Where were you when the lights went on?

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

19 April 2023

Why is the sequel never the equal? Why is there no encore? When can we go and repair all the wear and the tear? Don't you froon, it'll soon by June, for they won't have to play beyond the 8th May. Hooray, hooray, it's nearly holi-holiday time.

A sneaking snarling breeze a-blew into all ears, reducing the unwarily dressed to tears as it's T-shirts in the sun and triple sockage in the shade. It's a cold 'un alright.

Town lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation as follows: Crocombe, Emmanuel, Smith, Maher, Glennon, Clifton, Green, Khouri, Khan, McAtee and Lloyd. The substitutes were Waterfall, Amos, Holohan, Hunt, Morris, O'Neill, and Orsi. The hunt for Hunt continues as the ever-rotating midfield experiment spins around to Evan Khouri. So young, just 20, tonight's your night to shine, so shine on.

Barrow. Athletically angular and their fans have all come in the same Ford Anglia. How did they fit their trombones in?

Time isn't here for wasting, c'mon Town let's give the Barrowboys a pasting. What a world of fun for everyone.

Before the night is through somebody's gonna come undone.

1st half – Do not disturb
The Barrowboys kicked off with a rush towards the Pontoon. Maher ducked into a bluebird boot and Youngs was booked after 12 seconds.

Well, ya got troubles my friends, right here.

Movement. No, no, sir, not from us. Them. A blurring of hedges and the ball flew through someone old, someone borrowed, then some socks blue. Skittles and bar billiards, ha'pennies shoved and the object of desire disappeared into the Pontoon, disturbing some teenagers staring at their phones.

Purposeless passing, pigeons massing atop the Frozen Horsebeer Stand. A blue long chuck bumbled and bombled off this and that. Mild pandemonium, major roadworks on the A180. Whitfield sweepled, Crocombe scoopled. Chipping, whipping, blue crosses dipping as we watched the shipping sail by.

You know it only took a moment for their eyes to meet. Little Harry lofted beyond and behind Warren, a stray wing-back. Khan shruggled free and bounded freely towards Farman waiting in his goal. He'd like to come and meet Otis and he knows he'll addle Khan's mind. A fluorescent boot toe-poked the wiffle beyond the farthest corner. The corner was…ooh look, there's a bird up in the sky.

As I say, it takes judgement, brains and maturity to score. Any boob can take and shove a ball into a pocket of the Pontoon.

A blue chip dropped where Ringo didn't roam and Youngs stretchy-steered a volley-lob just over the bar. Youngs at the heart of it again, yet not really a chance, swinging wide and high after Barrow plied Town's defence with dinks. A nod and a wink and home hearts did sink, there's barely a link between stripes. Young Evan's doing fine though, racing around to get up behind them again.

What shall we do to distract ourselves from the kids out on the street playing dodgeball? How about Town players as Coronation Street characters? Lookalike or sound-alikes? Roy and Jordan Cropper? One point, too easy. Toyah and her cousin Ollie Battersby? Half a point, even the teenagers can get that. Let's go for gold: Fred Elliott and Harry Hewitt. Are we stretching with Harry Cardwell and Minnie Caldwell?

Not stretching as much as Max Crampus, flipping a dripping corner from under the bar. Do they sell Betty's hotpot down at the Fanzone?

Here's an obscure curveball no-one saw coming: Arnold and Kenny Swain. Well they both had a strange hobby. Now here's an obscured curveball that Crocombe barely saw coming. The ball dipped and dropped and plopped up off a length to hit his shoulder, but Barrow had not posted a silly short leg.

Oi-oi, what's, going on out there? A Barrow throw in the dead zone twixt Fanzone and the Frozen Horsebeer. How did it get there? I ain't certain, all that I know is that the ball was on its way from Green's boot. You gotta dream, boy. Have we got a song?

No. We're still playing pass the Coronation Street parcel.

Ooh, what was that noise? On Grimsby's Lower East Side the early evening traffic is audible. A shot at Crocombe. Crosses. Passes. Things. What's it got to with us? Are we bovvered? McAtee tried to grab our attention by recreating the final seconds of Peter Beagrie's football life, triple step-overing back towards Crocombe. But he failed to fail enough and so the youth of today missed out on a comic gem.

You have to feel sorry for the youth of today. Think of all the things they don't know about, never experienced and may never do. Mention Harry Worth or Malcolm Partridge and you get blank stares.

A bluebird break, a bluebird cross, a Maher head, Youngs carefully volleyed down and through the hoi-polloi and Crocombe shuffle-flipped aside from the foot of the farthest, leftest post.

