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Wanderers went into the game with three key players sidelined through injury (Andy Rammell, Paul McCarthy and Dave Carroll). In addition Danny Senda was serving the final match of his three game ban while Mark Rogers was away on international duty with Canada.
All this compounded to prompt Lawrie Sanchez to give Sean Devine his first start in 20 months and also blood 18 year old central defender Roger Johnson for his full First Team debut. Keith Ryan filled in at right back while Welshman Stuart Roberts was brought into the starting line-up along with Gavin Holligan. Jermaine McSporran and Steve Brown were the players dropped to the bench from the midweek game at Fulham.
Kicking towards their own fans, the visitors began the game strongly. Jason Cousins had to be alert to cut out Robert Earnshaw in the 9th minute but Wycombe could have been ahead from the next attack when Roberts pushed the ball across to Holligan from the left only for the ex-West Ham player to shoot weakly from the edge of the box.
Earnshaw shot wide of Martin Taylor's left hand post on 14 minutes and Cousins was there again four minutes later to block Andy Legg's low drive from the left. City looked dangerous as they attacked with the wind behind them but Martin Taylor was rarely troubled despite forcing a number of corners.
The nearest either side came to scoring in the first-half followed a foul on Devine just outside the Cardiff penalty area on 21 minutes. Darren Currie's resulting free-kick smacked against the right-hand upright with City 'keeper Neil Alexander beaten.
At the other end Taylor had to punch over Legg's cross-shot on 29 minutes before Holligan wasted another good opportunity on 37 minutes when he shot without conviction with Devine pleading for the ball to his right. A minute before the break Devine was in the action when he saw a shot blocked following Roberts pass from the left flank and Holligan couldn't quit make the loose ball.
For all Wycombe's efforts going forward they lacked that vital edge in front of goal and attempts to break the deadlock become more ambitous. Chris Vinnicombe sent a low shot wide of the far post on 52 minutes while Currie had a number of long range efforts go wide or high of the target.
There was a mood change on 55 minutes when an eerie silence fell over Adams Park after Devine went down injured in front of the Woodlands Stand. Thankfully the knock to his ankle was not serious and the former top scorer was able to continue. It was Devine's pass on 58 minutes to Holligan that could have rewarded Wycombe with the opening goal but Holligan's lack of control let him down again and the chance went begging.
The winning goal came with Roger Johnson waiting to come back on the field of play following an injury. Johnson had initially suffered a nasty looking back injury on 61 minutes but picked himself up to carry on. Four minutes later Johnson was in the wars again after a robust challenge with Kavanagh. With Johnson still down injured Wycombe broke away but Currie shot wide after Devine's shot from the left was blocked.
Johnson went off for treatment but was only waved back on when Cardiff substitute Jason Bowen was laying the ball off to Kavanagh who thundered the ball home from the edge of the box. His celebration was not a pretty sight for the Wycombe fans in the Valley End.
The best chance for an equaliser came in the 73rd minute when Johnson headed over Currie's corner from the left. A goal then would have been apt reward for a highly impressive display by the ex-Wanderers Youth Teamer.
Ryan also pushed forward as Wycombe searched for a deserved equaliser. Rhino's run from the right side side of midfield on 80 minutes brought a shot on goal that was blocked by Cardiff's efficient defence before Devine was unable to turn in the rebound. Wycombe's last effort on goal came in the final minute when Roberts was unable to silence the taunts from the City fans as his cross from the right just failed to reach Ryan.
Final Score Wycombe 0 Cardiff 1
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