Southend 0-0 Wigan: Hand of Zod

Dr Strangelove

“Agh, who stole my scarf?”

There comes a moment when you realise you *don’t* know everything. That turning point in your life when you go full Acorah and start to believe in the supernatural, I mean.

I recall watching a documentary about an affliction known as ‘alien hand syndrome’, which causes the hand to act of its own will, as if controlled by some mysterious force. Because the programme was screened on Channel 5, I always assumed this disorder to be a mere plot device concocted by movie scriptwriters scrabbling for silly backstories.

And where Hollywood is concerned, you generally would tend to err on the side of scepticism… that is, until you witness it happening outside the confines of a humming black box with a plant pot on top.

I am now convinced that alien hand syndrome (AHS) does exist, and that it is the work of the same invisible demons that cause players to trip over blades of grass just 3cm in length while at least seven miles from another person. Let’s put it this way – if extraterrestrial beings did exist, they would certainly get their jollies from silently interfering with League One football matches. Matches such as Southend v Wigan, in fact.

The clues are out there

It isn’t just the bigger things like Yanic Wildschut’s name inexplicably disappearing from the squad sheet, but those little incidents such as the match ball becoming mysteriously deflated after just three minutes of play. Certainly not a result of the usual metal boot stud + heavy duty pencil sharpener equation, but those meddling Martians and their magical MBOX controllers.

And what about the ‘wind’ stunting keepers’ long clearances? While that could be the fault of Michael Fish (again), it’s much more interesting to think there’s an invisible antimatter machine emitting sonic waves from the back of Row 23. This would definitely explain the very loud mechanical growling noises coming from Jussi’s penalty area…

Ignoring for one second the space conspiracy, there was a single real footballing scare for each goalmouth in a speculative first half. The visitors’ came when Ryan Leonard punished the crossbar on 6 minutes, while the hosts’ was a Will Atkinson goal line clearance – neither Leon Barnett or Alex Revell could post their successive attempts through Dan Bentley’s big pipe-cleaner letterbox.

Otherwise, David Perkins replaced an injured Chris McCann in order to receive the latter’s customary yellow card. Yeah, it’s a relatively trivial thing to report from a trivial 45 minutes of (sometimes) football – the interfering aliens must have been on an extended biccie break or something.

Aliens eating lunch

“Pass me the giblets, Zorg!”

Not so close encounters

Following an initial spark when another Barnett attempt was cleared from the goal line, the game quickly fell back into its ‘nervously finger tapping the desk’ mode. Minutes before the hour mark, Jussi Jääskeläinen awoke from his half time nap at just the right moment to catch Atkinson’s effort at the third or fourth attempt. Hey, who’s to say he would have missed it completely if he hadn’t recharged?

It took a third change for Latics to rekindle the attacking impetus of victories past. The Davies-Revell physical (comedy?) double act was proving more effective than the Grigg-Junior pairing, especially now their supporting cast had arrived – Michael Jacobs offered a new source (and indeed sauce) of nourishment on the right.

But unfortunately, Davies was found guilty of aiming for invisible aliens perched on the stadium roof with his slightly misdirected 88th and 90th minute efforts. And when Leon Barnett completed his ‘perfect hat trick’ of goal line scrambles by kissing the crossbar, Keith Stroud’s final whistle and a League One point was but seconds away.

Exclusive CCTV footage of the moment an alien materialised to taunt Craig Davies.

The meddler materialises for a split second to taunt Craig Davies.

For the neutrals reading, I feel it must be noted that Leon Barnett is supposedly a centre back… at least, that’s what it says on FIFA 2016. Or so they tell me – I’m still trying to rescue the princess in International Superstar Soccer 64.

As for the alleged alien hand syndrome, I can’t prove conclusively that Martians were causing Jussi’s occasional spillages. But the conspiracists have built up such a bamboozling (if scientifically questionable) case that I have become a believer. And the ultimate clincher? Well, it’s there in the name of the competition – Skynet League One!

[Terminator theme plays]

Second opinion

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