Obscured by clouds of doubt

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

24 March 2024

It's March, it's business time, have we reached the promised land? It looks all right from where I stand. But what do we know, we're on the outside looking in.

Was the coldest game ever at Wembley ever only 11 years ago? Has Richard Brodie's penalty returned from circling Mars? Brrr, there's a chill wind blowing through our souls and a cold wind blowing straight into the soles of the feet of the Osmond Standers. Its ram-jam packed to the rafters and the gristle is throbbing as we await the whistle.

Town lined up in the 4-4ish-2 formation as follows: Cartwright, Mullarkey, Tharme, Rodgers, Hume, Holohan, Thompson, Clifton, Green, Obikwu and Wilson. The substitutes were Eastwood, Smith, Wood, Andrews, Gnahoua, Vernam and Pyke. Another game without our thorny Rose, what'll happen? No-one knows. What's the formation? No-one knows. Is it a diamond? Very roughly it may be.

Wrexham. Simply in red. If you don't know them by now, you never, never, never will.

Let's concentrate on ourselves and not fawn over a movie star's flight of fancy.

1st half – What's the deal
The stars of the silver screen kicked off towards the Pontoon, away from the eleventy hundred T-Wrexhers who'd made the trek across the blue-ridged mountains to the home of the lonesome whine.

A nibble, a nudge, a red handball and Thompson dredged. A throw to them, of course. Through all that glitz and glamour perhaps it was hard for the referee to see and hear our clamour for justice. Perhaps Thompson should have worn a pink carnation.

Spongey bumping, hoiks and hoofs. Hey, baby, what's your hurry? Relax and don't you worry. Mullinboo was swept away by Mullarkey. Nice and easy does it. Would you like to try it once more?

So far, so good, so-so humdrum. I like a good humdrum game.

A foulish throw foolishly, outrageously, ignored and much ado about nothing much nowhere much really.

Holohan's shins, that's all I'll say. Reds swarmed, a charmer surged into the central void, walloped lowly as he approached the Tharme-Rodgers uncanny valley and Cartwright plunged in perfect synchronicity with the flight. The ball hit turbulence, ballooned off a divot and over the hapless, helpless Harvey and there be Cannon running away licking the cream off his golden spoon.

Things are different this month, we fight, fight, fight for our right to party now! If it's worth having, it's worth fighting for, as it says on that sign above the showers at Cheapside. In this modern world if it's trite it's right.

Oh dear, under hypnosis we're regressing to our former lives. Passes underhit, passes overhit, passes out of play. The use of the word pass is possibly a generous interpretation of the arbitrary collisions between ball and boot. Poor Gav, poor Keiran. Poor lads.

Harvey to Harvey calamity averted as Cartwright sprinted back across goal to slidey-slice away an errant shindiggger.

What is there here but an absence of Town-ness. Behold two players contemplating next year's trip to Wealdstone. With us, with someone else, the colour of the shirt they'll be wearing that day is the only open question here. I see two spindly saplings with shallow roots waiting for the ball like primary school kids. I see nothing because there's nothing to see.

It seemed so soothing as Town appeared to be grooving around afar. A nick and knock and Holohan's shot spun away for a corner, halfly cleared.

Yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah.

And their man at the back said, "Everyone attack!" and it turned into a ballroom blitz as last man Clifton didn't scythe deep in their half. Oh yeah! It was like lightning, everybody in red was frightening as Mullinboo spundled, O'Connor tippled and Cannon brilliantly blasted narrowly over Cartwright from their right.

Oh my brothers for those far away beyond our pale in the Osmond Stand it was bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now.

But for us, down in the depths of despair, we failed to see the joke. Maybe we need time and space to see this in perspective. Town certainly gave them time and space all right.

We've got that sinking feeling as one by one blinking stripers crumbled, losing power, losing their minds as each slice and swipe increased the groan level. Except Harry, of course, he kept one eye looking over his shoulder and just tried harder and harder and harder as he got older and the day got colder.

