Celestial Voices

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

12 November 2023

We're in the second post-Hurstian era, refresh the home page, it's renewal time! After all the talk, then they fired him – but we know where the data, if not the music, takes us. All the way to AI drone pigeons.

What a glorious day, missus, to launch the new world order: it's sunny, we're bright and full of the joys of springing into a new Town epoch. Well, soon. But today should be a great event and the whole day should be spent in full remembrance. Yes we're going to a party-party, though we would like Town to dance and take a ch-ch-ch-chance once in a while.

Town lined up in a meat and two veg (peas please, and more peas) 4-4-2 formation as follows: Cart-Wright, Mullarkey, Rodgers, Maher, Glennon, Khan, Holohan, Green, Andrews, Pyke and Rose. The substitutes were Eastwood, Waterfall, Hunt, Clifton, Eisa, Conteh, and Wilson. Wot, no Harry! And we'll be missing the Efete Effect and Conteh Discombobulation too in our latest experimental adventures in time and space. But we know how to plug the computer in now, so numbers will be crunched. And with Green about the tackles will be too.

Little Harry is much taller than you think, you know. Especially if you're standing in a ditch and he's on the pitch. Morecambe are much taller than you'd think, especially when you see them on the pitch.

Some moments in your life you can never forget. Will we even remember today tomorrow?

1st half – Storm Signal
Morecambe kicked off towards the Osmond with…with what? I have no idea.

The game emerged in the background of the collective consciousness, merging with the swirling gulls and the drifting contrails, the chitter and chatter of a thousand small talks between people who have known each other for 30 years but don’t know each other's names. Does it mean anything to you?

And then I got such a fright seeing them in our dark cupboards stealing our great big cake.

Their keeper wellied longly and highly to nowhere in particular, deep down, deeper and down in Town's half in the shadows of the Frozen Horsebeer Stand. The unmolested Maher misplaced maddeningly. A red tickle and turn and Mayor ran through the emptiness for home homonym horror.

One minute you're in a game of football, the next the world ends. Sell the car, sell the house, sell the kids, we're not coming back.

At least we got everything out of the way early, eh, no false hope raised by minutes of mundane meandering. We can relax into our destiny, the dreadful disappointment of desultory drifting. That sentence was brought to you by the letter D.

And then a funny thing happened on the way to the next fans forum.

There's a pulse. It's breathing. It's alive! Roused and raging, Town were up and at 'em. Rose charging and barging, hustling and hassling. Ringo roaming, Holohan bedraggling. All on foot we fight! A corner, a corner, a kingdom for a goal from a corner. Green glanced, the ball danced through toes that didn't twinkle and Town couldn't winkle a goal from that shoal of cornering.

Shall we get them out of the way so we can talk about ourselves? Identical slap-dashery in the deepening shadows of the Frozen Horsbeer Stand. Cart-Wright swept out to sea to sweep Mayor off his feet. And then there was the Slew's foot tapper. You see, what happened was that Slew slapped wide. I bet you didn't know that Foot Tapper was originally written for a Jacques Tati film, it only ended up in Summer Holiday by accident. Accidents will happen and on such things history turns.

Ringo raiding, Andrews rolling and Holohan swiped over the emptied goal. The emptied goal. It was an emptied goal. And on such things history turns.

Those fingers in his hair, that sly come-hither stare, that's Ringo's craft. Khan cut back and cutely curly-wurlied. Smith flew left and finger flipped aside. Ringo's corner coiled and dripped and bounced over all the duckers and suckers and muttering onlookers. Khan cut back, cut back and back again to his right, to his right, to his right. Khan was blocked and blocked and blocked again. Lift it with your left, Otis! Oh, don't bother. Smith clucked and plucked at the near post in a moment of momentary almostness.

And Town were rampant wildebeests sweeping majestically across the plain and ordinary Shrimps. Andrews advanced, Glennon glided twixt twigs and Rose roved to scrunch at the near post. The ball scootled off the startled Smith's foot and up onto the post. Where's the ball? It’s there between the land and sky. Smith chased back across his line and plucked the pickled pepper.

Titans will clash: a bunch of head hurtings. Andrews down, always down, Rose and a Redster clutching bonces. Time ceased and Town tired of fast moves and got a slow groove on their mind.

Slow, slow, slowly crawling, we're tired of waiting: gerrinto’em!

On shadowed ground, with no-one around, Khan clip-clipperty-clopped down the stairs to chipolata deeply. Pyke wrapped around red fingers, Rose prodding and poking around red toes at the farthest post. Balls bounced, Smith pounced, someone, surely, flounced. It's rhyme time, baby. It's something to do whilst waiting for Ringo to take a free kick. And Maher stooped to back headflick b'twixt and b'tween.

And Rose headed over. And Holohan softly headflicked straight into Smith's paws.

And for all that hurty headiness only four minutes were added. And for the sturm und drang, the sound and the fury, there was nothing left to do but eat a sandwich or two.

A hole, a goal, chances, glances and waves of stripes to the point of dither. Town could still do this. But do they believe they can?

2nd half – Syncopated Pandemonium
Morecambe made two changes at half time. Rawson and Songo'o for Connolly and Bloxham, who'd never done good things, never done bad things and never done anything out of the blue. I'm happy to know that, hope you're happy too.

Sordid details following for the Shrimps.

