Wigan 2-0 Barnsley: McCleaning up after the cup

Manchester tart

Only genuine Manchester tarts contain man chest hairs (not pictured). (c)JamesJones79

All told, it hasn’t been a fantastic couple of days. The poor ball-drawing skills of the dastardly Lee family were an unwelcome antidote to that Cup Fever we’d all been enjoying so much – it was almost enough to put you off your Sunday meal of home-made Manchester tart. I only wish father and son comedy double act Rob and Olly could have been less like Morecambe and Wise and more like the legend that is Edgar, who is now so revered I need not utter his surname. Which is actually a forename, but we’re drifting away from the point here.

As hard as it is to forget the FA Cup, we must at least attempt to do so for the sake of what has been dubbed The Promotion Push by certain cable television stations. You know, the ones that only start broadcasting at 11pm. The ones that bought the rights to the National Tiddlywinks Championships instead of Wigan’s FA Cup games. The ones that… (yes, enough of this now –Ed.)

Okay, ‘Ed’, I promise to stay on topic from now on. The (alleged) goal heroes of the Sheffield Wednesday ‘second leg’ Waghorn and Maynard retained their league places, while double assist man of the weekend Jordi Gomez began the night on the subs’ bench. He finished it there, too, but not before entertaining the crowd with a series of pre-match free kicks and the most extravagant of calf stretches on the West Stand touchline. Oooh… ahhh! Game time or no, there was no doubting who the fans were there to see.

Sorry, dunno what came over me there.

Rugby goalposts

Now which side of the crossbar are you supposed to put the ball again? (c)David Lally

The only blemish in an otherwise excellent first half for Latics was a 16th minute injury to Sir Ben Watson, who left the field on a stretcher with an oxygen mask. Though this is a common precaution, one fears it was wholly warranted in this case – Watson’s animated reaction indicates a dislocated or even broken leg. Whatever the damage, he shall surely return for the FA Cup Final to score a last-minute winning goal against Everton. Well, best to get it down on (electronic) paper this time because nobody believes I predicted the very same thing this time last year. Grumble grumble…

The loss of ‘There’s Only One‘ Ben Watson did nothing to halt the hosts’ charge, as Josh McEachran’s introduction served to spur them on to a game-winning spell of domineering football. Chris McCann only had to steer the ball home for a goal reminiscent of Watson’s against Crystal Palace, but his effort was saved… by a Barnsley fan in North Stand Row W.

No matter, for Wigan were soon to walk the ball into Luke Steele’s goal following another stormin’ excursion down the left wing. McClean and Beausejour were almost invincible during this period, and in this instance it was Jean that fed Nicky Maynard for a gentle tap-in at the back post. Those playing the Maynard wine gums ‘drinking’ game might have feared total sloshification by the time 9.35 rolled round.

What, you mean there’s no wine in wine gums?

And there was another first half Latics goal to come, somewhat predictably from the same wing. This time it was McClean that centred the ball for Martyn Waghorn to nod away, again at the back post for a fully warranted 2-0 (and ultimately winning) scoreline.

Ex-Latic Danny Wilson‘s big red switch activated, the expected Barnsley fightback came into immediate effect. Well, I say ‘effect’ in that their best spell began as soon as five minutes of first half injury time were signalled, but it was ultimately fruitless. The visitors did boss the second half, but misdirected shots from Stoke loan man Brek Shea (not to be confused with Shrek Bay) typified their end product, and though the build-up was at times superb, Al Habsi was rarely to be found scrambling. And I ain’t talking about his preferred outdoor pursuit or egg dish here.

The Omani was left flat-footed on more than one occasion, however. A deflected free kick may have settled in the North Stand goal, while a further effort grazed the outside of his post. But such dangers were largely stamped out once Fortune and Espinoza took to the field, and the game meandered along to a comfortable finish for the home side.

There, the match report’s over. Can I tell some stupid jokes now? Ha-haa yes, the moment I’ve been waiting for.

Uh oh, I left my index cards at home.

Oh, never mind. Hey, don’t you think James Perch should grow an afro for Sport Relief? It certainly would suit him, I think. To the online petition sites!

Highlights courtesy @Laticsofficial

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