Mr JWAW is hoisted onto the scales for his post-Xmas weigh-in. Agoo goo gajoob!
Well, do I look a right fool? I did prepare a 25-stanza epic poem to say goodbye to my one true love Shaun Maloney, but that has been consigned to the box marked ‘future hamster cage lining’ in light of what we can only assume is ‘communication breakdown‘ with Liechester City. Instead, please accept this re-run of the Wigan edition of Ray Mears’ Bushcraft – you know, that episode where he gets stuck in a traffic jam on Manchester Road for five days and resorts to cannibalism. Heh, don’t you just hate those well-worn ‘filler’ programmes they run when the snooker ends prematurely?
However, as the Beatles said more than once, ‘oh blah dee blah dee blah, life goes on’. But they also said that I am the walrus, which, even accounting for the extra four stone I acquired during the Christmas period, is a slightly inaccurate assumption. In any case, Special Teams Maloney was back reading the freshest Mills and Boon with a flask of hot Bovril in his favourite bench seat as if nothing had happened. Transfer window? What transfer window?!
It’s still 0-0 and I feel fine
Wigan’s colourful start was only dulled by the enormous crash of cricket ball hailstone on dangerously exposed plastic seating. An East Stand exodus backwards threatened to topple the whole structure, unpeeling it like a concrete flavoured banana. As a white sheet briefly enveloped the DeeDub airspace, I wonder if either goalkeeper could make out the opposition area without the aid of three-inch lenses and the telescope that spotted Beagle 2 from East London.
“I knew we shouldn’t have replaced that load-bearing toilet cubicle!”
Certainly, Scott Carson must have been feeling a might claustrophobic as his defence clung to their goalmouth much as a man flu ravaged JWAW does his hot water bottle. But this overprotection would ultimately prove their undoing when Corry Evans reacted best to Carse’s thump clear. Granted, his 25-yard strike was even better than James McClean’s Goal of the Week, but as avid tabloid readers will tell you, it’s far easier and much more fun to create a scapegoat than offer constructive comments of any sort. (Oooh, the irony — Ed.)
Help! I need some strikers
In an instant, the early set piece showdown gave way to a more open game of freestyle football. Mercifully, a Latics escape rope gradually became visible against the thick chimney soup backdrop of a south Lancashire skyline, even if Jason Steele saw less ball than Cinderella pre-transformation. And if that isn’t voted worst analogy of the year I will eat Tony Pulis’s hat.
Before Latics could make any headway, things took a turn for the brutal… Ray Mears brutal. Not that it hadn’t been a tasty little Lancastrian gripefest thus far, with the returning Leon ‘Sandi Holt’ Barnett mowing down anyone that got in his way, including his own goalkeeper. Half time arrived just in time to save James McClean’s head from completely exploding, though he could not escape a yellow card for his late challenge on Olsson. Fortune, eh? It favours the brave. Geddit, like Fortuné? What do you mean you’ve forgotten about him?
We McCann Work It Out
As Mike Jones chose not to flash red at Mr McClean, the game thankfully remained a contest beyond 44 minutes. And as is so often the case, the perpetrator was instrumental in steering the walrus-laden boat back to shore without conducting an interview with Mr Dave E. Jones-Locker… in other words, McClean had the final touch guiding Sweet Shaun Maloney’s saccharine cross beyond a flummoxed Steele. Breathe it in, boys, those “goal” things only pass by when Halley’s comet is visible through regular 3-inch lenses from East London!
You can’t really see it in this picture, but I assure you it is possible to score in this game. A bloke in a Goto80 t-shirt told me so.
Leon Barnett momentarily expelled Jordan Rhodes’s effort from his very goal line, lifting stadium spirits to a level not seen since summer 2014. For the first time in many Saturdays, one sensed a- you know, that thing where you score more goals than the opposition. Gasp, I only believed such things possible in Sensible Soccer! Even substitute Andy Delort was drooling at the prospect of match action during a hot buttered final ten… and his wish would be granted.
But with Blackburn finishing the stronger, Shaun Maloney would have to deputise as goal line patrolman and head away Rhodes’s goalward jab to preserve that oh-so-precious Championship point. And I can tell you I haven’t been as pleased with a draw since Edgar Davids picked Millwall out of that velvet bag… ahhh yess… mmhm, FA Cup Finals. Shiny, shiny cups…
(At this point the author fell into a deep daydream, leaving me to have the final word. So, er, don’t go playing with post boxes, children. — Ed)
Hmm, he looks different without his shades. (c)Paul Blank