Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

26 February 2023

Hold tight, we're in for nasty weather.

Just walking along, our clothes soaked right through to the skin. We haven't a doubt, that this is what life is all about. Who remembers Saturday Banana? You won't find that in Sainsbury's now you now.

Ah, the sun and the rain and Town about to play the runaway train. There's sheets of sleet but it's bright and sunny on a two-and-a-half-sock day. How do you get that? Wear three on your left foot, two on your right. You know it makes sense.

Town lined up in a 3-5-2 formation as follows: Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall, Maher, Emmanuel, Clifton, Holohan, Hunt, Glennon, McAtee and Lloyd. The substitutes were Smith, Gallacher, Morris, O’Neill, Dickson-Peters, Taylor and Orsi-Orsi. Welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, well. To what do we owe the extreme pleasure of this surprising visit? Little Alex replaced the wheezing old Morris minor, otherwise it was same again Saturday. So obviously it isn't same again Saturday is it. Everything is the same apart from the things that were different.

I hear footsteps slowly walking as 499 Orienteers gently walk across our path on their way to Neville Street and into the lonely seats of the Osmond Stand. As my memory turns back the pages I can see the happy year we had before with Craig Clay, though maybe not those six games with Les Miz.

What's it going to be then, eh?


1st half – Heads and tails
Blue, blue, electric blue, that's the colour of their kit. Nothing to see, nothing to say other than the Orienteers punted off towards the Pontoon and into the toilets, gaining yardage for a line-out.

A lob, a drop shot, a volley down the line, head tennis and ooh I say Virginia, have you ever wondered if Les Dennis misses Dustin Gee? Les Miz buffled and the ball droobled through to the as-yet-uncramped Crocombe.

Town frittered about with travelers on our right...playing 'Hogs of the Road'. Michee, graceless under pressue, timidly tapped, a bluesmen swooped and Sadlier, with hair like a roadie for Rush, swingled straight to our Kiwi keeper.

Forthly we backed or perhaps backly we forthed. If you can't make your mind up we'll never get started. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. Our little wind-up Little Alex bumped and barged and nicked and knocked and slip-sliced a swinger towards the whingers in the covered corner. Lloyd mugged Feetov Clay down by the fanzone, chortled into the penalty area and carefully passed behind Clifton.

All things are in a state of ebb and flow, and every shadow passes away. Even time itself, like the Humber beyond or Archibald near Michee, is constantly gliding away.

Dripping, drooping, a cross deeply looping. Well done Michee! Credit where credit is due. Malingned by many he aligned his head perfectly to noddle back to Crocombe from inside the six-yard box as danger lurked beyond and behind his shoulder.

We certainly did shout as they fiddled about. Distant Orienteers laughing at the faffing about at the back. A sideways glance, a scruffed swipe from Crocombe shimmered straight down the middle and where it wound up is not a riddle. It went not that far away and straight to the feet of Craig Clay. Panic in the streets as Sotiriou swung around the back and passed into the very centre. Kelman reached back, stumbled, got up, spun around and carefully draggled into the bottom left corner as Efete backed off, stepped back lay down and watched life unfold before his very eyes.

As Kelman pounced and ponced and preened in overly self-satisfied celebration, Michee was surrounded by his peers, who provided some instant feedback on his performance. As did we, the massed Mariners behind. Discredit were discredit is due.

Vim and vigour, but nothing for Vigouroux to do but pluck his eyebrows.

Infiltrations and deliberations on their right, a blue cross grazed on. Sweeney sighed and thighed, swung past Big Josh and wangled a whacker into the thicketry of thick legs and addled heads at the near post. And? Sadlier poked and bodies followed the ball into the advertising boards.

A cross clutched, a corner touched away. Stout striped hearts avoiding a rout but wasting their time waiting for Beckles to buckle.

Are we back to junior kabaddi? Orienteers shuffling from side to side, blocking off the local kids from running to the other side of the playground. Now and again, this and that, sometimes, always, never.

In the shadows of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand a chuck-in was flicked on and flicked past the last man standing by Clifton. Little Harry scuttled into the area, blamping straight at the chilly Chilean. Triangulations but no celebrations as Holohan shinned rather than shot after a jinking McAtee pass.

Kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi.

Maher lobbed a ping-pong ball towards the goldfish bowl and watched it ricobound off lips and hips and Holohan went for a top spin smash but sliced into the bins at the back.

Three minutes were added, within which time legs moved left, legs moved right and some people probably took a short cut down Legsby Avenue to miss those lights at Peaks Parkway.

Should have been better, could have been worse in what was generally a competitive stalemate. If only Town would stop faffing about with this football nonsense. It just isn't us these days. Have no doubts, just get it out and let slip the dogs of war.

