Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

22 February 2023

Here we are again, back on the chain gang. Harrogate in February, you fill us with inertia.

Town lined up in a 3-5-2 formation as follows: Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall, Maher, Emmanuel, Clifton, Holohan, Morris, Glennon, McAtee and Lloyd. The substitutes were Smith, Gallacher, Hunt, O'Neill, Dickson-Peters, Taylor and Orsi-Orsi. The league really is an unnecessary distraction, a bit of a drag on our brand. We have a media profile you know.

Harrogate. Yeah, they turned up. They had some supporters too, cuddling together in the covered corner. They exist, that's all we need to know.

1st half – Tear up the carpet
The Guttermen kicked off in blue towards the Pontoon. That is something I fervently believe. Yes, I believe in a thing called love, I believe in life after love, I believe that somewhere in the night a candle glows, I believe I can fly and I believe Luke Waterfall didn't shove Stretch Armstrong aside inside the penalty area.

I believe, yes, I believe.

Believe me, Town, when I tell you they'll never do you no harm.

Things. Things way down, way on down, way on down by the covered corner and a corner shortened then deepened. How deep is your love for Luke Waterfall? We waited for the moment he wandered far from his marker, but alas the keeper felt the ball in his arms again.

Harrogut, breaking us down, why can't they all just let us be?

They're thinking of linking with a little jinking and dinking. Messy Morris missed a mortar, Spotty Muldoon twisty hooked over from inside or outside the D. What you see and what you know, it's so subjective. It all depends where you sit. And no-one is standing for this.

Swinging from high hopes to deep sleep, the grumbling masses glowering in extremes of sweet and sour indifference. Emmanuel surged, Glennon coiled the corner, Maher nodded at the near post, Oxley finger flipped. Spectacular and out of character for the banal bashings of life in the lowest league's garden shed.

Many limbs moved and Armstrong crossed somewhere beyond the sea, where Olaigbe stood on the golden sands. Just watch his hips go sailing with the home stands wailing at ailing Morris. A wiggle and scrape jingle-jangled past a million static toes. A corner. A corner? No the corner. There are no more blue corners in this jigsaw puzzle.

Where did it go? Far beyond the stars, near beyond moon. We know beyond a doubt, we should have brought a spoon to stir the hot chocolate. We are staring into the night wondering why? Why? Why?

And finally, after 35 minutes of performance art masquerading as a trip to Tescos, Crocombe kicked a fly, McAtee swotted the fly and ran away with the spoon, stirring the multitudes with his derring diddlydoing down the middle. A wibbler wobbled, Oxley knobbled his cobbles and Sims swiped away from the lurking Lloyd. Shuffling, scuffling, hustling and harrying. Yes Harry, always Harrying. Glennon's looper defloopled off a blue toe to the near post. Oxley gently wept as he air-kissed his guitar. Eastman looked at this flaw and noticed that he needed to stoop and sweep the ball off the line. He stooped, he swept the ball over the bar.

Nothing, then nothing again, then something. Don't worry, be happy, there's nothing to be blue about, Josh's highly sprung hips don't lie. No reason to be on the ground, you know. Emmanuel's saucy surge ended with a bounce off a blue backside. Glennon swept the free kick lowly and Oxley stepped across and swept up at the near post. And?

And Holohan salsaed, Harry swingled and McAtee stepped in front of Lloyd to carefully steer ploddingly wide. And?

And one minute was added. And?

And nothing. Please pass me that nose peg.

2nd half – Turf out the cat
Neither team made any changes at half time. That is something I passionately believe. Do you believe in magic? It's magic if the music is groovy. If you believe in magic come along with me for a journey into the second half…of the last century.

They scuttled about. Sutton shot farly. Crocombe settled down for a quiet evening in. Fancy a French fancy with a drop of sherry and a little Mantovani on the gramophone dear? Hey, he's a Kiwi, gotta keep those references totally topical for him.

Where are we now? Five thousand people, cross and in a huff, fingers are crossed, just in case. There is a hole. Nobody knows what is in the hole. We stare at the hole, the hole stares back, ever blacker. We are staring into an abyss and the abyss is yawning back at us.

Come follow me down the worm hole, or is it a rabbit hole?

And then we find 30 minutes have got beyond us.

And then a light shines. Clifton and Morris were no more, replaced by Hunt and…Oh, Neill. McAtee swung his pants when Glennon's trousers were totally unmarked. Pressure, a corner, a glance, a turn and Oxley plunged to pluck. Dribbles, drabbles, hobbles and babbles. Nurrgh-nurrgh-nurrgh-nurrgh-nurrgh.

With quarter of an hour left Taylor came on for the receding Lloyd and in a bound Town were free, sweeping majestically across the open savannah. Where's the ball, it's over there between the land and the sky. Glennon's swish-dipper was nodded by a donkey, Big Josh prodded, Hunt coiled and, Oxley ached low and left to spectacu-parry aside for the cameras. Remember cameras never lie and Oxley's got that look in his eye.

O’Neill. Oh dear. Feyly tapping against a blue wall. Glennon's in space. Whatcha doing out there, man? Maher orbiting Pluto, drawn upfield by the groovitational pull of a proper striker playing proper football. McAtee crossed. Why did they stand up?

And we must acknowledge the Harrogutters had a single moment in the sun. Emmanuel big-manned little Olaigbe aside. Look at the size of the thighs and sigh, ye of little legs.

Hunt dripped and as Holahan arose so the multitudes rose from their seats and sat down again. Headed over, was offside.

Four minutes were added.

Town camped, Harrogut clamped. Holohan drove through the thicketry and tickled into the void. O'Neill, that's all there is to say, that's all there is to know. Moogling and draggling under the Police Box, Holohan scooped, Big Josh jinkled, jangled and wangled an angle. A cross crooned, the crowd swooned as Taylor arose. Salvation for the nation after a bit of elevation. Close your eyes, it's somehow closer now. We're picking up good vibrations and excitations.

Oxley scuttled across his line, stuck out a leg and booted the thwonk away. Anywhere but there, Ryan, anywhere but there.

The linesman flagged to save the ref's bacon sandwich as a mugging was ignored and finally a free kick plopped way beyond and Waterfall walloped over.

And it was all over now. Your teeth can stop grinding now.


There's nothing to pull from this but your own teeth.