Brighton 2 Wigan 1: Hau My Gaard

Happy Poundsavah Chocolate Egg Day, dear reader! As all good parents know, this is the day you can start buying your egg-shaped confectioneries as they’re heavily reduced in price following Easter Sunday.

In honour of this fact, here’s a sugary teaser: if no country or individual can legally lay claim to any part of outer space, how do you account for the numerous Mars Planets and Galaxies in my stomach? I very much doubt anyone would deny they’re mine now.

May that inventive analogy awful joke represent the nine excruciating months of mild mismanagement, botched experiments and 300+ downright dodgy set pieces that make up Wigan Athletic’s stuttering season. It’s a difficult decision – whether you choose the choccy or the football, you’re spending Easter Tuesday locked in a toilet cubicle.

C'mon, that was a joke! You're all supposed to laugh.

C’mon, that was funny! You’re all supposed to laugh.

(Never mind, just do the blasted report. — Ed)

OK guys, you know the routine – soften ‘em up for 75 minutes before letting Nick Powell tear into ‘em in the final fifteen. Gabby Obertan – make short passes and look stylish. Jamie Hanson – rifle those eyebrow-singeing long throws at the goalkeeper. Jake Buxton – knock Anthony Knockaert off the end of the boardwalk.

The notion that Jakob Haugaard had disposed of his Teflon gloves was almost immediately quashed as he fumbled Knockaert’s probing free kick. Luckily enough, a prowling Lewis Dunk could not fight his way to the ball for a free strike on goal. It’s good to know your limitations as a keeper, I suppose.

It’s also useful to know your opponents. Beware vacating your penalty box for a single measly moment, as those circling Gulls will surely swipe your packet of reheated undercooked chips at a moment’s lapse. Jakob desperately needs those for sustenance or he might shut down like an undercharged PSBOX Nintendostation controller mid-game.

But as long as the score remained 0-0, there was no great need to be overambitious. With Knockaert delivering thunderbolts towards Dunk and Solly March in the Latics area, it was wise enough for Dan Burn and co. to guard that six-yard box with a look of intense concentration on their faces.

Illegal goal

One problem, though – the solace of goallessness was broken shortly before half time. A slight deflection on Glenn Murray’s strike ultimately defeated Haugaard, and the hosts’ tenaciousness was finally rewarded.

Startled, the Latics turtle poked a watchful eye out of his carapace. His defences were down.

But thanks to a ‘disallowed goal’ token courtesy Nick Powell’s old mucker Simon Hooper, half time oranges arrived without further adjustments to the scoreboard. Murray did nod Knockaert’s ball past ‘Hau My Gaard’, but this effort was deemed ‘illegal’ by the mysterious powers that be. A fortunate reprieve indeed.

Monopoly disallowed goal

Quick, Ed – get this photocopied…

…However, it was nowhere near as fortunate as the incident which followed. Though ‘Howler’ Haugaard predictably dropped the ball once more, Buxton predictably raced across to save the ball just centimetres from his vacant goalmouth. Tomer Hemed denied, Haugaard’s fingers fried (with butter).

This was an indirect cue for the introduction of subs Powell and Ryan Colclough, who jogged onto the field with half an hour to play. This time round, the deficit was a single goal – easy, right?

Well, Powell really shouldn’t say stuff like that out loud, because within five minutes the hosts’ lead was indeed doubled. Knockaert’s deflected cross picked out March, who fired through Haugaard for a goal of champions. Oh, fudge.

Powell Time

“Forget the fact these guys are the champions elect – just imagine them in their undercrackers and they become much less daunting.” — Graham Barrow

Even armed with Prince Barra’s knowledge of naked lunches and a renewed attacking hope, ball retention initially proved difficult. Powell mustered Wigan’s first shot on target, however such achievements paled in the shining glory of Brighton’s expansive counter attacking game.

But the hosts’ dominance was not wholly represented in the final score, as the Amazing Nick Powell, who could score past a brick wall right now, bagged his fifth goal in three games. King Joyce sat bemoaning his awful luck, for a fully fit Powell could well have saved his job. Where was this man to head home Hanson crosses two months ago?

Furthermore, the visitors might actually have equalised with their last touch of the game. Powell’s latest (and final) effort sadly amounted to naught, and fans spilled onto the pitch – the Seagulls’ promotion was secure, and not even Nasty Nick could change that.

As for Latics’ lingering survival hopes, that crazy dream of ‘three wins to beat the drop’ is fuelled by today’s strong finish. It appears things are beginning to function as they should, but has Wigan Time arrived a month too late this year?

G’night, dear reader – don’t fear the buglers.

Buglers

Watch out for buglers… and Photoshops. (c)Peter Kwan

Second opinion

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