The day the mood music died

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

15 February 2016

Grim 0 Boring 0

"You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to the outer limits of credulity."

Another day of wind and poses in the pregnable Fortress of Fear and Loathing. There were 39 of them, there were a hundred times more of us. The sound was the same. What's the name of the game? Does it mean anything to you?

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Tait, Gowling, Nsiala, Horwood, Arnold, Disley, Nolan, Monkhouse, Amond and Pittman. The substitutes were Pearson, Henderson, Clay, Commander Straker and Bogle. No sir, we can't Bogle today.

The Boring Ones – the boring ones in fading blue – were full of big blokes with a tiny scrum-capped shuffler as the tour guide on their charabanc, helpfully parked across the pitch.

First half: Dogs

The Bores kicked off downwind towards the Pontoon. Twenty seconds later McKeown was a-plucking a wibbly-wobbler from under his nose as Clifford chanced his arm, with his feet. No-one chances their feet with their arms, not in the internet age of atomised individualism and narcissistic nitwittery.

Gowling tittered to Toto, who tottered and pottered and pootled and tootled and prattled and rattled the rafters with uber-Totoness, then whelped up into the wind. A big blue man jumped over the lazy black and white cow. Gowling passed to Toto... to Toto... to Toto, or not to Toto, that's a question.

Oh hello. Two men moved in imperfect harmony. Horwood crossed, Amond leant back and levered a header to the luminous lad in goal. Ambassador, you spoil us.

Gowling tapped to Toto... to Toto... to Toto... tototototototooooooooooooooo. Oh no Toto, not the comfy chair, please. Toto deftly dummied lumpy Lucas on the edge of the Town penalty area. Well, some said deftly – it was hard to tell with the wind singing in our ears.

Another long shot of blue. Jamie Mack plopped forward and scooped off the scrubland. Another long shot of blue, sailing on the breeze on a one-way ticket to Palookaville.

McKeown rolled to Toto who rolled to Gowling who rolled to Toto, who rolled to Horwood who rolled to Gowling who... who... who... who... who's next? What's going on behind striped eyes?

The blue bus is callin' us, driver where you taking us? There is a driver, isn't there? They're driving us crazy with arthritic crab-ball and soft scoops.

The goal a-gaped, the 39 on the steps behind gasped. Who would grasp the nettle? Arnold scythed through the blue and Russell stuck out his right boot to poke away

At last, men moving. Horwood chipped into the penalty area, Nolan grazed on and Pittman snickled behind the blue bus to the bye-line. Russell shuffled and Pittman flicked into the void behind Amond, past the penalty spot. The goal a-gaped, the 39 on the steps behind gasped. Who would grasp the nettle? Arnold scythed through the blue and Russell stuck out his right boot to poke away.

Nolan kept legging them up. On the third leg the referee tired of this disruption and prepared to fling yellow towards the little red corvette. Not so fast Jones the Whistle, for up popped the Dizzer on leg-up number four.

Under the glowers and glares of the fussy Findusians Tait missed his tackle, Jeffrey bundled as Toto bungled, and Jamie Mack flat-packed a flap straight back. Jeffrey scribbled and McKeown stuck out a pink boot.

Gowling and Toto played chicken with the Boring blues, tempting and teasing them with underhit taps and shuffles and hacks. Horward was reversed into a cul-de-sac, Toto side stepped, stepped over and salsaed along the six-yard line. Tait was wrapped inside some tumbleweeds and sent spinning across the face of goal.

Sometimes you just gotta launch it. Or move your legs a little.

Let us rejoice: a forward pass of the football, on the ground, with more than one monochromer moving. Amond fizzled and flurped around the outer limits and scraped straight at Russell. Rarely has a hum drummed so little. An Arnold corner was hand-jived from under the bar. Scraps. A superfluous letter in there somewhere.

The Bores spent ten minutes boring us with garryowens onto the penalty spot. Oh for Town to have such wit and imagination. Static tappings and artless slappings, dumb dinks, and Arnold crinkled wastefully wide with the last kick of the worst half of football ever, in the world, today.

And so ended inaction in a hail of silence.

Utterly terrible. If Town raise their game they could be abysmal.

Second half: Pigs

Neither team made any changes at half time.

Well, they did. Crab-ball with underhit scoops was replaced by crab-ball with overhit loops.

The Bores stopped almost attacking. Blue men stood in front of the Pontoon, striped men stood in front of the blue men standing in front of the Pontoon, and the Pontoon remained seated.

Horwood diagonalled, Arnold twisted, Tait slappered sloppily with his left foot. Nolan scraped wide. Arnold elevated a corner beyond the far post. Disley arose and shonked back across the open goal and back towards Arnold. Arnold piddled while Rome burned.

Has anyone seen Andy Monkhouse?

After 20 minutes of dispiriting drear, Bogle and Straker replaced the Pittman, the incredible ball avoider, and of course... Arnold. The credulity levels diminished. Straker is left-footed: he played on the right. Monkhouse is left-footed, and he was barely playing at all.

Omar shuffled and spun and cleared the bar. Toto was shuffle-spun and Howells howled after hiking over the Osmond.

Too short to be haughty, too nutty to be naughty, going on forty. Reasons to be uncheerful 1-2-3: Nolan, Toto and Disley booked.

Straker. Nice pass, nice turn, nice corner. Russell flipped his flop under the bar and blue shins volleyed straight back to the looming luminous lad. Straker – two minutes of adequacy. There is no more to say. No need to be rude on the first date.

On and on and on and on and on. This isn't the Pontoon: it's purgatory. We're trapped in a circle of footballing hell

On and on and on nothing went. Townites obsessed with straight dinks and dumps downwind. The strikers hung, drawn and slaughtered for the sins of others. On and on and on and on and on. This isn't the Pontoon: it's purgatory. We're trapped in a circle of footballing hell. Gotta stay awake, gotta try and shake off this creeping malaise. If we don't win on our own ground, how can we find our way out of this maze?

Mere minutes left before the long walk to freedom. A free kick aimlessly lumped and cleared into the twilight zone twixt penalty area and centre circle. Horwood wellied well through the swarm. Russell plunged left and plundered low. The ball be-fumbled, Bogle rumbled and the keeper arose with an arm to spectacularly block in irrelevant excellence. Omar was offside all along.

The best bit never happened officially.

The hobbling Horwood was replaced by Clay. Straker sauntered to left-back, Clay waved on the right wing. Say hello, wave goodbye to the fantasy.

Four minutes were added. In the last of these lost moments in our lives a Town free kick drooped early and was thunkled away. Off the blues ran underneath the frozen Horsemeat Stand, with Town in a total tizz. On the edge of the area, with no stripes left and a Boreman awaiting, the Dizzer scooped away.

And then there were none: seconds left or hopes for automatic promotion? Try both.

No sir, I don't feel very much like talking.

Well, we're well into the traditional Post-Christmas Dwindle now. When the wind blows, this Town blows it. Après Townsend we've had the deluge of drossery, for there was dimness all around.

Until next week at the same time, when Town will take you to the outer limits of your patience.