The hot troll deviation

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

13 March 2024

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. C'mon Town, tonight of all nights, do something, for the good of the game as a whole.

Town lined up in a 5-4-1, sometimes 3-4-2-1, occasionally 3-4-3, and eventually 5-5-0 formation as follows: Cartwright, Clifton, Mullarkey, Rodgers, Tharme, Hume, Gnahoua, Holohan, Thompson, Eisa and Obikwu. The substitutes were Eastwood, Smith, Green, Wood, Andrews, Wilson and Pyke. No Rose, there's tears on many a pillow with a front three made of twigs of willow. Hope abandoned by many who entered.

The opposition. They are over there. They wear blue. They have no legitimacy, hold your nose, here we go.

1st half – Strumming the pacman blues

Town kicked off towards the Osmond. Ah, the Koola-Koola variation on the Kadas opening. The only way to counter that is to move one's rooks into the centre of the board.

Protect the Queen! Hold the centre, hold the line.

Hume's quick free kick drimbled into the emptiness on the right as many awaited afar. Spiderboy scuttled and slapped against the yellow thing they brought to stand around in gloves. A corner. A corner. And then it wasn't a corner. They ran off, stripes followed, stripes felled, yellow cards were wafted and five thousand throats were a-warbling in rage.

Arthur missing, inaction, space. A cross, a blue head. A goal kick.

Let's get back to the chess game shall we. Mmm, isn't that Kholmov's combination against Bronstein? How fascinating. Look, behind you! Wallop, 'ave it! An impregnable, immovable wall of sound striped defending.

Tippy-tappy, tappy-tippy, left to right, to right to left, to me, to you, to many in blue. Are you yawnsome tonight, we're not sorry their wing-backs kept drifting apart.

They're crying, they're lying and we're sighing as blues plunged to earth despite a dearth of monochrome touching, a referee quite mad. Free kicks a-go-go, oh no, here it comes. Cartwright flip-flapped, number 27 on a shake, rattle and roll and the ball slowly, slowly drumbled through and past the farthest post past many static toes.

And? And? And? Rodgers' startling back-pass inside the six-yard box was alarming but there was no harming as the other Harvey hoiked clear. They had the ball, they did nothing with it apart from stroke their own egos.

Thompson, Arthur, Holohan crossed, Eisa chased and miscrinkled beyond the far post and Obikwu calmly steered down through the gap in the hedge.

Back to the chessboard. Chess is not a sport, where's the ball? Oh, there it is bagatelling between blue socks, going nowhere.

One minute was added.

Slipshod slackery and Spindly Spiderlegs charged down a back pass. A tumble, a rumble of anticipation, a penalty but not even a yellow card for the yellow-clad fiend. Holohan fumbled with a welly down the centre. The custardian stood still, stood tall, looked Gav right between the eyes, raised a right arm and batted aside.
Hey, we're winning, cheer up!

2nd half – Shuffling sideboards

Neither team made any changes at half time.

Off we go, round and round and round the mulberry bush. Round and round, and round and round and Little Harry made sure they were out of bounds. Tharme swiped as they swarmed, Rodgers snipped them in the bud. Ooh, Matron!

A cross, a shot, Tharme retreated and toed aside from the foot of the right post. That was their moment, their only moment. They were nothing and they were no more, just pretty-pretty posers, stuck up themselves with the beauty of their being, the purity of their passing.

Tick, tick, tock, here come the red socks. Nicking and knocking and breaking news, Town were breaking bad. Obikwu obstructed Eisa who wafted on and wilted on the wing. The spinning Spindler spun himself into a tumbleweed and Eisa and Arthur were replaced by Andrew and Wood. Andrews tripped over himself.

You can put the kettle on if you wish. Come back in about five minutes or so, they'll still be whittling their sticks.

Coffee or tea? Do you have sugar? One lump or two? That be the Town defence, satisfyingly sweet. Hume slid a rule through a blue wall, Obikwu stretched beyond the far post and the ball travelled further beyond the far post. Holohan had jogged his last, on came Green, at least adding a certain je ne sais quoi to the art of miscontrol.

Put on a podcast. No, not that one! Nourish your soul, don't sit in a pit of pity and wallow in nostalgia for the BBC Light Programme.

Obikwu ran out of puff and on came Pyke. Cartwright punted long and hard, Pyke was free, a blue slide and tumble, handling without care. The ball ran free, Wood swung low and hit the inside of the post.

There we are, that's it, that's enough. They kept hitting their heads against the bouncy castle and Town had fleeting moments of almost nearlyness of approaching something possibly.

Did Pyke touch the ball again? I think pedants would insist that the ball touched Pyke. And all the while Town's back five shuffled left and right, rising to the occasion, covering and smothering with stoutness.
Four minutes were added.

Don't worry about a thing, 'cos every little thing is gonna be alright tonight. There we are, told you not to  worry. If not the The Fist Pump Threshold, maybe we've reached the Finger Twirling Equivalency.

It was tense, we were nervous, but Town were tremendously staunch. A triumph of will, of organisation, of discipline, a coaching masterclass.

You don't need the ball, you just need a calm head and beating heart.