Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
6 August 2023
I know the weather's changed and so much is new, but something in our life remains the same.
Ah yes, we're back home, and strange fascinations fascinate me for changes are taking place. Isn't it grand! Isn't it fine! Look at the cut, the style, the line!
Meet the new roof, looks same as the old roof. At least we have a roof and that's the truth, that ain't no lie.
There's synergy and symmetry for us daydream believers as, when last we sat within these walls, we watched Wombledon on the eighth of the fifth and now, on the fifth of the eighth, we're here to watch Wombledon again. Everything changes yet nothing changes in the good Ship of Theseus.
Town lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation as follows: Eastwood, Mullarkey, Rodgers, Maher, Glennon, Hunt, Conteh, Clifton, Eisa, Vernam and our second-hand Rose. The substitutes were Cartwright, Efete, Waterfall, Green, Khouri, Gnahoua and Pyke.
Good to see in these austere times that Town are committed to recycling old assets: Ringo has inherited Orsi's hair, whilst Danny Rose II has assumed Daniloboy's teeth. The other new boys? Well, they're new, we shall see. Town do seem a little bit chunkier than before. It must be those shiny new weights they bought off the internet.
Wimbledon? They may be a replacement hair bear bunch but they just look the same. Big blokes that look big, with the Pell the Plonkerer, that pantomime villain, hiding on the bench. What's going to happen? Well, they're new, they and we shall see
New paint, hot water, lights, camera, action! We go again.
1st half – Comic capers
Town the next generation kicked off with a Hunt punt towards the Osmond. Rose arose above the nose of the curiously-shorted Lewis, who seemed to be wearing hot pants in the expectation of a balmy day by the sea. Round here you don't need a weather app to know which way the wind blows.
Hey Rose, look out kid, you're gonna get hit.
Up and at 'em, up and down, and a corner to Town. Bodies huddled afar but Hunt flattened back and beyond to the lurking Ringoteque, who sliced widely.
Up and down and up and at 'em in a game of shove ha'penny. There was smashing, there was movement, there were moments of almostness. A corner, a free kick, a chuckle-in and somewhere at sometime, deeply distant, vaguely persistent, Slim Charles swished feyly. And a flying bluebottle blocked a Rodgers rocket. Cor, mister, it sounds like something from The Beezer or The Topper. What next? Donovan Wilson and his educated insects? Ah, he's still injured, so we'll have to wait for that one.
Rose. He falls over.
Rose. He doesn’t get free kicks.
Rose. He's young, lighter Ryan Taylor.
They wallop, they welly, they rumble, we grumble. Chuck, chuck, chuck, chuck, chucking, lay a little egg for me. The flying ponytail bumped and barged, nicked and knocked as the Womblers probed the dark corners for a weakness. O-oh, Chango. A triplet of crosses dipped and whipped and fell above, behind and beyond the waddling Davison, a Wilko Andy Carroll, their bargain bin bigman. Our left was left bereft and Harvey's positioning awry. Get out the spanner, adjustments required.
A widdle, a waddle and Eisa wiffled wayly over after fiddling and faffing about on the right. A Glennon surge riffled straightly to Bass. Slim Charles whizzled a dribble that wasted time. Rose scraped wide after intecepting some Wombletarting about.
And, for a short period of time, we had a little bit of trouble with their midfield wedge, Little and barge, who fooled everyone by trying to play football. That's one way of saying Town kept getting goal kicks, which Eastwood clumped straight out of play, so they threw back up and lumped forward and passed out of play for a goal kick which Eastwood clumped straight out of…sorry, have you heard this one before?
Thems the breaks. That's them, having breaks and Town withering as moments were lost through inattentive toes. Blue corners, slithering through and past big heads. Johnson noddled, Eastwood star-jumped and rabbit-punched around the showponytail. Johnson noodled widely beyond the farthest post as a big dropper dripped.
Hark, the Dentists are cooing and clapping as KC caught a bluesman napping. Oh ye in the provincial towns, he'll soon jog round, they’ll just have to get used to the sight and sound of Kamil Conteh, Kamil Conteh, Kamil Conteh.
And here he is snapping passes with Eisa for some zippy-zapping tippy-tapping releasing Ringo down their right. Glennon's coil flew over Alfie Bass and grazed off Rose's crown as other Townites smudged around the dark side.
