Reading 0-1 Wigan: The Great Pancake Race

Great Pancake Race

Illegally folded pancake. Penalty: three points. (c)Pedro Figueiredo

So I just looked at my calendar and apparently today has been designated Pancake Day. Well, if you really want me to give up the silly jokes for Lent, I shall make it my mission to stuff every pun imaginable into a scarcely manageable concoction of crass, crepe-tastic stodge. Ohhh yes! Get ready for the flouriest of language because I’m going to milk this for all it’s worth and batter you with more fatty food references than your typical edition of the Progress With Unity Podcast.

Sorry for over-egging that opening paragraph, butter those still reading are most certainly worth their salt. Now Delia JWAW has provided you with the ingredients, I expect you to go and create your own Wigan Athletic pancake. But should it be of the flat and flavourless variety, or a hearty meal fit for Championship survivors? I suppose we’ll have to find out via the medium of the small time blog pseudo match report, or #STBPMR for those readying the social media vitriol. Go on, do your worst, (artificial) Tweeteners!

Actually, I’m giving up my New Year’s resolutions for the next six weeks.

Ah, Pancake Day - that most traditional of footballing holidays.

Ah, Pancake Day – that most traditional of foot balling holidays.

Latics began like a team giving up attacking for Lent, with Privates James McClean and Marc-Antoine Fortune feasting upon the mud pie populating Reading’s penalty area. After successfully completing defensive duties by clearing from his own goal line, the latter mounted a sneak attack from behind a mound of divots, fooling keeper Adam Federici into conceding a corner in the process.

This seemed to motivate Leon Clarke, who mustered up sufficient courage to attempt the assault course that was the opposition half. In a moment, he initiated a fierce mud-wrestling match with Federici that resulted in another Wigan corner. And before you write in to tell me ‘the result doesn’t matter in wrestling’, I should tell you that this one was highly significant – at least, it led to Wigan taking a rare (and ultimately winning) lead.

As most players gathered for a spot of scrambled pancakes in the Reading area, newcomer Jason Pearce was more interested in pummelling leather goalwards. In the absence of David Dickinson’s face, however, he settled for lofting the football through Federici’s buttery fingers and across the border to glorious Goalsville. The reaction from 150 travelling Ticsmen (and women) was delayed, since the shock of actually scoring took a good ten seconds to process.

I’m still picking flies from my permanently gaping maw.

Actual live photo of the author, right now. (c)Charles J Sharp

Actual live photo of the author, right now. (c)Charles J Sharp

Nathaniel Chalobah was next to take possession of the rapidly moving birthday parcel. And for ardent watchers of Christmas VHS tapes and DVDs, I’m not talking about that Paraguayan goalkeeper who took the most powerful free kicks and penalties you’ve ever seen. Anyway, only the might of Ali Al Habsi’s muscular hand stood (handstood?) between the Reading midfielder and a 43nd minute equaliser of a thick syrupy quality. Ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the Al Habsi stereotype: “his distribution may be questionable, but he’s a good shot stopper…”

The visitors endured a lean period characterised by Chris Herd’s 54th minute trip to the dressing room via a rather flat and uncomfortable stretcher. But in the run-up to The Final Fifteen, Al Habsi’s well-trained hand denied Oliver Norwood as that inescapable Mackay defensive instinct kicked into full force. Well, as much as it could with three-and-a-bit strikers on the field, but aided by some tardy throw-ins and Al Habsi kicks clear, it performed its function more than adequately.

Extra time

Waghorn finally broke the pudding skin by blasting wide just five minutes after his introduction for Sheyi Ojo. Hey, how’s that for a positive change with a 1-0 lead? And try this one, too – Billy Mckay for Fortune. Such attacking substitutions enabled a mix ‘n’ match Latics XI to counter with considerable force as the home defence momentarily vacated their posts – the perfect ingredients for a pleasantly boring 11 minutes of extra- sorry, injury time. No time for toilet breaks

Sure enough, when Mckay threatened Federici’s crossbar with a 93rd minute right-footed snorter, Latics were assuming control. Before you knew it, just two added minutes remained, and Reading’s final fling had arrived. But the ever-consistent Harry Maguire wasn’t about to blow Latics’ chance of a first win of the year. Well, what a refreshing change that makes!

So for once, a regulation close Championship contest fell in the favour of Wigan Athletic. But the best thing is that, on this most important of occasions, they fully warranted three points to bring them within six (and seven goals) of Championship safety. Actually no, the very best thing was a total of six Latics bookings… on the evidence of today, perhaps we need to indulge in a bit more of that martial arts training.

Second opinion

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