Scream thy last scream

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

24 September 2023

Memories. Emotions. Community. Vibes. Family. Welcome to the Love Boat, promising something for everyone. 1-2-3 wahey! It's Dave Boylen. If you pass Garry Birtles in the street and by chance your glances meet, don't under any circumstances leap on his back. His trauma is deep, today is part of his therapy.

Hang on there, couldn't they in that groovy train now straightening our tracks rustle up 145 players from our 145 years in captivity? You could get half that from the Hollow Man years alone. But no, they bring us the gift of a caravanette of legends. That's all very well but what about those legendary characters of yore? Where is Enzo Gambarra? We could have made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Glen Downey could finally be revealed as a real human and not a creative accounting adjustment. Morais and Payne could recreate the battle of the Bradford Steps as performance art. Of course Stuart Campbell may actually be here, but how could we possibly know?

C'mon Commercial Department, think outside the box. Perhaps they are saving those big guns for 2028.

Town lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation as follows: Eastwood, Efete, Mullarkey, Rodgers, Glennon, Conteh, Khan, Holohan, Clifton, Eisa and Pyke. The substitutes were Cart-Wright, Amos, Waterfall, Ain(s)ley, Andrews, Gnahoua and Wilson. Every minute we stay in this month Town get weaker. Those right Charlies out there, they get stronger.

We see the team sheets. We see red people. We see Orsi-Orsi. We see the future in the past, and the past in the future.

Hey, but jumpers for goalposts and our favourite shirts. It's a fan-tastic day today. Are you in the mood for dancing?

1st half – Party Fears Two
Town kicked off towards the Osmond. It's time to get things started. Fi-fie-fo-fum, we smell the blood of some Crawleymen. At 'em and into 'em from the off with a Holohan smock blocked. Ambling and rambling and Ringo crossed, Addai flapped and Pyke shrugged as he realised he had to do something. He scrumpled back and Holohan was smothered in honey again.

They are what we call a Muppet Show.

Lackadaisically lacing daisy chains, skipping through the grass waiting for the Dairy Boxes the Creepy Crawlies were crushed by the wheels of Town's industry. It's time for a party. Liberation for our nation now!

Full-court pressing and the crawling Creepers' sleeper-keeper passed to lurking stripage. Eisa was crowded out by a red swarm.

Them, yeah, a corner. So what? Syncopation for the nation. Mr Darcy prized the power of doing something quickly without paying attention to the perfection of the performance. And the ball travelled somewhere over the rainbow.

You know a plastic man's got no brain. Maguire looked around and split his own defence with a wonderfully weighted mumble back towards Addai, straight to Pyke. Do we really need to press past this point to remake a point about Pyke? There were some people around me – let's call them on the distant positive side of optimism - who stood up. And began sitting down again when they realised who was shuffling away towards goal, unmolested.

Pyke tapped against Addai, the ball scruffling back and out and away and crossed back and Eisa side-footed into the side netting at the near post. A corner. Nothing. A free kick. Nothing but a Pyke slow bicycle race.

Aye-Aye, it's Addai again, but Pyke was offside as the sleeper-keeper passed to stripes. Turn the tourniquet, Town. Holohan fluttered into the covered cornerage and a corner was shortened. Easy Eisa did his thing, the whippy-dippy cross shot. As seen on TV every week. The ball flew over the static and startled sleeping gnome, bumped off the inside of the far post, straight against Holohan’s chest and there we are. We're happy now.

Crawley creeping backwards, Town surging forwards, pouncing upon the dozy droopers. A free kick on the left and many a Marinerman arrived beyond the stuttering staggering sleeper-keeper's far post, but alas 'twas diffident Michee whose head sighed wide.

Holohan rolling, rolling, rolling down their right, releasing our war rocket Ajax. Eisa gave his full-back a raw hide and rolled lowly but not slowly through the eye of the needle past the cat-napping keeper into the bottom left corner. 1-2-3 wahey! They'll be coming up to McMenemy's soon, so you'd better get the party started now.

The bells are ringing and various old captains are here. Is Tony Gallimore swinging from the chandelier?

Dibbly-dobbling in the shadows of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand. Triangles, passing, movement and a tiny terrier was bounding free. Approaching the corner of the area, way out, he looked up as Rodgers began to move. He saw distant chaps with a shared heritage, swung his left leg and the ball sailed over Eastwood into the top left corner off Kelly's shins. He was so embarrassed he didn't celebrate the goal, trotting off sheepishly, head down, not looking anyone in the eye. He knew, we knew, that it was just a freaky-flukey shin pony.

A little spillage on the carpet, it'll wash out, no-one will notice. Let's get the party started again.

Now what were we playing before we were rudely interrupted? Was it Party Fears Two by The Associates? I rather hope not. Eh, what just happened? General manoeuvring and a general malaise. Kelly jingle-jangled to the by-line, chipped beyond and behind the retreating Ringo where Mr Darcy lurked to bump-volley back across the face of goal, over grasping gloves and into the toppish right side of the net.

Leave me alone for awhile, I've got no reason to smile.

No, go away, there's nothing for you here.

