Hey, I think I can see Paul Ince next to the ice cream van…
Please excuse me if I seem a tad cranky today as I am not used to getting up before noon for the sake of a football match, even if this particular contest *was* taking place in the Fish and Chip Capital of the North. No amount of battered pollock (the cod quotas were exhausted, allegedly) and extra fat cuts of deep fried ‘tater down my throat could bring me to forgive BSKYB for this latest affront to The Game. Because, as we know, Wigan have failed to win a televised league fixture so far this season. Screw you, Sky, for choosing to show this game for the twenty-odd Wiganers that could not get a ticket!
Oh my, that last comment was wholly inadvisable, to say the very least. Should I remove it? Nah, it’s not as if anyone reads these posts. Moving on quickly…
Today’s showdown at Bloomfield Road started two minutes late due to there being 46 Blackpool players on the pitch. Turns out the majority of them were stewards in orange day-glow jackets, which is curious – you’d think the ref would have made one or the other change colours to avoid kit clash. It was in character for Mark Haywood, however, who remained largely lenient.
Speaking of odd numbers, Latics should really have completed the first half with ten participants after last man Scott Carson unceremoniously brought down a Blackpool player in his own area. Tom Ince calmly converted the 24th minute spot-kick, but it was a blow worth taking to keep your full complement… for the time being. And that’s becoming something of a catchprase now, to the point of sheer idiocy. But then most catchphrases are.
Previous to the goal, Wigan arguably had the better of the game and ought to have edged ahead. Nick Powell, who’s had more sitters than a child-minding agency, misguided his header past Gilks’ left hand post when he should already have been trotting back to his own half for the game’s resumption. In his own mind, maybe he was as the ball smacked into a Blackpool advertising hoarding with a cheesy grin on its face. Or was that a home supporter?
But with the goal, Blackpool seized control of the game and had Carson grimacing on a couple of subsequent occasions – thankfully he wasn’t properly tested in the run-up to the half time break. Indeed, he wasn’t to be called into action again until really late on, but more on that when we get to it. I’ll make it sooner rather than later, however, as the next forty minutes were a tale of frustration for the away side, who only managed their first shot on target approximately thirteen minutes from time.
The lesser spotted double act of Holt and Fortune were reunited just prior to the hour mark, but their true impact wasn’t to be felt until the final fifteen minutes. Holt struck the crossbar and hammered a second attempt right at Gilks; if Latics were to salvage anything from this, it would have to be an eBay vulture-esque last-minute job. Not to worry, we’re used to them now.
Only the late Wigan onslaught never came – instead the defensively stout Blackpool awoke from their midfield slumber to call Carson into at least two wonder saves. They’re made all the more spectacular when you remember he had been perched in a deckchair on the promenade for forty-odd minutes of the half. Good job he wasn’t sent off, eh?
A nasty Ince-ident
James McClean was less fortunate in this regard. Having endured a largely torrid day by the seaside, he petulantly thrust his ice cream into the face of the nearest Blackpool player, ruining Gary Mackenzie’s tea and earning himself a fast track back to the amusement arcade. Which is where I’m headed now to try and erase all trace of this afternoon’s activities from what remains of my memory bank. I need that space for more important stuff, like when Emmerson Boyce lifts the Europa League cup.
… What? Did you expect anything more than stupid references to beaches and towers? Go and read the BBC site for… well, more of the same, I suppose. Ahh, stereotyping! Which reminds me, must pick up a pie on the way back, ensuring I don’t pass through Ince.
Highlight of the game: Not being pooped on by seagulls. Much. (I was sat in Wigan, however, which would explain that.)
Lowlight of the game: Jean’s whiskers going AWOL. Bring back the Beausejour beard!
A closer Ince-pection
Some free advice: visit Twitter this afternoon to see reactions almost as bad as McClean’s.