No, you fool, that’s *Monty* Dons! Excuse me while I sack my image gofer… (c)Andy Mabbett
It was with great disappointment I learned that Sir Ben Watson had been harshly overlooked for the much-vaunted Ballon D’or (literal French: ‘accurate ball-kicking’) award. It is understandable that he could not attend the ceremony in person due to 10 hour-long negotiations for a new 45-year contract including a lifetime’s supply of Uncle Joe’s pie flavoured Mint Balls. However, I expected him to send over an ‘I accept this award on behalf of…’ lackey at the very least – those pictures on Twitter made it seem a certainty that Wigan’s newest Knight would snatch the trophy from the filthy hands of those not worthy to dry clean his Cup Final Winning Goal Scorer string vest.
Nonetheless, The Great Watson was granted a hero’s reception by a healthy(ish) midweek travelling contingent of meat n’ tater munching northerners at Stadium MK, a ground which may or may not be capitalised correctly. Sir Ben began the evening’s music hall antics as able stand-in centre back, though ideally you’d want him patrolling the opposition penalty area in search of more Hart-harrowing headers. Agh, apologies for annoying alliteration.
But an early Dons strike courtesy cult hero Luke Chadwick might have caused the corner of Dr Rosler’s mouth to twitch – was this defensive alteration to blame, or had he placed a sneaky 20p on a repeat scoreline of last Saturday? Those high-scoring contests do, after all, make the admission fee look like kiddies’ chocolate buttons. And that definitely *was* capitalised correctly to skilfully dodge potential legal action.
Though the hosts controlled the half with a supreme confidence more befitting of a Premier League side, the steely-eyed Latics remained as menacing as Dennis the Menace with a Sega Menacer. Which isn’t all that menacing now I think about it, but Dons ‘keeper David Martin did palm one of Fyvie’s Espinoza-like long-range punts wide of the post. Fraser has, of course, been learning from the Maste- er, Messiah himself. Indeed, Roger had a couple of goes himself yesterday evening… but we shall not discuss the results.
In fact I prefer to forget the whole first 45 minutes, which did have a hint of ‘the FA Cup is not for teams like Wigan‘ (irony intended) about them. Cue inevitable Bovril-fuelled ‘wouldn’t it be better if we went out anyway?’ met with dirty looks on the away terrace.
Nope, wrong again! That’s it, I am cancelling my subscription to photoimagesstock.cx (c)jo-h
Time for Rosler to begrudgingly remove Fyvie and Perch for Boyce and Powell. This double change was certainly more a signal of intent than Uwe’s permanent grimace, only replaced by the occasional look of utter disgust directed squarely at referee James Adcock. And why not? That unbeaten domestic record was already pinned to the tree with a marksman ready to take aim. But there was still time.
I have neglected to mention Ali Al Habsi up to now, but he did produce one of his trademark saves somewhere towards the back end of the first half. Another was to follow with approximately 20 minutes to play, but a general apathy was beginning to spread among the Wigan ranks quicker than man flu (which, as we all know, is the fastest thing known to man – but not woman).
Start reading from here if you wish. (Hint: I would if I were you)
If I’m being honest (which is a rarity), an appearance from impact sub Jordi Gomez did not make much immediate difference. However, an efficient clean-up job by Nick Powell did bring about a shock 79th minute equaliser that rocked Stadium mk (correctly capitalised this time?) to its very core. Oh, I guess we’re in for some extra time then? Fine, just let me reschedule that 9.45pm meeting… with Ben Watson. (Gasp!)
It wasn’t long before Nick Powell powered his way past #funnycats and #amusinglyshapedfruit to the top of the UK ‘trending’ list on Twitter. Shush, we don’t want people to know he’s actually quite good! Don’t tell them he doubled his tally barely 1 minute into extra time otherwise Moyes will want him back… right now. Let’s pretend it was ‘Arise’ Sir Ben instead.
The ‘prolific’ Fortune coolly added frothy head to a full-bodied fifteen minutes from a pleasingly rejuvenated Latics with another goal for his shelf o’ interesting goals, henceforth relocated to the reinforced mantelpiece of… er, stuff. Hey, maybe this guy is the complete attacking solution? Grant Holt has wandered off to Midlands in a daze or something, so either Uwe has something in mind or Fortune is the new Pele. I vote for the latter.
A relatively uneventful second fifteen closed out the tie, which saw a grand total of ten goals over 210+ minutes of (mostly) pulsating cup football. A pleasant sideshow or unwelcome distraction from the day job? Personally I can’t make a decision on this right now as I am totally exhausted due to the extra time-induced late bedtim- zzzzz.
Uh… wha? Wake me up when we get to Doncaster, will ya?