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Tales from the Riverbank: Wigan Report

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 25/08/2004

A still, clear evening in the capital of cool: Cleethorpes in August, it’s the place to be, isn’t it? Certainly was for 84.6 Wigan supporters (well, one of them was quite small) who appeared by osmosis in the Osmand Stand.

Home > 2004-2005 Season > Reports > Wigan (h)

Grimsby Town 1 Wigan Athletic 0
24 Aug 2004, Carling Cup Round 1

The Town supporters strolled in like it was a pre-season friendly: the lack of tension was palpable. I don’t know, perhaps we’re getting blasé about the new Town, or maybe we can’t get our heads around Wigan being a top team. Whatever gets you through the night is alright, it was an authentic, genuine monorail of a match. It might put Town back on the footballing map. Winner takes all, Geoffrey.

Town lined up in the 3-4-3 formation, as shown. There you are, same as Saturday in the starting XI but with Wheeler on the bench, which excited exceedingly few people in the DN35 post code area. Whether DN36 was feeling groovier about it is another matter entirely. Warm up? It was nothing special, in fact it was a bit of a bore.

What happened to all this stormy weather we keep being promised? The resident meteorologists, some wearing stripey ties, in the Pontoon claimed that the Grimsby conurbation is in the rain shadow, which I thought was a hit for Cat Stevens.

How happy were we when we saw the Wigan team? The wrong Roberts upfront, no Ellington, no Frandsen, mostly lower league fringe players. Were they taking Town a bit too lightly?

Dish of the day was Russ’s Chinese Prawns. Do we have to reminded of Lennie Lawrence?

1st half

Wigan kicked off towards the Pontoon and just kept the ball. Oh dear, they look very good. Pass, pass, flick, pass, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh throw in, at last. For the first couple of minutes Wigan gave a little master class in possession football, the ball moving from one side to the other, a Town boot never close enough to touch the bag of air. Gulp, and this without their first team.

Town have it, Town nearly score! Pinault passing, Parkinson probing, Reddy roving, Reddy rampaging through the back line on the right. Shot blocked. Another minute, another attack. Reddy into the area, twisting, turning, whirling and swirling past defenders and nearly surprising Walsh with an early shot. Walsh rose and forearmed the ball over the bar for a corner. The corner came to naught. Reddy again, fouled, Reddy again, again, falling over a leg, another free kick to Town. Oh, Town, Town, like a Town team: passion, passing, pressing back Wigan incessantly with pure football. Reddy was hounded by two and three defenders whenever he had the ball, and they needed to use all their charm to stop him.

That’s nice. Pinault spinning this way, spitting passes that way, linking and lurking behind the strikers. Controlling the ball, controlling the game; why’s he playing for a fourth division team? The match had a rhythm, beat out by the Galloping Gaul: wonderful tonight. Ooh, nearly, oooh, now sit down. Last-ditch tackles, head-clearing crosses, Gordon heading over, Town a smooth machine, Wigan steadfast and stout. Have they attacked yet?

Just after the quarter hour an embryonic Town attack was broken up by a huge whack in the air back towards the Town goal. Gordon, about 25 yards out on the left, set himself and guided a cushioned header to Ramsden, who flicked the ball infield to Fleming. Tezza let the ball roll past, turned and played a short pass to Sestanovich, inside the centre circle. Sestan rolled past two Wiganites and was free just inside their half on the centre right. Macca fizzed down the touchline, Sestan ignored the old man of the sea and caressed a perfect pass between a triangle of defenders for Parkinson to run free. Pesky PARKY hurtled through the centre, knocked the ball out to the right and, from the edge of the area, smackerooned a terrific shot high past Walsh into the top left hand corner. Walsh didn’t move, 3,000 Town fans did: upwards, very noisily. Oooo that was good.

Anthony Williams
Justin Whittle
Simon Ramsden
Dean Gordon
John McDermott
Thomas Pinault
Terry Fleming
Jason Crowe
Ashley Sestanovich
Andy Parkinsongoal
Michael Reddy


Clint Marcelle85 mins
Stacy Coldicott
Ronnie Bull
Darren Mansaram
Kirk Wheeler


Phil Joslin


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The report continues in Part Two.

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