Last Orders Please

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

2 April 2023

Look through any window, yeah. What do you see? Surly faces all around as we're rushin' through the busy town. Well, it is Yorkshire, what do you expect?

Will this season ever end? Feels like we're together nearly every single day. It's been three months, we've given everything we've got and they're going, we're going, insane.

Oh what a commotion, at least our voices haven't gone. Yet.

So put in your earplugs, put on your eye shades, Town are in pink and Bradford in amber and maroon. It may be a dull day but that hideous monstrosity of a colour palette is not fit for the sorest eyes.

Town lined up in a 4-3-3 formation as follows: Crocombe, Emmanuel, Smith, Maher, Glennon, Holohan, Green, Clifton, McAtee, Taylor and Lloyd. The substitutes were Amos, Hunt, Khouri, Morris, O'Neill, Khan and Orsi. We're living for pleasure alone, remember.

Histories of ages past, unenlightened shadows cast as the sturdy gaudy-dressed men descended the Stefan Payne Steps. My-my these Bantams have weight, all broad beams and promotion dreams. They just look…sturdy.

We're only here to spoil the party, we'd love their disappointment to show.

1st half – Shadows and light
Town kicked off away from two thousand and more boppers wrapped around one end. And straight out of play. Traditions have to be maintained, it's what football is all about, as English as tuppence, changing yet changeless as the nearby canal water. The ball nestling from Green, nowhere.

Beethoven was a terrible dancer and Josiah Wedgewood had only one leg. As for Hitler…now there was a painter. He could paint an entire apartment in one afternoon. Two coats!

Nice. Ooooh, nearly. Pleasing pretty passing in pink, mariachi movement from Mariners as Lloyd snickled towards the human dynamo's diagonal drift. Alas a big-bottomed Bradfordian clapped his eyes and slapped away. A cross floobled, Holohan crestfallen as his chesty fall was ignored by the pastel peeperman.

Hold onto your flat caps, there's chunky chips from chunky chaps. Halliday hooped, Chapman infiltrated the spaces between friends, Crocombe blocked and the ball spun sideways. Ambling Andy Capp whipped back as Gilliead snapped past a trio of shocking pink cupcakes to slither a slap through and under the partially-sighted custardian.

Ah, dear teenage tearaways, settle down. This may not be ordinary to you now... but after a time it will be. This will become ordinary.

Tipple and tapple, thricely woeful. Walker the eager puppy, chasing every ball into the river. Cook the wall, Walker the weaver, Banks the tank, all Bradford, all barging and bundling as Town were trundling. Turn and runaround…now!

Corners and crooners and Lloyd in the box. Doing what? Holding himself together as he foiled a coil with his gentleman's particulars. A corner dripped farly and Cook drifted away from his non-marker to stretchy-volley wide beyond the farthest post. How did they get those corners? Glennon's on toast. Poor Ringo, the Arkansas Chuggabug mugged by the Buzz Wagon.

A free kick cleared and a surfeit of pink. McAtee fiddled and faffed and crossed and Lloyd, well, wide headed welly-welly-welly-wide. Big John, here there and everywhere: backtracking, no backsliding, getting stuck in, just chasing rainbows all the time.

Ah, Cookie, Cookie, Cookie. A dink and wink, a spin, a turn, a Crocombe sweep and swoop. Glennon roasted by Banks, Cook pulled back to the penalty spot and clipped high. Repeat the cycle, as Handy Andy thrashed a bouncer straight to Crocombe.

A lull, but it ain't as dull as a day in Hull. A full-court press, a switch flicked and purring in pink, homesters passing out of play.

Chuntering in the home stands as Emmanuel chucked in and chipped into the vague void between keeper and defence. Delightful dithering, their heights are withering. Little Harry sneakily snuck, poked and made very sure he tumbled over languishing Lewis. A peep, a point, a penalty. That’s Holohandy, caressed down the centre as Lewis lurched right.

Parity and clarity. So all we had to do was stand close and whisper sweet nothings in their ears?

Town breaking, Bradford shaking, Town are in the pink, linking on the left, roaming on the right with the occasional widdle down the middle. A Glennon corner hung deeply, Green freely heading freely into the arms of their green Harry. Persistent pink Harryness and another Glennon corner hanging seductively afar. The remarkably unmarked Holohan headed down but Lewis lolloped to his left. For a big side they aren't in shape at the back; they're just a bunch of hacks.

