Middlesbrough 0-0 Wigan: Fly away football

Electric heater

Trade secret: Attach your electric radiator to a nitrous equipped hamster wheel for cheap heat. (c)Uri J

Phew, crank that electric heater all the way up to 4! When last Latics and The Smoggies met, you could barely make it halfway to your DW seat before your rapidly melting mulberry ice cream was ruining the sleeve of your best summer shirt. Long-sleeved, of course – this *is* Wigan we’re talking about.

Today, the very day the two teams met at the Riverside, I saw a penguin waddling around St Helens Central with his padded parka. Or maybe that was the ticket inspector? The thick black balaclava made it hard to tell.

As your weather-watching mother might say, it’s that biting wind that makes venturing outside unbearable. 30mph gales? Perfect sporting conditions, so let’s head east for a Championship football match! Gaffer tape your lucky cap to your skull, grab that flask of hot gravy and we’re all set for another bout of JWAW’s Midweek Madness.

Non-Continental Circus

Given that scathing indictment of The North and its ‘exotic’ weather, care to guess how the opening half hour played out? If you voted for ‘intricate footwork and one-touch passing’, you probably bypassed the first three paragraphs. I don’t blame you because they’re normally just a tad irrelevant.

At times like these, every goalkeeper pines for the days of five kilogram soccerballs that didn’t swing like an Aussie fast bowler. On the pitch, of course – how Mitchell Johnson chooses to dance at the Walkabout of a Friday night is his own business.

Thankfully for the evening’s designated goalpost guardians, however, the four winds were choosing to guide each shot yards wide of its respective target. Though Chris McCann and Mustapha Carayol visibly bemoaned this, I will gladly trade the odd dodgy wind-assisted Al Habsi goalkick for an unbreached goal line, ta very much.

The quite simply electric Curtis Main was soon to muster a rare shot on target, but that half time whistle was about as welcome as a piping hot half-price pie. Rhys Williams probably wishes it came a few minutes earlier for the sake of his own health as he was unfortunate enough to be stretchered off in a leg brace and oxygen mask. In case you’re wondering, Callum McManaman was *not* involved this time as he wasn’t even named as a substitute.

Now that was uncalled for.

Sorry about that, the absence of real footballing action does put me in a mood for mild satire. But a fifteen-minute cocoa break reinvigorated both parties, and Nick Powell ended the Latics ‘first shot on target’ sweepstake. Perhaps that 0-0 scoreline wasn’t as inevitable as the climactic conditions might have dictated?

Hot chocolate

Well, at least it makes a change from food pictures. (c)RowdyKittens

Sure enough, further excitement was to follow. The predatory Curtis Main was quick to pounce on an Emmerson Boyce mistake (yes, a Boyce error – note the time and date), shaving the crossbar. Not literally, of course, as they haven’t been dousing the ‘Boro goalposts in Minoxidil since that unfortunate carpet burn incident of ’71.

Just like old times in Mesnes Park with little brothers for goalposts, it was soon a 20-minute shootout. Except there were real prizes at stake and little danger of the ball’s owner heading home early for tea. A (debatably) deflected James McArthur effort momentarily caused Given’s heart to skip a beat – this certainly was no time to daydream about fish fingers and chips!

Time skips

Before you knew it, the fourth official was signalling four minutes of time added on. Maybe that reported spate of alien abductions in the Middlesbrough area wasn’t mere fabrication, as ten minutes had been lost somewhere and I don’t think the Martians are going to give them back. Mainly because Martians don’t exist now.

The customary final scramble, which consisted mainly of an Espinoza snap-shot, yielded naught but muted jeers from a freezing home faithful. “C’mon, let’s go home and catch the last few minutes of Pages From Ceefax.”

The sad truth is that you will have forgotten all about tonight’s events by the time you watch the season review DVD. To ensure it is not lost among a plethora of mildly interesting contests, I would summarise this match in a three-page document, but I’d struggle to fill the first two paragraphs. In fact I resorted to using a lorem ipsum text generator fed through Google Translate for this very post. Heh, did you really think I’d knowingly write about northern weather for the umpteenth time in the last five months?

Second opinion

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