|January 1998 Reports|
Also from 1997/98
JAN '98 NEWS
CHAIRBOYS MAKE A POINT
CARLISLE 0 WYCOMBE 0
Saturday 31st January- Division Two
Wycombe had Michael Simpson sent-off as the Wanderers held on for a point at Brunton Park on Saturday. A re-organised Wycombe team, missing the suspended Dave Carroll and Steve Brown, were dealt a further blow with a midweek training injury to right-back David Kerslake (groin strain) and then a first half loss of Michael Forysth with a hamstring problem. After an even first-half, where Mark Stallard hit the post twice, Carlisle had the upper hand in the second fourty-five and Wycombe had to rely on a sound defensive performance from Nicky Mohan and more late saves from 'keeper Martin Taylor. The home side also had a strong penalty claim waved away when Gareth McAlindon tumbled after a challenge by Taylor. Simpson was sent off for a second bookable offence with five minutes remaining after a crazy challenge on wonder-boy Matt Jansen. Wycombe clung on for an important point, however, with Carlisle supremo Michael Knighton claiming "daylight robbery" in his post match interviews.
Wycombe also silenced the local crowd after just four minutes when Nicky Mohan provided a deep cross for Mark Stallard to turn onto the far post. It was the two million pound rated Jansen that posed the biggest threat to Wycombe, however, with Simpson having the honour of marking him. The home side could have taken the lead on 12 minutes when the free scoring Ian Stevens headed wide from a good position after Anthony had turned Beeton. Wycombe survived as Taylor spilled a Jansen shot a minute later - with Beeton picking up a booking for a strong challenge on the same player seconds earlier. Taylor pulled off another tremendous save on 22 minutes after Anthony knocked in a free-kick for Pounewatchy to strike. Wycombe's first corner came on 25 minutes it was Carlisle who broke and nearly scored with a long range shot that sailed fractionally wide. Forsyth was forced to leave the field after 30 minutes with John Cornforth the replacement and Keith Ryan moving into the back three. Cornforth was the provider for Wycombe's best effort of the game three minutes later. The Welshman floated in a free-kick from the right side of the Carlisle half and Nicky Mohan headed on at the far edge of the box for Stallard to flick up and then strike the near-side post.
With Carlisle kicking towards their own fans and Wycombe totally re-organised, the second-half was always going to be difficult for the Wanderers. Just minutes into the second Richard Prokas almost converted a scramble in the Wycombe box as the pattern of play was set. Simpson picked up a booking 10 minutes into the second-half for hauling back Anthony. As frustration set-in for the home side, so did several hopeful claims for penalties - the strongest of which came on 62 minutes when Taylor clattered McAlindon on a break-away but the good old ref gave a corner. Wycombe made a rare second-half attack on 66 minutes after McGavin played the ball into Simspon whose shot was picked up by Harkin and then Cornforth but the shot was defected wide. It was backs to wall for the remainder of the game, with Simpson's late dissmissal adding to the agony for the small Wycombe contingent who made the long journey north.
Full-time Carlisle 0 Wycombe 0
Wycombe slip one place in the table to 17th following this result with games against fellow strugglers Brentford, Burnley and Preston to come over the next couple of weeks.
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Kavanagh, Beeton, Mohan, McCarthy, Forsyth (sub 30 Cornforth) , Ryan, Harkin, Stallard, McGavin (sub 86 Cousins), Simpson sub not used Read. Att:6,220
WYCOMBE 2 BLACKPOOL 1
Saturday 24th January- Division Two
Wycombe completed the double over Blackpool with victory in a game that could have gone either way. In one of the most entertaining games at Adams Park this season, Wycombe rode their luck after taking an early lead through Mo Harkin but despite a Blackpool equaliser, Mark Stallard ended his goal drought with a well taken second-half effort. The three points lifts Wycombe three places in the table to 16th with another crucial game at Carlisle to come next Saturday.
With Steve Brown suspended, Michael Simpson got the nod for the No.11 shirt while David Kerslake returned at right back after missing the Fulham game through injury. Nicky Mohan had to be content with a place on the bench but there was no place in the squad for Paul Read who scored twice in the week for the reserves.