Tubby Tilley wiggled this way and that as he chased a channel chip into the penalty area on, of course, our left. Maher sidled across and shepherded silly Tilley into a sloppy slice within the six-yard box.
Is that it? Is it safe? Three minutes were added within which Eisa shot in off the far post well after the offside flag fluttered, fooling only the premature pie queuers. Now that is it, it is safe to seek sanctuary in a pie. Or two. You won't miss a thing.
We're not stale, we're not mates, but it was a stalemate.
2nd half – All about their Bass
Neither team made any changes at half time.
They had a cross, they had a header. It headed into their fans' zone. Nobody knows how near or how far. Nobody cares.
I tell you what we do care about. Day trippers, yeah. The daytripping began. Little Harry was legged up as he swerved and surged. Hunt flat-batted into the meat factory and Clifton curled the scruffled clearance safely but sexily wide. It was Harry. We oohed.
Eisa turned, Eisa was burned by blue meanies. The Wolds Panther was spotted scuttling in the undergrowth, chased by a pack of hounds. Town pressed high, Town pressed often, Town impressed with their pressing. I'm stressing the pressing for that's what we found impressing. Ah, now what they did without, that's a work in progress.
Corners, crosses, passes nearly here, often there. A Town corner, Wombles camped and Rodgers swept past a twinkling toe to slather from way, way out. The ball flew straight as an arrow towards the top right corner, but Bass's flying fish fingers fantastically, frustratingly, flipped aside. A corner, something. Actually, it was nothing, forget that moment, let's skip on.
No, we can't skip on. Legs were upped again and again, with official fingers wagged. Wimbledon content for Town to stick it in the mixer for their big heads to nod off.
Clifton surging again as Town triangulated. A deflection. A corner. A header. A blue head headed up and past their keeper and the post.
Just before the hour off trotted Davison the show pony, and on came the wiry and lively livewire Ali Al-Hamedi who immediately burstled through but had been immediately offside.
A Town corner, halfly cleared once, and halfly walloped again, deflecting off a rising Mariner's backside straight to their Omar in the centre circle. Clear your ears, wash out the wax, its Bugiel, not Bogle. Their homophone slipped a pass to a nifty twitcher and swiftly scuttling Al Hamadi was away. A shimmy, a zoom and after a little persuasion from Little Harry the impressive Iraqi inspected the new pitch. The referee pointed spotsward and flashed the yellow card. Jumping Jake waited, Al Hamadi shuffled and stuttered, rolling lowly left, Eastwood almost dived beyond the woeful wiffle, patting back but raising his leg to block the rebound.
Well done Jake the Peg, for doing your homework. And you didn't even need an extra leg.
From now on, it's all about the Bass.
There were times, not many, but there were times, when Townites slipped free of the greasy Blue grapples, or leapt over the leg-up. A slinky swish and a sultry sway as Eisa coiled low around and through a thicket of blue. Bass was unsighted but unflappably calm, sinking low and right to finger-flip onto the post. A corner. Whatever. Whatever did you expect from a corner in this game?
This Town do know quite a bit about geometry, and trigonometry. They also know what a slide-rule pass is for. Toby tickled to a centrally unmolested Conteh. The London Leone slipped a sneaky slitherer through the eye of many needles, the ball smithering towards the bottom left corner. Bass lay low and left it late to plunge and paw aside.
And that's just about that. The game descended into a messy mudwrestle as Wombleton threw on Pell and Town immediately brought on Green for Hunt. Pell was neutralised as all they did was wallop high to their Harry. Gnahoua replaced Vernam to no effect whatsoever and Conteh was booked for nothing more or less than the despicable blue meanies did every second.
Oh, and Tilley shot wide, they say.
Nine minutes added. Pyke replaced Harry. Pyke did not look like a man ready for his close up. Wimbledon had some throw-ins. So did Town.
Nine minutes became twelve and it all ended with a couple of Town free kicks going nowhere but big blue heads.
Their keeper made three flipping saves, and our keeper read the book. All this adds up to is nothing but an illustration of how strong the bog standard is in this division. You can't stand still otherwise you go backwards.
It was a clash of civilisations and of different decades, where our modern grooves met their ancient relicball of big blokes barging about. It could have been worse, but it shouldn't have been worse. It wasn't. It was what it was, two perfectly adequate teams that won't be haunted by the ghostworld of the Banarama, but can't get excited by the promise a day trip to Cheltenham.