A Clifton swinger swung across the angle. Passing, movement and Khouri's slap deflected for a corner that was flicked on and flicked over by Farman as all eyes flicked towards the flagging linesman. What a waste of time that was. Fred Elliott was in A Clockwork Orange. That's not wasting your time. One day, probably one fine Christmas Day, you'll need to know that to win a family game of Trivial Type Pursuits. And here's another freebie fact: without Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera you'd never have had The Strawbs.

Two minutes were added.

And in those two minutes Khouri finally made a mistake, underpowering a crossfield pass to Glennon and frisky Warren bounded away. Do not have fear for the future, for Young Evan hared back and slid the cross away from the lurking Kay.

Football, boy, I dunno. I dunno, was that football?

2nd half – Please don’t eat the daisies
No changes were made by either team at half time as half the crowd stayed inside.

What have Barrow given the world? The bass player from Jethro Tull, Quatermass and a Hairy Biker. Oh, they've hit the bar. Free header, free Nelson Mandela.

Here's one I made earlier: Peter Purves once lived there, you know.

Blimey, they nearly scored. A corner shorted and Glennon playing piggy-in-the-middle. The cross big-dripped and Crocombe kicked up, up and away as an old caravan from Scunnyland parked up on the penalty spot with no security guards nearby.

I suppose we will have to take the Barrovians seriously.

Furious fusillades and fortune favouring the knaves. Bibbling and a-bobbling nonsense in the middle of a muddle and Kay swept past Crocombe. Coo-ee, the nice linesman's waving to you. Coo-ee.

We need a little ah, little ooh, little oh.

One by one, the lights were turned on. Are we in a Coldplay concert? Are we about to start singing Mandy? Emmanuel sent Khan away and, well, he missed as Farman stopped him from shaking their tree. Lloyd, standing on the edge of the area, if not time, curled highly wide. If you remember one thing from this moment it is that time is an abstract concept. Just don’t shout that at McAtee, it'll confuse the lad even more.

The question is did we need you today, oh McAtee?

Amos and O'Neill replaced Glennon and Clifton. Like, duh.

And the lights began to wave to each other. Let the children lose it, let the children use it, let all the children boogie. The crowd became giddy as a strange aura if, not aroma, settled over Blundell Park. Men talked in reminiscing riddles. What's new?

Them. A header wide. Them.

Them. Crossing. Us? Blocking. Just. Is this a just world? No, Town aren't losing yet.

Khouri cramped off and McAtee wandered off as on came Holohan and Orsi-Orsi. Dear John, we're beginning to think we can do without ya, oucha-ma-goucha, you may have stayed too long.

There were moments of things that temporarily caught the attention of the drinkers and thinkers at the bar. Holohan was outmuscled and outpaced in the corner twixt Pontoon and Police Box. Kay ran off up the line and Emmanuel legged him up. A booking. A free kick, a chance to remind you that you should always look left, look right, look left again when crossing the road. If you are abroad, obviously. Do the opposite here. That's so very British – do the opposite to what others do.

A chattering and a-nattering between us, the football barely a backdrop to socialising. How is Worcestershire? Do you still use the telly to send you fast asleep? Does the cistern still leak? Oh, and by the way, are you laughing now? 'Cause we are.

Some say Holohan picked up the pace, some say our very own Gavi simply slowed it down less. A swingle and a tingle as Barrowboys failed to tackle. Holohan poked, Lloyd prodded and Orsi walked around an empty can of Lilt, still rolling through Cleethorpes after being discarded in 1978, to calmly caresses a pass into the bottom left corner.

The lights all went out in McMenemy's and Farman was left standing on his own.

OK, let's settle back into our reveries as bluesmen try and restring their guitar before the end of the gig. Barrow's wheels fell off.

Ring in the New-New Parslow Point. Lively Lloyd was replaced by Waterfall, the new Pearson, an ageing rocker wheeled out for a greatest hits medley at the end of the show.

1-2-3-4, hey, ho, let's go. They're forming in a straight line, all revved up and waiting to go.

Four minutes were added.

Wave those lights boys and girls and sing something simple. Smith swiped at a surging bluebird. Newby waited and waited, our desires were sated as he coiled across the face of Crocombe, the palms of Crocombe and the right post of Crocombe.

And then there were none. Their promotion hopes had gone for a song.

What can we say? Enough is enough. We all need to have a rest from this football malarkey now. Still, it does allow us to spend some quality time together talking about old times. Community!

The better team lost, sorry about that.