Right from kick-off there were chances for both sides with the best falling to Wycombe on five minutes when Kerslake delivered from the right to the far post but Harkin saw his effort pinball to McGavin who also saw his chance blocked from close range. Two minutes later, however, Wycombe took the lead after Kerslake had again crossed from the right and Stallard laid the ball back to HARKIN who calmly slotted home his first Football League goal with a low shot to the opposite side of the goal. The goal livened the crowd on a cold day and Wycombe enjoyed a purple patch for the next 15 minutes. On 17 minutes Harkin saw another shot blocked and the follow up by McGavin was cleared off the line by the head of a Blackpool defender. It was back to square one after 20 minutes when Junior Bent was allowed room on the left and his low cross was angled past Taylor by Andy PREECE.
Wycombe scrambled the ball away from their own goal after 5 minutes of the second-half as the game threatened to go away from the Wanderers. On 53 minutes Stallard snapped a chance wide after the ball had bounced its way through. Two minutes later Kerslake crossed from the right, Simpson returned but McGavin could only hit the side netting with his first time effort. Wycombe's winner came on 66 minutes following some excellent work by McGavin on the left. McGavin weaved into the box before laying the ball back for STALLARD who chested the ball down and thumped it home into the back of the Valley End net. Wycombe played safe for the remainder of the game and luckily Blackpool had no answers for a confident looking Wycombe defence. Taylor had to be alert with 14 minutes left when the Blackpool No.8 attempted a lob but Wycombe survived. The three points makes the table a little more pleasant to look at but let's not mention the play-offs just yet, after all this was only Wycombe's third League victory in 15 attempts.
Full-time Wycombe 2 Blackpool 1
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Kerslake, Kavanagh, Ryan, McCarthy, Forsyth, Carroll, Harkin, Stallard, McGavin, Simpson subs not used Mohan, Cornforth and Beeton. Att:5,073
CRAVEN FOR A POINT
FULHAM 0 WYCOMBE 0
Saturday 17th January- Division Two
Frustration for Fulham, relief for Wycombe as the Wanderers held-out for point at the big spenders. Wycombe could have really grabbed the headlines if Steve Brown had been able to hit the target after a sweeping move in the first-half. Martin Taylor made two great late saves to make-up for some earlier heart-stoppers. All in all a fighting performance by Wycombe, let's hope the team can click-up front when the points are needed at Adams Park next week against Blackpool.
With plenty of comments flying around prior to kick-off about how Fulham's reserve side had beaten Wycombe earlier in the week, it did seem that this was going to be lamb's to the slaughter. Wycombe made two changes from the side that lost in the AutoWindscreems game - McCarthy and Forsyth returning after suspension with Kerslake out with a hamstring 'tweak' and Mohan dropped. Fulham, on the other hand, made eight changes to starting line-up, including leaving out goal scorers Darren Freeman and Martin Thomas - both relegated to the subs bench. In for Fulham came Kyle Lightbourne on loan from Premiership Coventry and another million pound signing Paul Peschisolido. The difference in the starting line-ups reflected the difference in expectation from both sets of fans in the biggest Second Division Two gate of the day - over 10,000.
The early play saw Fulham come out all guns blazing with the two million pound boys providing most of the chances as the home side kicked towards their own fans. But Wycombe contained and on 26 minutes Wycombe found themselves with a chance. A move down the Wycombe right ended with the ball falling to Steve Brown in a central position on the edge of the box but 'Browny' tried to flick the ball with the outside of his boot rather than go for power and Maik Taylor was grateful to collect. Two minutes later Peschisolido dragged a shot past Martin Taylor's left hand post as the play switched to the opposite end. Lightbourne saw a shot deflected wide a minute later but Wycombe should have taken the lead on 32 minutes. A sweeping move from Wycombe culiminated with Carroll squaring from the right where Brown had the goal at his mercy but his shot from about eight yards hit the bar and Stallard couldn't collect the rebound. A minute later Simpson could have done better following a McGavin back-heel. This was to be Wycombe's best spell of the game. Six minutes before the break Harkin started a move down the left before switching the ball across to Carroll on the opposite wing. Carroll pushed the ball into the box to McGavin who laid it back to Simpson but he failed to hit the target.
