Sheff Wed A-A Wigan: Owlerton Regatta 2013

Waterlogged pitch

Hillsborough, half time. “Get the stiff-bristled brushes and paper towels, it’ll be alreet…” (c)Richard Croft

Uh oh, match abandoned? This has never happened on JWAW before, what do we do? Quickly, Dave, cut to the test card of Owen Coyle with the chalkboard girl! I’ll run down to our archives and grab a randomly selected episode of Ray Mears’ Bushcraft. What do you mean we can’t afford it? Crumbs, pass me my tie, I’m going on the air! … What do you mean we’re already rolling?

*Ahem* (Laughs nervously) Good evening, dear readers! Erm, don’t leave yet, I have an enthralling story from my youth to relate.

During my time playing in the Westhoughton U12s league, it’s fair to assume I encountered some officiating that might be described as corrupt. As a quick example, my own father, standing in for the usual sorry excuse for a whistleman, once awarded our team a penalty for an unsavoury incident that even Jordi Gomez would admit was a blatant dive. In fact, I am sure he stole our home VHS recording of the game for research.

Okay, Dave, I’m getting to the point.

One Sunday morning we discovered the common had mysteriously disappeared under a thick, brown substance. Our match went ahead as scheduled but with nobody ever knowing if the ball had left the boundaries of the field. This led to much Cholmondley-Warner hilarity as my team-mates repeatedly trudged zombie-like from one edge of the centre circle to the other before falling face first in a mud pie of bitter chocolate.

After the full 40 minutes, the final score stood at 11-10 boots lost. How the heck anyone would consider that pitch fit for play is… well, quite understandable. Our dads, who had already paid the £5 subs, wanted to see the whole game otherwise their weekends would have been ruined. “No, we have to go home and eat our wives’ overcooked turkey, we’re paying good money to see ‘em suffer! Bwahahah!”

I regard yesterday evening’s aborted attempt at an FA Championship football match as penance for that dull winter’s morning some time in the late 90s. Referee Chris Stroud evidently saw Gomez’s pilfered cassette tape and proclaimed that justice must be served, albeit some 15 years later. “That idiot off of JWAW shall pay for his unwitting acceptance of corruption! Bwahahahah!”

Alright, I suppose we’d better talk about the game.

The game kicks off. (c)Michiel Jelijs

The game kicks off. (c)Michiel Jelijs

Wait, what game? As far as everybody is concerned, it never happened. But in case the official types aren’t reading, here’s a brief look back at this 60-minute training session…

The first half was filled with wonder. How on earth were Latics ahead? Because ordinarily, when they dominate proceedings, they are summarily picked off on the counter with a physical pressing game. Yet 8.30 arrived and the visitors remained a goal ahead. James McClean pounced upon a moment of defensive uncertainty, bobbling the ball past Martinez (not that one) for his first goal for the club. For 50 minutes, after which it was mercilessly snatched from his very grasp!*Gasp!*

It could be argued that McClean had thus far been the stand-out player, though Crainey and Powell might be slightly aggrieved at such a bold claim. It is, however, the claim of a man who was not there to witness events unfold in person, which goes to show you shouldn’t always believe what you read on small time internet weblogs. By which I mean you shouldn’t read them at all. Let this be a lesson to ya!

No, don’t click that ‘x’ just yet!

More wondrousness can be found in the very fact half time arrived without so much as a hint of an abandonment. But a second downpour to greet the half time break worsened conditions to such an extent that Mr Refereeman momentarily halted play to socialise with both managers. Rosler ordered half a Coke, but by the time it arrived, the glass was overflowing with a bubbling concoction of fizzy saltwater.

No matter, for Uwe and his players soon had the chance to retreat to the shelter of the pub. Powell completely mishit a glorious opportunity mere moments later, and Stroud made up his mind – this game was over, baby.

Crikey, will this match ever take place? First it was that pesky Europa Cup and now the weather does not want this fixture fulfilled. At this rate, we’ll have to re-arrange our FA Cup Final to accommodate this seemingly permanent spare tyre of a contest. I hope I get a new calendar for Christmas because my diary is already filled with phantom Sheffield Wednesday v Wigan matches.

Match highlights courtesy Laticsofficial

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