July 16, 2024
Long ball

Artist's impression of Carson passing to Holt.

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At some point this afternoon, the subject of excitable commentators became relevant. When it comes to Wigan Athletic, you can’t have such a conversation without wondering where the man with the perpetually lost voice, Matt McCann, might be today. Someone suggested he was last seen in a back office job at Liverpool, which is a humorous thought, at least to myself. I can just imagine him sat at a desk, speaking into his permanent marker microphone: “And would you believe that? He’s only gone and spilled a full cup of coffee on his computer!  It’s going to be a while before he recovers from that one, eh Harold?”

These modern mobile phones are brilliant, as they usually come equipped with a free* FM radio complete with crackly reception and local police/CB radio transmissions. Or so I discovered at this afternoon’s game, which I had pleasure of listening to parts of via the local yak track, WISH FM. After last week’s embarrassment of trusting a single second-hand source for these post match ‘reports’ (pfft), I resolved to put said outlet’s integrity to the test and ascertain for myself whether they really *are* as biased as I suspected.

Now, I would have outlined the results of my little ‘experiment’ in a fifteen-point report, but my battery indicator fell to one bar after just five minutes. And anyway, analysing their ‘impartial’ take on the game’s major talking point would be fruitless, as much like 90% of the 17,000ish spectators (and possibly the referee) inside the DeeDub today, I missed it completely. Screw it, let’s just do a regular sarcastic look back at the afternoon’s events, JWAW-style.

Since I already mentioned it, it’s only right to begin with Grant Hanley’s 31st minute red card. Well, since it occurred ever so slightly off the ball, I saw only Nick Powell down on the ground, holding his face some three seconds after the incident. At least everyone in the Wigan end shut up moaning about the ref for the rest of the game, which was the first in a series of welcome developments. The second was that Wigan now had a chance of winning, the third that I could nip to the toilet before play restarted. Ahh, clear toilet cubicles!

Choice, glorious choice! (c)Snowmanradio

Sorry to become Arsene Wenger for a brief moment there, but you’ll be glad(?) to know I saw close to everything else that happened. The above incident deserves much attention as it was the first pivotal moment of the contest. Up until then, the visitors were looking much the better on the ball, if only for the fact Wigan had not only failed to stick the key in the ignition, but bent it out of all recognition through repeated jabs at the dashboard.

Scott Carson could literally feel the letters of resignation dropping into his fan club PO Box as his fluffed punch clear fell to Thomas Spurr, who cracked an exquisitely directed strike into his top right corner. A lone voice bellowed: “No use blaming Watson, Carson! Take it like a maaaan, that was your mistake.” And he was right, you know.

However, the hosts would begin to take control of the match shortly after Attwell’s ‘decision’, which we shall refrain from labelling either right or wrong. Their main obstacle during this period was Rovers ‘keeper Jake Kean, who summarily showed Carson how it’s done with a couple of authoritative punches to clear the danger from set play situations. A later attempt might have crept through his palms and into the net, but since the ball rebounded back into his arms via the upright, we shall grant him a reprieve on this occasion.

Rovers’ 10 defenders worked endlessly to prevent Wigan creating a great number of openings, and packed a serviceable counter attack that had the opposition scrambling in at least three separate instances. But the game’s other key moments were to come, namely the introduction of Grant Holt and Emmerson Boyce – these individuals would be responsible for the goals that fatally worsened the wounds initiated by the men in black.

Long ball
Artist’s impression of Carson passing to Holt.

The first Wigan goal was a Grant Holt special, by which I mean he was there to help poke the ball over the line. About time? Probably – from 15 corners you’d expect one to trouble the keeper, or at least find the target. I am inclined to attribute this goal to force of pressure, which is as good as any 30-yard screamer, at least to most people that aren’t Roberto. (Another sly dig? Perhaps.)

The second goal was borne out of Ben Watson’s umpteenth ball into the area, but this time there was a man to convert it, the gentleman for whom they may consider retiring a shirt number. As he witnessed his gloriously directed header fly in off the post, Emmerson Boyce celebrated as though he’d just won the FA Cup or something. Since such a prize was not on offer today, we shall certainly settle for advancing five places in the table.

In summary: Attwell + Holt + Boyce = impressive Blackburn beaten. Hopefully you didn’t skip to that sentence, but I don’t blame you for doing so.

Second opinion

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