Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

26 November 2023

Leylandii will grow in any soil, including coastal areas, and is ideal for windy sites. It can provide an excellent shelter belt, but it does need careful pruning. It can be a social nuisance if left alone.

Hello Sutton, you Jelly Green Giants.

It's cold, we are tired and indeed weary waiting for our guiding stars to lead us to the next messiah's door. Everything makes sense, but when was football sensible?

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows: Cart-Wright, Mullarkey, Waterfall, Maher, Glennon, Gnahoua, Holohan, Conteh, Andrews, Pyke and Wilson. The substitutes were Eastwood, Rodgers, Hunt, Clifton, Green, Eisa, Khan, and Wilson. Big Luke for Big Teams? You know it makes sense. Can we get worked up about who's in and who's out? There's good and bad in everyone. At least Duracell Clifton is back on board the listing ship in a state.

Sutton planted six Leylandii saplings straight down the middle. A simple, cheap option.

It doesn't look like anyone really wants to be here today.

1st half – Say cheese
Town kicked off towards the Pontoon. There you are, is there anything more you need to know? Put your head down to the ground and listen to the sound…I can hear the grass grow. There's seats full of people, but no-one really here.

Them themming with their big men big menning. The Jelly Green Giants foully chucked a huge short throw that, at least, did penetrate the penalty area. Corners. Big Luke, big forehead. They are big men, but we're in shape.

Arthur did the Arthur thing that he does. He swings and he sways and cha-cha-chas infield to bedraggle a scrumbling bumbler to Mr Purple. You, doing that thing you do.

Some flicking, Town clicking. Crossfield traffic with Arthur ambling, Toby overlapping and Big Don's near-post turn and flick was softened by the shins of Sowumni and Bouzanis washed up. Now hands that do dishes can feel soft as your face with mild green fairly limpid shorts like that.

Bouzanis swept off his line to scoop from Pyke's path and lay down for a public massage, then headed off for a private shower. On came old Steve Arnold. Up in the stands Nathan Arnold smiled. Where does he go to dream? To a place we all know.

Fast fizzing fun and it’s only just begun. Snapping tackles, snapping passes. Holohan, spun and dissected, Arthur flicked, Mullarkey marauded past the Police Box and wizzoed across to the unmolested Mariner, alone at the farthest post. Pyke stood on ball to dummy Arnie and pleasingly passed into the net, if not quite into history.

Well, that was easy, how are we going to mess this one up? Remember the new rules - no glancing back, try positive thinking. Now bring us some sunshine, make us smile. Hang on, that was the last home game, we can't have two of a kind, not with this pack. It's just my observation.

Have you got it yet? We haven't.

Holohan's spins and Conteh's green shield stamping. That's all there is. What are we doing? Beats me. Has a football ground ever been so silent outside a minute's silence?

Long balls, big balls, big heads and tales of the riverbank. Just say cheese. Cart-Wright caught a cross or was it a corner. It may have been a long short throw. Waterfall's forehead throbbed. It's all up in the air as the Jelly Green Giants tried to earn their corn with cornball head tennis. And out of all that jazz handling there was naught but O'Brien's jiggly-jaggly speculative hook over Harvey and on kissing terms with the roof of the net. Hey, they have a puncher's chance.

Longer balls, bigger balls, bigger heads and who is Woderick the Water Rat today? Wilson spun-dived over his own intentions. The referee just smiled and raised an eyebrow. No-one else was smiling as they got older and their feet got colder watching beanstalks grow.

Five minutes were added. Hey Arnold, move it footballhead. Suitably for panto season Steve: behind you!

As if by magic, to recreate his sexy swing past his namesake in 2016, The Demon Barber reappeared with an extraordinary coat that nodded towards Mr Teasy-Weasy Raymond in his prime. With a perfectly timed distraction our old Nat swished along the front of the Pontoon as Wilson tickled, Arthur crossed farly, Andrews mishit, Wilson mishit and Arnold didn't miss it as the knee-trembler rolled timidly towards him. As your favourite barber always says these days: fine margins.

Conteh steered carefully over and Holohan was blocked. A simple sentence to read and write, but simply impossible to place in space and time. Did I dream this impossible dream?

With 30 seconds left Town threw caution to the wind, galloping with gay abandon towards the Pontoon. Toby coiled longly, Andrews chased and, well, the boy only goes one way. Sutton hoofed, Holohan headed uply, a nudge, a flick, a tickle, a slap in the face. Gav watched from afar as Waterfall slid across. Smith put his weight behind a flump with Cart-Wright wrong footed, leaden footed and the ball shimmered through where Harvey had been a second earlier.

And there it is. And there we are.

Small Men 1 - Big Men 1. Nothing to them, nothing much from us. It's like watching an underpowered coffee grinder. From the perspective of the bean.

2nd half – Litter bugs
No changes were made by either team at half time.

The coffee grinder is obviously battery powered for the levels are low and getting lower.

Them. Grinding, grinding on. And on. And on. The ball forever up, up in the air, suspended under a twilight canopy. A free kick in and out and returned towards the big men in the mixer. Goodliffe steered wide. Who cares.

Around the hour Clifton replaced Andrews. At least someone will run around and defend now. Little Harry indeed ran around and got in the way. Little things.

Who cares?

More of the same of whatever this was. Coley's shuffles and shakes led to a tumble but no grumble. He didn't even pretend to claim a penalty. Honesty is always the best policy. Well done young man.

Have we had a shot this half? Have we got inside their penalty area this half? Do we exist other than as bollards for tourists to dodge on their way to the slotties?

Oh yeah, here it comes, the Angol of death, yet another player who only plays well against us. An Angol angled pass past the Police Box, Kizzi kissed back to the edge of the area and Honest Josh Coley carefully stepped back across monochrome boots to coil around the farthest, leftist post. Honest and inaccurate, our kind of opposition winger.

Zipping and zapping with Toby trussed and Coley flashed a cross across. Big Harry Smith arose alone, a free header to thunder back and down across where he expected a keeper to be. Ah-ha, Cart-Wright's a different lad, he was still at the near post and the ball hit Harvey's scrambling shins.

Feetov Clay came on. Don't take the silence personally, Craig, we were far too bored to care one way or the other. Actually, bored is the wrong word, we were way beyond that as eyes and minds glazed over, seeking emotional rescue in an alternative universe. In my mind I turned right at Robson Road and went home after my sausage sandwich.

Did I mention Khan came on for Gav O'Holo-holohan? No, I don't seem to have done so. Perhaps it's jetlag. Oh, there he is, Khan passed a cross to them. Not worth mentioning was it. Now, football, it's famously a funny old game. Oh how we laughed as Town pressed, Conteh swept, Khan crept, Conteh pulled back behind the green wall and Khan leapt over the ball. Pyke poked but the ball hit startled Arnie's hands and ploppled down to no-one. No-one but Arnie.

Three minutes were added. There's no point in standing in a cold, windy field for no reason is there. Gnahoua slashed into and across the Leylandii, now fully grown and almost reaching the floodlights. We could put in a complaint to the council but that doesn't get you three points on a cold Saturday in November.

The end of something that barely started.

Town weren't poor, they were non-existent. Leadership absolutely required, that's the long and the short and the tall of it.