Football Blog: Tangerine Flavoured

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Charlie Adam's Tangerine! - the Mighty vs Fleetwood Town

As I walk to the ground, I see a grandad stoop to do up his grandsons coat. I miss my grandad. I miss my boy being young enough to need to have his coat done up. I find there's something about little everyday moments of care and tenderness that cut through me to my soul, a pang of melancholy beauty overwhelms me at the gentle way the old fella pulls the coat to make sure the zip doesn't trap the boy's skin and ruffles his hair once they're ready to march to the game together. What is more beautiful than that? Going to the match with yer grandad who loves you unconditionally. Honestly. I'm welling up.  

The low sun makes everything hazy. There's more police than away fans. A solitary cry of 'cod army' eminates from the Fleetwood fans shuffling past. A desultory retort of 'going down' is the half arsed response from our numbers. 

This is not so much a rivalry as a minor neighbourly dispute. This might be the last time we do this, in the league at least. It's hard to see them receiving the kind of money they've had put into them going forward. 

Tony Parr reads out the mascots favourite players. Kaddy. Kaddy. Kaddy and.... Kaddy. A weird slap bass chilled out smooth funk track provides a pre match mood more suited to being piped into the Teanlowe Centre in Poulton to accompany pensioners having a milky coffee than football match against your near neighbours.  

This is DEFINITELY NOT a derby. It just isn't. 


Everything is fine until Fleetwood break. I don't know exactly how it comes to this, but Grimmy running away backwards, trying to get to his goal, Marvin seems to just fall out of the picture and their big lad is running through, completely unopposed but then Hubby saves the day with a brilliantly timed tackle, from behind, taking the ball cleanly and...  I think there's a chant in his honour. I can't be sure, but I'm fairly certain I hear his name ring out! Tremendous stuff from the League 1 Baresi. 

We're back into the game. There are corners. Our best move is a load of passing that ends with a chest from Bees, a flick from Kaddy, a flick on from Carey and Lavs stretching but not quite reaching it before the keeper. It would have been a tremendous goal.

They're quite big and worryingly, they seem able to push us over pretty easily. Hubby is sent face first into the turf by a shoulder to shoulder challenge. Coulson looks tiny in comparison to some of them. Have we washed him since Saturday? Was the bath too hot after that game? He seems to have shrunk. 

We're twatting about again having a lot of the play but without really threatening much. Carey whips some balls in. We don't attack them. Carey seems to have an unerring ability to aim good balls at Kaddy, which might be a slight waste of the work seen as up against the Fleetwood defence, Kaddy is like a gnome in a forest of giant redwoods. 

We're still twatting about, going across the edge of the box when Kaddy disdainfully flicks it wide to CJ, the ball seeming to say, 'go on, do something' - CJ does, taking a touch and then lifting a really nice near post ball, where Jake Beesley levers himself away from his man and falls forward, like a middle aged dad flopping into a swimming pool, meeting the ball perfectly, and then leaping up from the turf and running away in celebration as the ball sneaks through the gap between the keeper and the near post. BEEEEEES! 

A diving header! What could be better? 

Lets go on now and score some more. Surely we won't make the same mistake as last week. I mean, imagine if we ended up relying on a Grimmy wonder save again against a team in as much trouble as Fleetwood. We'll be fine! Don't be so pessimistic! 

Byers smashes one from the edge of the box that sits up beautifully. It's well hit, but straight at the keeper. CJ has a run into the box. He hasn't done that for ages. There is a semi plausible claim for a penalty but I don't think it's a terrible injustice that isn't given. Having done two good things, CJ then balances it up slightly by racing to meet a ball looping in the air by the corner flag and just inexplicably tapping it out of play and looking a bit surprised at what he's chosen to do as if he doesn't control his legs. 

Marvin is completely undone by their big lad up front. There's a dangerous cross. Jimmy Husband is again brilliant, with one of those last ditch tackles where he launches himself full length. 


I'm not sure what to make of it. We're in front. We've been ok-ish in phases but it's weirdly flat. There's no real edge to it.

As I'm walking through the concourse, I catch a snatch of conversation
'you weren't joking were you?' 
'no, it's been like this all season' 
'just fucking sling it into the box for fucks sake...' 


C'mon Pool, lets get this over with. 

The first moment turns out not really to be a moment at all and more of an optical illusion. We break and the ball is crossed, Bees strikes it, it looks goal bound but it actually lands further away from goal than Bees is. I can't tell if it hit a defender or the gangly one sliced it - if he did, I bet he couldn't do that again if he tried to. 

Then a lovely hit from Byers, taking in a little touch back and with the crisp precision of someone folding origami, having a gentle touch and then arrowing a no backlift low effort that bisects everyone in a crowded box and whistles agonisingly wide. 

It's Kaddy's turn next, taking the ball on the bounce from a knock down and cracking a first time effort that is alway just rising a little bit too much which is a shame because it's swerving in a way that would have been beautiful had it been caught by the net. 

Lavs is running hard and seems to have the advantage over the Fleetwood defender patrolling the channel he wants to hit. We're on top. It's a matter of time. 