Glennon surged past a triplet of red sockery and just as he had the beasht in his shights, Moneypenny, Rose stole the shot with a swirtling mis-spun mishit that Smith scruffled away. A corner, a corner, a kingdom for a goal from a corner. Khan curled into the nearest post with no Townites arising. Smith, hands shaky and knees weak, plopped and dropped onto Green's back and Rose swivelled to hook, and that's good enough in my book. Ah-ha-ha, they're all shook up.

Who do we thank when you have such luck? Good old Smithy the bush kangaroo in goal.

And they've got no defence, the heat is too intense! Pyke felled near the formerly Findus Stand and a free kick far out man. Shortened centrally to the consternation of the nation, Glennon chipped rightly, Rose arose to thwonkle across the face of goal and Green steamed in and volleyed past the blur of blueness. Two minutes, two goals, not too many broken hearts in Blundell Park. We've got the Big Mo' with Green. A Mo Green special is one in the eye for the Erics.

How many chickens is that? Red roused, red corners, Rose rose and was not challenged. Shoddy striping, reds raiding, it's time for some Slew slapping. Slew slapped, we clapped, they took a nap as Not-So-Little Harry replaced the battered and bruised cruiser that is Jamie Andrews.

Wahey, Morecambe asleep as Town wheeled. Surging, sweeping, intensely pressing, overlapping, overrunning, are we over the crisis? Facts are facts: Holohan to Rose to Toby teasing with a cross. In and out, and Holohan retrieved, sweetly swinging left and bisecting the broomsticks as Glennon took the bypass around the back. Ringo rolled through the corridor of uncertainty and Pyke stretched to prod a poke from the centre of the centre. What can we say? Pyke on a bike!

Surging, sweeping, intensely pressing, overlapping, overrunning, we are over the crisis. A red shuffleboarder was charged down by two Townites, Holohan passed across the face of goal. Pyke took a touch, turned and swished but Smith superly saved with a big-handed flap away.

Oooh-la-la. Let's swing. NO! Not that way, the other way. Farcical fancydan frippery from Glennon and Khan, exchanging flicks under the Police Box. Khan back-heeled, Glennon discovered his inner Pouton to step over and kamikaze shin-pass across the face of goal. Cart-Wright hurtled out, wafted a top edge up to mid-off, retreated as the ball bounced in the ball park of a lurking redster. Higgles were piggled in most ungainly fashion. They shall not speak of these moments in the Metheringham WI. Slew misvolleyed down into the dirt, the ball spundled across to the right side. The barely sighted Cart-Wright flew right and inspector gadgeted magnificently to finger-tip beyond the post. The day was saved.

Glennon's push in the box? If you ask us we'll swear we never saw a thing. Not us guv, we were looking the other way, distracted by the distant cry of the fishmongers. Fish, fresh fish.

It's easy, so it must be Eisa time. And so with 20 minutes left Eisa replaced Khan. At least, that's what the official records will state. It's part of the cover story. In reality 007 was already on the train to London, ready for his secret mission in Sudan.

Holohan threw tacks in the tracks of a passing motorist, who spectacularly rolled over into the ditch. The AA was called, as were the police. After taking measurements and witness statements, Gav O'Groves was issued with a fixed penalty notice and told not to do that again you naughty boy. What splendid officiating indeed. Chapeau Mr Hulot!

With ten minutes left the lesser-spotted Hunt was let out of its cage before it gets too cold, and Big Don came on for a trot about. Off came Pyke and cramping Glennon. Hey, cut him some slack, he had real cramp, not Crocramp.

Idly passing the time, waiting for the post-match party to fire up, them, that is they, had a weekend seaside breakaway. Wilson weakly, meekly surrendered to the void, boys backed off, the right-back overlapped and rolled across for McKeirnan, to timberfall and steer into the near post.

Oh dear, that was not what we ordered from the bar. Nerves and flanks frayed as Morecambe remembered how to play. If there's enough time to boil an egg there's enough time for Town splash more egg on their face. Red shifters, Town drifters, head it, kick it, whack it, get rid! But also keep it and play football.

How long left? Six minutes were added. Six?

Shuffling, scuffling and mild ruffling of home feathers. Reds breaking, stripes aching and an overloaded right. An anonymous redster free but wide, carefully passed low and back across goal. Cart-Wright eshchewed saving and kicked the grubber away. Balls in the box, red shirts in the six-yard box. Rodgers blocked, Rodgers headed, a Shrimpy shot deflected off Rodgers in a perfect parabola over several stripes to a lone lurking red shirt, dead centre, eight yards out. A flailing foe rose and nodded. Reputations are changeable, but the goalkeeping situation is now tolerable. Harvey handled with care.

Short shots, long shots, diverted and deflected aside and scuttled away. Helters were skeltered, the ball squiffled free, a red sock crossed and bodies plunged to earth. The ref pointed, a goal kick was taken and that's it kid. Shorty and Shaunie have taken that ruined choir and made it sing.

Have eleven character found an author yet? Does one squirrel a summer make? Say what you see – a cracking, chaotic game of skittles where Town did not wilt and just kept on going. They've done it once they can do it again. All it took was a goal for them, and us, to believe in their feet again.

We've been fobbed off, fooled, robbed and ridiculed, but they put their bodies on the line and maybe, maybe we can dream on. No coming back? They came back.