Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

12 February 2023

What the world needs now is love sweet love. And, after the Thursday night love–in we know it's the not only thing that there's just too little of. Are you a professional cynic, and if you are is your heart still in it? C'mon, let the love spread over you.

Town lined up in a 3-5-2 formation as follows: Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall, Maher, Amos, Emmanuel, Clifton, Morris, Hunt, Amos, McAtee and Lloyd. The substitutes were Glennon, Smith, Holohan, Wearne, O'Neill, Dickson-Peters and Orsi-Orsi. After dredging the bottom of the barrel for the Luton demolition it's time to bring back the wrecking crew. Nothing can go wrong now, everything is sorted, it has been cracked now the world has noticed us.

Oh, they're big. Very big. Very, very big. What has four legs and is always ready to travel? Akinde and Hopper. Big men, getting bigger all the time.

There's an elephant in the room. Let's ignore it, they always go away.

1st half – Robot wars
Colchester kicked off in white stripes towards the Pontoon with a semi-automatic wallop. Shoving and shaking, a pass a kindly aunt could call raking. A nice Harry shuffle and an overhit tinkle beyond the scuttling McAtee. Ooh, football in the fourth minute.

Oh, football in the fourth. A relentless rolling thunder of up-and-unders rollerballing off Akinde. Hoof, hoof and hoof again. Higher, faster, longer. The Essex backsiders unthinkingly, automatically whack-whack-whacking away. Feel the pain. Hit, feel, rap, sweat, feel the floor George. Lloyd ridden, Clifton clattered, Michee mooching, Maher scooching under fire. My word, this is dire.

Fouling, scowling and plunging under lunging. I heard screamin' and tackles cracking, it's all just dead leaves on dirty ground. Metronomic hoofing from the Southern men. How long? How long? A string never ends.

Well, Town put on the speed and tried catching up, but Colchester were pedalling harder too. Lloyd and McAtee, just the kind of boys who are always on the roam, broke with speed, swishing, swaying and laying down their hats far from home. Ah, you're the kinda guys who give the evil eye to the poetry of motion. You're allergic to allegory, and won't mess about with metaphors, you want it straight. Town got a throw-in.

They are programmed just to do anything the manager wants them to. They are the robots. They are the robots. Chambers' dunkin donut header rolled over angle of post and bar from a corner. Akinde ran at the furiously backtracking Efete as the fanbase furiously fulminated at defensive dithering.

A Town corner, shortened, back and to the side. What a waste. McAtee, with his sideburns and his stratagems and ruses, big-dipped a wild swinger from way, way out. The collywobblers were glad that it was so inclined. What a waste of time.

A-round, round, wheels goin' round-round-round. Down and up, Town back-pedalling, down-up-down. They're gonna get across to the other side of Town before the sun goes down. And then came that rumble way down on the ground as Big Luke tapped even Bigger John's ankles. Big John? He's kinda broad at the shoulder and even broader at the hip these days.

The free kick, midway towards the Police Box, was a dink that was dinked deeply by a man with a name. Wood, that it were, so simple. Crocombe edged out to clutch but Kelleher arose before the custardian and nodded beyond. The ball slowly arced and Hopper hopped and nodded a plop into the empty net from a yard or so out. If you could feel the Barrett Stand rumble as far as the Fitties, you can hear the Frozen Horsebeer Stand sigh in Scartho most Saturdays.

The sound of galloping to the toilets, grab the last beams of hope!

Winging, wanging, clinking, clanking. An Amos free kick deep in the covered cornerage was shorted, Morris spooned a drooper beyond the farthest post possible in the land. Waterfall thwinkled back along the six-yard line. Efete, alone in the centre of the goal, stumble-scruffled against some falling debris. A slapstickery of scrambled eggs and the ball returned to marauding Michee, alone in the centre of goal, eight yards out. He swung, he's pants. Michee managed to miss, making the impossible possible.

And now the end is a sigh.

Big balls, balled bigly, higgledy-piggledy, hickory-dickory-dock. Emmanuel ambled away, unalert to the white stripe beside him. A flick, a whack, Crocombe battered aside, and…and…life is too short for plain crisps.

We have balls. Balls. Balls. Balls. Their world is frantic, we're tired of their antics. Balls. Balls. Balls.

Four minutes were added for all the things that happened that are so tedious they simply left my mind. A punt, a flick, Little Harry shuffled and shot. A shot. A shot! Yes, a shot! And on target too. There it was, that was it. Is that it?

Tiny Town were crumpling against an army of androids. C'mon Town, you know how to beat a robot, just ask them one question: W.H.Y?

2nd half – Rise of the machines
Orsi replaced Hunt and Town moved to a 3-4-3 formation. Orsi chased the ball. Town almost got a throw-in.


That's an open question, the lawyers among you will know it is never wise to ask a question you don't know the answer to. Oh well.

This is a thing that is devoured by all things; flowers, trees, beasts, birds; bites steel, gnaws iron; grinds hard stone to meal; beats mountains down, ruins towns and slays kings. What is it?

The hope that Town have a shot.

What has hands that can't clap?

Us, today, watching this.

White stripe wall-passing in the covered corner. And? Yeah, what you looking at me for?

McAtee ran, Lloyd wiffled and wafted an airy-fairy boot. A free kick overhit, Maher returned, McAtee headed over. McAtee passed a cross. That, dear reader, is the first, the last, the everything.

We're desperately in need of a stranger's hand, we're desperately in need of egregiously inefficient officials to rouse from a deep, deep torpor. There's danger on the edge of Town. Breaks and blocks, blocks and breaks. Kelleher headed a corner down. Headed wide, and headed back to head back the resulting goal kicks, drop kicks, fly kicks; ain't that a kick in the head. No, yet Town still got a free kick.

They made substitutions. Akinde waddled off and, I ain't gonna need to tell the truth, no lies, is likely to have just reached the edge of the technical area in the year 3535. Please hold my nosegay, I think I am going to faint at such egregiousity.

A Town corner. Unelevated, unimpressive, underwhelming, unrepeated. That was it, that was the corner, that was the attack. That is that.

Them. A shot. Wide. What more do you need to know? Long ball. Waterfall weak. Chilvers rolled past the left post. Did you really need to know that?

With quarter of an hour left, through a rip in the space-time continuum emerged a Paul Hurst from an alternative universe, the one where he's a feckless hedonist who lives for pleasure alone. Off came McAtee, Morris, Emmanuel and Lloyd, on came Holohan, O'Neill, Dickson-Peters and Wearne.

I only mention this to pad out the second half word count. I can hear your internal monologue from here: "Surely something happened in the second half". Don't call me surely.

If there had been any wind we'd have to say he'd thrown caution to it. But there wasn't any wind. We're still, we're becalmed, we're waiting to go home. Ah-ha, some of us ain't waiting that long.

Did they have a shot? Did Crocombe save it or not? Did their keeper touch the ball? Did anything happen, anywhere? Someday this bore's gonna end. That'd be just fine with the boys in their coats. They weren't looking for anything more than a way home.

We few, we unhappy few remainers, clutched our pearls every time white stripes fell to earth clutching their heads. The ref was a rock in name only. And where do we go from here, which is the way that's clear?

Only five minutes were added. Ten minutes too few, yet ten too much too. Have you got it yet? Nothing happened. It all ended in empty silence.

We were such a poor team, and the truth it must be told. Town squandered their resistance with a pocketful of mumbles and grumbles about time wasting. Town were brushed aside by relentless autobots.

The whole day was a series of terrible decisions: by Town, the ref, the linesman, and by us for turning up.