There is no reason why video games can’t be a force for sporting good – Formula One drivers, for example, play XBOX racing titles to familiarise themselves with that weekend’s Grand Prix circuit.
However, there are two equally valid reasons why footballers shouldn’t prepare by booting up their copy of Football Manager. Firstly, they are likely to remove the realistic simulation aspect by centring their whole strategy on their virtual counterpart – not great for cultivating real-world teamwork. Secondly, one tends to burrow one’s way through a confectionery aisle’s worth of snacks as all sense of time is lost. This I know from bitter experience.
I am not suggesting Grant Holt was doing either of those things this morning, though his place on the bench leaves this open to interpretation. I have no doubt that Marc-Antoine Fortune blew a large raspberry in the Holtster’s general direction as the team sheets were posted on the Christopher Park notice board this afternoon. We can only assume the former spent his morning accumulating extra credit with out-of-hours target practice… but enough about Fortune’s effort to make the French Guianan Olympic archery team.
3pm. (Real Life) Football Time.
The Coyle era is (hopefully) long-forgotten, replaced by a distinct Uwe strategy: hit ’em early and hit ’em hard. If that sounds like a line from a Stallone film, that’s because it probably is – I have been watching the Rocky box set on loop for the last 48 hours. What? I have to get in the mood for my pivotal five-round featherweight title bout with a sausage roll at the Monaco Ballroom tomorrow evening.
Rosler’s seemingly round-the-clock search for the perfect centre forward was briefly halted when a characteristically energetic start foist a new candidate into the DW’s numerous 10watt mini-floodlights. Fortune has been at the club for a while but his goalscoring only recently returned from the Manchester Airport Lost and Found booth, much to the visible delight of a thoroughly pleased East Stand. I should say this was one for Marc-Antoine’s scarcely-populated shelf of interesting goals.
Another speedy two-goal Latics lead was prevented only by a slightly heavy McManaman touch, which resulted in a simple enough catch for Lee Camp, who isn’t quite a French Butlins. I *would* blame the DW surface but myfootballingcliches.com tells me I have exhausted my quota for the season. What, already?
Wigan Athletic B Team
Much like my awful analogies, James Perch could not go on. Injuries inflicted in a strong clash of legs prior to half time could not be mended with vinegar and brown paper, shifting the Fifteen Minutes O’ Fame Big Wheel to another new face in the DW dugout. Freshly-acquired loan man Tyias Browning entered the fray for the second half to complete a defensive jigsaw of B-men: Browning, Beausejour, Boyce and Barnett. If I were a real headline writer, I would have been Mottying it up for a whole five minutes.
Fortune of a different sort was to follow. Just as Bournemouth were working their way back into contention, ‘demon’ goalscorer Marc-Antoine would strike again via a great chunk of defender Elliott Ward. But will the Frenchman claim it? You bet your last pair of underpants he will! Fortune by name…
Though South African international Tokelo Rantie grazed the outside of the post in retaliation, Wigan continued their attacking onslaught throughout the Ben Watson era and into the Age of Substitute Espinoza. Which, for the record, was the final twelve minutes.
Ali Al Habsi offered a late contribution to preserve his impressive league record by denying Rantie twice, but sneaky substitute Gomez ruthlessly swiped all credit from his otherwise capable hands with a final kidney punch to the visitors’ collective midriff. Not to detract from Jordi’s 25-yard champagne Cherries-killler, but guess who shall be credited with the assist for this goal? The one and only Marc-Antoine Fortune, of course!
Is Rosler’s search for a striker finally over? Possibly not, but this ‘alternative’ hat-trick of a goal, a deflection and an assist is reminiscent of a certain ex-Latic currently plying his trade in ‘Straiya. It is Emile Heskey‘s 36th birthday today, so don’t forget to double toast a great afternoon with a celebratory glass of juice. And a large cherry, of course.