Strange days

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

28 September 2022

Ah, feeling swindled by Swindon, where the team was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep-lying centre-forward? Perhaps we'll play with more grace on Tuesday and the gloom shall be lifted. Let there be light! And the floodlights were switched on. Oh hello down there you plucky Cumbrians, all 144 of you.

Ooh it's a bit nippy now that winter's coming.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall, Maher, Amos, Maguire-Drew, Clifton, Hunt, Khan, Taylor and Simmonds. The substitutes were Smith, Glennon, Green, Kiernan, Holohan, Orsi and Richardson. After the Swindon farrago we all know there's gonna have to be some different men. Wahey, in come the babies, out goes the bathwater. Ch-ch-changes! Wingers! Young people! And Gnarly Maher.

Carlisle. Yes, Carlisle. They're here. On with the show!

1st half – As sure as eggs is eggs 
The burgundy brigands kicked off towards the Pontoon focusing immediately upon the area between and around Efete's ears, looking for hidden doors and tiny flaws. Stretton strode away from the meandering Michee and Crocombe flumbled upon the fizzer.

Hey, Michee, don't ignore the warnings from their winging wizardry. The question from all that – is he learning?

Passing, movement, passing and movement. Mmm, nice. Holy mackerel, a shot! Jogging Jordan jinked and the ball sailed high, sailed on by, your time has come to shine. Zipping, zapping, Hunt's slapshot snapping straight to the fluorescent flinger as thunderbolts and lightning greeted this fleeting moment of fleet-footed wizardry.

Like it or not, we'll have to like what we've got and impatience makes Michee feel reckless and careless in his head.

On the halfway line, within earshot of the Formerly Frozen Horsebeer Stand, a simple tap down the line. Efete dithered, Efete dived and Stretton rock'n'rolled. With Michee left digging for worms off Wonderland, off raced the wormturner, schmoozing infield to the marching Moxon, who walloped lowly through Clifton's stretching legs and into the bottom corner.

I cannot tell you how much we appreciated the beauty of the strike, the perfection of the parabola as it shimmered through Little Harry's legs and around Mad Max's flickering fingers.

Kabaddi on acid, the air turning acrid. They fizz, we whizz. Tick-tick-tick. Simmonds, heading into the twilight, spreading his wings tonight, bundled to the bye-line and passed vaguely into the danger zone. Amos was near, possibly far, as a big block of cheese appeared. Tic-tac-toe, pick up the pieces, we're frying tonight! Hunt carooned carefully past the left post.

Here we go again. JMD fell over a burgundy boot in the D and all awaited the pastel to peep. We're waiting for a peep that never comes. Stretton ran, ran and ran again, hoovering up the right, pursued by Hunt. Crocombe saved his nose with a parry-punch aside.

Looking from my angle I see bemusing triangles. Khan, Hunt and Maguire-Drew decided to get away and have some fun. Khan swerved and swayed through the wine stains and watched aghast as a low skimmer air-kissed the face of the farthest post. Simmonds charged down His Holyness the pope of pratfalls and Maguire-Drew's spin lob volley shankled up and back to the retreating flapper.

Nice, ooh, nice. Ooh, that's nice. And that's nice as well. Nice. Very nice, we're very nice indeed. Lovely. Ooh look someone's waving. Handball! Is that the punchline to a joke? A rare sip of burgundy deflated.

Spritely passing, nimble nudging, turbo-triangulation and Clifton clattered over. Khan free-kicked a whipper dipper from way-way out straight to the Holy man.

Out in the garden, the moon seems very bright. Six saintly shrouded men moved across the pitch slowly as half-time approached. Well, someone has to start the queue for the burgers. What a drag, the frog was a prince, the prince was a brick, the brick was an egg, the egg was a bird! A ricobound rebocheted upfield. Efete, unmolested, alone in his world, casually understroked a back-pass into the void. Dennis emerged from behind his toadstool, rounded Crocombe, passed in and headed to the Pontoon to lap up the latent loathing for his year of living diffidently down our way.

With his head buried, Efete's teammates took it in turns to smother him in love.

Two minutes were added. Enough for the pickles to percolate.

So we'll end with the whistle and end with a bang. The balloon has popped.

2nd half – Khan do culture
Neither team made any changes at half time.

Nibbles, nobbles, occasional hobbles as Carlisle started to cramp. Yeah, what a load of cramp. Timewasting, time wasted. We're wasted with wafting and lofting, chips and chases into the netherness. Khan sliced his carrots, swinging from afar, swinging farly over with a wobbler. What else? A corner and Waterfall noodled safely, slowly wide.

The change it had to come, we knew it all along and on the hour a double subbing. Taylor and Simmonds off and on came Orsi and Richardson, for they are young and kept their teeth nice and clean whilst awaiting the call of Hurst nature.

As the sound of motorcars fades in the night time I swear I saw the pace change. Vim and verve with va-va-voom from the new brooms. Chasing, chivvying, hassling and harrying. Yes, Harry be harrying, the Holy man slapsticked and Orsi's high-ball spinning won a corner. Elevation! Maguire-Drew elevated. The ball sailed beyond the sea, but Khan's chase'n'cha-cha-cha befuddled the Burgundy socksters. Otis feigned a lift, but saw a vacancy dead centre and cutefully caressed a cross into the corridor of uncertainty. The ball hit the man of the hour and Efete looked aghast at scoring an own goal. No, no Michee, that's the right goal! He looked happier.

Listen lads we could still do this.

We've got some in, we've got some out, we've got some wild things floating about. Richardson's glistening gliding was foiled by fouling. Orsi's Fonzi turn was ended by a trip to the turf. A free kick hit the wall, a free kick was headed away. A corner headed, a corner headed, heading, heading, heading, kneeing and knocking Town foundering on Huntingdon and Mellish, the old town walls of Carlisle. Underhit, overhit, pressure, nothing. Richardson's crazy, mazy dribble delunked off foreign things. Maguire-Drew swayed to the rhythm and coiled into the keeper's arms.

Time, drifting away, wasting away. Here we are sitting on the dock of the bay watching the tide roll away. Kiernan replaced Amos with Khan going to left-back. And? And nothing.

Five minutes were added as the unbelievers headed for the hills. Huffs were puffed but only Carlisle were chuffed. Passing sideways, sideways passing, passing the buck, just chuck it forward! Richardson was blocked, Clifton clattered highly and there is no more. That is the end of this affair.

Town purred between the boxes, being dominant and dynamic, ascendant and aesthetically pleasing, almost vibrant. But a couple of Efete errors made all the difference in the world. And what is this world? Mid-table adequacy. What strange days these are, what a strange world this is.