Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
25 October 2023
We came with hope in our hearts. It's all we have left.
Town lined up in a 5-3-2 formation as follows: Eastwood, Mullarkey, Efete, Rodgers, Maher, Amos, Eisa, Conteh, Holohan, Wilson and Rose. The substitutes were Cart-Wright, Waterfall, Green, Khan, Andrews, Gnahoua and Pyke. Five defenders? Ambassador, you spoil us. Alex Hunt becomes a better player each day that passes, doesn't he? But, hey, Green's back(ish).
Blimey, there's people here. Why?
1st half – The hollow men
The yellowmen kicked off towards the Pontoon. I see movement. I see footsteps slowly walking as they gently move towards an open door. Conteh shut that door. Ooh look at the muck in 'ere.
Mumbling, fumbling, hacks and whacks and Gordon Greenidge swept a googly down to the deep long leg. Benny Goodman, minding his own business down on the boundary edge, was awoken from his slumbers and saw the ball heading his way. It bounced, he leapt and glanced a perfect header, arcing loopily towards the bottom left corner. Mr Purple hurtled backwards, slashing and smashing himself and the ball into the net.
A comedic gift, a comedy giff, will the giffs keep on coming?
Chortling, chuckling, oh John Selwyn Gummer, Town are buckling. Triangulation deep in the heart of Dixie. Read alone in the centre of the half, strolled and rolled a perfect pass in a perfect parabola between Maher and Rodgers. Taylor shimmered and slapped lowly across the plunging Town Tangerine.
They've got Fevrier all through the night. Sizzle! Amos turned and burned by the Collywobbling wild cat. Oof, power. Oof, pace. Someone 'oof 'im into the stands. I suppose you have to get near him to kick him.
Yellow fancypanting, Town's tourniquet tightened. Conteh swept, Holohan slapped, Goodman slipped out a hand and flipped onto the post.
And then there were none…
Michee madness amidst the sadness and Read bedraggled widely. Ripping on the right, and Maher stepped across the near post. Where there's holes there's goals.
Holohan hurt, who's putting on a shirt? Holohan arose, hobbling horribly. Town denuded and destroyed as Fevrier shapeshifted through a mass of monochromers. Maher blocked. A corner coiled gently into the nearest post, no yellows observed. Four Townites blocked tourists and left it to Eastwood. He arose alone, arms up, arms akimbo, suddenly sighing and shrugging in mid-air. The ball plopped off the surprised and embarrassed Mitchell and died across the line as we all died a little inside.
Holohan was immediately replaced by Andrews.
What more can I say? There was a handball in their penalty area at some point. What's the point of telling you this? Well, it does take us to half time. Jeez. We really needed a break from this spiralling turgidosity. Belief in the team, the crowd, draining away quicker than my bathtub.
Six minutes were added.
Be it Fahrenheit or Centigrade they've got Fevrier. Running again, Town running scared and Cooper slapped straight at Eastwood's head. Jake just hadn't enough time to get out of the way.
We can't go on like this. I can't lie to you about our chances without change.
2nd half – The deflected gory
Change! Green replaced Mullarkey at half time and, at last, Town reverted to the golden triangles of a comforting 4-4-2 formation. Ah, these slippers are so relaxing.
Hey, listen lads, we can still do this!
Through the dark we sense the pounding of Town hearts. Double-triple-quadruple intensification with Town hunting high and low. The crowd aroused, let there be noise. In and out, near and far, back and forth and finally Amos dripped deeply. Rose arose and bethwonked back across Benny Goodman. As the ball was on the cusp of passing, the purple people displeaser flipped out a finger and clawed past the right post.
And we're back again, incessantly prodding and poking at the yellow carcass. Was it Conteh? Was it Amos? Was it Eisa? Does it matter? Another dripper, Wilson nodded, the ball bumpled back across past the right post. C'mon, one more heave!
A chuck-in beneath the Frozen Horsebeer Stand. Eisa dummied and dribbled into Fevrier who accidentally Cruyffed to Conteh. You know it's easy for Kamil to dance through the eye of a needle. He wiggled and waggled and espied a far off stripe lurking. A cute lateral roller drifted across the penalty spot, and Wilson beyond swiped into the bottom left corner.
Now we're talking, now we're singing and dancing through the pain. What a glorious feeling we're h-h-happy again. We're rocking and rolling, we're back, now this is our time.
Left, right, right and left, Town picking at the stitches with Green and Conteh smothering yellows. Green diagonally dinked with consternation in the yellow nation. Andrews flashed against shins, Rose carefully, cutely curled across and away from Goodman. Here it comes. Here comes the nice warm feeling of a winning goal. As the ball was on the cusp of passing, the purple people displeaser flipped out a finger and clawed past the right post and against Eisa. The ball simply yawned off the disheartened dasher and dribbled a foot wide.
There's only one team in this game of squash. The Collwobblers hadn't got past the half way line, just camped out in their own area throwing themselves in front of sticks and stones.
And then it happened, that fickle finger of fate came and broke our pretty balloon.
Fevrier surge and Efete stopped magnificently. Green swept to Andrews on the halfway line. Tiptoeing timidly, the lonely loanee was mugged and off marched Read. The defence retreated to the edge of the area and, oh no, not now Arthur, not this! A whacker slapped off Maher's calves and the ball skipped and spun slowly around the befuddled Eastwood and into the bottom left corner.
And that broke the camel's back, if not Kamil's metaphorical back. Did anyone still believe in magic?
And then you find ten minutes have got behind you, no-one saw Taylor make a run, but Tovide added to the fun with a marvellous steer into Chapmans Pond from but six, perhaps seven, of our non-European yards out.
Another handball? Yeah, whatever. A chip, a chase and Eisa pulled back as he lurched towards the penalty area. Wilson bedraggled when Rose waited, Amos wasted when everyone waited. Eisa waltzed and wellied straight at Benny Goodman. Dinks were dinked, hoofs were hoofed and flicks were flicked all for naught but half a page of scribbled lines.
Doig was booked for the heinous crime of kicking the ball back as Collywobblers feigned blindness.
Ooh, another Eisa shot. And another. There is a yellow wall, it is quite tall, and no matter what the ball will not fall to anyone but Hall, their centre-back.
Only four minutes were added for those arthritic throws-ins and goal kicks and all those lost balls. Balls. In oh so many ways we were lost in the haze.
As the clock ticked on towards doomsday Eisa wiggled and wafted from the left. Efete sneaked beyond the last yellowman standing and, dead centre five yards out, knock-kneed away. It was harder to clear it, but our Michee can make the impossible possible if he puts his mind to it.
That's it, go home. For those of a sensitive nature put you ear muffs on. The discourse was quite coarse, of course. We're not in a happy place. Is it ever?
Taken in isolation this was a game with more entertainment than usual, with more striped attacking intent and intensity – in the second half. What decided this game? A mistake, a deflection and a bunch of near misses. You could even convince yourself Town were just unlucky. But you know the thing, the one thing between the teams? Their keeper made saves. Ours didn't.
Hold still. Hold still. Nobody move. We're balancing right on the edge. We're about to tip. Don't no one get out the door neither. Otherwise we'll all go.
Hang on a minute, lads. I've got a great idea. Err…errr…errr.