Well, wasn’t that a great gesture? The kindly powers that be have provided a very special plaque for those individuals braver than I, the ones that travelled precisely 217 miles to watch Latics los- I mean, er, to watch Wigan play on a work day.
Back in Darkest Lancastria, many more collected at the DW Stadium for a (presumably) Star Trek-style holographic ‘Beamback’ broadcast, but certain parties were reduced to thumbing the radio dial for a not-so-impartial commentary stream. Yes, it was back to the days of Matt McCann’s second half commentaries to a backdrop of the Ceefax videprinter for your humble blogger!
Consider that a general disclaimer from a general disco lamer – JWAW is the type of blog that wears modern clothing to a retro bar and stands in the corner telling people how to dance properly. It then leaves early to post inebriated comments on reviewthatpub.com.
Well, I feel that is more than enough nostalgia for one day. The Auto Windscreens Final and FA Cup Semi have been covered on the back of cereal packets for many months now, and you are no doubt as familiar with those as you are with the third sub-page of Ceefax’s Championship table. Sigh… it’s lonely down here in 1994.
Nothing below the belt, OK?
As Captain Cald’s comrades resumed their on-field torment, it was as if the preceding four days had been expunged from the record. Just as on Friday, James McClean was grabbing a fistful of shirt and Marco Fortune a fistful of… er, offside flag? Heh, in the never-ending quest for Championship survival, some things just never change.
Predictably enough, the relegation elbowfight exploded into action with ref Steve Martin a (thankfully) lenient moderator. The glimpses of football were fleeting, but potentially telling – Scott Carson’s impulsive slide on Aiden O’Brien preserved early parity, while Fortune’s wildly misguided header thumped into pitch divot rather than netting.
With the half time Irn Bru in smelling distance, just a touch of orange glucose quality dripped back into an otherwise fractious half. But having survived strong claims for a typically clumsy penalty, the visitors indiscriminately fired another free header into some unnamed defender’s ankle. I bet that hurt him… the defender, that is.
Seconds out, round two.
Millwall’s extended half time team talk had a more noticeable effect on the game, however, as the hosts were quickly reassuming control. Scott Carson’s beard was just about unkempt enough to distract his old adversary Aiden O’Brien, who was the finger of a keeper’s glove away from the opener. Carson sneakily picked and flicked a crumb or two from his fledgling stubble when he thought nobody was looking.
To make matters much worse, Latics were about to lose two strikers (well, front men) in the space of ten minutes. The largely ineffective Fortune was first to exit via his mandatory substitution on 53, to be replaced by the gnashing Martyn Waghorn. And said ex-Millwall man was soon following him to the bench after some thrilling off-the-ball kung fu action in the Lions’ penalty area. Oh Martyn, what have you done?
(Well, he was doing the Ce Chuai Tui, if we’re being pedantic.)
Though the battling Latics took a gallant “we still have ten men to spare” stance, they could only hold out for so long. The drip, drip, drip of a letting Lions tap gave way to an insurmountable torrent of the hardest of waters when Nadjim Abdou succeeded where Fortune failed, heading comfortably home. The metallic, fluoride-ridden taste of Championship relegation.
Round three. Fight!
Next up in this low budget disaster movie, another poorly choreographed battle. Combatants Jason Pearce and Ed Upson so upset the referee that they were hauling Waghorn out of the communal baths within minutes… for extended highlights of that fight, subscribe to JWAW TV’s Pay Per View package today! It’s fun for all the family, and for the price of a jar of Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls (yay).
Back on the pitch, Millwall’s ten remaining players were signalling for the undertaker. Magaye Gueye took advantage of a severely wounded and barely recognisable Wigan Athletic, looting himself a free goal amid the 9-man visitors’ grief. Cruel but fair, upsetting but inevitable. Like how every character in a B-movie is slowly but inexorably thrust face first into that great football field built on marshland in the sky.
On the plus side, the Football League Show can market this evening’s highlights as a ‘fast and furious martial arts package’ – they just need to play Carl Douglas’ Kung Fu Fighting over the top and it’ll be worth a watch. Personally, however, I’m not going to bother.