Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

25 September 2013

It's a hazy, crazy night in Fenty's Madhouse with 17 cockernee marshmen and the rag-tag remnants of the remaindered residue of faithful and faithless. A listless substitute walloped wildly in the warm-up. The ball clattered up from the bazillion empty Pontoon seats and b-b-b-b-b-b-bumbled up to be-doing between roof and girder, resting gracefully upon the ironworks far, far above the madding crowd. It's a crazy night of spooky strangeness: we're in the Twilight Zone.

Town'll be playing with two centre-forwards next in this parallel universe.

We're through the looking glass here, people. Town lined up in squashed rhombus 4-4-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Bignot, Pearson, Doig, Goodall, Jones the Beardless, Kerr, McLaughlin, Neilson, John-Lewis, Hannah. The substitutes were McDonald, Thomas, Disley, Cook and Hearn. The midfield contained four gentlemen in a wiggly line of four, that being three midfielders and one other, between two actual factual strikers and the defence. Crazy, crazy, craziness. Crazee, over the rainbow Hurst is craze. They must have taken his marbles away.

First half: 4-4-2

It started with a miss in the back row of the Osmond.

Hannah flitting, Hannah fluttering, Neilson bundling. Momentous moments of momentary Marinerdom. Town doubled their seasonal shots within ten minutes. Something's happening here: what it is, is abundantly clear. You'd better stop and look all around: football is coming home.

Ah, Bognit, reliably unreliable and atrociously awful. Kerr's fingers wagged twicely within the first quarter of an hour as Dartford darted and dipped their toes in the stagnant pool of Townivity.

The Shopper shot, Hannah swiped, Goodall cripes! The Shopper lifted and lofted, the Shopper nodded and missed, nodded and grazed. I just don't understand what's going off out there.

A pass conkered Bignot, who lost his mind and ball bearings. Harris scuttled and swept under McKeown. Pffft, typical. It had been all so lovely too.

A dive, a Dartyboy free-kick half way to paradise. Town sunk, the ball stuck in the middle with boos waiting. A blueboy volleyed, McKeown spectacularly clutched and booted downfield. Jones's beardless toes twinkled, Hannah harried on and McLaughlin magnificently screamed into the top left corner. It was going straight it was, straight as an arrow.

So long ago, was it all a dream. Am I still dreaming? Passing, moving, grooving and touch-pad teasing. A shot, another shot, a cross, another cross. Legs move and I can see what they're playing. It's football, but not as we've known it. It's the way life used to be.

McLaughlin clipped and caressed sumptuous corners, dripping and dropping over and under the lime lump, but always nearest Lennie the lionhearted: Town's goal avoidance scheme.

On and on and on and on and on swept the Town tsunami, a swirl of whirls, a dancing, prancing thoroughbred in a donkey derby

Passing and moving, jinking, linking and winking, the Happier Shopper wafted well over, walloped wide, skimped wider, swished high. McLaughlin drizzled, Pearson bonkered down and Dartford were out for the count. Count them all out, and count them all in straight in.

On and on and on and on and on swept the Town tsunami, a swirl of whirls, a dancing, prancing thoroughbred in a donkey derby. Do mine eyes deceive me? Town cornered the corner market. Just one corneretto, give it to me. Neilson sagely nodded, John-Lewis arose and flicked loopily on. High, high, high the ball arced. The inhabitants of planet Earth stood open-mouthed as the netting bustled and rustled.

More, yet more of everything you ever wished for. Monochrome madness! A miasma of magical muffins. Words, in any order, they'll do. Just let it all hang out. It's cool to be a Mariner. More happened, so wonderful we were dancing with tears in our disbelieving eyes.

Thirteen shots! The question hangs, the answer lands: 4-4-2.

Second half: 4-4-2

And then this new Town became an uberTown with knobs on. Things couldn't get netter. Things can always get better.

Sublime beauty, tremendous tousles and tussles, one-touch magnificence, back-heels and backflips. Kerr steered, a blueboy smeared off the line after the old one-two at a quickly quacked corner. A shot, a chance, a cross, a boiling festering pustule of non-passing lanced. Have I died and gone to Town heaven?

Idiocy made flesh and wearing black.

Kerr snicked the ball away as a blunt Dart fell off the board. 'Tis a pity he's a bore – the black-clad poltroon peeped ridiculously. Noble cheekily coiled into the left of the goal as McKeown adjusted his Lego of the right. Oral displeasure resounded and rebounded off the unfilled plastic.

Narked and gnarled, Town's knickers were in a twist. Stick or twist? Hey! It's the Pontoon you're attacking. Hanging on, moments of almostness in the wide blue yonder. No Townite animals were injured in the making of this home movie.

Jones the Smooth hobbled off; Disley shuffled on to be the fourth man, wide right, and it was widely assumed to be just right that he was back. Hannah off, Hearn on. Hearn really turned on the locals and in the right way, not a Shouty way. Shouty? Who? That was the dim and distant past. Onward to the new golden horizon, the sunny uplands of style and guile.

Neilson was utterly unplayable. He was Town's missing link

Twisty tremendousness and saves, saves, saves from big Julian. The lime limbo dancer tipped a Kerr dipper aside. A corner. As Dartford dozed Neilson bedazzled with McLaughlin, and Kerr amiably steered lowly through an invisible gap as legs flapped.

At some point Neilson was replaced by Thomas. Neilson was utterly unplayable. He was Town's missing link.

Hearn hearned in that old razzle-dazzle dainty powerhouse manner, twizzling through non-existent gaps and thwackling happily. Saved and saved again, oodles of noodles. Thomas twisted and crossed, Hearn gently steered at the near post, the ball rebounding off the far post to Disley alone in front of the Pontoon.

O Captain, our Captain. Welcome back. Oh football, oh football, welcome home.