A question of retribution

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

10 December 2017

Town 1 Forest Green 0

A briskly still day of stone-cold feet and stone-cold silence in the Unification Church of the Poisoned Fan Forum, with hundreds of Foresters foraging in the Osmond. That can't be right, Nailsworth's not that big. Ah, it's the Telegraph freeloaders. I spy, with my little eye, 38 Forest Greeners beginning with the Milk Tray Man on the fourth row. Now what colour was his Capri?

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Mills, Clarke, Collins, Davies, Dembele, Rose, Summerfield, DJ Jinky, Matt and Jones. The substitutes were Killip, Dixon, K Osborne, Woolford, Cardwell, Hooper and Vernon. There you are: the new normal. With Bignot's boys banished to the backside of the Bananarama and a couple of strategic sick-notes, there ain't no-one left in the building. What you see is what you're gonna get. Like it or lump it, which may well be Sladian Town's attitude towards a football.

What do we see? We see the sea and Dembele's seasonal hair - a sprinkling of Christmas cake crumbles giving him a light ginger topping. Oh dear, a little starshine has literally gone to his head.

And what of the pests from the past, the former foes we thought we'd flushed down the Wembley loos? Keananunu Marsh-Brown is nowhere to be seen, so we're safe and sound.

Nothing can go wrong now.

1st Half – Out of time

The hapless hoops scooped off towards the Pontoon without dynamism or direction. They had the ball, then they didn't have the ball. That is all you need to know. We shall speak just once more of these arrivistes.

McKeown wellied and Matt grazed on for Jones to gambol gaily in the shadow of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand. A deep dink and Dembele's slippy-swipe was deflected from its righteous path by green boots. A corner? Yes, you've guessed correctly, reward yourself with that Mint Imperial you found in the left pocket of your winter jacket. A corner followed and flowed from Summerfield's boot to Collins' far distant head, bonked back, headed out and Demeble fwizzled a thwickler over the angle of right post and right bar. The angle of left post and right bar would be a Christmas conundrum wouldn't it.

And now, their moment has arrived, after a mere three hundred seconds of mirth. Mills was mushed and Doidge cleared before the near post as Clarke watched. That's it, we won't see them again before the hour of four. They are a bag to be punched, a wall to kick against.

Town ambled around, bouncing off the soft sponge, doing sommersets on solid ground. A splendid time was guaranteed for all. And of course, DJ's horsepower let him waltz down the left, through three twiglets. The cross was interrupted by an accidental green head, Jones glided across the turf to swish and sway and swank over the angle of right post and right bar. The angle of right post and left bar would be a repeat of the last bit of space filling idle thoughtage. Is this wasting your time? Now you know how Carl Boyeson felt. The man flipped his lid at the procession of blatant dithering at every stoppage. He warned them once, he warned them twice, three times and you're booked, laddie.

Ah yes, that man Jones again, zipping a zapper lowly from afar, deflected inchlets wide of the right post. I just know something good is going to happen. I just don't know when.

Timewasting, they're timewasting, daddy.

I've seen a cactus eat a sheep quicker than their Collins takes a goal kick.

It's a training game, attack against non-defence. A cross in, a clearance out and Summerfield body-snapped in front of static green. Jones swiveled and slapped just highly and just widely. Ooh-ah just a little bit, ooh-ah a little bit more and we'll find what we're looking for.

Zakattack! Mills jazz-funked his way through one-two-three oh dearies to bedraggle softly-softly wide. ITMA: Jones disrobed a slovenly slimester, shazzamming and slamming through the hedgerows as the blueman in goal plunged lowly and rightly to pluckily pluck up. One lump or two? One'll do. Jones chased on a hoik and their Collins flew out to smother for a corner. Our Collins biffed the flat earther from Summerfield and a big green head be-donked away from near the line for ten seconds of safety. Davies cleverly caressed, Dembele wiggled a one-two with Rose and Summerfield coiled from afar. Collins flew high and left to spectacularly parry aside. In came the corner, Jones's cushion plop was headed away from nearish the line and into the Dentists Stand.

Enough of this nonsense. Out came a yellow card for an untaken throw. The worm had turned.

