Bad Vibrations

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

10 April 2024

Red kites in flight, it's a twitcher's delight. But who's twitching now? Don't look at your phones tonight for that way sadness lies.

Town lined up in a 5-3-2 formation as follows: Eastwood, Mullarkey, Rodgers, Tharme, Smith, Holohan, Thompson, Andrews, Clifton, Obikwu and Rose. The substitutes were Auton, Hume, Green, Wood, Vernam, Eisa and Wilson. Little Harry in, The Wolds Panther out, Little Jamie and his magic torch in, for whom no two nights are the same, one day he'll have a glorious game. So is he switched on?

Down the helter skelter, fast and faster, towards Cuckoo Land! Don't forget to turn right at Follifoot. It's lambing season, but who's the wolf? Is there a wolf or are we just crying?

1st half – Wheeltappers and shunters
Town kicked off with a lump towards the rump of Townites kettled into the corner. It's neither one thing nor another, neither, either is it anything, whatever and it's not not knowing that there ain't nothing showing. Don't mention Trevor ever again, it's not clever mentioning Trevor. However…

Corners, Tharme-ins, blah-blah-blah. You see the thing about the Tharme-in is that it is a controlled explosion of sound and vision without physical contact. An initial whoosh of wonder that soon palls on repeat. Can’t we have a guitar solo instead. A bit of feedback goes a long way, just the Tharme-in. Head tennis, drop volleys, backhanders and slices of cucumber. Rodgers nodding on, we're nodding off.

Harrogate. Yes. That's where we are. That's all there is to say. It's somewhere to park.

Down in the meadow with the wind in the west, a creaking Mariner faced up to the test. A custard pass intercepted by Andrews, bimbling to Rose, bombling free and back towards the borrowed Baggieboy. Andrews re-collided with the reboundaball and Old Gav chugged through the Vale of York. The keeper crept out and Holohan tapped against the billowing Belshaw.

Harrogate. Yes. We're still here. That's all there is to say. It's somewhere in the dark.

Tharme-in, Tharming, looping, flooping and drooping. You can like it or lump it. You have to say Town are lumping it and we're not liking it. Must we? Needs must.

Shush. It's all so quiet.

Near half time at a point in time that exists in some astral plane Andrews underscrumpled a corner to the nearest post. Tharme back-flicked uppily, Obikwu glided into the void and noddled over the keeper and past a last, lone defender stood upon the goal line. We want the world to know we're happy as can…mystification at official obfuscation. The linesman flagging, the referee wagging. They don't know much about geography, they don't know much trigonometry and they don't know what the offside rule is, for one and one is two and there were two players 'twixt Spiderlegs and the nettage.

As Rose and Holohan pursued life, liberty and happiness through the Socratic method it was clear that discourse was engaged, views were expressed. In words of no syllables.

We're cursed, cursed I tell yer, with plagues of linesmen.

Obikwu blocked a Rose flop-header. Harrogate. Yes, they do exist. Sutton slinked and sneaked a snapshot and Eastwood did the Charleston, flapping aside. Corner. Deep. Bloke unmarked. Bloke fell over. FACT!

Fact into doubt won't go.

What an awful drear this sorry charmless, cheerless chore of bore is.

2nd half – Carpet samples
No changes were made by either team at half time.

Slipshod, slapdash hashing of red shins, a clearance recycled. Thomson wallowed in time and space, walloped from afar and the ball wibbled and wobbled and Eastwood waved as it drifted and dropped into the top right corner. Shocked. And stunned. And that's just the home fans who, after checking their phones, realised the ball had gone in.

He hit it and it went in, there we are, that's it, that's all there is and all there is to it. Shall we go home now?

They stood in a line waiting. We kicked the ball, they headed it. We kicked the ball, they headed it. An empty feeble feeling settled upon the terrace, mirroring the feeble emptiness on the pitch. Boys brushed aside, old men overrun, small men swamped, big boys bullied. They gave us space and we fell into the hole.

Moments, now and again, well, now, never again. A red corner knocked and kneed in and out, Thompson poked twicely, Rose's cross deflibbled drippily and Holohan snuggled a swinging, spinning volley over. And there it is, there it was. That's it.

Yes, yes, Holohan's swooping cross was magnificent. In theory. In practice Green was ambling. Oh yeah Green, he replaced, err, someone, let's say Andrews. It could have been anyone. What difference does it make? No more apologies, no more. We're too sick and tired today.

The ball rolled along the touchline past the managers' dugouts. And out of play. And Thomson carried on. The evil linesmen looked down the line and said "Carry on", so Thomson carried on, to be felled by irate redsoccerballers. Observations were made within earshot of the flagging fool.

Changes, what changes, the change that had to come. The miscast Clifton was replaced by Hume, Big Don for the candy floss legs of Justin Spindle and the Wolds Panther descended from the hills precipitating Holohan's sad perambulation past the sullen support, hollowed-eyed at his, ours, their haplessness. What difference did it make? Oh, it made none.

Aimless and artless, careless and heartless. A formless phantom drifting like mist on the moors. This is what it is, we are what we are. Where's the nearest bar?

Receding, ebbing away, drifting into the tumbleweeds. Bumbling Tharme and Daly passed against Eastwood. Back out, back in, don't back off! Thomson's low sniffler was shovelled aside. More stuff? If you wish. A yellow free kick 20 yards out, Jumping Jake tippled over from over the bar. Is it over yet?

Breaks now and then, by… Tsk, you didn’t think…no, you did! Deflected flummery perhaps even off red shins, Odah jinking and passing through the eye of a needle to miss every living human inside the Town six-yard box.

Four minutes were added.

And at the last Town, finally, eventually, lumped and dumped and Wilson swivelled to slice. And so Town succeeded in the impossible, losing a bore draw because of the recurring flaw. They keep having to play football.

What is this Town? Just a bunch of carpet samples, all beige with slightly different patterns and length of pile. It hides the dirt for a while. Not long before we refit the flooring. How long can we rely on the kindness of strangers?