I was asked to change the name of the website this week. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to do so until my contract with Mr Seba has expired or the supply of pies stipulated in said arrangement runs dangerously low – whichever comes first. Let’s just say that, thanks to the bounteous pastry mine at the bottom of my garden, I’m never short of a spare meat ‘n’ tater for a certain special Spaniard. Also, don’t tell people it’s in my coal shed or the neighbours/Greenalghs will stage a midnight raid.
Anyway, this complaint did not concern any of the Three Amigos, but my use of the word ‘Wiganer’. Apparently, this football team is henceforth to be named ‘Liverpool 2nd XI’ due to the prevalence of Scouse U21 players spending their spring at the DW Stadium. But it is plainly apparent that such a name change would never work – I mean, since when did Jesus Seba play for Liverpool?
There – that’s you well and truly told, Mr Rob Freegun of Prescot.
When they look back upon Wigan Athletic’s 2014/15 season, critics will note another recurring theme – one of absence. Where once great men leapt to nod corners past flailing Manchester City goalkeepers with their shampoo bottles, now only ghosts stand. And I’m only half-talking about that Spectre of Jordi Gomez roaming Robin Park’s great halls here.
Just to annoy the likes of Derek Acorah (Liverpool U21 fan?!), for one night only, Big Ben was back. But on this night, he was your mortal enemy – a very strange feeling indeed, but we must finally accept the one-night stand has come to an end. After, erm, about five years and the lovechild that is the FA Cup trophy. No, of course not Gary Lineker, you mean old reader, you!
“So you’re saying you want me to make contact with your lost three points on the other side? Eh, impossible!” (c)Ian French
Latics ably coped with their championship-chasing opponents for 40 minutes – more than that, they actually managed to fashion a couple of promising opportunities. Right wingman Ojo found a Heskey-esque Marc-Antoine Fortune patrolling just outside the six yard box, but his layoff was smacked into a conveniently placed defender by Leon Clarke. Take note of this block – it was the first of many that prevented keeper Gomes from damaging his shiny new gloves. Goalies don’t like them getting dirty almost as much as Andy Delort hates getting his hair messed up.
Release the Kraken!
Deeney throws Maguire around as if he were a baby’s rattle
Suddenly, the heaving Troy Deeney was released from his titanium reinforced cage. This indestructible panzer of a man let out a guttural growl as he forced Al Habsi into a smart diving punch at his near post, a full-cream bootlace botherer to shatter the mediocrity of half-chance football. Coffee was spilt and crisps were sent flying, for this moment injected life into what had been a cautious contest of grimaces and gasps.
Aaaand then the half time whistle went.
But play resumed with both sides flinging their entire weight forward – and some had more to throw around than others. Jermaine Pennant and Fortune teamed up to manufacture another blocked effort, but Watford’s breakaway was swift, and soon Adlène Guédioura was rampaging down the left wing. Not even an army of T-1000s could prevent Deeney rising from the flames to head home the cross. What strength, what speed!
Maguire meets his match
Though neutered by the removal of Pennant, the ambitious hosts continued to press. William Kvist and Josh Murphy induced more backside blocks in the hosts’ most enterprising spell yet – well, it *had* to be, really.
The visitors, however, were shouting much the louder in a potato patch slanging match. Harry Maguire had finally met his equal in the imposing Deeney, who to be fair would intimidate even the British Bulldog in his heyday. By the time Maguire had a measure of the metal monster, Watford were more than content to see the game to a tidy conclusion; with the fantastic Fortune now back on the bench, Wigan’s flame had been extinguished.
Groundsmen resort to drastic measures as the pitch becomes increasingly toxic (c)Alison Rawson
It only remained for the Schwarzenegger-esque strikeman to snap the match in half, which he did in great style with a comprehensive 90th minute penalty. Half time substitute Fernando Forestieri drew the foul from a weary Boyce, and the conqueror of worlds added Wigan Athletic FC to his list with a spot kick so powerful Al Habsi daren’t even try to lay a finger on it.
The cold, dark mist of night
Oh, how your situation can change in 365 short (pastry) days. When Latics last played Watford at the DW on 22 March 2014, they were high-flying promotion chasers with a plethora of passionate Premier League pros. Now, all but two of their top-flight representatives have flown the nest, leaving loan men and freshmen to shoulder the burden of a Championship relegation battle.
But then I didn’t need to tell you that, because it is self evident – sorry, I went all Motty again there! It is, however, a reminder that success can be very fleeting indeed, so you have to cling on to it where you can… altogether now: “we beat Man City with a (Watson) goal!”
Hey, he may be the enemy now, but we can still sing his name! To the Boltonmobile…
(Rather sparse) match highlights courtesy @Laticsofficial