2nd half – Tales from the riverbank
Neither team made any changes at half time.

Hassle 'em, hassle 'em, Town were up and at 'em. Head tennis at a chuck-in under the Police Box. Blues swamped by stripes, the ball scruffed and scrumbled laterally, skittering across the pitch to no-one, nowhere. Glennon stepped in and ticked back to Hunt who waited…waited…waited and perfectly sliced and diced the defence. A sumptuously perfect pass zinged twixt many a foreign foot and Glennon didn't have to break his stride. Ringo's running and the sweeping cross barely touched the ground. Nobody's gonna slow McAtee down as, eight yards out, he opened his body and guided the ball into the left side of the net with Vigouroux frozen to the line.

Just as on Tuesday the Town left was an open-plan kitchen. But where's the beef, let alone the vegetables. Glennon roamed, a cross, a corner. Moments. Yes, Moments are a discontinued line of chocolates.

Orient flustered, flapping and caught napping. Pressed and penned, they swung left and right. James stood on the bye-line, looked up and saw no humans between him and Vigouroux. If you ignored that striped thing standing right between him and Vigouroux there would definitely be nothing there. James rolled a pass perfectly into the path of Lloyd who took a touch and casually rolled a pass around flailing fingers into the left side of the net.

They don’t like it up 'em, you know. But we do.

Vision On! Head tennis on the right and the ball bubbled up. Hunt blind-volleyed into the depths and perfectly into the path of the racing Ringo who slapped straight at Vigouroux as blue shoes arrived late on the scene.

Before the hour a triple subbing by them. Three went off and three came on. That's what a triple subbing is, isn't it? Do we care who came on? Perhaps we should pay attention to life beyond our noses. They do these things for a reason, you know.

On the hour Morris replaced Clifton. Ah. Oh. Ah. It's like being in Doc Davo's French class again Oh, you shocker you. Foul throws ignored but the orangeman finally flipped when a bluesman walked too far upfield once too often. There are rules for a reason you know.

Don't worry, be happy. An Archibald wibbler wobbled wide between right post and two sets of blue boots to the acapella accompaniment of the Lower Frozen Horsebeer choir. When you worry your face will frown and that will bring everybody down. Don't worry, be happy now the ball has sailed on into the sea.

Do worry, don't be happy. Waterfall felled in an air raid and forced off for some Moorish Magic and a new shirt. Back he came as a throw-back was lobbed up. A flick on flicked, Waterfall stretched and under-poked back to the already retreating Efete. Sotiriou swooped and Moncur, in the 'D', swept around Emmanuel, around Crocombe and into the bottom right corner. So they did make those changes for a reason after all.

Heads were clutched, noses were held and the turf was kissed. Maher dillied, Kelman dallied and what could have been never was. Carry on, nothing to see here.

Narks and snarks, bluesmen ruffled. Lloyd and Archibald had a minor fricassée down by the touchline. A striped shove, a pathetic blue feign, two yellow cards clickerty-click. With Orient distracted and in a huff, Glennon coiled the free kick down the left as Lloyd and McAtee hared off in pursuit. Big John swung a cross, Thompson raised an eyebrow and his right arm to divert. A penalty, pandemonium and many a bluesman moaned and groaned with some strategic argy-bargy distractions. Kelman and Sotiriou were booked for variations on a theme of numpty as Holohan took the ball off McAtee and handed it to Glennon. Who waited, waited, walked around, waited, walked around again and waited.

Vigouroux danced to the left, danced right, put his hands on his hips and brought his knees in tight. With a pelvic thrust he flew to the right and really drove us insane by saving a penalty, that was, in truth, quite lame.

Heads and tails, heads in hands, we're heading for Venus but we're still standing tall. They fall and fall and fall and the referee falls for their fall, as Town attacks were stopped in their tracks by a far off headless bluesman prostrate and alone with their thoughts. It's an unmuddied lake, sir, as clear as an azure sky of deepest summer, that this is the way it is.

With ten minutes left Taylor replaced Lloyd. With less than ten minutes left Holohan piffled straight to Larry the cat. With less than less than ten minutes left Morris slapped a slice against Emmanuel, stood beyond the farthest post. What could have been never was and never would be. Poor old Morris, the magic has gone.

Seven minutes were added. It was at this point that Leyton Orient advanced towards the Town goal. And then in a bound we were free of sour thoughts, for in a puff of smoke they disappeared, they were no more and there is no more to tell.

That was the end of everything that stands, and in their case, falls. The blue bus was parked, and was calling us. This is the end.

Well it's hard to believe I know, but you could hear us singing in the sighing of the wind as Town more than matched the former Matchroom boys. We showed you what we can do with some long balls and just a bit of a clue.

It was all rather splendid in its own way.