Living on the ceiling

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

26 March 2023

And we're back home in the land of the living dead.

Was it only a fantasy? We won a competition to have afternoon tea with a mystery celebrity. Lovely while it lasted, they were so nice to us, but it's back to crumpets and jam butties and oi, don't you have a biscuit before you have your dinner. Now go and wash your hands.

OK, get your head back in the quicksand, here we go again.

Town lined up in a 3-4-1-2 formation as follows: Crocombe, Smith, Waterfall, Maher, Efete, Morris, Green, Amos, McAtee, Lloyd and Taylor. The substitutes were Emmanuel, Hunt, Khouri, Clifton, Khan, O’Neill and Orsi. Do we really need to wiffle and waffle at the sight of stodge and bodge?

Ah, yes, it's Buckley derby day. Put on your best coat and wrap up tight. We're both made up of bits and pieces that's been picked up here and there. We've McAtee, they've McEntee and well I do declare, I can see Val Doonican a rockin' in his chair. It is what it is, we are where we are, and here we are again, back in the slow lane of the nowhere, somewhere in the bowels of the fourth tier.

Watch out, there'll always be something in the air with Mickey Flynn, a purveyor of knock out drop kicks to incapacitate and rob his opponents.

1st half – No matter how I try
Town kicked off towards the 400 or so Midlanders mingling in the Osmond. Triangulation around perambulations. A cross, a block, a tumble and the covered corner rumbled. A free kick fizzed off eyebrows and furrowed brows, up and off Waterfall's chest, off and up striped boots and red socks and finally Lloyd's steer to the near post dimbled for a corner. Amos coiled, Maher flicked and the ball swingled across the face of goal.

Simmering, glimmering, Lloyd scampered and alas 'twas only old Shep at the far post. Poor old Taylor, his legs move. In his head. Hey, Taylor may have moved slow, but Taylor doesn't have to move for anybody.

McAtee, McAtoo, a cockatoo too. Walloping overly, swinging this way and thatly. Almost blocks by red socks, ricochets and slappings scribbled widely. Once, twicely and once more thricely. It's going nicely.

Wriggly Wilkinson bedraggled, Wiggly Wilkinson mega-nutted Waterfall. A red corner drooped and Green scooped from the depths of the mud pudding as daytrippers gawped. Now that, sir, was a throw most foul. And so was that.

Chivvy chases and we're at the races. An Amos corner swimpled away by Maddox straight at Morris way out, who took a touch and whacked straight into the bottom left corner. Ooh, that's nice. Ooh, that's really nice. Finally something magic from our Morris.

Walsall are big, Walsall are wet, but Town are being made to sweat. Now and then, but not often. How often have we said that? There's Riley reversin' it, everybody cursin' it as Wilkinson twizzled Waterfall again. Guess who's been on Match of the Day! Ah, old Luke, in his head he sees Franz Beckenbauer, in our eyes we see Franz Sidebottom.

Things happened, now and again. Snuggle up and zip your coat, you'll catch a cold if you don't watch out. A chuck-in flicked on, McAtee turned and walloped at tiny Evans. Red socks in a tizz over Taylor with Daniels booked for being stupid. Heh, like roaming Ryan was going to run away with the spoons. A free kick. A pan was flashed. McAtee, must you do everything?

Settle down, settle down, we're setting sail for cream teatime. Lloyd. So wide. So what?

A nick, a knock, Michee and Monthe slapped and tickled to the bye-line. As Efete crossed, Monthe rolled and subtly whacked, leaving our wing-back face down in the dirt and off the pitch. Play on, play on, and play the game. A hootin' and hollerin' as Walsall edged north and, as Maher kicked the ball out of play, a-tissue, a-tissue, they all fell down. One after another Town player's hit the turf: Lloyd's socks fell down, Amos got an irritating itch, Maher had an existential crisis involving an indeterminate knee and finally, the one you've all been waiting for…Max Crocramp. If Crocombe doesn't get cramp then we will know the Kingdom has fallen.

