Cod Almighty | Match Report
by Tony Butcher
29 October 2023
Words, words. They're all we have to go on.
We're here in our multitudes but why? To see the car crash, the bodies buried, or the resurrection? How long is the string of Damocles dangling over Hurst's head? The dam wall will not hold forever. With a little luck this whole darn thing will work out.
Town lined up in the 4-1-3-2 formation as follows: Cartwright, Efete, Rodgers, Maher, Amos, Conteh, Holohan, Clifton, Eisa, Wilson, Rose. The substitutes were Eastwood, Mullarkey, Waterfall, Green, Andrews, Gnahoua and Pyke. One false move and we could have a farce on our hands.
The soulless bowl stands as a warning that for every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. If you build it they won't come. And if they do they'll only moan about the price of fish fingers.
Here we go, we're back in a familiar place and familiar head space: the life of a Town fan is a gamble, at terrible odds. If it were a bet you wouldn't take it.
Shall we just get on with it? It's going to happen anyway.
1st half – The hard problem
Doncaster kicked off away from 2,474 travelling Townites as the sun broke out above the far stands. We're blinded by the light! Moments, movement, bits and pieces, just bits and pieces.
A twist, a turn, a cross, an ooh, ah just a little bit more Town. You know what we're looking for. Lower, not higher! Big Don didn't play his cards right, for elevation's what you need if you want to be a record breaker. Wilson's dance of the seven veils just left Donny chucking in afar.
A turn, a twist, a cross, a miss. Holohan triangulated with Rose and arose above Little Harry to steer high and wide from nearby.
A twisting turn and Clifton's cross drifted…drifted…drifted…drifted just over heads, just past the farthest post. Rose at the near post, Rose at the far post. Rose in the middle. Roses don't bloom in the Donny darkness.
In all this confusion is it just an illusion?
Donneymen. No sight nor sound but then in a bound they were free around the aimlessly amiss Amos. A corner shortened and Close was not close whilst I see Faal free falling, like a tree falling, as the clouds were crawling over the stands and into our heads. Where there's thyme there's rhyme.
At a point in time that will have a number, but as we were numbed by the hum-drum inaction we cannot pinpoint this point in time, Molyneux went down and went off after planets collided in a galaxy far, far away. Momentum not so much shifted as ended.
Two bald men fought over a comb. Shapeful stripes, hopeless hoops…sometimes less is less and Danny Boy made a mess. Nixon whitewashed Amos and nutted his megs along the bye-line. Many hoops waited, Ironside causally leaned back and wafted over the bar. His pie in the sky turned out to be miles too high.
Conteh gently sweeping and Eisa gently leaping, but Wilson gently wilting and the game gently tilting. You'd think that with every mistake we'd surely be learning.
Drosscaster crosses and corners big headed away. Flimsy fruit flies and fluttering butterflies crushed on the wheels of industry. A home huckster huffled and shuffled between thighs plunging over imaginary lunging. A free kick in the D and ostentious performance art by the local am-dram society. What have they got? A mime show from a barber shop quartet wellied into the wall, squirtling widely, the rebound rammed back through a thicket of white bootery. Block by socks or perhaps even Cart-Wright. That'd give him an enormous sense of wellbeing, to actually touch the ball in an actual adult League game of professional football. He'll remember his first time though, in retrospect, he may not remember a worse time.
Oi, it's not just about the joggers who go round and round and round. Wilson spin flicked and cutely dissected the hot dogs and jumping frogs. Holohan gambolled through the countryside, the wind in his hair, the grey clouds on his back, and crackled lowly. Young Jones the Flick swayed to his left and slickly slapped aside.
Seconds became minutes, become hours, became days, became years and what becomes of the broken hearted? This dream is driving me insane. Fill in the gaps yourself for this ten minutes of human life. It was either football as we now know it or we got abducted by aliens. The probing from both sides was very painful indeed.
Four minutes were added. That's all you need to know for there is no more to know. Their keeper made a save, Cart-Wright just watched the wheels go round and round and everyone in between was intimidated by the pigeons.
Confidence is the preference for the habitual Town fan. But what were we confident in? Another miserable drive home?
2nd half – An unsuitable ending
Neither team made any changes at half time.
We had the ball, they had the ball. They went far, we came near. Shuffling and scuffling, on the pitch and in the stands. There's naught but incursions and diversions of little interest to historians.
Hit and hope, hope something hits! Michee meandered, Rose toe-ended at the near post. Cart-Wright caught a corner. It's something to do. Nothing to say, but it's okay, nothing has changed, it's still the same.
Holohan surged past Efete and through some Yorkshire puddings, hitting the bye-line and passing to the near post. Rose's tickling back-flick sauntered across the keeper, smooched the inside of the far post and rolled gently back along the line. Jones picked up, the linesmen held up his flag and we all sat down again.
We've had our excitement for the day.
Ironside grazed widely wide.
Have they had their excitement for the day?
Men fall over, men stood up, flags fluttered but which way is our bread buttered. Efete was penalised for the egregious heading of a hooped boot and Donnycaster brought on their own Hurst.
Nothing, nowhere, fiddling and faffing about. Slow-cooked triangulations saw hoops advancing down their left. Hurst hurtled past Holohan as Close cheekily rolled a pass behind old Gav. Bodies barely collided, the fickle finger pointed towards the penalty spot and the away stands prepared for a tsunami of bile from the ficklest of fans. Fickle? They'd been singing their hearts out 30 seconds before as Town almost attacked.
Ironside clattered mid-height and right just past Cart-Wright's outstretched hands.
A trickle of vile bile began, momentum building by the minute as passes strayed and more and more bayed for blood. We need a sacrifice to the gods of football fortune.
Rose fell, Clifton fell, Rodgers fell, everyone fell in their penalty area but the referee failed to fall for our charms. I guess we ain't lucky.
Time wasted, wasting time.
Holes, space, a lack of pace, can we save face? Their Hurst swingled and swayed and was deflected into the side netting. Faaaaaaal failed fantastically from four yards as the corner coiled. Them. Breaks and thems the breaks. And then it happened. After 89 minutes 27 seconds Donny had their first shot on target. Close clattered and Cart-Wright finger-clipped onto the crossbar. That's it, they've had their excitement for the day.
Wheels have been set in motion, and they have their own pace, to which we are condemned. Each move is dictated by the previous one - that is the meaning of order. If we start being arbitrary it'll just be a shambles: at least, let us hope so. A Chinese philosopher dreamed he was a butterfly, and from that moment he was never quite sure that he was not a butterfly dreaming it was a Chinese philosopher. Pyke replaced Amos.
Five minutes were added. We stared at the sky and realised that there must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said – "No, I'm not going to Donny". But somehow we missed it.
There is it is. The end. And so the Second Age of St Paul ended with a whimper.
A nothing game in which nothing much happened. Then they fell over, and that was that. How many times can one spin a coin and it always ends up with heads in hands.
Who amongst us still believe in the stories of fame, fortune and glory? The silent ones, silently slinking out and home.
What are we, who are we? We are who we are, where we are. We're more of the love, blood, and rhetoric school. We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.
So, are we happy now? Are you content, at ease? What are we going to do now?
What are we going to do now?
What are we going to do now?