Or is it? Marvin gets tangled up. Jimmy has to intervene again. Fleetwood's Lawal, who I really like the look of, being both big and good at football (plenty of players in this division are one or the other, but few are both) has a run and just as it looks like he's over cooked things, he gets a shot off that ricochets horribly and Marvin this time gets things right, getting just enough on it to take it away from a Fleetwood man. 

On the touchline Charlie looks basically the same as a bloke managing a Glasgow Sunday league side would. I love his ability to look like he's just some fella, despite probably having spent more than my monthly wage on his outfit. Critchley suddenly chucks a massive paddy, shouting so loud as to be audible across the whole ground and clapping in anger. I don't know what that was about. 

Lavs is haring in again, running as he does like a child down a hill, momentum growing, struggling to stay upright. He'd be ideal in that weird cheese rolling thing where everyone belts down a slope after it I think. I digress. He's going square, looking for the space to shoot. It looks to me like he runs into Kaddy, but the ref blows and points to the spot, and I realise he is actually tripped and his momentum means his stumbles and flies into Kaddy. 

Here we go. It's low, it's hard.... and yet, their keeper gets to it and turns it round the post. It wasn't a bad spot kick. I've seen far worse go in, but it's a really good save. Fucking hell Pool. Can we just properly win a game for once? 

Maybe we will. CJ is flying through the middle, set away on the break, he's not getting caught. This will be a lovely way to put it to bed. CJ makes to go round the keeper. He's knocked it quite wide, but maybe he's fast enough to catch it anyway... the keeper doesn't want to take the gamble and squarely trips him up, no disguise at all. That's a red. 

It isn't. Steve Banks gets booked for pointing out that it was the most blatantly obvious red card ever in the history of football. Which is fun. I wonder when his last booking for us was? About 1998 I'd reckon. Possibly the refs logic was 'c'mon, it was CJ' but that's not really an argument an official should be making, however grudgingly you have to admit it has some logic to it. Carey smashes the free kick straight into the wall but then catches the rebound beautifully and the goalie that shouldn't be there makes another good save, low to his left and Sonny is denied a lovely goal. 

Then Fleetwood score. I'm doing the full on head in hands, fucks sake Pool, why is always like this routine when there's a cheer and I look up to see the offside flag. It's a delightful moment as it takes Fleetwood fans longer to realise and their celebrations to die down. Sit down...! 

We make some subs. We have some breaks. Sonny fights his way up the pitch well, but we can't quite finish it off. Joseph hares up the other side of the pitch but ends up playing a weird square pass that isn't on. Fleetwood are putting more and more players up front. We try and kill it by adding Virtue for his weekly 8 minutes. 

We don't kill it. Fleetwood score, the ball nodded down and one of their subs catching a kind of scissor kick effort on the full, sending the ball crashing into the roof of the net. Except they don't, because despite my minds eye reading it thus, Grimmy flings his arms and himself upward and pulls of another miracle point blank save and I actually shout 'fucking hell... Grimmy! fucks sake! Grimmy!' because I can't believe he's saved it and I can't believe we're here again. 

Still they come. We're absolutely all over the place. The ground is finally alive. There's smoke, drums. Seaside... Barmy Army... We're willing them to just not fuck this up. The referee seems to be adding time that doesn't exist and barking louder than I've ever heard a ref shout at players... It's like the yapping of a dog. We can't keep the ball, we look to have no shape at all and they're pinging the ball between them and cutting us to bits, a flick on, A touch back, a drive and Grimmy again, tumbling to his left, the ball skidding off the turf and Grimmy spills it and scrambles forward then kills the ball, lying on it and breathing deeply. 

We're done. Thank fuck for that. 


Critchley does possibly the worst fist pump he's ever done. It's like the kind of celebration a quite desperate double glazing salesman who has just scored a contract for a 3 bed semi detached would do. If he gets us up this season, it will be the most astonishing triumph of stubborn will over reality. 

It's more of the same. We're not able to score enough when we're on top and we end up under pressure eventually as a result. There's only 3 points for a win, regardless of how many you score, but too many times we haven't got those 3 points because we don't score enough goals. I suppose you have to say we created chances and missed a penalty. I felt sorry for Lavs. He can't buy a break at the moment and he played ok tonight. 

It is astonishing to think we're still theoretically 'in the hunt' - the fixtures have been kind and Barnsley aside, remain so. I still think we'll trip, or if we don't, that we've already stumbled too many times and are playing largely for pride. I say that, but I'm going to Carlisle and if I'm truly honest... You never know. You just never fucking know do you? I don't know. I don't think so. But who knows? Again, it doesn't seem like I've just watched promotion winners. Maybe, just maybe, that's the plan. To go so under the radar, that not even your own fans recognise what's happening... 

Byers played well - it's irritating to think that he's probably another on the list of 'loan players we'd really like to stay but probably won't' because he's becoming increasingly key. We've lost Rhodes and we've not got enough goals. We'll lose Kaddy and we're way short of magic and he's got levels of wizardry it feel impossible to replace. Byers gives us a bit of tempo and character and basically is a kind of slightly more floppy haired Kenny Dougall with quicker feet and losing the actual Kenny Dougall was bad enough in the first place. 

Whatever... the main thing is - we beat the upstart tinpot non league neighbours and Charlie Adam's tangerine... 


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