From left to right: Jordi Gomez, Sheffield Wednesday… okay, this could get libellous.
Please do not adjust your monitor’s V-hold, because you’re not seeing double – yesterday was indeed officially Wednesday Wednesday, Wednesday. And I apologise if you aren’t the daughter from The Addams Family but that was far too tempting an opportunity for any internet blogger to pass up, no matter how trite and hackneyed.
Sheffield Wednesday’s healthy away following might have appreciated that one, but then they were in good spirits *even after* Jordi Skorz-Venee-Vants Gomez’s fashionably late penalty. A whole day and monster hangover later, I guess such a quip doesn’t seem quite so tolerable. In fact, I ought to change this site’s headline to Jesus Was a Wiganer: Somewhat Tolerable, But Only When We Win. Catchy, eh?
This season, however, is so busy that Wigan have met Sheff Wed three times now. Heck, we’ve played the Gallaghers’ lot twice and we’re supposed to be a Championship team – it’s as if certain Mancunian clubs can’t take enough punishment. Hah, I can’t believe I can actually say something like that without a hint of irony for once… well, maybe a little bit.
Alright, that last paragraph was far too big-headed for my tastes.
I do hate pointing out the obvious, but if it’s good enough for the commentators then I wish to indulge in a slice of that ten year-old mould-encrusted pizza. At this moment, it seems you can’t stop Wigan Athletic with three tanks (an Arsenal, even) and a changing room full of Jaffa Cakes, even *if* they’re far from their best.
Because even when Latics are conceding penalties, they aren’t converted. Even when the passing isn’t so fluid, nobody’s there to catch an underpopulated defence off guard. I will stop short of hauling out that old JWAW trope ‘it’s a good job they’re rubbish’, because Wednesday weren’t all that bad. They certainly weren’t mere plastic bags and Maynards Wine Gum wrappers floating around the dugout.
Sheff Wed: “It’s no use, lads, we’re going to need at least three more of these…”
Granted, the first 15 minutes weren’t great for the visitors. A butter-coated James McClean slipped through Wednesday’s right back area to deliver lip-bitingly perilous carpet trimmers on two separate occasions, and either might have ended in the worst possible fashion. Thankfully for Senor Damián Martínez, he could easily pouch Waghorn’s scuffed shot then witness the Irishman’s cross whizz past his left hand post.
After this period of Latics pressure, however, The Owls could collect the hosts’ aforementioned wayward passes and assume real control with a Leon Best penalty. One problem – Ali Al Habsi simply would not stand for it. Although he was guilty of committing a (red?) card-worthy foul just 11 yards from his own goal, the Omani repelled the subsequent spot-kick with an elegance and grace usually seen in those super slo-mo replay compilations backed by a 60-piece orchestra. In other words, it looked like a remarkable save from most areas of the East Stand.
And now, more food references
Once all six substitutions had put foot to turf, fifteen minutes of a disjointed contest remained. There had been glimmers, shiny little nuggets of hope in an otherwise dull fast food restaurant of undercooked horsemeat and scrawny excuses for fries. New boy Ryan Tunnicliffe’s shot from distance threatened only the South Stand advertising hoardings, much to the jovial Wednesday clan’s great amusement.
Like classic Mesnes Park clashes of old, the game soon shifted into ‘next goal wins’ territory. For Latics, the news was good – McManaman slid an effort inches past Martinez’s post, the trigger for a slightly more fluent passage of the game, at least where the hosts were concerned. Gomez and Fortune fashioned attempts that promised much, but the netting remained undisturbed and time was becoming a rare resource.
But soon, bingo. ‘That Other’ Wannabe Centre Forward James Perch was once again patrolling the opposition penalty area, much to the chagrin of Caolan Lavery. Their tussle did not end favourably for the visitors, who soon fell foul of referee Andy Haines. Wait, didn’t he write those car manuals?
For the Mini Metro manual, read ref Andy Haines’ match logbook.
Jordi Gomez’s penalty was also engineered to precision, a strike worthy of any textbook. Three points secured, but certainly not on his licence – in fact, such accuracy should be rewarded with a celebratory bumper sticker for his ’83 Mini Metro. “I score when I want,” it would say. Maybe.
For the final five minutes, Wigan delivered a masterclass in tactical time-wastage. Some broke out the violins, others headed for their trains, while yet more marvelled at Marc-Antoine Fortune’s accomplished corner flag hugging. It was quite a sight to behold, and after 89 minutes of frustrations and tribulations, a highly welcome one at that.