ticking away

“Manuel Pelegrini is ticking away the seconds with a couple of subs.”

Nothing strange to you in the way the manager doing what the clock is supposed to do–ticking away? Perhaps what he was doing was running down the clock (or killing seconds)?

It’s just one of those cases of the commentator’s mouth running faster than his brain.

Obviously logically it is the time that is ticking away. ‘Whiling away the seconds’ would be a more accurate phrase. There are others too (running down the seconds, counting down the seconds) however the meaning is clear and it doesn’t sound really way out.

Possibly also a subtle double meaning.