League Two Form Guide
Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
Jumping the Shark: Bristol Rovers Report
By: Tony Butcher
Streets full of people, no-one there in a breezy Blundell Park. How late was that decision to open all the stands, when just the green seats would have done? One hundred and a bit Bristolians lined up all in a row down the Osmond End of Tumbleweed Towers.
And if one blue Bristolian accidentally falls thereâ€™ll be one less Bristolian to go and get the ball when Town launch it.
Magic of the cup?
Town lined up in the bog standard 4-4-Lump-1 formation as follows: Mildenhall, McDermott, Whittle, R Jones, Newey, Cohen, Bolland, Dr Kalala, Parkinson, G Jones, Reddy. The substitutes were Toner, Barwick, Ramsden, Gritton and the enigmatic pork scratching, Gliding Glennnnnn Downey. It filled us with inertia. If it isnâ€™t fixed, donâ€™t mend it, eh Russ? As long as the work ethic is high, youâ€™ll be our number one? Weâ€™re not the kind of fans who give in just like that. Just look around: open your eyes and ears.
Dish of the Day: I wondered how long it would take to get around to that perennial restaurant staple of winter vegetables. Whatâ€™s wrong with peas? Beware seasonal weight gain: the run up to Christmas can make you a moron, a potential health time bomb. No future, thereâ€™s no future for pumpkin soup.
Bristol Rovers? They were to be our opponents. What more do you need to know? They turned up on time, with the right number of registered players in a colour co-ordinated kit that satisfied the referee.
Ah yes, the referee; a small man. A stray Lukic wallop landed near him when he was warming up. Mildenhall asked for the ball to be kicked back. He saw his chance to score a goal on a proper football ground against a real, proper goalkeeper; what stories to tell his nieces and nephews around the Christmas fireside, whilst supping pumpkin soup. Wide on the right, just inside the area, he tried to curl the ball around the Mildster, who nonchalantly picked up the weak effort and chuckled. The little man looked crushed.
Do we have to stay and watch the film? Itâ€™s had terrible reviews recently: something about a weak script with no discernible plot, the occasional explosion and an unsatisfactory ending.
Rovers kicked off towards the Pontoon. They kicked it straight out of play. Itâ€™s up to you from now on. Do you want the short version or the unabridged, full-length Hamlet?
Newey lumped a free kick into their penalty area.
Newey kicked the ball with indeterminate power in an indeterminate direction, allowing casual observers to believe he had a shot. Hang down your head Tom Newey.
Whatâ€™s this? History repeating itself, surely not? Newey whumped a free kick into their penalty area, from the Town left. Whittle, at the far post, headed back across goal. Jones the Stick, about ten yards out, looped a gentle header into the arms of Shearer. No, not that Shearer, so Whittleâ€™s elbow didnâ€™t get excited. At some point during the first half Shearer flapped at a Newey free kick, or cross, or corner, and there was a degree of non-boredom for a brief moment. When it happened is an irrelevance, as was the outcome.
Theyâ€™re as bad as us. Two bald teams fighting over a comb.
Here comes the fudge! Jones the Lump: Big Jones, when he comes out his arms are too small, his head like a ball. Where is the ball? The ball, the ball - friend or foe? Why are we here. We few, we shrinking fools, tempted by rotten fruit. I spy with my little eye something beginning with aaarrrrrrrgggghhhhh.
Thatâ€™s nice. Bristol attacked, with a thump down their right catching Parkinson and Newey unawares. Some bloke got there, crossed, and there was a minor bit of minorness where it was possible someone thought something might happen worth telling you about. It wasnâ€™t me who thought that. A couple of minutes later the linesman forgot to put his flag up, allowing Private Walker to shuffle into the Novelty Rock Emporium that is Townâ€™s penalty area. McDermott stressed and strained, slid and clipped Walker who stumbled and.... stayed upright. Lucky old Town, for Walker lobbed the ball across rather than fall. No penalty, no chance: nothing. This game a void, one to avoid.
Newey scrumped a free kick into their penalty area.
Half an hour gone and the crowd long since distracted by crisp packets drifting across the ground. There seemed to be more cheese and onion flavour crisps discarded than any other, by a statistically significant margin. Does this mean anything? Should the Town board commission a study? And how does this impact on new stadium plans?
Oh yes, football. Ding-dong the Avon laddies calling. After a normal barging challenge Jones the Stick remained on the ground, motionless and clutching his leg. Twenty five yards out in the centre, Robomanâ€™s tracks had been blown away. Town had the ball, but walloped it long, long, long and listlessly up towards Reddy. The defence pushed up, ignoring the wounded warrior. Rovers regained possession and whacked it down their centre left. The Rovers players had realised Jones was playing them onside, and filled the space. Town players put their arms up in hope but play continued. Disley waddled forward into the area and rolled the ball across to Agogo, in the centre about ten yards out as Macca raced back. Mildenhall came out, threw himself forwards and managed to half stop the shot, but the ball rolled beneath him and slowly, slowly, slowly towards the goal. AGOGOâ€™s momentum took him to the ball and he tapped it in from a yard out. The Town players complained, as did half the Town crowd, with Mildenhall smashing his water bottle down in disgust. Perhaps there should be training sessions in how to be injured: even if your right arm falls off, hold your head; with the left arm only, of course. The scoreboard showed "Mariners 1 Bristol R 0".
Ramsden replaced Rob Jones on the restart.
Townâ€™s response was fantastic. Well, it is a fantasy that there was a response. Newey plumped a free kick into their area. The Town fans zoomed straight into post modern mode, ironically cheering even the smallest of things that didnâ€™t go wrong immediately. Parkinson ran over the ball at a free kick, a decoy for Newey to chump the ball into their penalty area. Big cheers for that: you see, this was a subtle change. Parkinson dummied on the right hand side of the pitch, rather than the left. Cunning, eh?
Mildenhall caught a cross. This was the last time Bristol bothered to go near the Town area, and it doesnâ€™t count as their sequel to Through the Looking Glass and What Agogo Found There. They did nothing in ponderous, formless, and witless manner. So a bit better than Town then.
Barren, desolate: a seaside town in winter is such a depressing place. A seasick Town is such a depressing mess. Oh look, another free kick after Cohen was defenestrated. What will we do pop-pickers? Newey dumped it into their penalty area and Whittle headed over at the far post. What cheek for Atkin to claim weâ€™re just a set piece team! Whatever gave him that idea?
With five minutes left three Town players touched the ball without it going out of play or to an opponent. I shall define this as a Town passing move for the purpose of this paper. The ball eventually fell to Kalalalalala-I-donâ€™t-want-to-get-hurt-when-Iâ€™m-playing-for-my-country-next-week, who swung his maracas and sliced a volley well high, well wide. Well! Town had a shot, and from open play too. Arenâ€™t we the blessed ones to see that. Sladeyâ€™s comet, observed every 86 years with a powerful telescope. A Kalala shot, or is that a bit of LVU there? Havenâ€™t you heard about loose vowel usage? You donâ€™t read your menâ€™s health magazines do you: itâ€™s one step away from irritable vowel usage. Thereâ€™s an epidemic of that in Hull.
You have to make your own entertainment these days. Perhaps someone should bring in an old piano for the Macclesfield game.
Itâ€™s half time. Who cares anymore?
Stu's Half Time Toilet Talk
"Have I ever told you the story of Britainâ€™s leading expert on wasp noises?"
The report continues in the Second Half.
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