Wigan 1-1 Bolton: Soapbox derby

Soapbox derby

Two wheels are better than none (c)Bengt Nyman

OK, it seems a few people have noticed that our striker ‘can’t score goals‘. But what about the midfielders that can’t pass, or the other striker that’s struggling to get into position, or the centre forwards failing to even make the bench on matchdays? And what about the Muppet that ate half of my chips when he was only supposed to be ‘holding them while I went for a pee’? You know who you are!

Maybe that last one was a bit harsh, but the point is, scapegoating is a dangerous thing indeed. Sheer hatred from certain parties towards poor Marc-Antoine Fortune for the simple fact he isn’t a natural goalscorer is, while moderately justified, hardly constructive. Right now, the general Laticsphere can be likened to that awful bubblegum pop track playing on loop – the same old arguments reiterated in precisely the same way with the same snooze-inducing intonation. Yeah, you all know who you are.

And that definitely wasn’t ‘a bit harsh’ – shame on those using the club as a pillow to shout into! There, with JWAW’s ‘angry reviewer’ tribute for the month out of the way, you are free to light up a cigarette and stick Match of the Day on. I hear Burnley lost again.

Ivanhoe the Engine

Burning man

Some can’t bear the excitement of Heskey and Fortune in the same game (c)Roland zh

Ahh, Emile Heskey – now there’s a holding striker you can trust. Even at the age of 37 he’s still troubling defenders’ faces with his mighty elbows, now for the noisy neighbours from t’other side of Westhoughton. I’m glad The Pesk isn’t at the club today, as an Emile-Marco partnership might cause head explosions in half our supporter base, and I don’t think we could afford the cleanup costs.

The evergreen Ivanhoe helped his men to a dominant start as a tense Latics side nervously poked and prodded at the advancing green(?!) wall with a brittle stick. But when James Perch clipped the underside of the bar from 30 yards, everything seemed to loosen up – it’s just a great pity Leon Clarke couldn’t do so in time to head the subsequent rebound either side of Ben Amos.

With Latics freed from their self-imposed restraints, the game opened into a shin-stinging corner-fest as both sides exchanged set pieces of varying (but mostly below average) quality. The aforementioned ‘expert holding men’ each fashioned headed efforts – first Heskey, who nodded wide, then Fortune, who found the keeper’s grateful arms… a non-striking striker’s impasse of sorts.

Once cured of that corner disease, the lively hosts finished the half in spirited fashion, but no closer to shattering the season-threatening gelatinous membrane between them and a first home goal since the reign of George Bush. And that’s H.W. I’m talking about here.

Whack-A-Mole

Sensing the latest in series of pivotal moments in their survival race, the home side bombed forward in search of a lucky deflection or bobble to unsettle the solid, dependable Amos. When Pennant induced another save from the on-loan Man U keeper, however, nobody was present to bundle the ball with leg, arm or nose past the divot-infested goal line. Hmm, they must all have been engrossed in the impromptu game of Whack-A-Mole that broke out just inside the area.

Mole digging

Aww, but he’s so cute! (c)Michael David Hill

With the visitors sinking deeper into the DW quicksand, Josh Murphy curved an expertly-crafted effort from outside the area, but it was in vain – as you well know, Wigan are simply not permitted to take the lead at home in the 2014/15 season. It’s true – you can see it scribbled onto the bottom of the DW Stadium ground regulations board in blue marker.

Of course, it was inevitable that Bolton, not Wigan, would steal the fortunate goal. Tom Walker scuffed a hopeful attempt perfectly off Emmerson Boyce’s bouncy backside and beyond a wrongfooted Al Habsi – cruel punishment for the hosts’ hard work, especially considering Boycey has been practising his butt clenches.

But for once, Wigan were not to be beaten.

Malky time

As the assistant signalled for five minutes of Malky time, a panicked Latics managed to eke a couple of last-ditch (and very good) saves from Amos. But with ten Latics men manning the opposition area, he was finally to be beaten by a close-range overhead smash from… *coughs* Fortune’s replacement, Martyn Waghorn.

Now, before you grab your favourite ‘I told you so’ headed paper, I urge you to ask instead why room was not made for more strikers in the starting line-up. Look not to individuals, but the whole team when apportioning ‘blame’. On the bright side, dear complainant, Waghorn must now stand a chance of displacing Fortune upon James McClean’s return.

Anyway, before Mr Angry takes over, I must mention the hard-earned point that brings us marginally closer to safety thanks to some stoppage time craziness at the New York Stadium. At 4:47 we were 9 points adrift and out of it – right now, the deficit is (amazingly) just five going into the dreaded international break. And you know what? I’ll take that as a net gain, thank you.

Second opinion

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