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Mud wrestling with horses
I've got £5 on the horse heads to beat the humans!

Ah, that most wonderful time of year again. Time to carefully extract that bucket and spade from your garage’s Jenga pile for a spot of mud castle building at DW Beach? Yew betcha, sonny.

While Sharpy dials up Instapitch for a takeaway surface with sweet ‘n’ sour sand and grit dip, you can all thank Doris for this complimentary jumbo mud pack. Gather your plumpest pot-bellied pigs and skimpiest one piece leotards, for Wigan mud wrestlin’ season has officially begun!

Ol’ Dozza arrived at the perfect time, just when the citizens of Wiganlatics required a release from the stresses and strains of relegation flirtation. And lemme tell you, there’s naught like manhandling a slippery hog to flatten those intrusive thoughts to porky sausage skins. You know, the thoughts that include shorts and hairy legs.

So let’s get grapplin’, y’all!

Alien markings

Alright, so the DW surface hadn’t been totally destroyed by further rain on Saturday morning. But it was tainted in another oh-so-subtle way – it sported a selection of slightly faded markings resembling those of a rugby pitch. This sloppy line painting was surely the handiwork of that blasted temp kid again, so get his mum in my office first thing tomorrow.

But despite Little Jimmy’s misdemeanours, this glorified pig wrestle began as planned at the hour of 15:01pm.

Pitch river
Just go round it and you should be alright.

Much like last Saturday’s Robin Park Festival of Goallessness, Bogle’s most likely strike of the afternoon came in the fifth minute. But since it lobbed harmlessly into the void of spacelessness, let’s just say his boot made better contact with the dressing room wall at half time.

This gentle loosener was followed by an equally misfiring effort from Britt Assombalonga, who appeared to ankle Ben Brereton’s spinny ball wide of Jakob Haugaard and the snickering North Stand goal. I reckon someone in NS4 was pulling funny faces at him. Little Jimmy, you have a lot to answer for!

In time, Max Power would also miss the target… but that didn’t prevent Paul Smith, Quickest Goalkeeper Ever To Score In World Football (copyright Wikipedia), executing a match class save. Yeah, it’s the type of save that isn’t quite world class, but noteworthy in the context of a relatively uninspiring game of soccerball.

Never mind, for successive opportunities would fall to Bogle and Danny Burn the other side of half time. Jake Buxton cushioned the ball down for the former, whose midair fluff rolled enticingly to the latter. But a stretching Danny Fox poked clear just in time for the advancing Burn to run frustrated fingers through exasperated hair. Careful, Daniel-San, you’ll go bald.

Butt stomp theatre

Next, a shining semblance of individual brilliance through flying filth. Leaving Stephen Warnock with mud pack on face, Eric Lichaj bisected two defenders with a curling effort that narrowly evaded Assombalonga’s lunging header. And luckily for a smirking Matty Gilks, it also scooted micrometers past his right hand post.

Speaking of the big man, he would soon exhibit improvisational skills worthy of an unlikely Whose Line Is It Anyway comeback. Throwing himself literally everywhere, he conspired to repel a creditable Mustapha Carayol attempt with the fat end of a gluteous maximus. But if you ask Gilks, he will claim he commenced body popping practice and just so happened to bash the ball somewhere other than his own goal.

…Whatever the real story, I bet it Jeffing hurt.

Faceplant MickeyAnd that was just about everything worthy of a Wikipedia article. Well, apart from Alex Gilbey tossing aside the shackles of his cast to register a surprise appearance from the subs’ bench. Hah, how could a small time Internet weblogger possibly forget such an incident?

The Stat Brat summarises

Zero shots on target is not necessarily the problem, since one well-worked strike is better than ten snap shots saved by the goalie… if that excellent strike happens to beat said goalie, of course. It didn’t on Saturday, but hey, I ain’t about to restore my blind faith in statistics any time soon.

Anyway, there’s no reason to worry, folks – I hear the game may be retrospectively annulled due to an appeal by the RSPB. Apparently they want to make the DW a ‘protected venue’ so future pigeon mating seasons aren’t interrupted by mildly underwhelming football matches.

…Rugby games are fine, though.

Oh, and in case you can’t be bothered reading any of the above, here are those match lowlights courtesy a man with a camera (AKA Laticsofficial).

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to postpone my appearance at Wednesday’s PWU Podcast as I require surgery on my ailing vocal chords.

Second opinion

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