Question of the Week
How long before new manager arrives?
05/11 Bristol Rovers 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NEITHER side made any changes at half time. As the game restarted the Pontoon even made an effort, a few seconds of roaring and singing. No harm, I suppose.
The first few minutes of the second half were appalling, but appalling right in front of us, suggesting that by a freak of mother nature, we might strike it lucky. Lumpman, twice, was motionless as the ball dropped within centimetres of his body. He just couldnâ€™t get the old steam engine going in time. He needs an hour of stoking. Add in, for taste, a sprinkling of Parkinson feebleness and you have a tasty dogâ€™s breakfast for those salivating hounds gathering at the gates. Buttered scapegoats on toast for tea; now whereâ€™s the jam?
Ah-ha! Here it is. A Town hoof was de-hoofed back down the right. Town simply finessed a hoofette back over the top for Parkinson to scamper after. He sprinted with purpose, challenged with power, and lobbed a cross into the area. The ball hung in the air with Shearer quivering underneath in the centre of goal three or four yards out. The Lumpster truck arrived and Shearer flapped pathetically. The ball dropped out towards the edge of the area and Bolland skimmed the ball back goalwards. Shearer fell to his right as Jones rose, swivelled and swished his left foot at the passing pebble as it skimmed across the pond. And in! Who had scored? Itâ€™s the blimp, Frank. Jones The Lump managed to accidentally shin the ball in from about three yards out, a defender missing the ball as it passed.
The game was now constantly inside the Rovers half, with Town even passing sometimes. The predominance of the welly for Reddy to chase should not detract from the improvement. By normal standards of Town-ness it would have been poor, but in the context of the first half, this was better. The Brizzle defence creaked and croaked, their keeper meek and soaked; Town still had some bubbles in their lemonade. Parkinson dribbled past two and cracked a low cross to Jones, ten yards out at the far post He turned with the speed only he can and cracked a shot against Hintonâ€™s thighs. We oohed - weâ€™re desperate. Newey curled a corner into the far post from the right-hand side, Whittle rose and gently boombled a header over the bar. We oohed - weâ€™re desperate. We have a craving for something, anything to latch on to. We want to support, give us something to support. Ah, but "we" is a diminishing number of wannabee supporters.
Ah, thatâ€™s much better. Rocket Cohen runs on beans - laser beans. Passing, movement, Cohen dribbling down the left, tipping one side, running the other, barging away one defender and being levered off the ball by another. Cohen didnâ€™t stop himself from being unbalanced and fell under the challenge as the ball was swiped away. The referee booked him for diving. The crowd displeased with the little man in black, who they believed was unbalanced himself. Whoâ€™s the what in the black? Russ is wearing black too, you know.
Still Town harried and hassled the Bristol back line in to a series of...free kicks and corners. I think you know what happens next. I refer the honorary gentleman and gentleladies to my earlier answers on the same question. Kalala had a shot, it wasnâ€™t very good. He did nothing all day; Townâ€™s midfield was the human dynamo, Bolland: sweeping here, swishing there, prompting, probing, clearing. I wish we could clone him: he was the glue today.
With about quarter of an hour left Gritton finally replaced the old tree trunk and Town had two forwards again. The change, it had to come, we knew it all along; Town were liberated from the mouldy gloop. Town were much brighter with Gritton adding subtlety, nuance and, err, movement. Reddy was no longer the lone ranger, but enriched by the added nutrient. So many nearly moments, with Rovers stretched across the canvas; Town suddenly playing one-twoâ€™s, Gritton tickling Reddy free down the right with a scrumptuous curling pass down the line. Again, a minute later with a turn and wink, Reddy bursting down the centre, clobbered in the D (Oooh, matron!) and Cohen free in the penalty area. Cohen was dispossessed and the referee awarded Town a free kick, right in the centre, twenty yards out. Newey and Kalala stood over the ball, piddled about and one of them curled it way over the bar.
