Oldham 1-1 Wigan: Lactic fantastic

So now you know how Latic acid is formed. Oh, wait... (c)Biology Fun Facts

So now you know how Latic Acid is formed. Oh, wait… (c)Biology Fun Facts

Hmm, Latics vs Latics… wait, this could get very messy indeed – we require a non-controversial naming convention here. I can only use ‘Oldham’ and ‘Wigan’ so many times before Google Penguin (or whatever it’s called now) relegates this post to the seventh page of search results. With 100 results per page.

A few seasons ago, one particularly inventive Charlton blogger decreased (increased?) the potential for Athletic confusion by branding Wigan the ‘Lactics’ – note the additional letter c. I get the feeling this was more for humour than clarity, as Charlton are more commonly known as the Addicks (or ‘the Lofts’ in British English). But I can’t just pinch his hard-worked euphemism for my own nefarious devices, especially now I’ve explained where I got it from!

Ah, screw it – let’s take a leaf out of my grandad’s book and just call ‘em Owdum and Wiggin. I don’t wish to dwell on this subject any longer for fear of reigniting that debate on the ‘Real Lati-’ oh, bullbutter. Can you hear me up there? I’m firmly entrenched in a dark, dank well of my own digging…

Hurry up and talk about the match, Plastic Man!

(c)Quality Comics

Gary Caldwell’s team talk proves wildly unpopular. (c)Quality Comics

Anyhow, the denizens of Boundary Park were dumbfounded by sight of five exhausted Wigan representatives dragging an unusual metal contraption onto the field of play. It was in fact the DW Stadium’s industrial jelly mould, which they had hauled the full 25 miles across Greater Manchester… on foot. A quick glance at the attached operating instructions revealed that ‘Wiggin’ had brought their ‘Home Football Mould’ on the road for the first time in ages!

Variously amused and disbelieving Oldham players rubbed their eyes in total amazement. This hulking great abomination from a bygone age was evidently part of a new strategy to prevent the visitors conceding another two goals in one afternoon outside the borough, a home comfort to wrest back the psychological balance of this hostile away trip. And as unsightly as it might have been, it seemed to be working… somehow.

Cogs whirred and mechanical arms screeched as début man Michael Higdon planted a flick header onto Richard O’Donnell’s post, and the machine had contrived to push the ball away from Wigan’s goal line. Owdum eyebrows were raised higher than the pigs floating slowly towards Manchester city centre as Lati- er, the visitors piled on the possession percentiles. And with just two men now in the centre of defence, it was almost as if… this were a home game or something. Ahah, eureka!

Imbued with a newfound self-assuredness, Max Power confidently strode forward to meet Reece James’ roll goalwards with a toe-curling sweetness. Donervon Daniels and O’Donnell gave the metal mould a celebratory pat, as it had manufactured a rare away lead for its owners. Power was less pleased that said contraption was getting all the credit, but kept (relatively) quiet about it… mostly because his ‘competitor’ could easily crush him with one swipe of its formidable steel arm.

Half time break. Stadium aerial shot fetishists’ corner.

Boundary Park

This picture was taken by Peter Crouch standing on a pile of bricks. (c)Oldham Athletic

A new half brought new Owdum impetus. Limbs now sufficiently loosened, Timothee Dieng and Michael Higdon unleashed their latent Luddite tendencies with a few swift strikes to Metal Mickey’s dispensing tray. Security guard O’Donnell managed to cushion these potentially dismantling blows to keep him operational… for the time being, at least.

But with Owdum’s angry mob chipping away at the Wiggin engine, attack soon became midfield became defence. Now all eleven men were barricading the goal line, the once menacing jelly mould was rapidly being exposed for the diversionary tactic it always was.

“Crumbs, the jig’s up!” — A despairing voice from the Wigan bench.

And that eleven was about to become ten. Jordan Flores picked precisely the wrong moment to kick back at a late challenging Jay Fulton, because the referee could see everything. As exposed as his side’s decorative jelly machine, the East Stander covered his modesty as he shuffled silently through the jubilant hordes back to Boundary Park’s considerable canteen area. Hey, at least he would get first dibs on the chicken nuggets!

Mould Father Time

The Oldham equaliser coincided with a great explosion as that overworked Wigan machine was finally blown to 64 bits. In the end, it was so dilapidated that a goal-hangin’ Dominic Poleon could deliver the fatal jab and enjoy the resultant firework display. On the touchline, Graham Barrow wept for his precious jelly maker, which had completed ten years’ continuous service and was just three days from a peaceful retirement.

The visitors would have to do the rest all by themselves… and avenge the death of Wigan’s longest serving employee.

But professional sub Sanmi Odelusi exchanged a couple of attacking free kicks for some time wasting offsides, and before you knew it, all five minutes of stoppage time had passed without great incident. Or rather, no further goals were forthcoming – a possible mark of respect for our departed friend?

Jelly machine

And there will be no jelly at the DW Stadium this weekend. Thanks for everything, Mouldmaster 2000! (Sobs.)

Second opinion

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