Football Blog: Tangerine Flavoured

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The worst match report in history: the Mighty vs Barrow.

I've got sort of used to football without crowds but this is different. It feels like I've arrived early and everyone is yet to come. I feel like I've switched on on the wrong day. 

This isn't some soulless enormodome with plastic football being played for the edification of corporate glory whores and the petrochemical industry. This is Bloomfield and it feels really odd that's it empty. I suppose it shouldn't because it doesn't look that much different to those even stranger times* when I barely cared about the outcome of games and would occasionally watch the YouTube highlights of some players I can barely recall win or lose against a backdrop of empty stands and feel just about nothing but a sense of regret and resignation. 

*I'm not sure the bizarre experience of a football club being held hostage by an insane scarecrow and his curmudgeonly son is more or less odd than a global pandemic. In the unlikely event that any non Blackpool fans are reading this, the level of oddness of the whole surreal Oyston saga can perhaps be understood by the fact I'm not sure if Covid19 is stranger or not. 

The empty ground is echoing to sound of seagulls and backdropped by grey skies and how I feel now the metaphorical clouds have lifted from the club is indicated by the fact I haven't done anything since getting in from work other than dump my bag by the front door and switched on the video even though this match doesn't matter one bit. I'm hanging on every bit of team news from Chissy and it's only fucking pre season.

I need to have a word with myself. 

I have a word with myself. 

Myself answers me back and says 'shut up, sit down and watch some champagne football' 


Barrow acquit themselves well early on. They're neat and tidy and quite brave with ball, if lacking a player with a really dangerous edge. Michael Nottingham is a presence and Nathan Shaw, playing again at left back, an unlikely star in a team of attackers as he delivers some nice crosses. I'm on Madine watch again and clearly his best work is with his back to goal and the plan seems to be to use him as the pivot for the attack with Sullay and CJ getting around him. At this point, I realise I'm using the players first names which is the sort of informality that I imagine they do on shite like Arsenal TV and matey japey podcasts where inane banter is fired around and people pretend they're friends with the players they pay to watch. I might write the rest of the report in a 1950s idiom as penance. 

Pool are on top, without creating much. Possession and pressing but not much penetration until Thorniley plays a ball from the left and Ward controls it, but always looking a little awkward scoops a difficult chance past the far post. I've noticed that Thorniley in possession at the back does a little prancing movement, like a pony. I wonder if that's natural or if he's simply trying to show Critchley that he's trying his best to be a cultured centre half by radiating 'on his toes alertness' to possible passes. 

Ex Seasider Scott Quigley is wrestled to ground. The resultant free kick forces a good low save from Maxwell who looks assured and alert all 45. 

Nathan Shaw, is boxed in but gets tricky in the corner and a lovely swinging cross results from a situation he seemed to have no hope in. Antwi was great in the last two games, but Shaw is just as good in what I see today. 

CJ Hamilton evades 3 defenders, he seems to change form like mercury and just run through, around, between them beating more than he needs to but still getting a low shot away that cannons into a defender. 

It's hard to tell if Kaikai is quiet or showing positional discipline. Is he less interested or is he doing a job? I watch him closely and he's a key part of part of next two chances. He slips a lovely slide rule pass to (that man) Shaw who puts another dangerous cross in. 
Then KaiKai interchanges with Hamilton who races through again, he's like a pull back car that's been pushed to the limit of its spring and let go, he's explosive, rocket fuelled, absolute lightning. His shot forces a sharp save from the keeper and the rebound is just out of Hamilton's reach. The resultant corner leads to another corner and then Sarkic (who has looked tidy and assured) puts it on a plate at far post for Thorniley to thump home a classic centre backs goal. 

It has to be said, goal aside, Thorniley who has looked far more comfortable alongside Nottingham who himself has looked pretty assured. It also has to be said that whilst Quigley is a presence, Barrow aren't exactly pumping balls into the box again and again and the defence is more comfortable than with Vale's more direct style and the cunning and power of Tom Pope barrelling round. 

Kaikai whistles a deflected curling shot past the post. 

As the half comes to a close Barrow slip the defence, and a neat through ball has their forward free but Maxwell does very well to convincingly stop it. 

At half time I think we've looked more solid but less threatening. It feels like the same story with Madine. He's good with his back to goal but several times I feel like he's lingered on the ball instead of offloading it. He doesn't seem to be quite on the wavelength of the others. He is the heart of the best move of the half, a beautiful one touch move that happens so quickly and comes to nothing but takes in a ball into the Goal Machine where for once he offloads instantly to the runners who surround him. 

Nottingham has seem more assured than Ekpiteta did in the same role and whether that's transmitted to Thorniley or he's just benefitted from the game time I don't know but I'm slightly more convinced by the centre backs. Robson has been calm and neat and tidy and I feel there's more to come from him. 

I'm looking forward to the second half and then. 


The screen goes dead. The video has gone. The club has pulled it from YouTube. 

I could make up the second half I suppose. 

Charlie Adam lands in a helicopter, signs a contract and throws open the gates of Bloomfield Road, thousands stream in and Neil Critchley vacinates them all and Covid is over.

To celebrate, the FA award Blackpool the 1939/40 title and a smiling Simon Sadler tells the assembled crowds, arm in arm, hugging and cheering, singing and chanting, friend and foe united in joy :

"I'm delighted. To be honest, I asked Jamie Devitt to have a look at it. He'd been hanging around doing sweet FA for a year, so I gave him a 'my first chemistry set' and said 'see if you can crack this Jamie cos you don't do much else m8' and thankfully, he did."

I think that's what happened anyway. Doesn't seem too far fetched against recent events. I'll never know for sure.  


Is it wrong to be really bitter that I missed out on seeing Jamie Devitt play? 


1 comment:

  1. You do make me laugh :D As well as Shaw is playing I think it depends very much on where he sees Husband playing - if that's left back, I can't see Shaw being first choice. If Husband is going to play centrally then LB is open.


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