At approximately 3am this morning, I awoke with a start screaming “Delort, nooo!” Although it might seem unusual coming from President of the Happy Clappy Club Wigan branch, I promise you it’s true – the neighbours will not only confirm this, but also the precise time they were cruelly disturbed. International breaks could only mask it for so long, but the potential for a completely disastrous season had finally manifested itself in a form other than podcasted grumblings or poorly constructed small-time internet weblog articles.
Self-diagnosis was simple – I didn’t need no doctor to confirm my undoubted case of winless fever.
I’d like to say I had recovered by breakfast, but not even a colourful highlights package of the 1985 Freight Rover Trophy Final could cure my worrying Latics-induced twitch. Seeing Graham Barrow’s foot nearly destroyed by Chris ‘Cheers Geoff’ Kamara only made things worse, and not even a surprising trophy presentation appearance from friend of PWU Elton John could raise my spirits. It quickly became clear that only a medicinal three points could dull the pain.
I was somewhat relieved when the DW teamsheet confirmed Delort as a benchman come 3pm, reasoning that my 3am nightmare was less likely to ‘leak’ into the real world. Pleasingly, the Mac Attack of McManaman, McClean and McMaloney offered the comforting Premier League familiarity of a 20-year old pair of lucky socks.
Bee all you can bee
Back in the town of Gritt, Championshipland, the hosts only slipped into their favourite post-international woollies after an intensely tense opening half an hour. Testament to the visitors’ solid start, Wigan’s best effort to date came in the form of a Shaun Maloney right foot banana strike… or at least, it would have had to swerve to beat David Button at his left hand side. F1 driver Jenson’s ambidextrous cousin gave him the benefit of the doubt as he clipped it round the post while whistling Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’. Maybe.
The buzzing Bees responded with a rampaging Andre Gray counterattack which swiftly culminated in a misguided Andy Murray-style lob into the outside netting. Or so I am told – I didn’t see it as I was too scared (ill?) to keep my eyes open by this point.
But Latics came close mere microseconds before verbal punchbag Tony Harrington put half time whistle to lip. Wingman McManaman slid a cross to Riera, but brawny Brentford’s stout defence wasn’t about to be breached from such short range – they celebrated another successful poke behind with great gusto. And why not? Verily, this was an exquisite piece of defending.
Bee more positive
Following Wigan’s explosive start to the second half, the awesome twosome of subs Fortune and (gulp) Delort formed an all-new frontline. Ne’er has Uwe ‘Cucumber’ Rosler been so desperate for three points – is his significant stubble simply Movember preparation, or the sign of something more sinister? Certainly, this bearded blogger can say from experience that a bout of winless fever can take its toll on your shaving habits.
As the stage show entered its final 20 minutes, Brentford pulled back the curtains ever so slightly. Scott Carson got down quicker than a World Limbo Champion and John Travolta combined to repel Jota’s low dew-collecting effort. Looks like that keepers’ volleyball training had a serious side to it after all.
Since the home side’s need for a win was much greater, DW exasperation levels reached unprecedented heights. As for whether my prophecy was fulfilled, we cannot quite be sure – Delort’s 81st minute free kick was decent enough to force a save, but nowhere near good enough to totally discount a cry of “Delort, noooo!” It eclipsed Riera’s efforts, in any case.
There was one more headed attempt courtesy James McClean, but as it sailed into a slightly-less-than-delighted South Stand, that third 0-0 in the space of five weeks was just one short spell of clever time-wasting from reality. So it inevitably proved, and what elastic remained in Grant Holt’s old shorts gave way – Latics’ collective pants are currently sat just above their ankles in full view of the paying public.
While my winless fever means I’ll probably have to take Monday (and quite probably Tuesday) off work, it is eased by two small consolations – that Latics climb a whopping two places in the Championship table, and that we did not lose 8-0. I know that pain all too well, and it’s far worse than that inflicted by a less-than-inspiring goalless walking match around Robin Park.
Hey, wait a minute… didn’t Grant Holt score again today? It might be worth an approach in the next transfer window, Uwe…