July 16, 2024
ISS64 kickoff


Uh oh, you’ve made Charltron grumpy. Give him that carton of motor oil. (c)Walter Lim

Fancy a spot of cheeky time travel on this unseasonably windy Saturday evening? Why not – it’ll be a welcome distraction from the three days of nose-hair trimming until our next fixture. The (electronic) record books tell me it is precisely 11 years since Wigan played out an exciting… 1-1 draw with Preston North End on 16 August 2003 at the JJB Stadium. Well, maybe that wasn’t quite so interesting, but what about the pulsating 2-1 League Cup loss to Crewe Alexandra on 16 August 1994? Or, erm… the 2-1 loss to West Ham on 16 August 2008?

OK, I promise I won’t do any of that again, at least not until 11th May. Hey, did I ever tell you that Wigan won the FA Cup on that date in 2013? I don’t believe I did.

No matter how hard it is to forget that day, we must now attempt to do so by going back the future and heading forward in time to earlier this afternoon, which is now the past. Hmm, please do feel free to leave a comment if I got my tenses muddled up there, because this website needs moderation as much as it needs more references to actual football. Today’s events deserve more attention – after all, when was the last time Wigan had a chance to go top of the table? Well, apart from last Saturday?

And the game kicks off. Charlton are playing from left to right…

ISS64 kickoff
Welcome to this live broadcast. (c)Nintendo/Konami

Eager to atone for their decidedly ordinary first week, Latics seized the opportunity to place the first shiny copper in this glorified game of pigeon toss. Which is like pitch ‘n’ toss but more RSPB-troubling. But sadly, James McArthur’s 2p piece fell a good foot short, allowing the hosts to slot their gleaming pound coin comfortably ‘twixt tuppence and wall.

In one sweep of the arm, a grinning Jordan Cousins extended a long arm to collect all 102p from the Valley turf. The visitors’ defence proved a might defective once again, but in the words of the excitable commentator from that one Nintendo 64 game, there was no stopping the shot. Now, Cousins is a proper one-club man, having played there since the start of his academy career in 2006. Admittedly, he is only 20 years old, but I’m the old fashioned type that likes to point out these things wherever possible. (Quick, move on – you’re drifting into the stats again! — Ed.)

And that changes everything!

Aside from that one aberration, it had been a slightly more pleasing half an hour of football, especially since the scores were level by 3.30pm. First Half Wizard Callum McManaman kept up his record of scoring in every round of the league season (heheh) by nutmegging Charlton keeper Stephen Henderson from just inside the area. Man of the moment James McArthur delivered the stamp for Macca to lick ‘n’ stick with all the grace of Kevin Friend skipping elegantly from the clutches of Winston the Rottweiler.

Charlton were not grateful of such postman analogies, and the appropriately-named Rhoys Wiggins was keen to prove exactly where his allegiances lay. Carson groaned as he stretched to save, but his efforts were richly rewarded – it may have been 1-1 at half time again, but a sea of blue smiles filled the away end. Or at least, the populated parts. Ahem.

The battle for control rages on.

Man reading newspaper
“Let me know if anything happens.”

If the first half was the salad days, then the second was the pipe, slipper and Bovril days. In the time it took for something to happen, you could have finished your 8-pack of Mini Hamlets and completed the Mirror crossword twice – three times with your reading spectacles.

Oh, an injured goalkeeper, that’s a rare occurrence! Quick, note it down in the scorer’s book – a bored Henderson headed off for *his* gravy-flavoured beverage, to be replaced by Nick Pope. Wait, didn’t he play for DC United? Agh, never mind.

But in some ways, this lull in proceedings was predictable: Championship teams often conserve energy for the final fling, AKA the last ten minutes. Imagine how exciting matches would be if they were 20 minutes long… but no! This ain’t no Twenty20 hit and giggle – pull yourself together, Mr Blogger!

And that has surely won the game for CHARLTON!

Though Latics took a domineering stance, Charlton ‘Germany’ Athletic were the ones seeking a winner as a frantic period of stoppage time began. First Moussa, then Vetokele squandered fantastic opportunities, even if Scott Carson was at his best to deny the latter.

But this week, the 93rd minute goal did not fall in Wigan’s favour. Quite the contrary, in fact: Moussa’s strike was terminal, and the perfect complement to an excellent defensive performance. Or at least, they repelled everything thrown at them – which wasn’t much, but still.

*Sigh* Ah well, time to cancel my Sky+ recording of the Football League Show switch back to the cricket.

Let’s see that again.

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