have crossed the halfway line, but that was only to walk off and receive the thundering, rolling roars and applause of the Town 300 as they trudged off with that point in their pocket.
Woeful at the start, this rag-bag collection of strolling Townites reached a state of Zen dominance either side of half time. Then it all fell apart when the substitutions were made.
You know, no-one really minded, it's all about giving the stars a rest and the understudies some practice, just in case. Don't worry, be happy.