Jonathan Jackson must know a very good carpet fitter. Because every time I have attempted to lay one, it has taken much longer than a couple of days. In fact, I think I still need to pin down the shag pile behind that cupboard – you know, the one containing the large plastic cup gathering dust since May 2013. No idea why I bought that blasted thing in the first place.
I’d love to say this luxurious green carpet was rolled out for the Real Latics (to be confused with Real Latics Club de Fútbol of the Primera Lancashire). But as much as it irks ‘Ticsmen both genuine and synthetic, we all know this brand new surface is actually for DW’s crown green bowling team. Oh yeah, he’s really into the sport after seeing Blackball with Paul Kaye at the Higher Ince Hippodrome last week.
However, because we asked nicely, he’s allowed his grandson’s football team to play. The clincher? Those boot studs perforating the surface will save him paying a man with a table fork to drain away any standing water.
“Blasted sports teams keeping me out of a job.” — Head groundsman at the DW Stadium
Feel the (carpet) burn
The mischievous Anthony Gerrard was first to test the new rug’s destructive properties, attempting to inflict a nasty carpet burn on Conor McAleny. But it backfired horribly, as the Oldham centre back only succeeded in burning a gorgeous Valentine’s love heart into his own throbbing backside. Hey, at least McAleny guided the resulting free kick harmlessly into Joel Coleman’s side netting!
And the rest of the first half was Oldham’s. Got a cigar to hand?
Flashpoint A: Reece Wabara so very nearly rolled one (that’s a shot, not a cigar) into a disbelieving Jussi J’s grinning goalmouth with immediate effect. Lucky.
Flashpoint B: Through on goal, an advancing Oldhamite shinned his 14th minute breath-baiter so badly that the ball was actually pushed back towards the half way line. Lucky lucky.
Flashpoint C: Carl Winchester launched a bid for goal of the season, but Jussi’s open palm was in just the right place to touch this Max Power-esque kilt-lifter into the gullet of a passing South Stand ball boy. Unlucky unlucky unlucky… for that poor kid.
Then it all went dark. Mr Deedub himself begrudgingly dispatched someone to flick the floodlight switch, but the match continued in semi-gloom up to ref Nigel Miller’s half time whistle. Err, does anybody have a spare flashpoi- er, flashlight?
That jerry-rigged artificial (plastic?) lighting eventually began to take effect, but certainly not on fluidity of play. The hosts’ passing was largely limited to their own half, while the visitors’ breakaways were almost always defused by Craig Morgan and Jason Pearce’s Brobdingnagian bonces. Had the introduction of Morsy for Daniels ironed out those lingering defensive uncertainties?
Further changes were afoot, not least because the game had ground to a steady halt (that’s definitely ‘halt’ and not ‘Holt’, mind). New entrants Lee Croft and Ryan Colclough sought to lift the quality beyond the Wednesday evening Soccerdome walkabout this had slowly become. (*Awaits angry emails from ‘Domers and/or Grant Holt fans.)
Though Matthew Palmer booted agonisingly wide on 76 minutes, Oldham’s final ball soon became lost in the luscious shag pile adorning each wing. Which, incidentally, was the very same shag pile that swallowed the diminutive David Perkins in a first half devoid of midfield prowess.
“Mustard-done well to stop that one.”
However, as the visitors sank deeper into the quicksand-like carpet of their own goalmouth, glorious open space began to materialise. Yanic Wildschut took the ball to within five yards of Coleman the Goalman, bringing him to his knees with a surprise blind side sneak attack… which the keeper was equal to. More than that, he somehow won a goal kick from the situation.
And on 85 minutes, Biltong Grigg sliced across Oldham’s area to set up the winner… of Scuffed Shot of the Month. Which is some effort considering that dude’s earlier ‘backwards shot’ contortionism. A pity I didn’t note down his name, because I’m sure we could have sent him a consolation bottle of champagne or something.
From there on, Grigg and Winchester exchanged off-piste stoppage time strikes, but much like the goalkeepers’ gloves or the scorer’s fountain pen, they were of no specified use.
But cheer up! At least the remainder of Wigan’s home games this season will be played on carpet as opposed to sand – the former is much more difficult to get stuck in your underpants, and considerably less painful.