Comedy Nights

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

17 April 2024

I know I've been mad, I've always been mad, like most of us have. It's very hard to explain why most of us are here, even if you are not mad? There's no reason for it, you've got to go to Colchester sometime.

Can Town make the impossible possible? If anyone can this Town can.

Town lined up in a 3-5-2 formation as follows: Eastwood, Mullarkey, Tharme, Rodgers, Smith, Clifton, Thompson, Green, Vernam, Wilson and Obikwu. The substitutes were Auton, Maher, Hume, Ainley, Andrews, Wood and Eisa. What a tasteless troop that is. Town are still in the soup and we're being fed with consommé.

What's going on in that midfield? Where's Harry? Diamond formation? Does anyone really know what that is? I mean, at least you knew where you were with Alan Buckley's winging wonders. You know? 4-4-2, 4-2-4, 4-3-3... 0898 654000, freephone double glazing? If we can see through it so can Dannyboy Cowley.

A rainbow, a raincloud, clear blue skies, windy but windless and yet sneakily cold in a barren breeze block building just by the bypass. Is this what £30m gets you? Is this the future? Is this it?

What is it?

Shall we just get on with it? Any time will do, I don't mind. Are we cruising for a bruising?

1st half – Wrapped around their finger
The boys in blue kicked off towards the Town fans with a kick and rush. What a palaver, what a pullover, well it is a bit parky.

What is this before us? It's a far cry from small boys in the park, jumpers for goalposts. Rush goalie. Two at the back, three in the middle, four up front, one's gone home for his tea. Beans on toast? Possibly, don't quote me on that. Marvellous. For the Cowleywobblers.

Moogling and googling afar. Obikwu shirked, Vernam shrugged, Fevrier danced through dandelions and tapped to Mike Read, 275 and 285, or is it Al Read? No, it's Arthur Read, who turned on 'alf a sixpence on the 'alfway line dissecting, bisecting the back line. Hopper sauntered solo down the middle as Eastwood kangarooed forward, waited, waited, waited and lofted a waft over the plunging custard.

Feeble feet, big holes, goal. A short, sharp, shock. Dig it?

Words were exchanged, fingers pointed and points made. And points probably lost already.

Passes straying, home fans braying, Akinde barging, red shorts bumping off boys in blue. Alas and alack, Thompson only has one broom, he can only sweep one floor at a time.

Vernam had a shot. That's nice for him. Perhaps he'd like to try tackling next. Or tracking back.

Attention, please: will the owner of Read's pie van move it from the players' entrance. Thank you. You'll be lucky, I'll say, you’ll be lucky. Read ran rings around our swingers.

Hoiks and hoofs, hits without hope, nothing to show for a red shift in momentum. They've made up their mind, ain't wasting no more time, and here they go again on their left. Or was it right, or was it the middle. It was everywhere where there be plenty of holes in our desert.

One-two-three-bump. One-two-three-bump. Knick-knack paddy whack, now they're standing back to back. A knick, a knock on the floor, Akinde bumped Duck Farm a little more and McGeehan bedraggled inchlets wide of the right-hand post after local lads had moved in synchronicity. Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense, nonsense, there was a causal connection - the lack of causal connections between those in red. Poor old Harry, poor old Kieran, one can never doubt their indefatigable spirit.

Feeble feyness, Cowleywobblers approaching. Rodgers hooked not once, but twice, with precision swoops inside the penalty area. A hoof'n'head and McGeehan barundled across the face of the penalty area. Akinde stretchy-flicked on for the flying Fevrier, who cut back inside as Rodgers did slide and Tharme magnificently retreated to head off the line.

Town had the ball. So what? In football having possession is nine-tenths of the bore.

Infiltrations but no need for deliberations. Obikwu decided to dive after declining to drive goalwards. Infiltrations, but no cause for celebrations. Wilson wiggled past the keeper but cross-shot against a retreating blue body. Infiltrations, but no jubilation. Wilson wriggled free but the shot sniggled off blue socks.

Just isolated moments of connectivity in a sea of drivel.

As the half began to end Obikwu charged down a pass back to keeper. The ball ballooned into the middle of the centre, straight to Green, who tapped to the now lurking Spiderlegs by the penalty spot. Obikwu took a touch, turned to see bare nettage, but along came a small blue spider to block away.

Should have been. Wasn't.

I mean we got off lightly, 'cause they could've given us a thrashing in this half. They only hit us once. Not yet down and certainly not out. It can be helped and there's been a lot of it about this season. Just give it a go and get into them!

