Free fall: Barnet (a)

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

3 October 2009

Bee Bumble and the Stingers 3 Grimsby Cadavers very 0

The wind, the wind, the hill, the thrill of it all. Barnet, our long lost lifebuoy, please come back to us as we drift in the shark-infested ocean. We're drowning as you are waving goodbye.

Town lined up in a blue 4-4-2 formation as follows: Colgan, Master Bradley Wood, Atkinson, Linwood, Widdowson, Bore, Bennett, Sweeney, Clarke, Proudlock, Ak-Ak. The substitutes were Overton, Lairy-Leary, Jones, F-f-f-f-f-f-orbes, North, Boshell and Beery Conlon, with Frodo Fuller as the team mascot. Clarke was this week's ineffective and totally miscast left winger and Bennett was still in centre midfield. Do we need to go on? What is there to go on to?

As the kick-off approached Widdowson tipped the remains of a bottle of water over this thighs. Perhaps it's magic water, imbued with mystical pixie powers, especially that one which makes him stand five yards away from anyone who has the ball.

That wind played havoc with hair and handbags.

First half: A short sharp shock
Town kicked off towards the open end, from left to right as the fans stood. Ak-Ak purred and didn't ponder, thwackling against a big Barnet backside while the unmarked Bore waved. The ball spooned up and away for a corner. Then another corner. Town encamped, Barnet hitching a ride on the open road.

A Sweeney shot hit a Barnet hand and a free kick was given to the Bumblers. And that was that: Town's two minute wonder was over. But Town wondered: can Gary Breen still head a football? Let's a have a 90-minute experiment shall we?

Gary Breen headed the ball. The ball was headed by Gary Breen.

Barnet punted; Furlong shunted Linwood and shovelled a shot into Old Nick's sphere of influence. Linwood remained on the floor clutching his head.

Headed the ball was, by Gary Breen.

Do Town tackle? Do Town mark? Bolasie soft-shoe-souffl├ęd between Wood and Linwood, who hung out a leg of ham. Ah, the butterflies and the diving Bolasie, who tumbled over the dry-cured lamb and was slaughtered by the hairs on Linwood's right leggy-leg-leg. O'Flynn whacked the penalty down the middle as Colgan sighed right. The Town fans have the right to sigh now: it's enshrined in law.

Bolasie flibbled and wibbled over Wood, shrugging and mugging for a free kick. You want it, you get it. Some bloke smacked a shot against the wall of straw men; it flew up, straight to Uncle Albert Adomah who volleyed towards the advertising boards. Bennett ducked, the ball spindled off his back and dropped against the bottom of the left post as Colgan watched and wailed. I'm sorry Albert Adomah, but the kettle's on the boil and we're so easily called away.

Gary Breen used his forehead to divert the inflatable object of his desire.

Bolasie shrugged the flailing Atkinson aside and Old Nick used his old body to oldly go where no Town boot had gone before. Bolasie and Adomah can run quickly; Town's defence can run to the hills even quicker. Help, help - the scaredy men are coming!

Ak-Ak flew and fell over inside the area then Linwood went off clutching his head. Leary came on and Bennett went back to centre-half. Barnet didn't have any more shots of any bothersomeness. Town were better, but Town's betterness is always relative to the bitterness of the fans. Let's call it an uneasy non-aggression pact between the parties.

And Breen - Gary, that is - placed his cranium upon panelled plastic.

The unbelievable truth is that just as half time arrived Town had a shot after passing the ball to each other. Leary slashed wide in a moment of almostness. You could almost, at that moment, think that Town were a team of professional footballers.

Why waste valuable pixels on describing bonkers bookings and missing by the officials. Everything is an irrelevance when Town concede a goal.

We can't attack, they can't defend, the ref can't ref, but the stewards were very nice and had lovely sympathetic smiles.

Second half: Cruising for a bruising
Neither team made any changes at half time.

Gary Breen headed the ball ad infinitum, ad nauseum, 'ad enough? Repeat the mantra GBHTB... GBHTB... GBHTB.

Town started the second half like the first, all whirring and stirring and raising false hope. Clarke crossed and Leary's kung fu fighting worried the natives. The ball rolled goalwards eight yards out; Proudlock stretched, Cole spread his legs and the ball sneaked over the bar off the keeper's thighs. Ak-Ak scissor-kicked the corner back and an orange boot smuggled the perceived danger away. They perceived the danger, not us.


On the hour The Original Straight Peter Bore (version 1.0) was replaced by North and Conlon (version 0.0) came on for Proudlock, who'd been slashed to the ground three times and was beginning to resemble the Black Knight. Ak-Ak moved to the right wing. GBHTB.

Handball, offside - an Orange goal disallowed. We're almost beyond caring. Atkinson brilliantly dived in front of no-one to send a header inches past Colgan's left post. We even fail to score comedy own goals now. Have we sunk that low? We're incapable of being laughable.

Yeah, yeah, halfway through the half they broke, Bolasie cut in from the left and smithered a surprising bazooka into the top right corner from a bazillion yards out. Huh. We've seen this before, do you think we're impressed by only being 3-0 up against Town?

Like we're bothered? Like it would make a difference? Like last Wednesday, Town started to play when they were three down. Bennett glanced a corner on and Leary headed over. A Clarke cross ricocheted off a defender straight to the keeper.


They had another shot, which was nice, and five minutes from the end one of their substitutes, Albert II, made Colgan save a shot.

We hadn't done a bloomin' thing all day.

As the fascinatingly intricate patterns of the concrete floor became the hot topic of displacement conversation, the Barnet fans squawked. Gillett, surely not the best that they could get, stood around holding his mouth, then theatrically tumbled as Beery Conlon did his bemused shrugging routine. Whatever didn't happen, it didn't matter: Beery's reputation precedes him. He really is the player he was when he played against us. It's amazing what a contract does to motivate.

There's no point in going on with this.

Just one more thing... Gary Breen headed the ball.

In the empty field of Barnet dreams you could hear the silence. No Town outfielders talked, or even glanced at each other; eleven men dressed in blue, connected by a common wage slip. How quickly they slump into self-pity. There is no collective will, there is no collective, just contractors waiting for the job to end. What our experience and history these last few benighted years have taught is this: directors and managers have never learned anything, or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it.

Sometimes you really must grumble, for there is no bright side of life, really. As a matter of fact it's all dark.