I hate following games on TwitterText. (c)Illarterate
Oh, I just noticed there was no Wigan game on Tuesday. A good job, because I don’t fancy learning the result from a poorly constructed tweet again – it’s like Ceefax but with more errors and a distinct lack of colour clash.
You know, that makes this afternoon’s showdown on the south coast our last before The Promotion Push (copyright The Mainstream Media), which will take in fifteen games before 3 May… and that’s not accounting for the FA Cup. I often make the battery analogy, but this week will be your last chance to stock up on your 16 packs of AAs before the Tuesday-Saturday marathon, so get on down to your newsagent now! Well, after you’ve read this post.
If there is any consolation at all to take from Ben Watson’s season-ending injury, it’s the backup midfielders waiting on a shelf like Kryten’s spare heads. I would say we have Coyle to thank for this luxury, but I have done enough of that already this week. And besides, it was a Martinez signing that struck the game’s first blow.
It was a bit strange, really. Brighton spent the opening half hour pitched approximately 40 yards from the Wigan goal, aiming to feed the ultimate training ground ball through to leading scorer Leonardo Ulloa. Their early persistence ought to have paid off, but the aforementioned Argentine and Dale Stephens could not convert their opportunities into gold. Sorry, goals – I’ve been subjected to far too many of those cash for gold advertisements of late.
However, just as the 700 travelling Latics fans were nursing their bleeding, oft-bitten lips, a greater shock than JWAW’s Lifetime Achievement Brit Award was to transpire. A James McArthur attempt crashed into Tomasz Kuszczak’s netting to the sound of several thousand gasps, creating turbulence so great it disturbed passing air traffic. Uwe Rosler’s reaction might suggest that not even he could quite believe it – nobody could.
Brighton simply were not having this. While disbelieving fans scrabbled to double check the scoreline on their mobile telecommunication devices, Stephens subsequently split the crossbar with an effort that roused the home faithful. But much like a cut-price bargain basement Zinc battery, it provided only a short-lived burst of energy, and Latics had nothing more to fear up to the half time whistle. Except maybe the fruit flies they inhaled when the goal flew in.
Hmm, I don’t recall Chris McCann having long hair. Also, you got the shirt colour wrong. That’s the last time I buy a ‘genuine’ Banksy. (c)ShoZu
McArthur may have doubled his tally five minutes from time, but decided against it – to snatch two goals in the first 45 would have been just plain greedy. “Quick, to the dressing room before we’re accosted by the Run of Play Police (pictured above)!”
Ah, numbers are for Championship Manager players anyway
Most tellingly, Statman’s ‘stat that matters’ was about to widen as Chris ‘Mac Mk. 2′ McCann kept up his side’s 100% shots on target to goals ratio. It was a reflection of the visitors’ increased attacking prowess of late, an unstoppable header to complement Martyn Waghorn’s pinpoint corner. Though they always seem accurate when they lead to a goal, this assist was fully warranted.
Cue fun and games, and we’re not talking about the 80s Ceefax kids’ magazine. 2-0 seems to be the scoreline that triggers a drastic and highly entertaining shift in tactics, which makes you wonder why they don’t start games with two goal handicaps. Oh yeah, because none of these Championship games are shown on television, or even teletext for that matter.
Soccerdome style end-to-end football was to follow, taking in Benny Hill counter-attacks, penalty appeals and pantomime scoldings for Ali Al Habsi. Referee Carl Boyeson sprinted 50 yards to lambaste the Omani for his usual time-wasting antics, but evidently forgot to bring his yellow card with him. The crowd absolutely loved/hated it.
Roll up, roll up for the Challenge Al Habsi Carousel! Come on, have a go.
Lopez and Rodriguez must have been dizzy from their stints on the ‘try to challenge the keeper’ merry-go-round, but Ulloa was soon to convert from the hosts’ eighth corner. As your old dad might say, it had been coming, and a tense final 12 minutes were in store.
But the hosts did not count on an in-form Ali Al Habsi, who morphed into an Omani brick wall at the most opportune moment. Three saves and many more misdirected efforts later and Dan’s prediction on the PWU Podcast had, for once, materialised. Don’t pester me for a share in my prize, however, because I’m finding it hard to split this chewed ballpoint pen cap in half.