Town pressure was constant, but no actual chances. How many saves must the goalkeeper make, before you call him a man? Gritton back-headed at the far post, Parkinson free, crossing low, the ball ricocheting, ping-ponging straight to a defender. Danger averted, no free ball.
Whoops. Town asleep, they attack. The ball kept going to Agogo: câ€™mom, everybody, wake up. Bounding free on their centre left, Macca pursuing vainly, Agogo a-burst in to the area, waited for Mildenhall and tried to slap the ball high across the huge magnificence. The big M simply stood tall and allowed the ball to bounce off his chest, Macca retrieved and swept this mess under the carpet.
Perhaps emboldened by having an actual factual attack, they decided to play the last 10 minutes with ten men, bringing on Stuart Campbell. He promptly fell over when the ball came near. We chuckled knowingly. Or did we knowingly chuckle?
Here is the last thing Town did - Michael Reddy chased the ball into the left hand corner, fell over before being tackled, and then got kicked anyway. Newey stumped the free kick into the keeperâ€™s arms. Grannyâ€™s holy water isnâ€™t doing it for Michael Oâ€™Reddy, is it.
With five minutes left Town played some lovely one-touch football across the pitch and finally up to Gritton, thirty yards out on the right. The ball arrived, Gritton shielded the ball from a defender, and was swept aside by a scythe. With Town set up for an attack they were suddenly undermanned on the right. Bristol za-zoomed forward with some bloke twisting and crashing a cross-shot towards goal. Mildenhall parry-punched the ball out to the edge of the area, in the centre. Disley got the ball first and hit a low shot across Mildenhall towards the left hand post. Agogo and Ramsden had tangled by that post and they rose with the ball booming towards them. AGOGO wellied the ball in from a couple of yards out. Pfft, with bedknobs and broomsticks on. There were four minutes left. Then there were four minutes of added time. Then it was over. We went home without bothering to look back at the pitch. We could have boiled two eggs and would have seen more goalmouth action.
No fans, no noise, no wins, no hope, no wonder itâ€™s dark. Everyone around Town is a total stranger to everyone. To retain sanity perhaps we should view Town-watching as like being trapped inside a perpetual Chekhov play. The private silence in which we live enables us to endure our own solitude.
There isnâ€™t anything new to say, read any report on any home game this season and itâ€™s the same pattern. How many nails does this coffin have?
Dear John - if you tolerate this our season tickets will be next.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Quite simply itâ€™s Paul Bolland: he ran all day and all of the night, once again being Kalalaâ€™s legs, lungs and brain.
Markies Unman of the Match
As every game is the same then every unman of the match is the same. Heâ€™ll keep getting it until he stops being so stubborn. Russell Slade. The law of averages suggests that one day Town wonâ€™t be absolutely dreadful at home, but that wonâ€™t prove heâ€™s right. How long is left on that contract?
Robâ€™s Rants of the Day
Is this irony? "Alan Buckleyâ€™s Black and White Army" and "Sladey to Bristol". You, the jury, decide.
Mr A Penn. A typical fourth division referee: sometimes well balanced, sometimes wilfully loopy. I donâ€™t feel like giving a score over 4.876, so I wonâ€™t. Seemed petty, and prone to moods. Or is that me?
A brief history of crime
Newey took a free kick, Newey took a corner. Jones the Stick fell over, Town didnâ€™t kick the ball out; they were kept onside, they scored. Newey took a corner, Newey took a free kick. Kalala had a shot, it was rubbish. Half time. Boo!
Their keeper flapped, Bolland slapped it back , Jones the Lump accidentally shinned the ball in from a yard out. Cohen was booked for diving. Newey took a free kick, Newey took a corner. Gritton came on. Agogo was through on goal, Mildenhall saved. Stuart Campbell came on and fell over. Newey took a corner, Newey took a free kick. Gritton was probably fouled; they ran off down their left. Mildenhall punched the cross-shot out, Disley kicked it back; Agogo, standing on the line, wellied it in.
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