Orsi-Orsi and Conteh collided. He who stayed down longest shall see the other half of the Flying Burritos Brothers booked. KC saw yellow. And was a muted, neutered actor thereafter, visibly withdrawing from a couple of challenges as he calculated the balance between risk and reward.

Four minutes were added. And do you know what happened in those four minutes? Holohan fell over inside the penalty area and the excitable middle-aged men in the Lower FHB did arise from their prams.

Well, it's our party and we'll cry if we want to. You would cry too if it happened to you.

2nd half – If
No changes were made by either side at half time.

Little tickles and nothing too fancy. A cross here, a cross there. No-one there. Everyone's gone to the moon. Or stayed in their room.

Red shots ahoy! Wide, high, highly wide, widely high, dotted here and there, now and then. Indistinguishable from one another and impossible to place in time and space. These things occurred, just imagineer them. Eastwood touched one, you know. Michee's boot deflected another. We can't deny they occurred.

Harry broke, Eisa coiled, a redster stretched and the ball swingled past the farthest post. An infiltration, some excitations and Khan scuttled into a void.

Faffing about by Efete. Rodgers got out the trusty old broom. Crawleyites took it in turns to bemoan the pain of life under contact with Conteh. The referee called Conteh and Rodgers forward, fingers were wagged, one finger was raised then pointed towards the stands. And Andrews immediately came on, Conteh taken off before being sent off. And Arthur replaced Otis the Scuttle King.

Now, was it now that Conroy stayed down clutching his head after clearing a corner? Let's say it was. Town had 'em under the cosh and possession on the halfway line when play was stopped. Play reconvened with an uncontested drop ball inside the Creepy Crawley penalty area.

Now, was it now when Town put the ball in the net? Let's say it was. Glennon drooped an in-swinging corner reet under the bar. Addai flapped and dropped with two Townites in his aura, Toby tapped in. Addai dropping the ball is just normal, it's how he plays, how can you tell if he was touched?

Danilo Orsi-Orsi, ever the entertainer. Sensing the boredom in the crowd, our old man threw in a retro dive, just to remind us of Southampton, recreating that back-slapping penalty moment, just for us. How we laughed along. As did the ref.

Ringo roaming, moments of almostness. Slapstickyness within the Crawley ranks as Town parked their tanks. Maguire's knees knocked, Addai scoop stumbled at the near post. Pyke ran away with the spoon, perfectly releasing Little Harry into the penalty area. On his left foot. Even Addai can save those.

Have we some boys who can stop their silly game? With ten minutes left Wilson came on for Pyke and Ain(s)ley replaced Holohan.

Ain(s)ley. His legs move but I still can't tell that he's playing. There is no evidence to explain his presence. It's a mystery. I'm still searching for a clue. Wilson? Well, Town suddenly had a presence. He used his physique in a physical way, pinning and wheeling like a proper footballer.

Ooh, hang on, you know when I said they had shots and asked you imagineer them. They really did one worth mentioning. Loping Lolos lolloped through many a missing Mariner tackle to side-swipe into the side netting.

Lots of this and that, the shotless nearlyness of rocking and rolling from the slightly resurgent stripes.

Six minutes added.

And in this time nothing happened, except Kelly clobbered wide. Nothing happened at all. And then it did.

A Town clearance by the dug-out and a Redman outnumbered. He hit the ground first and stayed down longest. The referee gave one of those irritating end of game 'safe' free kicks in the middle of nowhere which stops an attack. Momentum switched, Crawley pumped and pressed and pressed and pressed, dancing in and about and around the Town area. Lolos dummied past and through Toby to the bye-line. Stripes swarmed but simply hovered in numbers. A pass back to the edge of the area, a lofted swipe behind Glennon, Forster stepped passed across the six-yard box and Orsi-Orsi poked past Eastwood.

From the kick off Town lumped and dumped, Wilson rocked and rolled, whilst being manhandled, the ball rolled on to Rodgers, on the edge of the six-yard box. He stretched and poked and Addai accidentally collided with the ball, it balloombling vertically straight back into his arms. He turned to the crowd. The comedy keeper had the last laugh, literally.

And we heard the first cuckoos of springing Hurst. Fortunately it is still open season and they were easily blasted from the skies.


If Kelly hadn't mishit his cross.

If the ref hadn't arbitrarily decided to give them a free kick for a nothing in the last minute.

If only Ringo had stayed awake for another 30 seconds.

If the ref had decided to give Town a penalty for Wilson being manhandled.

If Rodgers' boot had connected slightly differently.

If we had only kept Orsi.

If we hadn't baulked at signing Gary Lineker for £30,000 in 1978.

Where does if get you? Down that maudlin, self-pitying wormhole of excuses. Town lost because they presently have no personality in the team. It's just an ever-changing bunch of blokes at the moment. It isn't a unified, coherent team. Even given the injuries, all things considered, the gel is taking a long time to set. Then again, we know the Hurstan calendar, his home-brewed Yorkshire gel sets at the same time every year, no matter what the weather. A few more weeks of wooziness ahead then.

Why do we always come here? I guess, deep down, we know. Sometimes it's like a kind of torture to have to watch the show. Who's crying now? Who's the muppet now?