Alright, so despite the hammyteur Twitter meteorologists’ predictions, it never did snow in Burton upon Trent today.
But on Friday morning, the Met Office (presumably a wild new joint venture of the Metro newspaper and the Post Office) issued ‘yellow warnings’ of ice in Staffordshire. From this we can only assume that the county’s dog walkers embarked upon an unprecedented mass figure skating session… producing gold medals you certainly don’t want in your hands.
Oh, disregard that – I misread it as ‘yellow ice’.
As it happens, those Metro Office dudes were actually trying to warn Wigan Athletic about a certain soccer side in shining golden jerseys. A side whose biscuit manufacturing prowess rivals bad old Uncle J Mintballson. A side whose superstar centre forward invented the latest foodie craze sweeping Britishland – the ‘Akins diet’ is much like the Atkins diet, but without a tea.
(Just say that last bit out loud and it’ll make [a little] more sense.)
Satan’s Day Saturday arrived, the anticipant Old Burtonians of Albion stood proud atop Pirelli Hill in glistening mella yella tartanium-plated armour. Today, not a Pie would pass their person, let alone their duck pouting lips.
…Or so they planned.
Wait, so what comes after the yellow snow warning?
Latics’ speedy start was in part facilitated by new kid Callum Connolly, but mainly an (over?) enthusiastic Mickey Jacobs. The latter performed his best impression of a child ripping open their birthday present, racing his way into Jonny McLaughlin’s unassuming penalty area… only to fall to the ground like an inebriated unicyclist.
But this moment of light entertainment was reassuring enough to settle those well-wracked transfer window nerves.
In time, Max Power would also bash a quick effort across the Burton goalmouth to punctuate the hosts’ continuing -and persistently threatening- corner kick assault. Stephen Warnock’s ‘evergreen’ boot was a predictable saviour from at least one of these set pieces.
In fact, Jakob Haugaard owed his first half clean sheet to Stevie W. Though Chris O’Grady poked goalwards, he did not count on the effervescent Ormskirkite’s muscular leg meeting ball mere inches from the line. Steve’s quiet word in Jakob’s ear: “you goalies are overrated, lad”.
And for Warnock’s encore, how about a nifty assist? Maybe a tasty chip for debutant Connolly to head across McLaughlin into the fish nets for 1-0? I am no genie, but son, your wish has already been granted – that’s precisely what happened some 20 seconds from the half time whistle.
Those Poundsavah half time beans and sausages normally taste like reconstituted burn, but today they were vaguely tolerable, you know?
Two of your wishes remain, son.
In retaliation, Jamie Ward launched Burton’s very next effort… right into an advertising hoarding for the mildly amusing Bonko Brand Shoe Mirrors. An increasingly jubilant (drunk?) away contingent enjoyed this far too much, busting out some northern soul-style dancefloor moves on butt-ripping concrete.
But they would soon have a second goal to celebrate. Oh, how Latics have missed a genuine goalscoring right back. Oh, how they have been in need of someone to sneak into the penalty area and nod past an unsuspecting keeper. Step forward Callumson Jay Connolly to delude sub goalman Stephen Bywater and grant the genie’s second wish! 2-0 Latics.
It was time for the Old Burtonians to muster their most skilled jousters.
But as big as their lances might have been, Jake Buxton’s was shinier and pointier. He emulated Warnock with a strategically positioned penalty box poke, nigh on busting the ball as he denied the Brewers a rare effort on target.
You know when you get that feeling it’s going to be alright? Well, that came the moment Shaun MacDonald teamed up with Stevie Warnock to conjure a third goal line block.
Because though Burton offered a couple of retaliatory jabs – namely attempts from O’Grady and Tom Naylor – they were never enough to befuddle a steely-eyed Haugaard. Six minutes of stoppage time passed by in three, not due to a referee’s watch malfunction, but that glorious two goal lead.
And that final wish, Mr Genie? Well, I wouldn’t mind a gold-plated Ferrari… Alright, I’ll settle for 17th place in the Championship, if you could possibly fix that for me? And can you send me a receipt by post, recorded delivery? Cheers, dude.