Question of the Week
How long before new manager arrives?
24/08 Wigan 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
NEITHER team made any changes at half time. Let me turn a mental page in my head and remind myself of this half. Ahhh, how relaxing. After a couple of minutes of Wigan passing to each other but not getting very far, Town broke. As usual it was at speed, with conviction and with intent.
Grimsby Town 1 Wigan Athletic 0
Into the last 20 minutes and Town visibly slowing, tiring by the second, limbs aching, Pontoon agonising, a little concerned, silent, hopeful, but content with the world. Itâ€™s a freebie game, no pressure, just pleasure. Town had many breakaways which foundered at the last, exquisite passing moves, lung bursting surges from midfield, Town players pouring towards the area. Parkinson a permanent pest, Reddy a thorn in Thomeâ€™s side. Thome, big Emo, a saviour of Wigan, the big Brazilianâ€™s boot emerged from behind red socks to avert many a moment of danger. Typical Brazilian, a hoof it anywhere merchant.
Did Sestanovich have a shot? Maybe, to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track of which is which and who was who. He was less effective than usual, a peripheral figure, drifting infield occasionally to try some trickery, conjuring and caressing, but often crowded out. Some homework done by Wigan? Once, twice, thrice, Sestan the Man delayed passes a microsecond, allowing the annoying linesman to convince himself that Parkinson, then Reddy were offside. You wouldnâ€™t find anyone in the Pontoon who would have given offside, oh no.
As the game entered the last 10 minutes Wigan became a bit more frenetic in their attacking, becoming more direct. Town were slowly pulled apart down the left, then right, with Teale flipping in a cross to the far post. Graham wandered in, unmarked and from somewhere near the six yards box at the far post carefully side footed the ball a couple of yards wide. Heâ€™d have been better off letting it hit his shins. A couple of minutes later Graham twisted free outside the box, about 20 yards out on their centre left. He smacked a low shot goalwards, which took a deflection of a defenderâ€™s boot. The ball arced towards the bottom left hand corner and Williams made a brilliant one-handed save at the foot of the post. The ball may have even been diverted onto the post. Does that matter? It hadnâ€™t gone in because Williams had somehow stopped it, thatâ€™s the important bit.
Around this time Marcelle replaced Sestanovich. Town played out the last few minutes with some aplomb, they kept the ball by passing to each other quickly, little triangles with Pinault emerging from his purdah to orchestrate the final coup de grace. In added time Fleming and Pinault tippy-tapped their way through the flagging Wigan defence. Pinault played the ball down the right sending Reddy free. Reddy crossed, Parkinson flew in, leant back, twisted and steered a header across the face of goal. Walsh dived, the ball spun towards the right hand corner and crawled an inch or two wide.
After two minutes of added time the referee put Wigan out of their misery, and allowed the Town fans, at last, to celebrate. The players hugged and walked over to the Pontoon as Slade joined them for his three seconds of fame. Town had played superbly: the most complete performance so far this season. They were up against a well-organised, highly-coached team who also tried to play football. It was just an excellent match, from our point of view. Two teams playing football. We won.
Everyone played well, some weller than others, with even the fourth division makeweights excelling. A total team display and you should bask in the warm, warm feeling that we have a team, a team playing swashbuckling football. And winning.
Happy times, happy nights, happy days are here again?
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Such a fine line to be drawn between so many excellent performers. Parkinson was a human dynamo, Reddy flogged himself to death, Pinault was perfection for an hour whilst Ramsden was totally assured and calm. But the International Jury of Arbitrary-tation delivered a solemn verdict: Dean Gordon. Power, pace, professionalism.
Mr P Joslin. Iâ€™m trying hard to find fault: maybe his timorous reaction to Ramsdenâ€™s deliberate ignoring of him was the peak of his imperfection. His was probably the best refereeing performance since Paul Durkin way back when. He gets a straight 8.921
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