July 16, 2024

Please welcome Warren Garton Joyce, Wigan Athletic’s newest and foremost ‘edgelord’. The sort of guy who, like a dog, watches you eat for fifteen minutes before snatching that precious final morsel of tuna casserole from your plate. A man who catches all his perch two minutes before packing up his tackle in a Ryan Giggs boot bag.

OK, I’m aware that isn’t the dictionary definition of this (admittedly questionable) neologism. But Master Joyce is without question an exponent of the edgy 1-0 victory stolen in those hazy dying moments – enough to earn him prestigious edgelord status.

…Which is why today’s FA Cup bootabout was a true anomaly, a maverick to crash clean through the sequence of brickwall grindfests that destroyed your Christmas. Are you ready for the craziness of a first half Wigan Athletic goal?

…Nope? Then I suggest you turn away until 2pm next Saturday. For the rest of you: prepare to revel in the sheer sensationalism.

Don’t score just yet…!

See that thing she's holding? It's a hecatohedron, of course... (You can use this one, Barry!)
See that thing she’s holding? It’s a hecatohedron, of course… (You can use this one, Barry!)

This misty afternoon began in disturbingly predictable fashion when Nicky ‘Hold My Legs’ Powell accounted for Latics’ first substitution slot. Those that drew ‘8th minute’ in the lucrative Powell injury sweepstake gave an audible yelp before phoning the office to report their immediate retirement from all forms of paperclip sorting.

Replacement Jordi Gomez, who was previously enjoying a quiet nap by his favourite water bottle, stretched out his sleepy bones with a couple of loosening shots. But since scoring early would deviate from the patented Joycey ‘Edgelord Strat’, J-Go made entirely sure ‘keeper Stephen Henderson could handle them with the edge of his little finger.

A returning Sam Morsy also eradicated any chance of a freak Latics goal by missing Yanic Wildschut’s cross entirely. It was good thinking – the Egypto-Englishman simply couldn’t risk alienating yet another employer with eccentric early goal-scoring tactics.

Ahem! My apologies for this ‘edgy’ tone – that icy fog that can make a small time Internet weblogger sardonically sarcastic a la 2009.

Butt-slappingly good

Light Lancashire mist can also offer resistance to free-flowing football. Though Latics subsequently mustered a small selection of semi-chances, Henderson remained comfortably vacuum packed inside his protective wrapper. And as all true eBay geeks know, that massively increases your chances of a successful sale.

But the final minute of the first half was convention-destroying. Plastic wrap flew in all directions as Stephen Warnock rifled in his most testing cross yet, and a heavily relieved Bilbo Griggson-Fire converted Joyce promise to tangible readies. Somebody notify the media: Wigan Athletic were leading 1-0 at home!

(Previously invisible crowd cheers.)

In an instant, eight weeks of stodge(kovic) and unsightly seasonal flab were forced down a liposuction tube bound for Horwich. To the theme from The Great Escape, Wigan Athletic now stood Schwarzenegger-esque, muscles rippling and gnashers sparkling under glorious floodlights.

Upon witnessing such cornography, the visitors cowered into fast submission – and who would blame them? Nicolau Dumitru’s early goal, disallowed due to that archaic offside rule, suddenly seemed centuries ago.

No, not *that* type of cornography…

Don’t play on the counter – you’ll fall over the cash register.

And now, a second Latics goal. Ultimate Warrior Warnock snapped back for Hollywood Yanic to fire through the goal netting, conjuring memories of 2013. Oh yeah, did I ever mention Wigan won the FA Cup that year? Nah, I don’t think I ever did…

All that remained now was for Wigan’s brand new Bogdan-looking goal-tender Jakob Haugaard to register a debut cameo. Happy to oblige, Gomez neatly upended Eric Lichaj in the Latics box to shift all spotlights to the sprightly Scandinavian.

Statistics show most penalties are smashed straight down the middle, since keepers are scared stiff of being made to look a fool for standing still. But not our Jakob, who stayed central for a convention-busting save to preserve 2-0. How very odd… but how very satisfying.

So there’s that winless run well and truly blocked, like a shameless Internet troll showing off his latest gaudy sockpuppet a touch too early. And to think all it took was for Sam Morsy to return to the Wigan Athletic first XI…

*Lights fuse, runs back towards Wembley with fingers plugging ears.

Second opinion

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