Fulham were always going to come strong in the second-half and as Wycombe's chances dried up as the home side turned the screw. On 52 minutes Peschisolido beat Taylor to a loose ball on the Fulham left but with the Wycombe 'keeper stranded, the return ball into the area was cut out by the resolute Wycombe defence. Peschisolido made a desperate dive in the area on 57 minutes but luckily the referee wasn't fooled by his theatrics. Three minutes later the same player screwed a shot wide of Taylor's left hand post as Wycombe hung on. A rare second-half Wycombe attack saw some showboating by Harkin down the left before Carroll but the cross in the side-netting on 62 minutes. Steve Brown picked up his obligatory booking on the hour amrk for needlessly kicking the ball away. With time running out for Fulham, McGavin saw a curling shot go a yard wide on 75 minutes but Fulham were to go close in the final minutes. With ten minutes remaining a chance fell to Lightbourne on the right hand edge of the six yard box but Taylor worked a miracle to punch the ball away. Then moments later Paul Trollope crossed fron the left and Steve Hayward headed goalwards only for Taylor to rise and push the ball from under the bar and to safety.
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Simpson, Kavanagh, Ryan, McCarthy, Forsyth, Carroll, Harkin, Stallard, McGavin, Brown subs not used Wraight, Cornforth and Read. Att:10,468
The home fans weren't happy but Wycombe deserved a point and could have taken all three. Wycombe must continue with this sort of fighting spirit against Blackpool next Saturday at Adams Park and also hope that the goal drought doesn't continue despite the loss of Keith Scott. Last season Scotty's goals kept us in Division Two and we're going to need another hero to save us this season.
OFF TO A BAD START
WYCOMBE 1 WIGAN 2
Saturday 10th January- Division Two
Having survived the whole of 1997 with just one home League defeat, Wycombe took just one game to bring the reality flooding back to Wycombe fans. A late consolation goal from Steve Brown was precisely that as the New Year crowd were frustrated again by another let down by a suspension and injury hit Wycombe team. Suspensions to McCarthy, Forsyth and Cousins were added to by news of an injury to Keith Scott during the previous weeks training - Scott is apparently on crutches and will be out for at least a month. The defeat drops Wycombe to 19th in the table with 30 points from 26 games and just 3 points off the relegation zone.
This game was always going to be difficult but it was Wycombe who came closest to scoring in the opening stages when Carroll pushed the ball through to Paul Read in a central position but his shot was pushed away for a corner on the left hand side after 13 minutes. Spanaird Roberto MARTINEZ got the crucial goal for the visitors after 20 minutes when he cleverely flicked the ball past the Wycombe defence before sending in a low shot past Taylor's right hand side from about 20 yards. The same player very nearly caught Taylor off his line on 27 minutes but the shot lacked the necessary accuracy. On 30 minutes Kavanagh cleared off the line from McGibbon as Wycombe continued to struggle up to the break.
It seemed Wycombe's only hope was when McGavin moved to the left side. Indeed, just 6 minutes into the second-half McGavin played the ball in from the left to Stallard who subsequently laid it into the path of Brown who then collided with Roy Carroll as he tried to flick the ball over the Wigan 'keeper. After lenghty treatment Carroll had to leave the game on a stretcher, leaving the Wigan No.9 to take over between the sticks. Wigan's mis-fortune was not turned to Wycombe's advantage as The Wanderers lacked any ideas to breakdown a well organised Wigan defence. The game was effectively killed off with nine minutes remaining when Taylor collected another 'howler' award - this time when he let in a right wing cross from David LEE at his far post. Wycombe got their consolation goal as the game approached injury-time. McGavin floated in a free-kick from the left, Mohan flicked on and BROWN scissor kicked the ball past the stand-in 'keeper. There was no last minute miracle as Wycombe started off the new year in the worst possible way.
Full-time Wycombe 1 Wigan 2
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Kerslake, Kavanagh, Mohan, Ryan, Carroll, Read (sub 69 Harkin), Wraight (sub 76 Cornforth), Stallard, McGavin, Brown sub not used Simpson Att:5,549
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