Everything but the goal

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

23 March 2023

Gentleman, we are history. Our excellent adventure through time has taken a turn back to where it all began. A wettish night somewhere in the dark depths of the Midlands.

If it's Wednesday it must be Mansfield. Don't drink the water.

Town lined up in a 3-4-1-2 formation as follows: Crocombe, Smith, Waterfall, Maher, Emmanuel, Holohan, Morris, Glennon, McAtee, Taylor and Lloyd. The substitutes were Efete, Hunt, Khouri, Clifton, O’Neill, Khan and Orsi. Who among us would have thought of that? The only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing.

Behold the bright lights beyond where the heavens are bright with the lights from the glitterin' stars. Homing in, he's got his range…bullseye! Master McAtee spotted a passing diarist on a sentimental journey, renewing old memories, and hilarity ensured for children of all ages. Oof! That's gotta hurt, Jeff. Remember, statistics are there to be broken.

I can feel the earth begin to move, I hear the drummer hit the groove, but we're all out of time. If you don't like the world you're living in take a look around, at least you got friends. Let's go crazy!

1st half – Caution to the wind
Town kicked off away from 1,102 marching Mariners and straight out of play. That's the way uh-huh, we like it. None of this top class football noodling, we're back to basics here…

…tingle, tangle, dingle, dangle, passes that move and Smith sneakily swiped. Pym plunged at his nearest post. Passing, moving, moving, passing, this way and thattin'. A Smith chuck bounced, Lloyd flicked, McAtee megged some yellow nuts and raced on down the right. Pym awaited and parried the passing shot aside. Saved. Are we Seagulls in disguise?

Passing, moving, moving, passing, maybe we'll get a replacement, but there ain't plenty like McAtee to be found.

A corner skimmed off stray home boots and Waterfall sliced. As yellowmen wandered far away, Glennon tapped a free kick quickly down the right. McAtee mesmerised with his dancing feet, the cross deflected, Maher scraped across the face of goal, past Taylor; shins and stretching Lloyd stretching at the far post stretchily. All Town and all Town are we.

Mansfield yes, well, it was nice of them to open the gates. Glennon dripped a corner deeply, Big Luke bonked a header bigly, Pym spectacu-flipped one-handed over from under the bar.

Ooh baby, baby, we'll always remember the many turns of Manny.

Mansfield, yes, well, they are here. Hey, terrible socks, so, so fey. Oates chuntered, Keillor-Dunn bunted, Akin did a dosey-do and lobbed safely over from safely far away. They had a free kick. And then we had a goal kick. Them, that is they, had occasional fey forays. That is all. Carry on.

Town. Our Town. The Town. Town. Glennon's corner was over and out McAtee scuttled, shuffled, and truffled a chip against the inside of the farthest post. Much flappage in the marsh and Big Luke headed back after heading out.

Town. Our Town. The Town. Town. It's the story of us. Lloyd pestering, Taylor testing, McAtee messing with their minds. A corner cleared, Emmanuel carooned straight back down middle. Smith took a touch and a yellow boot swooped. McAtee placed a shot and yellow shorts arrived. The ball shimmered out to the voided left with the goal a-gaping. Waterfall slapped and, remember, Bapps for Bolts! You won't remember Big Luke's shot, so you may as well remember something useful.

McAtee on a showboat to China, duetting with Glennon, pirouetting and prat-falling, easy come, easy go, one day we'll have to let him go to Luton.

In the interests of balance, to ensure impartiality in this increasingly bitter and divided world, we must, we really must tell you about our dear friends from Mansfield. Keillor–Dunn crossed low, Keillor-Dunn crossed high, big black and white sock-blocks, them waffling over occasionally visiting on the break. You see they are present but not really here.

No minutes were added. It just stopped.

What a thoroughly splendid performance. How have we managed to avoid scoring? Because were Town.

2nd half – Nothing left to lose
Neither team made any changes at half time. Right, so Harbottle didn't get dropped for eating the half-time onions then.

Dipping and tripping and slipping away. Why did they water the pitch when it was raining?

Impressive pressing and who's that from the corner? A Morris swish was diverted on its journey towards happiness. And Holohan dippy-volleyed over the angle of post and bar from quite far. Keep it tight, keep up the fight. Yellow falls, suspicious calls from the pastel peeper. Lloyd mauled and all in monochrome appalled by the absence of whistling. He's only a little lad!

A Staggersurge, a Staggerplunge and a free kick on the left edge of the Town area. Swinging and dodging and the ball bimbled off Maher and bibbled wide of the nearest post. Battling tops, Town pulling out the stops. Akins turned on a sixpence inside the six-yard box, but black boots blocked and Hewitt's howitzer is reaching Newark North Gate in three minutes. Please take all your belongings with you.

Moments of nothingness, moments of almostness, moments that were neither magic nor tragic. Bowery cut in and coiled, Crocombe clapped out past waggling limbs.

And what of our striped heroes? Heroically striping. And Morris, pompatus and perilous, consequentially, sequentially all at once and all the time, but also never. A terrible pass followed by a tremendous tackle, and his vices were versaed. A big saving slide, a woeful waft, a marvellous mug. The man is consistently inconsistent within the same second.

Poor old Taylor, age withers. Twicely nicely played free, but the legs don't seem to understand. And then he was gone. Who came on? He’s one of our own.

Emmanuel and McAtee faffed about, Little Harry bedraggled widley through pastel socks. The game ebbed away, receded from view and died like a louse in a Russian's beard. Or perhaps a Russian in a louse's beard.

Waterfall got giddy on the grass, a pass intercepted, the Staggermen pitter-patted to their right and Oates's shot deflected off Maher shins, strobbling left as Crocramped right.

O'Neill and Khan replaced Lloyd and McAtee. This did not make the world a happier place, but it probably made them, and their mums, happy.


Johnson hooked, Oates plucked, and Mansfield were…you can make your own rhyming couplets up as two minutes were added.

The blue, blue moon knows that soon, it'll be all over. Ah yes, it's all over now, baby blue. We're glad it’s all over.

What a jolly evening was had by all.