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Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
Dry Bones - First Half
By: Tony Butcher
Town kicked off towards the Osmond Stand, the details lost in the giddy excitement of Town not launching it up in the air immediately: they waited at least five seconds.
Town up and at 'em, urgent, snapping, clapping into tackles. At least we're awake today.
Don't jump to conclusions when you have the thinnest of factual trousers in your wardrobe. The defence spent the first ten minutes in standby mode. A free kick on their left, twenty yards out, curling into the centre with a Stockyboy dipping and glancing a header loopily over. Moments of nearlyness, the wind cried wary of this evening. Three times the ball was zipped through by Stockport, three times defenders dozed.
With five minutes gone, Mr Macca pursued a bouncing ball to the edge of the Town area, right in the centre. Mildenhall waited, Macca nodded, Easter toodle-pipped around the back to stick out a boot and flick the ball against Mildenhall's huge piratical chest. Macca apologised and the Pontoon raised its collective left eyebrow in surprise. Jones, then Whittle allowed the ball to roll through with Easter lurking, the ball slowing and Mildenhall still negotiating the purchase of his second meat and potato pie. Inches from embarrassment, and haven't we all been at some point.
Reddy running quickly with the ball and falling over: nothing new there. Has he a problem with his ears, or was he, in a previous life, a fey Victorian fopster prone to fainting? What are Town up to? What are they doing? In the air to Andrew, who beat his marker every time. Flick and chase, Stockport under pressure, but no chances created.
That's better: passing, on the floor, the ball fizzing and whizzing between the red stockings; Bolland surging; Parkinson gavoting through the area on the left, a shot blocked. Bolland followed up, and from twenty yards, ba-doom! A searing, slicing shot across goal, a foot or so wide. The crowd awoke: Town's footballing heart revived after fifteen minutes. Stockport did not even wink at Mildenhall for the next twenty minutes. All Town, all good, all's right with the world.
Oo-Kalala, spinning, hustling, muscling a shot over the roof after some marvellously masculine passing and movement from Town. Jones the Stick had hit two Hatmen, swatting them away, leaving Jones the Lump to trundle forward and release the dog of war for the shot . Bolland: omnipotent, omnipresent and omnivorous. Scooping up humanity in the centre circle, bursting forward imperiously. Wolski stood and stared, waving, but not yet drowning. Wolski beat a retreat, raised a leg and hooked Bolland down with a scythe. The crudest, most obvious foul ever. Laughably rubbish; and remember we've seen Tommy Widdrington.
The ball rolled on, Jones the Lump took up Anneka's challenge, bumbling forward on the centre right, attracting flies. He reached the edge of the area, ignored the unmarked Andrew and Parkinson, and stubbed a flat chip safely over the bar. Wolski suffered a stern finger wagging from the referee, but no booking.
More Town pressure, Reddy rocking down the right, into the area, along the bye-line andâ€¦ down he went. Is he incapable of standing up inside the penalty area? Andrew lung-bursting through a tackle, doing his best to fall over a leg, then fall into the area. Great strides taken, so little reward. A Macca raid, Jones the Lump steered a header softly to Duke. A Reddy cross, another Lumpy header. Pressure mounting, Town improving. The G-clamp ever tightening around Stockport's table leg. The grip firm, the saw came out, ready for the final chop. About six inches should do the trick.
Just after the half hour Town slapped them down with power, precision and passionate passing. Down the right, Andrew stretching, Kalala beating his tambourine, floozing a dipping, swirling cross to the unmarked Parkinson at the far post. Parky watched, the ball dropped. Yer rubbish! Gary Childs would have volleyed that an inch wide. Parkinson retained possession, spun and clipped a cross over. The ball sailed, Andrew soared and, from beyond the far post, at a very narrow angle, plonked a header back over the dizzy 'keeper. Ooh, close that, on to the roof of the net. Err, no, off the face of the crossbar, the ball dropped to JONES THE LUMP, who volleyed in from six centimetres out. Oh, we're winning, jolly good.
Town players started to show off a bit, displaying the arrogance of apparent adequacy. They were treating Stockport far too lightly, for these winless wonders were not bad at all. They had a pesky pest up front and a bit of organisation, even an idea or two how to attack. They had potential to upset us, that was clear. But we're Town, we're winning, why bother with the opposition? They're here for us, like a late delivery of beefburgers at a barbecue. Crack open a Tizer and chuck some meat on the griddle, they'll cook themselves whilst we play twister by the pool, all to a surfer beat.
Kalala started to diddle about inside the Town half, oblivious to the sea of blue about to engulf him. Passes became more artistic, flicks flourished, possession frittered away, time ticking down. Flippin' 'eck! A walloped clearance from a Town corner and red light spells danger. Croft sprinting, Easter easing by, fiddling and flinging a cross into the centre. Briggs arrived unseen and nodded the ball rather nicely into Mildenhall's saucepan. Using a little cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and a dash of Worcester Sauce, he tossed the ball from hand to hand and boomed it upfield towards Andrew. Yes, the tactic remained the same.
Nothing else really happened. Town continued to thump on the Stockport door, but nobody was home. Andrew and Parkinson were often free, but frequently momentum was lost through them wanting to shuffle the ball to their stronger foot. Even the Stockport defenders realised all they had to do was allow them to go on the outside. It was rather odd, as this was by far Town's best home half of the season. Bolland and Andrew were immense, whirling dervishes of action, the principle actors in this play. The crowd were buoyant and pleased, for it was simply the urgency and the occasional pass that corned the Town beef. The goal was the pickle that topped the evening off nicely.
So, same again Slade? Or will Turner do something to nullify Andrew and tell his midfield to tackle? Was it wise of the tannoy to give the half time scores and then say where Town would be in the league with 13 points? Questions, questions, turn to page 42 for the answers.
Stu's Half Time Toilet Talk
"If I was a cannibal I'd dine well off Dje's thighs."
The report continues in the Second Half.
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