Up and under

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

8 March 2023

To begin at the beginning: it isn't quite spring on a mournful, moonful night in this small town. 

Town lined up in a 3-5-2 formation as follows: Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall, Maher, Emmanuel, Clifton, Holohan, Khouri, Glennon, McAtee and Lloyd. The substitutes were Smith, Amos, Hunt, O'Neill, Khan, Taylor and Orsi-Orsi. A return to normalcy after the Lord Mayor's Show, the Cumbrian crumble.

Is there anybody out there? Is there anybody….out there?

What's that in the corner? What's that in the floodlights? Fifty Welsh acorns tied in a sack. I think I can hear them laughing, I think I can hear them sing.

Blimey, where are the Mariners multitudes? Have we lost our religion already?

Watch out, watch out, there's a Bogle about.

1st half – Raging nonsense
Town kicked off towards the Osmond. Err…Brighton!

Let's throw some sardines into the sea. Heads and humps and heads and heads and heads and heads and I can see someone heading off to a place we all know, the land of make believe. Wake up, it's a beautiful day, there's plenty of space to rent in this Town defence.

Heads, heads, smashes, flashes and potato mashers. Kavanagh shin-slashed, Crocombe plunged and poured upon the ball at the leftest post. Heads they win, heads we lose. There's tipping, there's tapping, there's snipping and snapping. Omar comin'. Maximum Crocombe, minimum fuss.

The referee. A tangerine troll with a gaslighter in his back pocket.

Lloyd and McAtee pestered a green, bug-eyed monster but Georgie Boy underhit the pass to John Boy and boy were we bored.

Don't be told what to wear, as long as you're warm who cares? It’s a three-sock night. Mother told me not to come out without a scarf. And do your coat up, you'll catch your death you will.

Something, somewhere that counts as a thing happened. Holohan shifted and drifted, reversing a clip for Big Luke to arise and graze well, well, well wide. Somewhere, something that counts as a thing that almost happened. Large Luke slapped against a jolly green giant.


Time passes. Listen. Time passes.

Come closer now.

Glennon coiled deeply, slowly, deeply into the covered corner. Lloyd feigned disinterest and in a bound he was free, pestering and conning the inert Farquahason. A tipple back, a ripple of anticipation across the nation. What's it gonna be? It's McAtee, magnificently flipping the ball up and big dipping a whipping volley that arced over the minty keeper, bouncing into the far corner.

Listen. It is night moving in the streets, the processional salty slow musical wind in Harrington Street.

As one minute was added an unmolested green man headed wide after head tennis. He was offside, stay frosty. Oh, you are. I told you it was a three-sock night.

Town are simply not as good at being Newport as Newport are. Well, they are a rugby team in a rugby nation.

2nd half – British bulldogs
Neither team made any changes at half time.

Fight or flight? There's something of the night about the ref. Stop! What's that sound? Everybody sees stripes being chopped down. Except one man, one man who stands alone against the crowd. Twice the orangeman put the whistle to lips as stripes were felled. Twicely he let play go on and on and on, playing the disadvantage rule to imperfection and then gave the soupy Dragons free kicks.

And Waterfall was booked for an interpretive mime.

Rucks and mauls, line-outs and garryowens. Hoof, hoof higher and higher. And higher, HIGHER! A corner, a graze, a green man on his bike. Hobbles and bobbles, what a bibble-babble rabble. A corner, a cross, a corner, a chuck, a torpethrow and mortar lobbed and scrimbled behind. The corner coiled and Farquharson, exactly like last week, wandered to the farthest post and calmly steered a volley past Mr Purple. The previously perfect Michee had blundered and many a Mariner thundered.

The thin night and the home mood darkens. A breeze from the water sighs into the Frozen Horsebeer Stand.

Double subbing. Town better. Taylor. Old. Smith. Bold. Me? I'm getting cold.

A moment of connectivity. And Lloyd swashed into the Pontoon. Holes. Space. That time, place. Bogle going (over), Bogle slashing over, Bogle gone. Bye-bye Bogle. Moriah-Welsh slapped low and Crocomble clutched. Moriah-Welsh squelched and Crocombe mulched his vegetable patch. It's the time of year. Gotta prepare for planting, celery doesn't grow on trees you know.

In the 68th minute the first cuckoos of spring were sighted, drifting up through the dark, coming up the drifting sea-dark streets to start the queue. There's a weapon that we must use in our defence. Silence.

Taylor flicked, Smith's cross swished across the face of goal and was fished back by a far off stripe. The ball sailed beyond McAtee and Smith steered his volley back and over.

Triple subbing, Town not worse. A rare green bird spotted flying in the rafters. Up went the linesman's flag, the referee raised thumbs aloft and off they went without a care in the world.

On request Little Harry slippered a slap into the Pontoon. Be careful what you wish for.

Three minutes were added. People moving out, people moving in. Maher chucked a ball of confusion. Taylor cracked, Day kicked out his jams at the foot of the left post. So, round and around and around we go, where this game's headed, everybody knows.

And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now.