The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

Nothing in his life became him like the leaving of it

26 May 2016

Let us today praise footballers who seized the moment.

Such was Craig Clay's eclipse by Jon Nolan that he might have departed with our last memory of him being the stray pass with which he set Macclesfield on the way to victory. But he came to shine again in a three-man midfield, revelling in the space Braintree offered him, making sure they had to scurry about and expend energy. He may no longer have been on the pitch when Town equalised and went on to win, but he still earned an assist.

One of the beneficiaries was Marcus Marshall. He started a rather absent-minded run in the general direction of the bye-line, blinked in surprise as he cut through the challenges, and crossed. It may not be strictly true, but Middle-Aged Diary will go to my grave remembering it as being that moment that led to the corner from which Josh Gowling won a penalty. Years from now, say "Marcus Marshall" and that is what will come to mind.

In the play-off final, everything about Town was impressive. Two things in particular. One was the way the entire team (and the entire crowd) pulled itself together and restored order after the shaky period that led to the Forest Green goal. That took calm heads. Even 10 days later, I feel slightly sick at the thought of how it might be now, had it not been so.

The other was the performance of our two full-backs. Richard Tait we hope will add to our memories of him. Gregor Robertson again reminded us why he had an immediate and positive impact when he came to Blundell Park. A calm head among calm heads, he was everything that Aswad Thomas wasn't: a footballer who understood his game and the team's game.

Clay, Marshall and Robertson, to name just three. None of them will get the adulation of a Pádraig Amond, an Omar Bogle or a Jon Nolan. We may or may not miss them. But we are certainly sad to see them go.