It was a time for new heroes. A time for previously vilified blunderers and largely unheralded strike partners to rise through the ranks of comfortable mediocrity to instant fanboy fodder.
A time for legendary knights of lore to return from exile in deepest Lancastria, softening the hardest of conscientious objectors. A time to stick a beer mat under the oblate spheroid table’s wobbly leg and fetch another hearty flagon of honey mead from the bar.
A time for packs of vicious wolves and swarms of angry bees to be jammed into nut-crushingly expensive Chas Holson* storage boxes and posted back to their respective zoos. (*Name changed to protect Clas Ohlson’s identity.)
And that time, my friends, was this week.
…Well, sort of – Saturday’s visit to Brentford wasn’t quite as successful as Tuesday’s domestication of Wolverhampton’s wolfish Wanderers.
But after weeks and weeks of prizeless quests in dungeons lesser travelled, a precious Championship percentile point is greater reward than any sacred chalice of Indiana Jones fame. Because in Wigan, the latter would only be stolen from your mantelpiece anyway. Blasted competitive next door neighbours.
And who do we have to thank for this professionally pilfered point? Why, some iffy Brentford finishing- I mean, er, our able defencemen, of course!
After just six minutes, oddly uplifting video game music came blasting from the tannoys as Stephen Warnock suddenly transformed into Ryu from Street Fighter II. Akin to the old ‘get cape, wear cape, fly’ method, applying a bandanna-like bandage to one’s forehead affords instant superhero powers that Andy Liddell could only ever hope to match.
Buoyed by the Shoruken master’s expert toe tacklery [sic], Dan Burn instantly vowed to prove you do not need such items of enchanted headwear to effect backside-saving challenges. His 22nd minute stifling of the shuffling Lasse Vibe began a mass grinding of Brentford teeth that only ended… well, come to think of it, I believe I can still hear the crunching of enamel right now.
And soon enough, Jake Buxton was proving that you don’t need bandannas or postbox legs to slide in for a bacon saving… er… yellow card. Which is much like a backside saving challenge only less crunchy and without those weird bits of fluff that seem to appear in the small of your back.
My apologies for that previous sentence – I’ve been tainted by my visit to the frankly absurd Digitiser Festival this weekend.
Yeah, enough of that! Just summarise the first half, OK?
Those reading between these poorly-formatted lines will have noticed a distinct pattern of Brentford dominance. Though said readers are undoubtedly correct, it must be noted that Max Power did happen to channel of those ‘phantom goals’ our good pals in Wolverhampton are so enamoured with. If only those cheering Ticsmen knew that he’d bunged the ball into the side netting, eh?
And through the stinging relentlessness of busy Brentford came the decidedly non-melissaphobic duo of Yanic Wildschut and Nick Powell. When they get together, defences better prepare a change of underwear etc. etc. etc.
“Oh look, Powell’s shinned it wide. Hmm, I suppose that much-touted ‘fresh legs bonus’ can only last so long.”
Our hypothetical commentator was correct – the home side were soon back swarming the Latics goal like raging superwasps hyped up on cheap cider from rotting orchards.
Neil Warnock, who had earlier utilised his bandage superpowers to clear from the line at least 1.359 times, was now in greater demand than a supermassive fly swatter in that aforementioned biblical scenario. Even Shaun MacDonald, who now seemed to be acting as a keeper-deep sweeper, was emitting Andy Murray-style megagrunts as he willed the ball away from his six yard area.
This is the point where Brentford score, right?
Happily, that’s where you are quite wrong, good sir/sirette! Unlike a few short weeks ago, an elbow or knee to poke the ball over Adam Bogdan’s sturdy goal line never did materialise. In some senses it is unfathomable, but choose not to question and thou shalt be content.
…As one should rightly be. Remember the maxim of Championship lore: “a single surreptitious dip into the honey jar far outweighs three bees in the pimple-sored hand.” Or something like that – I believe that proverb was originally translated from Ancient Brentfordese stone tablets found deep in the Hounslow Moors.