Three minutes were added. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And?

And that's your lot for this half. Like Wednesday, Town were sumptuous for half an hour and then we returned to soupland. Walsall were weird, they tried to play football. Well that ain't gonna last. Is it?

2nd half – What's in a miss
No changes were made by either team at half time. Oh hang on, yes they were. The Saddlemen replaced Comely and Maddox with White and Williams. And now they're big all over, yes they're big all over.

They're so tall, we're so small. How long before they stick it in the mixer?

Ooh, here it comes again, here comes the rain again and here comes that pain again, big balls keep falling on Town heads. Nothing seems to fit, we're sleeping on the job. We don't like the way they get things done.

Sloppiness, sloppiness, the greatest gift that Town possess. Slapstick slackings and hackings from home socks and Morris dribbled himself out of play. Turning their faces to the falling rain, awaiting the corner from the left. High and his name is Hayden. He likes a marker who gives him his freedom. Flighted, floated, float, float on, float on. The ball bumbled and stumbled off the many faces and spaces of White and black and white, falling on the penalty spot to Daniels who swept and swiped in off the bar, wiping the smiles off many a home face.

There ain't so surprises in this world no more.

Town. Morris. A bumbler bumbled through to their custardian. Parry and thrust, but is life just? Green flossed, Amos crossed and McAtee's volley air-kissed the crossbar.

Maher chucked in from the rain shadow of the Police Box. A niddle, a widdle, a bounce and a flounce. Waterfall headed on and Evans flipped over as Smith steamed in. And there was Riley pushin' it, shovin' it, shushin' it. Maher, Monthe, Daniels and of course Big Luke Waterfall all started a-pokin and a-grabbin' and a-chokin' and getting soaking. And now everyone in town was lined up, attackin' it and shovin' it and smackin' it. Mad Max arrived and the crowd began to jeer, so Lewis, the judge, looked to his assistant but still he wouldn't budge. A free kick to Walsall with yellow flashings for Evans and Daniels. And Johnny McAtee was so thoroughly disgusted that he went and had his tea.

Balls. Boxes. Balls in the box, Town's box, Town boxed in. All lies and jest? A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. Just lumping and dumping and bumping and homely grumping. A red corner dropped, wellied and walloped, defloobling off startled stripes and Daniels helpfully Waterfalled wide of an open goal.

And as the rain rained down we think of things that might have been. Evans kept slip-sliding away when slapping his kicks. And as the game lost it fizzle in the drizzle, the hardy folk from the Miserableands thought of things that might have been. Crocramp's crazy dribbles were a cheese dream barely nibbled by Knowles.

C’mon Town, more cowbells.

Green swivelled and swung some crossfield traffic onto Amos's chest. An instant cross, but no instant karma as McAtee nodded over. McAtee bedraggled from nowheresville when Michee was all alone, naturally, beyond. Taylor tickled and McAtee steered high and wide. He's not the messiah, he's just a haughty boy.

And Smith ploughed Knowles into the Town dugout.

I've got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbells. Amos swung deeply, Michee headed, the ball headed into the Pontoon. I said cowbells, not cobblers.

With five minutes left Khan replaced Lloyd. Nothing good, nothing bad, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Why? 'Cos today nothing more rhymed.

Them over left, them over right. Crocombe parry-punched away from the near post.

Five minutes were added for all that jazz in the box. Faffing and falling, and an ending almost galling as Crème de Monthe mauled a slap over the angle of post and bar. To what do we owe the extreme pleasure of a surprise visit? A final fall, one last call, Amos dripped a free kick from under the Frozen Horsebeer Stand, Green snickled beyond the last post and last man and muffled a diving header welly-welly-wide.

No point in us remaining, we may as well go home. And here comes the rain again.

Could have been worse, should have been better. Ain't that the season in this game of four seasons.