I see what ya did there, EFL! And it is certainly the right decision to schedule Sheffield Wednesday v Wigan for sunny, shiny September. Any later and that mischievous Big Man in the Sky is likely to douse the Hillsborough surface with his never-ending salt drink, just like in December 2013.
As you may recall, numerous Latics supporters were subsequently forced to purchase new calendars as their existing ones had been entirely filled with re-re-rearranged Sheff Wed v Wigan fixtures. And it’s pretty difficult to find a Justine Beaver photo calendar as late as 13 December. (Warning: Don’t look up that name, as it is likely to yield images of adult film stars.)
While climactic conditions at Owlerton Beach weren’t exactly tropical today, they were certainly decent enough for a ball to roll further than 24cm. Heck, even light drizzle would have been considered a luxury in the quest for ninety minutes of ‘legal’ football.
Thankfully, the Weather God must be sick of perpetuating centuries-old northern stereotypes.
Your striker’s stereotypified
But some cliches, such as the one concerning Master Griggson-Fire U.R. Defs. Terry V are worth maintaining. When a 20mm goal line tap-in beckons, he really does move as though someone thrust a long life Catherine wheel down his trunks – in other words, very quickly indeed.
Griggsy always takes the praise for a goal of any kind, as all good strikers should. But on this occasion, he removed his imaginary flat cap in the general direction of a beaming Michael Jacobs, whose blistering intercept originally launched the move.
Just so you know who did all the real work, Grigg may be the political figurehead looking good through a television camera lens, but Jacobs spent a long night toiling away at his script.
1-0 Latics, in any instance.
Beard vs Beard
Forget The Inflammable One for a second, because Steven Fletcher has arguably done far more to warrant wacky internet memes and half-recycled disco terrace chants. Most importantly, his beard is bushier and more voluminous… just like his equaliser this afternoon.
As neither Jake Buxton nor Adam Bogdan could block a marauding Fletch’s path to the touchline, only the goalpost could now prevent parity. But beard power prevailed over a narrowish angle, and 1-1 was the (satisfactory) half time score.
It really shouldn’t have been, however. As stoppage time ebbed away, a free and frolicking Ross Wallace poked past a wobbly Bog Man’s quivering post. Suddenly, those tap ins didn’t seem so easy to convert.
You Can’t Stop Foresti Goals
Since Nick Powell had taken an unfortunate football to the groin that forced him to a splintery bench, the visitors’ forward play had been somewhat stifled. Gazza Caldwell momentarily unfolded his seemingly superglued arms to usher Adam Le Fondre and Yanic Wildschut onto the exceedingly dry Hillsborough surface.
But two things in life are true: you can’t stop rock and roll, and you can’t stop Fernando Forestieri following up for 2-1 Wednesday. While the latter doesn’t quite make for a catchy song title (at best it could be confused for the follow up to Blue Monday), it does tell a (cautionary) tale of the afternoon.
The Owls’ second had arrived on the back of a rampaging elephant dubbed Dominance. Momentarily, Gary Hooper worked Bog Man’s creaky joints with a rainbow kick that even that stubborn Zippy muppet would have enjoyed.
And though Latics waged a ten-minute war on the Wednesday penalty area, it was as futile and token as the Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896. ‘Keeper Keiren Westwood moved only twice during this period: once to sign a fan’s autograph for eBay, once to make sure his goalposts hadn’t magically floated away. They hadn’t, of course.
Time may have proved Latics’ ultimate enemy, but a further 15 minutes of football is unlikely to have yielded any equaliser for the exasperated visitors.
The Championship can be a demanding playground.
Dry enough for you?
So can we finally draw a thick red line under the Great Owlerton Regatta of 2013? Not likely – it’s too great a source of general amusement for us weirdy British types who enjoy discussing weather far more than actual football. This article, and a forthcoming novel entitled Uwe Will Have a Pint of Saltwater Lemonade, are sufficient proof of that.