Who needs that fancy ‘pass and fall over’ Premier League football when you have the infinitely more satisfying hack n’ slash, hoofitup punchfest that is the Championship? I know that defence is more iffy than the one commanded by Adrian Lopez against QPR last year, but it’s the prerogative of a Wigan Athletic supporter to continually justify their questionable Saturday afternoon hobby. But enough about my 90s chocolate bar wrapper collection.
On the day after Latics unveiled their official grass green third kid for the 2013-14 campaign, there were concerns that the players might be camouflaged and people may not know if they had actually turned up come 3.00pm. I could insert a witty performance-related punchline right here, or I could stop wasting my word count and write about this afternoon’s game against Bournemouth. Aww Mum, do I *have* to? There are 326 more pages of my Cack Jokes book to work through before this website is retired, and I want to be sailing down the Panama Canal in a narrowboat, cigar in hand this time next year.
Back in the U.S. of K, specifically the beautiful south, supporters were relieved to see Wigan take to the pitch in their traditional blue and white stripes as kickoff approached at a decidedly damp Dean Court. The home side were quicker off the mark, however, and almost hit the lead within a minute when Lewis Grabban gratefully lapped up a misplaced Latics pass. Thankfully, Scott Carson took enough off his effort to prevent it creeping over the goal line before a defender could sweep up the crumbs. Note this aberration for later as it will prove rather important.
The visitors worked their way back into things, and were increasingly deadly on the break. But though McCarthy stung Ryan Allsop’s palms on 6 minutes, shots on goal were a rare commodity. As the Wigan passing machine slowly lost vital components all over the field, the hosts set about picking Latics’ locks with varying degrees of success. Grabban was again denied by an advancing Carson and the Cherries’ magic towel was now putting a spell on the Wigan backline.
Though they tried, Wigan failed to set up another decent strike before the half was out. In attempting to do so, they didn’t just shoot themselves in the foot but blow it beyond all recognition with a Looney Tunes-esque elephant gun when James Perch played through Grabban from the opposition half. This time, the Bournemouth striker did not fail in his attempt to beat Carson and gave his side the lead going into the half time break. Magnificent assist, shame about Perch’s temporary colour blindness.
If you’re waiting for Latics to improve, then you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
The hugely confident hosts were shortly to draw a penalty from a fuming Beausejour, whose frustrating afternoon was about to end when James McClean took his place almost immediately. Coyle’s stone-faced expression softened somewhat, however, when he witnessed Scott Carson successfully repel Brett Pitman’s waist-high penalty kick. Would this be the springboard Latics required? Well, not really.
The game reached boiling point. Ian Harte was to enter the ref’s notebook for kung-fu kicking Shaun Maloney in the shoulder, but worse was to follow. I didn’t see Callum McManaman enter the field of play, but apparently he replaced James McArthur when Beausejour was removed. He certainly made himself known, however, with a rash retaliative challenge that persuaded referee Scott to send him off a mere two minutes after his introduction. Oh Callum, you need to learn Championship refs will not stand for that stuff.
The rest of the game isn’t worth describing in any great detail but I will briefly do so for the sake of completeness. Wigan’s passing had broken down long ago and the long ball remained ineffective as Bournemouth packed the penalty area. A distinct lack of quality characterised what remained of the contest, which mostly consisted of the ball being kicked out of play (by both sides) much to the delight of the home crowd.
This had truly become a miserable afternoon from which only Scott Carson emerges with any credit for three good saves. The others don’t deserve a mention, so I won’t award them any column inches. Or web space, whatever.
Well, I’ve run out of funny/interesting things to say, so to cheer you all up, I shall appropriate this one-liner straight from my Cack Jokes book: “Knock knock. Who’s there? Banana.”
…actually, I’ll leave the punchline for a forthcoming PWU Podcast. Toodles for now, ‘Ticsmen!