Remember when your school teacher used to say, “if you don’t like it, you’re free to leave at any time”? Of course, nobody ever did – they were too scared to even contemplate asking for a pencil sharpener. Tales of kids being banished to Darkest Westhoughton were more than enough to dissuade any potential deserters… but I can’t help believing that the electrified fence was a deciding factor.
Er… hmm? Oh, sorry about that – I just slipped into a daydream. There were guys in Wigan Athletic kits scrambling to clear a 10ft perimeter fence across the Robin Park Arena car park, attack Chihuahuas snapping at their swollen heels. I can’t help thinking they should have enlisted Sly Stallone and dug a tunnel from the DW dressing room showers or something. Hmm, my fantasies need a better director.
Speaking of Escape to Victory, you may remember that the Allied Forces were being trounced 4-1 at the break. While Latics hadn’t quite amassed such a lead by 3:50pm, they certainly could have… if this were Hollywood, of course. To get us in the mood, maybe we ought to have borrowed those eyebrow-singeing flame thrower things they use to welcome the rugby men onto the field?
Hey, this is Blue Peter Land, not Tinseltown!
Actually, the first half of Wigan v Crewe was more like a potato print of the Scunthorpe game… with a few imperfections. As any good children’s TV presenter knows, the little rascals are likely to raid the art cupboard and cut their own names into those potatoes – and that’s exactly what Alex did. Carve out some efforts, that is.
Bradden Inman, evidently disgusted at being compared to certain Lincolnshire outfits, took it upon himself to burst through mediocrity by giving Richard O’Donnell’s right hand post a right good bashing… with the ball. As the rebound evaded even Mr Nobody, Latics’ sheet remained mostly white, but with the odd excusable smudge. It was enough to be termed ‘clean’, at any rate.
As this immediately followed Oliver Turton’s testing shot on target, you might even have suggested Crewe were grasping control of the final third. But any moral advantage they might have gained was swiftly squashed when back post prowler Michael Jacobs tucked away Max Power’s corner, beating the keeper’s backside by an inch. And it wasn’t necessarily an unexpected turn of events – in only ten minutes, Wigan had elicited two saves from FIFA expert Ben Garratt.
Jacobs’ newfound confidence was tangible to the point he exuded a dangerous aura – nary a defender dared touch him as he sliced through the penalty box as if it were made of hot soap. Garratt’s fitting FIFA-style lunge prevented damage to his own slightly soiled sheet on this occasion… but there would be more tests of his wrist action to come.
A pleasure, Crewe…s
Yet, the visitors reached the break having restricted their opponents to just the, er, nine efforts. The second half, Crewe reasoned, would be a superb opportunity to continue their good goalscoring form. Yeah, Latics are historically weaker in the second half – it says so on Wikipedia!
Sure enough, Latics’ industrious frontline of Will Grigg and Craig Davies slowly lost the support of their midfield. Yes, they created chances – most notably when the former nodded the latter’s cross onto the very same post that Bradden Inman took such a shine to. Oooh, poor post.
But by the final fifteen minutes, the hosts were content to stand clear and invite long-range Figueroa-style attempts… well, maybe not *that* long range. However, Crewe were crowded out of the Wigan penalty area through sheer manpower (or should that be, Max Power?) and the odd well-timed Donervon Daniels toe poke. Not entirely convincing, but an effective strategy… for now. For today. To cling on for three points.
And that’s all fine, since sensing when to take a minute to step back and analyse the situation is a valuable asset. Right now, Wigan Athletic is moving so quickly that you’re appreciative of a moment to stop and think. If things slow down, you can rest easy in the knowledge that the Latics machine is being primed for its next engagement.
…In other words, they’re switching the filter – it’s a coffee machine. Hey, you need something to keep you going from time to time!