July 15, 2024
Phil Neville

Phil Neville

And now, dear reader: a special announcement from the one and onlyyyy Warrington Jaaaay Jooooyce.

“This is a message fer allt’ Beemaniacs ‘eading down to Robin Park Square Garden on Sat’dy afternoon at 3pm, live only ont’ exclusive Sly Sporks 2 pay per view netwuk fer just £29.99+VAT+GMT+GCSE 0800 91250284 (get card owner’s permission before orderin’) with pre-bookin’ reduced rate of £29.98 plus a free invisible Ferrari wi’ five years’ MOT and cup hol-”


Oh sorry, it seems our musclebound friend just collapsed due to suffocation – apparently he can’t handle run-on sentences. Ah well, his message is out of date now anyway, since the game is over and you can get that broadcast on bootleg Betamax from ‘Ed’ at the chippy. (AGL does not condone videotape piracy – settle for no less than hooky 8mm film.)

But that guy was good, wasn’t he? It’s wonderful how parody impersonators like him can still find work in the post-Rory Bremner age of Super VHS, just as humble match report writers pointlessly ply their archaic trade in the age of ten billion social media experts.

Sadly, his novel presence has much less relevance because the Beemen’s superstar grappler Scottington ‘Hulk’ Hogan was reduced to suit ‘n’ tie commentating duties (we would presume) for this ‘fight’.

Morsy tonight

On the subject of absentees, Latics could have pined for a hamstrung Yanicson Jay Wildschutington… but the incoming Sammington Aitch Morsaaaay ably stepped into that ‘face’ role once sweatband met determined brow.

To the strains of Mousse T’s Horny (“Sam Morsy, Morsy Morsy Morsy”), he tore past a veritable swarm of seemingly drunken Bees to crash a purposeful left footer into Dan Bentley’s left hand post. Since the prowling Griggsy reacted half a femtosecond too late, his follow up eked wide.

Sam Morsy headband
Morsy readies himself for battle.

No matter, for moments later Morsy worked himself into an almost identical position, and this time the reward was as sweet as freshly squeezed headband juice. ‘Our Sam’ once again forced his way through the rabble of post-Christmas shoppers before rifling an all-too-slippery strike across Big Baaaad Bentley. At 1-0, nobody was worrying about Yanic any more.

And the hosts were hungry for more Goalden Delicious apples.

Because a stumbling Grigg was slightly hampered in his one-on-one with Brentford’s ‘keeper, a rebound fell to the edge of the penalty area. But the man with the magical bandanna was lurking with malicious intent, ready to stab goalwards. Caught mid-stride, Harlee ‘Quinn’ Dean could do nought but guide the ball over his own goal line.

Yeah, it was unfortunate. But no, the visitors could not offer anything more in retaliation than a wildly misdirected Romaine Sawyers American football punt. Perhaps he was experiencing painful flashbacks to the harrowing ‘ball boy is Superman‘ incident of 2015-2016?

Put Sammy on a leash, Joyce!

Half time offered brief respite from the ongoing Max Power-Josh McEachran feud, which threatened to transform the contest into a World of Sport-style ‘alternative entertainment’ spectacle. Or, if you like: a WWE undercard fight.

Though that increasingly petulant spat ended when McEachran was relegated to the substitutes bench, Brentford’s quest for the perfect poke goalwards continued with some force.

John Egan’s turn-and-strike might have wrongfooted Jakob Haugaard, but you have to be wearing Emile Heskey’s boots to sneak those into the bottom corner. And I suggest Lasse Vibe’s 64th minute carpet-trimmer would also have beaten ‘Bogdan’s big brother’, if some blasted unnamed defender’s leg hadn’t blocked its path to goal.

No question about it, Brentford were now pushing hard against Warren Joyce’s barricade of canny conservatism. Momentarily, Haugaard stretched his elongating bones to their fullest as he pulled Andreas Bjelland’s header from under his own crossbar. His grimace transformed into a grin, for this was his single toughest task as a Latics goalie thus far – and it was a test he had successfully negotiated.

Bell End road sign
No, I don’t think that’s how you pronounce ‘Bjelland’.

Okay, said Scandinavian super stopper might be slightly culpable of spilling substitute Jota’s tricky tum-tickler. And yeah, said substitute may have inadvertently knocked the subsequent bounce-back (“oh, I think I’ve just scored one of those ‘groal’ things!”) over Jakob’s line – to zero celebrations from anyone, including those in the North Stand.

Was that the *real* full time whistle, ref?

But time was too short for this to be of consequence to the result. A great noise filled the bubble of warmth inside Stade DW as Dan Burn walloped his most satisfying clearance of the day – of any day – to the safety of absent field. Seconds later, ref Jimmy Adcock cocked his weapon (actually a whistle) and blew Latics from relegation zone to blissful extended mid-table.

I’m still mad, though – that second goal should clearly have been awarded to Morsy. Excuse me while I shout at teletext for four hours until my ailing television finally caves in and credits the rightful goalscorer.

Second opinion

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