Ah, you made it beyond AGL’s new paywall! Congratulations, and thank you for your payment of an Uncle Joe’s Mint Ball. I am here to tell you all about the QPR-Latics game, the latest chapter of a sporting rivalry so-
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My apologies, I have no idea where that obnoxious advert came from! So sorry you had to endure such nonsense. Anyway, as I was saying, QPR-Latics fixtures have a long and distinguished his-
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Huh, what? Oh no, it appears the server has been seized by unscrupulous capitalist types! Better abandon this unnecessarily flamboyant introduction and get on with the blasted match report, mereckons…
At times like these I’m reminded of lyrics from a certain Pink Floyd song. Nope, I wasn’t thinking of ‘grab that cash with both hands and make a stash’, though that would admittedly be very relevant to the above commercialist hijacking. Or rather: hija-kaching!
There’s another, lesser-known Floyd track that warns: ‘one slip and down the hole we fall/seems to take no time at all’. Though a touch cliched, those words are entirely relevant to the opening five minutes of tonight’s contest. And in this narrative, Jake Buxton is the titular tripper casting Latics into the aforementioned pit of gloom.
It was a small and unfortunate slip, not least because it led to a totally unmissable opportunity for Matt Smith. A screw-up here would be of Owen Coyle proportions… but since the former Latics doughnut master was guzzling glucose drink in front of ORACLE Jobfinder, Smith converted an easy chance with relative ease.
Ooh, beautician – you could do that, Columba!
Deliverance, however, was mere moments away.
Welcome to Club 18-30 yards
Just as Omar Bogle prepared to slide one under Alex Smithies, Joel Lynch offered a crunching challenge in the style of Paul Huntington. But unlike on Saturday, this particular referee –Jimmy Linington– had put his contact lenses in the correct eyes, and a penalty was the result.
Yes, a penalty. The thing where you get a free shot at goal. For Wigan Athletic in 2016/17. Unthinkable.
This finally answered the long-standing question of who Latics’ primary penalty taker might be. It’s Bogle – or at least, it was tonight. He deceived Smithies into jumping too early, resulting in a highly pleasing equaliser. Via a penalty. Haha!
With a blatant disregard for convention or etiquette, the visitors attempted to take a 2-1 lead into half time pies. Jamie Hanson planted a corner square on Buxton’s powerful head, but Smithies’ electric palm shocked the ball over his crossbar. Hmm, best escape to that dressin’ room for some meat an’ tater.
Wayne Shaw says: “Hollands over Galloways any day of the week.”
By the 60th minute, Latics had cast aside any notions of timidity. On the fast counter, a riotous Ryan Tunnicliffe served up another one-on-one for Bogle to… smack into Smithies’ nether regions. Probably ‘softening him up’ for later encounters, I should think.
Such ‘alternative’ tactics are hazardous in an open Championship contest, as Latics were about to learn.
Me old granny (never) used to say: “an uncleared ball is as good as a goal against, or something like that. Where’s me dentures?” Not quite as eloquent as Pink Floyd, but just as relevant to what happened next – Conor Washington cracked a finger stinger past a disbelieving Matty Gilks, here relegated to the role of a rapidly melting chocolate teapot. Crunch; 2-1 QPR.
QPR? Cue Bier.
When Mikael Mandron replaced Hanson, those notions of timidity were handed a packed lunch and bundled onto the last bus back to Shortsville, New York – teletext managers borough-wide instantly rejoiced, for Latics were now playing 4-4-Joycin’-3.
But as stoppage time arrived, it quickly became apparent that the visitors’ best opportunities had been wasted like a pie dropped on uncleaned linoleum. Though Obertan had a shot blocked in the final of these minutes, his side’s chances of a Championship point were smashed into a congealed mess of reconstituted meat and green potatoes.
But at least Wigan Athletic were finally awarded a penalty, eh?