Shall we just fast forward a couple of minutes and get to the good bit. A long, long wallop and head flip-ons from Jones and Matt. The ball gently looping and blooping towards blueman's goal. The inferior Collins stayed on his line and there was panic in the sheeps of Nailsworth. Fitzwater hung our DJ. Boyeson pointed spotwards, pulled out his yellow card and then the red one. Oh what a delicious reward for their timewasting tactics.

As the naughty boy walked off, slowly, in a corner of a foreign field another Fruityboy sat down, holding his forehead demanding smelling salts. And we waited and waited and waited as Jones waited and waited and waited. We’re waiting.

We’re still waiting…

Right, finally, we can get on with the show. Jones strolled up and placed the penalty where he places every penalty, except the one he didn't and missed. Collins sighed left and pushed the ball back into the middle. ROSE shoved his way past Jones and clappered into the empty net.

And? Nothing happened again. Town stopped and never restarted. Two minutes were added when it should have been five, but that just meant more time was not wasted watching nothing happen.

You know, McKeown hadn't touched the ball.

Town had pruned a slow-growing hedge. Well, it's what you do before winter sets in.

2nd Half – How to lose fans and disinterest people

Neither team made any changes at half time.

Town kicked straight out of play, and that was that. Summerfield collapsed into the shadows, becoming his former self: an error-prone withering ditherer. Jones ran out of puff, Dembele and DJ were sisters doing it for themselves. Town were outmanoeuvred, outmanned and an outrageous omnishambles of offal.

Forest Green triangulated through the void, somehow outnumbering Town wherever they roamed. A shot, a block, and a corner boomed. Doidge arose at the far post and grazed down. DJ thighed away from the post and Rose's big boots blasted off the line.

That's it really. Jamie Mack caught a cross and many hours later punched a cross while everyone inside Blundell Park was getting cross at supine shuffling and snuffling.

Town were unable to cope with numerical superiority.

There were moments. Matt drivelled into the penalty area and weaked a left foot pass to the keeper. DJ wiggled and waggled and sliced a shot for a throw-in. Summerfield charged down a cleared corner, exchanged passes with Dembele and ran through alone from the half way line. He rounded the keeper and… and… turned around to use his right foot, befuggling pathetically into the side netting.

Summerfield smothered a greenite and plunged to earth. The free kick drifted into the centre of the penalty area, their Collins wandered lonely as a clown and Jones grazed against the inside of the far left post.

A mess in the middle and Summerfield booked. Dembele was booked for overacting when playing pass the parcel. Did anyone notice Woolford replace DJ? Did Woolford notice he'd replaced DJ?

Space, time, do what you want Forest Green. They did. Shots and corners. Town pulled everyone back for every corner with not a stripe beyond the penalty area. Oh how we chuckled and chortled.

Hooper replaced Rose. I can see your furrows browing. The theoretical answer to your unspoken question is that Woolford then played in centre midfield. There is no physical evidence, your honour. I am asking the jury to accept that, on the balance of probabilities and logical inference from the circumstantial evidence, it is the only place he could have been in Lincolnshire between 16:30 and 16:50 on Saturday, 9 December 2017. Just don't ask about motivation for the grime.

Hooper did well, you know. Now he had motivation. He got stuck in. The Hooperman disrobed a festering Forester to set up a quick-witted slick pass-fest from left to right. Dembele semi-dribbled and Jones glided into the area past two laying lambs and smackered against the last lamb's leg, the ball scoopy-loopying over Collins and over the bar.

Them and their passing thing, busy going nowhere. Town standing in a huddle, inviting derision with their imprecision.

Dembele lowly curled after some knickering and flickering, being deflected around the post for another forgotten corner. Vernon replaced Matt in the last normal minute and four minutes were added, being just enough time for Jones to waffly waft wide and high again. He finished as he started, and startled with his finishing.

Don't worry, it’s finished now. You can go home and do something worthwhile, like stare at the curtains. Town were perfectly fine and pleasant to watch until the moment they scored, then we returned to the Sladian sludge.

Town failed to avoid victory with an utterly wretched and brainless second half. They didn't look fit.