Emmerson Boyce is truly the Ringo Starr of football. Despite the fact he was narrator of the multi award-winning Thomas The Tank Engine, poor old Starsky will only ever be known as ‘the fourth best drummer in the Beatles’. Similarly, Boycey has been typecast as a Wiganer, even though he has made just as many appearances for Luton, Crystal Palace and Blackpool combined. Heck, he could go on to win the World Cup with Barbados but he’ll still be known as ‘The Guy That Beat Man City’, at least within the city walls of humble Wigonia.
But Boycey and the Fab Eleven, nay, Sixteen, are but a fading memory; 30 months later, only Captain Caldwell remains to walk the halls DW. A new Wembley quest, one filled with oddly-named colour swatches and a strong smell of hundred year egg, was in progress as the two FA Cup winners met once again. Only this time, they were rivals – in 2015, just one of them could continue along the sticky path to John Stones’ Paint Trophy. (Wait, did I punctuate that wrong again?!)
A cruel (and only slightly witty) observer might even have suggested this contest was ‘men against Boyce’, but since Emmerson did not appear let alone make the subs bench, neither that comment or cheap Beatles references are worthy of a match ‘report’. Pah, Ain’t She Sweet wasn’t even a Lennon-McCartney track!
Jussi Jääskeläinen – now there’s a man with a sense of humour. Fairly early in the evening (even earlier than usual, considering the 7.15pm ‘teatime’ kickoff) he noticed that the South Stand was particularly quiet. Looking to address the situation, he quickly swivelled around to gee up… three ball boys, who didn’t know whether to fetch the ball or offer messages of support. Classic!
Still, the closed South Stand’s cavernous nature served to amplify ‘Bigmouth’ Juicy Jasper Lynam’s own screams of encouragement tenfold – not that he has ever needed such things. (Hey, did my autocorrect fail me again in that last sentence? Hmm, wonder if ‘Juicy’ is a relation of Des?)
At least Jordy Hiwula’s finishing touch wasn’t deserting him, even if his first touch *was* on occasion. For all the derisory comments emanating from certain sections of ES6, his toe poke past Kyle Letheren was that of the man who netted twice in the last round as opposed to a man who had hardly featured for the first team since.
“You know, he’ll get a hat-trick here,” claimed another denizen of the East Stand that may or may not have been me, semi-ironically. And as much as I hate to give myself any credit whatsoever, this ‘gentleman’ wasn’t far wrong.
Man of the… 66 minutes?
Craig Davies, meanwhile, was ruling the Blackpool penalty area with two considerable iron forearms. After teeing up Hiwula for the goal, he powered his way through two one-on-ones with Letheren – the first sailed a foot wide while the second was closed down smartly by a Blackpool keeper increasing in confidence.
When Davies was eventually hauled off with a whale harness, it was (thankfully) not as a result of injury or bad performance, but to preserve his delicate hamstrings for upcoming contests. By this point, Sean Murray had doubled the hosts’ account with a spectacular 25 yard bullet to kick proceedings into Ron Manager’s ‘back field with bricks fer goalposts’ training ground mode. What, again? That’s the second time in two games! Pah, you call this entertainment?
Somewhat surprisingly, Yanic Wildschut was the one to replace Davies. Somewhat unsurprisingly, he was shortly to capitalise on a literal slip (certainly not the visitors’ first of the night) by steamrollering the Blackpool box and blasting through a despairing ‘keeper’s aching fingers. Oh, so *that’s* why he was introduced – the man hunts goals like a vampire seeks blood. Actually, that would explain the ‘love bites’ on his team-mates’ necks, applied mid-celebration to the delight of a rapturous South Stand (heh).
Letheren ’em good
Soon enough, the unfortunate Letheren would have a little more than sore fingers. In a desperate attempt to atone for his goalie’s England cricketer-esque dropped catch, one Blackpool defender appeared to mow him down amid a tangle of limbs initiated by a prowling Hiwula. In the ensuing Yani- er, panic, a second defender threw himself headlong at the goalbound ball, only to be penalised for apparently using the upper part of his arm. One yellow card, one penalty. The taker – who do you think?
Hiwula sent second team keeper Myles Boney sprawling in every direction but the correct one, though he would probably have required a two-second head start and an extra long cricket bat to reach it. 2-0.
A Hiwula hat-trick – could it possibly be? Nah, that JWAW bloke has yet to predict a single thing in six whole years of hot air and conjecture. I will admit that Hiwula chipped an 86th minute Donervon Daniels cross just over the gaping mouth… not of the goal, but awestruck onlookers. But cheer up, I think we might see one before this season is out, and it could well be at Wembley Stadium.