Seven Up – 12th Man

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You can’t beat a good 4-3 can you? There’s something quite magical about that scoreline and  if we must finish on the losing side then I suppose there are worse moments for it to happen.

Those epic early Premier League encounters between Liverpool and Newcastle are still revered now. Exciting, thrilling, end to end, topsy turvy encounters as two teams go at each other like prize fighters.

It will come as no surprise to tell you that my two favourite 4-3 games were both ones that we managed to win and they were from very different times in very different surroundings.

Boxing Day 2005, Wigan Athletic 4 Manchester City 3 in front of over 25,000 fans full of festive cheer rocking the DW Stadium to it’s foundations. For some reason, I remember none other than Joey Barton lashing home a superb volley than Jason Robert’s brace back in the days when Barton was more known as a footballer instead of being a social media troll.

The other one was at Doncaster Rovers in 1988 in front of a gate of under 2,500 with a few hundred Wigan fans stood getting soaked in the monkey cage that passed for an away end at their old Belle Vue ground. This time we were 3-1 down, had a man sent off and came back to win 4-3. I can honestly say I took equal joy from each of these two games even though the opposition was very different.

What sort of goal fest can we expect from our next two games then? Well, not much of one by all accounts. QPR have got where they are by not conceding many rather than scoring a panful, despite their embarrassment of attacking riches. They have specialised in winning games by the odd goal which is perhaps a little unconvincing given the amount of top flight experience in their squad.

Whereas Charlie Austin is now the dangerman, they have matchwinners all over the pitch – if someone could see fit to keeping Benayoun quiet that would be a useful start though. However, on both occasions that we have played against them this year I can’t be the only one who has walked away thinking that they aren’t actually that good?

And to counteract my negative slant on statistics of last week, I’d also like to point out that our record is very good indeed against London teams indeed our only previous play-off victory came against Bermondsey’s finest, Millwall. It’s all to play for!


First published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column Wednesday 7th May 2014

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