2nd half – Kings of pain
Their Smith was replaced by Chilvers at half time.

C'mon, Town. Self-belief. We can do it. We can do it. We can do it, we can do it, we can really move from our heads right down to our blue suede shoes. Isn't it? Rubettes, 1973?

Town snipping and snapping, Collies wobbling. Smith roaming, Wilson slicing, Harry drubbling into traffic, Harry crossing, no-one there. Harry surging, Harry passing to the absent Wilson rather than shooting from ten yards. Harry's head in Harry's hands. That's the trouble with Harry.

Flicks and tricks, Obikwu behind the dallying Dallison. Obikwu dived, Obikwu was booked. Don't delude yourselves, the borrowed boy chose to tumble rather than shoot.

And all the while Colchester sat back, whittling their sticks, polishing their nails and waited for the big balls. Finally, someone, somewhere couldn't resist and boom-bang-a-banged away. Off they flew, Eastwood and Tharme sliding, Eastwood and Tharme remaining face down in the dirt as Town counter-attacked. And? And nothing?

Hornby told off for timewasting. Hornby booked for timewasting. Hornby carried on wasting time.

Obikwu withdrew from human conflict, Akinde ran off unmolested with Thompson eating a particularly stodgy treacle sponge and left with custard all over his face. Fevrier spurtled up the wing and wafted a wiffle across the face of goal and off the farthest face of the farthest post.

Thompson off, Wood on.

A mugging, official shrugging and a red swarm descended. Tackles and tickles and Obikwu snickled away on the right to coil a tempting swirler into a blue void filled with red. At the near post, just eight yards out, Little Harry leant back and glanced a drifter across the face of goal. The static Hornby watched aghastly and lastly happily as at the very, very last moment the ball swung wide and away from the post. Too much reverse swing Harry, don't rub the ball so hard next time.

With twelve minutes left the perfectly adequate and decent Smith was replaced by Eisa. Deckchairs were re-arranged. Forgive me if I use a technical term, but there really is no other way to describe this: poncing about at the back. I think that's the category input by the Data Analyst, isn't it? Over, under, sideways and finally down. When will it end?

From inside the Town penalty area, with all in red scattered to the ends and indeed all corners of the earth, Tharme pinged a perfect pass directly to Chilvers, stood alone in the middle of the middle of the Town half. Akinde brushed aside Clifton, looked up, saw friends and foes gathering afar, and carefully chipped thataway. The ball arced perfectly into the top right corner as a lone local voice was booming: "Look at him trying to go through on his own! LOOK AT HIM! He's the world's worst! It's pathetic! Now watch him lob it into the stand! HE'S SCORED! What did I tell you? WHAT DID I TELL YOU?? He's a good 'un, him!"

We need to address the elephant on the room. Duck Farm. Destroyed and subjected to a masterclass in old-school centre forwardism by Big Old John Akinde. Ooh, got it all you know. Speed, acceleration, sweet right foot, all the tricks – the dummy, the drop of the shoulder, the shimmy, nutmeg, jiggery-pokery, hocus pocus by Focus, abracadabra, I wanna reach out and grab ya. Steve Miller Band? Spin Doctors? John Akinde and Jude Bellingham? Very similar.

Yes, Tharme outpaced and outplayed by Akinde, a man who has lost the pace he never had. But not the nous. They had strikers, we had two feathers.

Obikwu to Eisa to Wood to shoot, to see Hornby tip over. You see, shooting on sight might work. Someone should tell Wilson, freed but daftly flicking out for a goal kick. Too much happy-clappy ping-pong poncing for the show reels.

Six minutes were added.

Time ticking away, merely delaying the beginning of the queue to start queuing to begin to queue on the A12 diversion. It was, in truth, diverting to be pondering how to get out of this dirty old part of the city, where the sun refuses to shine. Green shot, Clifton shot and Dallison's aim was untrue, ploughing the field and scattering Justin Spiderlegs over the ground. A red card and, several decades later, Dallison finally left the field of play. A central free kick and Vernam's gentle curl was flat-batted aside for a corner. It dripped deep, it dropped onto Eisa's foot three yards beyond the far post and dropped off Eisa's foot. The end.

Those who can didn't. Those who can't, well, can't. Colchester were athletically superior and more robust. They didn't mind getting hurt, they did what was required, not what looked nice.

Town? A bunch of dandies wilted in the dark. This is not over yet.