What were they up to all this time? This and that, toodling around, happily skipping along the prom without a care in the world, just mindful of the time their coach leaves and ever alert to the possibility the tide may come behind them. O'Connell or O'Connor, oh who cares who, slap-slided a slicer into the Pontoon.

There was, and I am prepared to attest to this in court, under oath, that there was a Town header towards goal once that, if we're being technical, pedantic and thoroughly desperate, would have gone in. Yes, once upon a time, but we don't all live happily ever after.

Higgles and piggles and failures to clear. Tharme knee scruffed to half snuff out the candle in the wind. Ah, but straight to Mendy whose slapshot deflected up off a striped back to somewhere vaguely near the left post. Mullinboo balletically spun-swung the dropping balloon back across Cartwright into the bottom left corner with extravagance and ease to please his far away fan club. And that was his only contribution of any note. If you're going to do anything you may as well score.

Oh, apart from a fancy flip and smart slap that Cartwright clasped at his nearest post. Apart from that and the goal, and setting up the second goal, what had he done? Yeah, nothing!

Three minutes were added and welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, well. To what do we owe the extreme pleasure of this surprising visit? Tharme roamed, Wilson spun and shot straight at flaky Arthur. Finally a shot, finally this half ended. It wasn't fine but at least it had ended.

Sometimes all you can do is sigh.

2nd half – Big drips
No changes were made by either team at half time.

Clifton sliced. That's what happened, that is. He sliced into the Pontoon, he did. That is what happened. And that was straight from the kick off. They kicked off, it went straight to Harry and Harry sliced it into the Pontoon. You do want to know what happened, don't you?


Awful drippy free kicks straight to the keeper or straight out of play, Duck Farm chucks as surrogate back plops to Okonkwo. That is what happened, or rather, what was not happening between the kabaddi and mobile mud wrestling.


On the hour a triple subbathon as Holohan then Green did the armband hokey-cokey as they turned around, what's that all about? It's a mystery, but still we try to see, who's captain now? Ain't it you? Ah, but who's crying now? It's such a pity, such a shame, all those seat flippers know who to blame. Huh, seat flippers of the world unite, you alone know it is right walk off with 20 minutes left.

If you really must know Hume, Green and Holohan were replaced by Woods, Andrews and Gnahoua. Clifton moved to left-back having been left-wing, left wing-back, right wing-back, centre midfield and also an emergency turnstile operator. And making the tea at half time. They sent Ringo out for the Jaffa cakes though, gotta make use of all staff, keep them part of the group, keep them involved.

Now and then there was movement down in the distance. An Oilly Palmer buffler slithered to Cartwright, an already offside Boyle header was swatted aside, Little Harry saved the day by hurtling the whole length of the pitch to snickle off red toes that were waltzing around our custardian. This afar and no more. We're just wasting time waiting for it all to end.

Have I told you Pyke replaced Wilson? What difference did it make? It made none.

And with ten minutes left there stopped being nothing. Town fiddled about, Thompson retrieved, Harry scuttled and Gnahoua cut in from the right to bescrunch a draggler into the bottom left corner, leaving their Arthur to clutch his pearls.

Mullinboo chased a punt and plunged to earth claiming the tortures of the damned were inflicted upon his angelic visage. Everyone ignored him. He got up and went off, as did Palmer. I’d forgotten they were still on the pitch, mind you I'd forgotten that I was still here.

Mumbling and bumbling around in front of the Pontoon. A cross sneaked away, a swipe by double deflected and Andrews mis-bumbled into the ground and across the face of goal. Through many legs the ball did pass to where, finally, Justin Spiderboy stretched and steered over the angle of post and bar. Town's rousing fight back was over, that minute ceased and all hope was abandoned by all who fled from here.

Five minutes were added. There's no wind left in our soul, I think we're going cold again.

This match was just a great big sigh, not worth seeing, not worth going to see. Town may as well have forfeited the game on Wednesday then everyone could have saved petrol and de-mothed their carpet or baked a cake.