Wigan 0-1 Millwall ~ Match Musings

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So what else to do on a Tuesday night except fire up the Bonemobile and head up north to that godforsaken place called Wigan to see if the legendary phenomenon of back to back wins was a reality rather than some mythical nonsense made up by desperate fans with even more desperate ideals?

I will come clean here, if this wasn’t one MrsB’s to do list then it would have been swerved but the “List of grounds” is almost a biblical tome in our house and the need for her to get this one ticked off over ruled any notions I had of sitting with my feet up watching Holby…

We left in good time deciding not to go the conventional route of M1/M6, instead going up the slightly more scenic route of the A1M and good job we did too as the M6 was not very conducive to free flowing traffic.

We stopped off for some much needed refreshment somewhere near the back of beyond and just escaped with our lives as the food we bought tried to eat us instead of the normal way of doing things so we beat a hasty retreat and wormed our way back onto the main drag and headed further north.

We got to the ground in good time and parked in the spacious car park and walked along to the DW stadium. It hadn’t changed much since my last visit but MrsB was reasonably impressed with it. The lavatories in particular scored high marks for cleanliness and usability so that’s all right then, I guess, but the food failed to live up to its northern promise as the meat and tater pies, surely a staple food of the northern monkey, left a lot to be desired. The crust was possibly just a tad short of being classed as an offensive weapon, the filling was microwave hot and almost pure liquid.

No wonder the lavatories are top notch, the food makes this a necessary prerequisite…

There were more Millwall fans than I had envisaged joining us for this game, the official figure was just over 300 which is not bad going so take a pat on the back if you were there, and they were all in good voice as the two teams came out for the kick off.

Mr Holloway had named an unchanged team. I can see you all mouthing WTF but I kid you not, the starting eleven were the same boys that had destroyed Forest on Saturday so we had Forde in goal, Edwards, Beevers, Dunne and Malone at the back, Bailey, Garvan, Martin, Upson and Woolford in midfield with Maierhofer as the lone target man.

The ref got things going and we were quick out of the traps, pushing the home side back into their own half and really putting a bit of pressure on them. We actually looked composed and purposeful.

We had a brief flirtation with their goal when Woolford got his head to a Martin cross and Maierhofer was winning his fair share of high balls but none of us saw what was coming on around the twenty minute mark.

Edwards picked up a loose ball and moved forward into their final third, he danced his way through and suddenly the chance of a shot beckoned and although he didn’t hit it cleanly he ball too a slight deflection that caused the ball to loop up and over the flat footed ‘keeper, Carson, and into the net.0-1!

Ye Gods, what was happening here? A goal up against our bok team? Who’d have thunk it…

Not that fucking annoying dad and son combo in the Wigan section, that’s for sure, their constant drumming, trying to whip the home fans up into some sort of hysteria was sadly not working but they didn’t seem to mind, the monotonous boom boom booming will no doubt be on demand for their Wembley appearance on Saturday but on a cold |Tuesday night in Wigan? NNFM….

We didn’t back off, minutes later we had another chance when Garvan laid off a neat ball for Martin but the finish was just not up to scratch and that seemed to be the case for the rest of the half, we had no real issues getting hold of the ball and moving it around but the final buit was missing when it came to the final ball.

Wigan had a great chance to equalise when a bit of a cock up between Dunne and Edwards saw Maynard seize his chance but a rush of blood to his head when a bit of composure was needed so thankfully his shot went sailing well wide.

Still it was a reasonably accomplished first 45 for the Lions and they were well worth the one goal lead as the ref blew the whistle to draw the half to a close.

The second half saw a more attack minded Wigan come out and we spent a lot of time fighting a rear-guard action, Edwards had been replaced by Fredericks and it looked like the Latics were trying to capitalise on the youngster but he was being well marshalled by Beevers and Dunne who were both playing on top of their game.

Bailey was doing some fine orchestrating in midfield as we had a determined resolve about us which has been sadly lacking at times this season.

When we were breached by the Wigan front line their finishing was abysmal, much to our relief and Forde was not called on to make a save, only to retrieve the ball from behind the goal after the shots had gone woefully wide.

We had the strange affair of the non-substitution on about the 70 minute mark. Morison was stripped off and ready to enter the fray and the board went up with Maierhofer’s number on it and he dutifully trotted over to the touchline whilst accepting the applause from the travelling fans as the substitution was announced over the P.A. but as he got to the touchline something was said and he turned around and went back out with Morison walking back to the dugout.

A couple of minutes later the substitution did take place, this time it went according to plan and also Upson went off to make way for Williams.

With about ten minutes left we thought we had got the second goal. We broke quickly and caught them on the hop, Malone whizzing into the box his shot was parried by Carson and Morison pounced on the loose ball. He had his back slightly turned away from the goal but he swivelled round and from where we were it looked like his shot was about two foot over the line as Carson scooped it out and even then we should really have got on the end of the loose ball but we didn’t and the chance was gone.

It led to a very nerve wracking last few minutes and when the board went up showing four minutes of stoppage time I must admit I feared the worse and when the clock was almost run down we could have well done without Forde making a pigs breakfast of collecting a wayward ball through form Wigan. He fumbled it trying to fuck about wasting a bit of time and gave away a corner but the corner came and went and nothing came of it and before long the final whistle sounded and the cheers rang out from the away end as the players took their gratitude’s and applause with candid happiness.

Back to back wins for Millwall? It was possible after all, through a season starved of even a modicum of success; this was on another level for us. The sudden resurgent belief that maybe, just maybe, Mr Holloway might not be as mad as a box of frogs after all was slightly more believable.

The fact of the matter still remains that we are stuck in the bottom three but those of us who witnessed this game saw a spark of what could actually be. We had some luck, we had some skill, we had some proper team spirit and we held our nerve. It was a very good result indeed.

We now need to convert this sudden resurgence in away form to our home form and with the visit of Watford up next we have every chance to bag another three points and if results go our way in the other fixtures then who knows what straws we can start grabbing firmly in our fight to stave off the dreaded spectre of relegation.

I can’t wait

You get a wonderful view from the point of no return.”
Terry Pratchett
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    Nice one. Makes good reading.
    Good stuff