Wigan 2-2 Middlesbrough: Red (Da Ba Dee)

Carpets Ildar Sagdejev

Stop leaning against that wall, you ‘orrible lot! This isn’t Butlin’s, you know. (c)Ildar Sagdejev

*Nervously taps fingers on desk, grimaces*

OK. Having spent the last… ten seconds deliberating over which angle to approach this article, I have decided to risk the ire of all three of my faithful readers by frequently inserting groan-inducing references to a certain mildly-newsworthy event involving Wiganers that took place yesterday afternoon.

Hence, a fair warning: this post will most likely mention… rugs. Of course, did you not head down to Wallpaper Supplies and take advantage of their half price sale? I didn’t, but it seems Stagecoach buses did. Except for some reason, they decided to attach carpet to the ceilings of their buses – who was their fitter, Spiderman?

With that pachyderm successfully escorted from the building, it is time to break the remaining four Orwell rules for writing (and your resolve) with another scarcely relevant and probably libellous look back on the afternoon’s proceedings. I figure I am fairly safe, however, since this post will be published on a Sunday evening and all three of those regular readers will be tucked up in bed ready for school on the morrow.

What’s that you say, bank holiday weekend? Ah screw it, let’s switch to full Jeremy Clarkson mode! Certainly, the referee drove a hard bargain (ho ho ho, that’s Rule 1 immediately accounted for) in the early stages, denying Marc-Antoine Fortune what seemed like a penalty from where I was sat. The incident was somewhat reminiscent of the spot-kick he earned against Atromitos last month, a clash of legs depriving the ex-West Brom centre forward of a breath-baiting opportunity.

Referee David Coote compounded his perceived error by awarding the self same striker a penalty softer than Michael Owen’s ankle, a chance the expert place-kicker (clears throat) Grant Holt did not miss. 1-0 to the Fat Barstool.

The hosts’ early dominance gave way to some accomplished ‘Boro attacking play, and by the half time whistle they were deservedly level. Coote played the obvious advantage as James McArthur was left flat on the pavement and George Friend found the South Stand net via Carson’s outstretched fingers. Cue murmurs of discontent and a mass exodus for the remaining pies.

One cold meat and ‘tater later…

Jordi 'Stop Criticising Him or Grant Holt Will Break Your Legs' Gomez

Jordi ‘Stop Criticising Him or Grant Holt Will Break Your Legs’ Gomez

The second half played out almost blow-for-blow with magnificent one-on-one chances for both teams. But things didn’t kick into life until after the home side had introduced all three of their allotted substitutes, the latter of which the result of a cartilage-destroying tackle on Grant Holt. It takes a lot to defeat a tank, but the crocked Latics striker had to be escorted back to the changing rooms with two bodyguards and one of those whale harnesses they use to remove 40-stone people from their living rooms.

A piece of abject defending let Middlesbrough in for their second on 75, Scott Carson beaten for only the second time. Note my use of the word ‘only’ there as his save count for the afternoon ended higher than the number of times a commanding Leon Barnett came to head clear – and let me tell you, both were common sights. That in itself tells the story of Middlesbrough’s pre-eminence (Rule 2 covered).

Something told you the game was far from over, however, most likely that fifteen minutes left on the clock. Ten of them were quickly eaten away by some extremely effective Middlesbrough ‘filler football’, but a rampaging Espinoza soon had them hastily tracking back again. His fleetness of foot bought Wigan their first free kick in truly dangerous territory and Jordi Gomez was hungry to impress his new, non-nepotistic manager. And that last sentence may be a reference to that old ‘Martinez’s lovechild’ catchphrase, depending on your point of view. (Does that count as Rule 5? I’d say so.)

One blink of the eye later and ‘Boro heads were in hands as the Spaniard successfully evaded their wall, disturbing the South Stand netting once more. Two games, two goals from free kicks in the exact same position, two 2-2 draws. There are probably more twos in there somewhere too, but one thinks that’s enough twos to make the point. (Gah, Rules 3 and 6 and awful to boot!)

Unsettled as Wigan may be right now, the previous couple of games have been more engrossing than a great number of Premier League encounters melded together. Latics might not achieve automatic promotion, but wouldn’t you rather see entertaining games?

What, you’d prefer to see wins? Good point, but don’t ruin my closing paragraph because I’m in a good mood for a change.

Matchday Live

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