More Cookie monstering, but he's a distant ship's smoke on the horizon. Wayward Walker wafted, Ringo roasted and Maher shazammed a comic clearance at the near post. Ah, 'tis just the occasional blip on an otherwise blissful skip through the highways and byways of West Yorkieshire.

As the half began to end wiggly Lloyd wriggled away and was manhandled by Ridehalgh just outside the penalty area, by the bye-line. The free kick was grazed away from lurking pinkness. Glennon outcoiled the corner and amid a drunken slapstick of bimbles and bumbles Smith knock-kneed a miskick that bloopered in an aching arc over hands that had already departed this earth many moons ago as the ball disappeared into a rip in the space time continuum, arriving in the back of the net in the year 2525. If man is still alive.

Well, you can imagine there was plenty of pleasure to be had in this part of Yorkshire. Just not by many actual Yorkists.

Two minutes were added.

And those two minutes sailed along with a cargo full of love and devotion.

For 20 minutes chunky and persistent Bradford had barged past their guests, but as soon as Townites stood their ground the home guard resistance was low. It's all going very well…

2nd half – The Hughes Corporation
Neither team made any changes at half time.

It started so well…

Adequacy and equivalence, a negative neutrality of nudging and nurdling with parries, feints and thrusts but not a scratch upon either or neither. But slowly, slowly the pink wheels were not so much coming off as seizing up.

Warning lights flashed, we opened our eyes and to no-one's surprise underpowered passing, overpowered in possession Town were wilting, fading, enervating. Gilliead swept over after Banks ghosted Glennon. Banks barrelled past again…Crocombe shovelled away.

On the hour Glennon, Taylor, Clifton and McAtee all stopped functioning, their legs moved but we can hardly say they were playing a part. Their hearts were willing, their bodies wilting as were the officials under the suffocating pressure of Moaning Yorkies.

On the hour Bradford made a change. And Bradford scored.

Stripes pawing at the sinking pinks and Stubbs diagonally dinked over Smith from their left. The ball skipped on and a scamperer nicked, Crocombe flipped back against Walker, who flicked into an emptied net.

Does a dead cat bounce? A Town corner, Holohan volleyed into the stand. Mmm, it doesn't bounce very far.

Critics of all persuasions judging black and white, saying it's wrong, saying it's right, what Town aren't doing is keeping it tight. Ailing, failing and wailing in the stands. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

Gilliead thrackled straight and low and Crocombe scooped. Halliday swingled, Max plucked. Chugging and mugging, and messing about in the corner. A free kick coiled and Cook, alone again (naturally) at the far post headed freely and headed down from nearby. Crocombe kicked up off the line, Stubbs headed against the other post, pink boots and pink gloves flapped and slapped and Crocombe clutched on the line amid much river-dancing, prancing and sideways glancing.

End to end to end to end, a Town break dissolving into nothingness as McAtee passed out of play and almost passed out in exhaustion, or possibly exasperation. Town are literally powerless to resist the charms of the chunky chippers.

Down in the cellar in the boho zone Town went looking for some sweet inspiration, oh well. A triple subbing, finally. Off came the treacle-toed Glennon, McAtee and Clifton, on came Amos, Khan and Morris. I have to ask a question to which there may never be an answer: was Khan really on, or did we have Holohan and the Hologram in midfield?

Swishing, swaying, up and down, this way and that, one end then the other. A smidgeon forward and Taylor sumptuously cushioned as pinkies peeled away left and right. Holohan dithered and dived at a double clamping. Walker waltzed away and swished out to the dancing Derbyshire. A shoulder dropped, a cross clopped and Cook swooshed across Smith to steer lowly through and under Crocombe.

Oh, cookie, cookie, cookie starts with a C. That's good enough for thee, lad, happen 'tis 'n'all.

Normal service has been resumed. Don't interrupt the sorrow, darn right.

And suddenly there was no need for speed, no urge to surge from the locals. Time was there to be taken to look around and infuse the essence of the day, the spirit of the moment to replenish the soul with contemplation and meditation.

Five minutes were added. An Amos free kick dumped and crumped away. Another, another and another as Khan overhit beyond and then there's nothing for us here, so I will disappear.

We're through, we're through, it's over, it's over, it's over.

Town lost power and didn't change the batteries quickly enough, that's all.