July 16, 2024
Grumpy judge

"Wigan Athletic good enough for the Championship? I'll be the judge o' that..."

The Beeman
Too lazy to grow a beard? Get bees! (c)JPS68

(Well, Tuesday, seeing as this didn’t publish on time…)

It’s a weird feeling, you know. To come face to face with the final game of the season and have naught but a McFastFood ‘luncheon’ and pride in the Wigan Athletic shorts to play for. When you know you’re to meet a gristly end involving severely undercooked meat from the genetically engineered zebu farms of League One, you just want it all to end quickly and painlessly. “Spare the ceremony, just liquidise that meal and hook it to my veins!”

But… not Bees! Why did it have to be Bees?!

Sorry, thought I’d jump on the ‘quick ‘n’ easy pun’ relegation party bus before it’s hijacked by QPR. Again.

That was good Fortune, eh?

Gary Caldwell’s last starting line-up of the 2014/15 season (spits) was a witches’ brew of old and new, eye of Billy Mckay and toe of Lee Nicholls, wool of Marc-Antoine Fortune and tongue of cow – Don COWie, that is. But be they forced by the burgeoning naughty boys’ step or in the name of experimentation/personal development, these ‘minor’ alterations were proving effective, at least initially.

Fortune displayed all the skill of a confident regular goalscorer (!!) as he calmly sidefooted Bong’s well-placed cross beyond David Button… only to be denied by a pesky obscure law that states the ball is ‘deemed out of play if it crosses the dead ball line’. Chants of ‘feed the scapegoat and he will score‘ came to an abrupt end before the first consonant was uttered – watch the highlights video below to pinpoint the agonising moment. Ne’er you mind, Marc, I’ll buy you a pint of Vimto the next time I see you.

Real men’s goals

Diego Maradona
“Sigh… I wish I were as good as Alex Pritchard.” (c)Armando Tovar

Predictably enough, match report writers used the phrase ‘predictably enough’ for the thirteenth week in a row to describe what would come next – the greatest strike of all. Diego Maradona’s 65-yard wonder run at Mexico ’86? Nah, schoolyard stuff. 18-year old Michael Owen’s ‘supermarket sweep’ of the Argentine defence at France ’98? Phuh, you can do that at the press of a Eggsbox 360 control pad these days.

Now Alex Pritchard’s goal – there’s a real contender for Goal of the Century. I often remark that strikers get little credit for deflected free-kicks, but they are in fact the most effective of all. Unpredictability is the key where goalscoring is concerned, and Lee Nicholls would have had to be Nostradamus to even lay a little finger on this effort.

This didn’t seem to stop the visitors, however – with so little at stake, Latics feared absolutely nothing. Nothing… but half time, for half time brings not only lukewarm lemon and barley water, but a chance for those chasing tangible, Premier League-shaped prizes to reset. And my, how Brentford reached a fat finger to depress the restart button with the greatest sense of smug self-satisfaction! I take back what I said about Pritchard’s goal being the best of the season, for Peleteiro Ramallo’s might have outclassed even Roberto’s infamous ’60-pass goals’ in terms of concise build up…

Sorry, that hyperbole is a result of me getting carried away again. I’ll be sure to order something without caffeine next time, Marco.

Ask the Ref

Time for some covert operations. Agent Caldwell dispatched a couple of academy spies in Robles and Flores to infiltrate the Brentford playoff party. Not that the hosts would have even murmured in acknowledgement amid their screams of sheer joy, as Andre Gray emulated his Everton legend near-namesake in converting Jota’s through ball with great style. If it weren’t Wigan Athletic tasting the extra strong wallpaper paste, this would have been a joy to behold. As it stands… well, it was alright, I suppose (*knowing wink*).

Grumpy judge
“Wigan Athletic good enough for the Championship? I’ll be the (Alan) judge o’ that…”

An ever present of the 2015/16 season (you heard it hear first, guys!), Lee Nicholls would steal the final, albeit brief and scarcely satisfying, giggle of an eminently laughable campaign. When 11,000 Brentfordians(?) shouted ‘oy ref’ simultaneously, Andy Woolmer simply had to award Alan Judge a penalty – but James Tarkowski could not oblige. Nicholls pulled the ball from under him at the latest of moments, like a good batsman willing leather to his willow, and subsequently the boundary.

We knew all along that they were to be four consolation runs. But with this experimental one day match over, I think I know who might begin the new race in August from the outside lanes. And if you haven’t figured out who I’m referring to, re-read those last few paragraphs and hunt out the fleeting references to Wigan Athletic players… go on, it’ll more fun than a season review!

Sorry, that’s just me being lazy again. Tune in to the next PWU Podcast for a ‘proper’ season review.

Match highlights courtesy Brentford Official

Second opinion

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