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Inbetweenies - Wigan Away Report


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As the clocks change, and Autumn battles winter, The Villans win at Wigan.

A local game for me and a chance to reflect on a good day out, to consider where we stand.

The day started well - after all who wouldn't welcome an extra hours kip? Thing is though, every time they shift the clocks forwards, it takes me 2 weeks to acclimatise, every time they shift 'em back, it's like it didn't happen. That can't be right, can it?. You're left in a kind of nowhere zone.

But anyway, get up, wander off to the station, sleet drilling down, then the sun comes out, and it's quite warm. Neither winter, nor summer.

The trains to Wigan from my house take only half an hour, with a wait betwen the two local shuttles at Preston. But then the North West's best pub, or one of them, awaits.

Drank a few beers in good company, toddle off to the ground, pie, wee, match starts.

The game, for the first 20 minutes or so was OK, but with little clear pattern - neither side dominant, final ball not quite there. And then one thing you can rely on - Titus Bumble helped us out - an injudicious tackle on Gabby, right on the corner of the box, down the far end, but definitely inside. Afterwards, in the pub, a Wigan fan said Bumble got the ball, and he had a better view, as he was down that end. Anyway, the Ref thought he didn't. Gareth Barry scored from the spot, very well too.

Us Villans, not as many as the 5400 of last year, but still a healthy number, perhaps a thousand less - around 4,400 at a guess, celebrated.

Wigan threatened a couple of times - Petrov did really well to block Heskey in the box, and Friedel saved a long range blunderbuss of a shot and also got in the way of a header from Heskey stopping what looked likely to be an equaliser..

So half time and 1-0, without the game really catching fire.

The second half was different. Villa did the business. They put Wigan away, as they say.

John Carew came on for a limping GB with maybe 10 minutes gone and almost immediately assisted Gabby in scoring our second. From a Corner his header down was directed onto Gabby's knee and in past Kirkland.

Having been the recipient of some supportive but mickey taking chanting, Big John was clearly delighted.

Our next goal was an absolute beauty.It started with a Petrov tackle and backheel just outside the D of our box. Milner's passed long ball for Gabby sent him away. He held the ball up. Normally, we've seen Gab lose the ball or waste it in these situations, but he waited and then skinned the defender before crossing left footed right onto Carew's noggin 3 yards out. Brilliant. Brilliant team play, great cross, clean finish.

After that, despite numerous Wigan corners, a couple of scares when they perhaps should have pulled one back, Villa held on pretty easily with teamwork and good defending.

Martin Laursen had time for a storming run up the pitch and lay off to Gabby, who reverted to the other type.

Ash too had a run and shot tipped round by Kirkland.

In the last few minutes Steve Sidwell made his league debut, and topped it off with a cracking goal, right into the top corner from outside the box.

Winning 4-0 away with a couple of really excellent goals, and after having played midweek. Really well done to all the players, and the manager.

Back to the pub, chat with some Wigan fans, then to another pub, and a few more drinks with some Cumbrian Villans. Nice end to a good day.

I'm not doing marks today, I want my tea. But I will say that Martin Laursen, Gabby, Stan Petrov, Ashley Young and James Milner were all really, really good. The rest were all good.

Where does it leave us all?

Well we're clearly a side capable of beating "the rest". We're looking able to handle playing after European games, we're well managed, well owned, well supported. But we've done now't yet.

However much us fans love a "character" we can't be having players out on the lash on the eve of games. As much as I'd love to do the same, given half a chance, discipline is needed to change from the progress we've made to the place we want to be.

One final comment - Mark, from the NW Villans - I wouldn't want your hangover tommorrow, mate.

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No, it was good. Gave a good feel for the match and the day out, and a few broader comments as well. And so quick.

If you're looking for points of criticism, perhaps mentioning your toiletting arrangements doesn't add a great deal. :winkold:

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