Dan's Big Game Report - Latics 1 Leeds 1
07/05/17 12 noon
There is a damp stain at the top of my bathroom wall. As it is growing larger every day, it will eventually consume the whole ceiling, and maybe even cause the total collapse of my roof.
Problem is, I don`t have the money to pay for it to be fixed. I can afford paint and natty fluorescent sticky notes to cover it up, but the central and potentially deadly issue remains.
"I`ll hold on until I have the cash," I say to myself. But with my ex-wife syphoning £500 a month from my orange soft drink account, there is no guarantee I will ever lay my filthy digits on those sweet Wildschuts. (By which I mean the wonga.)
May this regrettable situation represent Wigan Athletic`s wretched little season of constant stain blocking. The club`s damp problem has already reached critical point, and that rotten ceiling is just about ready to fall under the weight of 20 layers of (slightly off white) matt emulsion.
But surely there`s time for one more game of 'football` before that happens? Ah, go on then!
End of season abandon
Aiming to demolish Latics` decrepit ceiling in an instant, the visitors immediately sent Matty Gilks into an uncontrollable rage by eking a first minute chance narrowly wide of his left hand post. In response, the more-than-obvious group of Leeds fans in WS10 raised the volume level far past anything heard in the West Stand this season.
But an unlikely goal from an even more unlikely source ensured the Latics supporters in that stand immediately took back their 'noisiest fans` crown. Ryan Tunnicliffe danced past the advancing Rob Green to sneak the ball into an unsuspecting North Stand net and give Wigan a pleasantly surprising lead. Well, well, well!
Ironic cries of 'we are staying up` emanated from certain corners of ES7 - a measly 10 points more and they would have been accurate.
The travelling faithful retaliated by orchestrating chants from the touchline stands, first encouraging the West Stand and then the North Stand to 'give them a song`. Credit where it`s due, they did their homework in finding out which stand was which - I often forget and I have been visiting the DW Stadium for 20 years.
Back on the field, Leeds were eager to accelerate proceedings. All except Robbie Green, who blatantly prevented a Latics player from launching a throw in towards his vacant goal. Classic sportsmanship deserving of a Donnie Perkins 'booking fu' yellow card, and a genuine alternative match highlight if ever there was one.
However, the Whites 'keeper quickly redeemed himself by twice snatching the ball from Latics attackers` very bootlaces. Cursing their stubby little feet, Tunnicliffe and Omar Bogle were but centimetres away from poking the ball past Green`s N`Zogbia-fearing fingers.
The contest quickly transitioned into testimonial mode, with players attempting pinpoint Jordi Gomez-esque passes and running into attacking positions with end-of-season abandon. As a result, David Perkins missed the greatest opportunity of his entire life, slicing an 8-yard volley into open field. Guess it was too much to hope for, even in the 'crazy season` of mid-May.
Leeds wrested back control as the second half commenced. When Ryan Tunnicliffe toppled Eunan O`Kane in the Latics penalty box, swift deliverance was at hand. Chris Wood fooled Gilks into diving right, and the ball nestled comfortably in the opposite corner to take it to 1-1.
And by the time Kemar Roofe rattled Gilks` crossbar with the smartest of semi-speculative volleys, the game`s entertainment factor had already exceeded that of all 2016-17 DW Stadium matches combined.
It was perhaps because of this that Green was becoming ever shakier. A calamitous hesitation invited Bogle`s third one-on-one, which the latter forced through the former`s faltering arms. Thankfully, the ball trickled just beyond a mightily relieved Robbie`s left hand post.
Even more thankfully, the Leeds 'keeper would not lay hand on ball until the very last minute of stoppage time. You see, the match faded into true off-season obscurity just after the introduction of Nicky Powell. Will this be the last we see of him?
That aforementioned final minute chance - the very last of Wigan Athletic`s Championship season - came from a probing free kick out by the south west corner flag. As Green spilled it, Max Power lobbed a hopeful chip just beyond the post.
Wait, I am experiencing a strong bout of déjà vu!
The Ancient Wigonians claimed that time is cyclical, and events are highly likely to repeat themselves in the same order.
They also warned that the things you plan so carefully can be ruined in a moment of sheer madness. To compound the problem, you spend goodness how long trying to cover up that mistake instead of concentrating on the future.
It`s time to just let her go.
Subs - Jaaskelainen, James, Bruce, Powell, Colclough, Byrne, Lang.
Leeds United - Green; Ayling, Bartley, Coyle, Berardi; Roofe, O'Kane, Dallas, Hernandez, Vieira; Wood.
Subs - Peacock-Farrell, Denton, Phillips, Alfonso, Sacko, Antonsson, Doukara.