Saturday 15th December 2001
Football League Division Two
Wanderers slumped to a 5-1 defeat at The Britannia Stadium in a game where Paul Emblen's sending off in the 32nd minute changed the game. Wanderers had fallen behind in the 19th minute when an outswinging corner by Jurgen Vandeurzen was headed home at the near post by Brynjar Gunnarsson. However, Wycombe were level five minutes later when Chris Vinnicombe's free-kick was converted by the head of Jermaine McSporran as the home defence were caught on the blind side. Stoke regained the lead in the 30th minute when Chris Iwelumo connected with Gunnarsson right wing ball before Emblen's outburst.
Wycombe were claiming for a foul on Darren Currie when Stoke were awarded a free-kick of their own for a bad tackle by Michael Simpson. Emblen kicked the ball from Bjarni Gudjonson's hands and then raised his arms to the player, leaving referee Beeby little choice but to show the red card. It was Wycombe's sixth red of the season and within a flash cost Wycombe the chance of getting back into the game. The killer goal came one minute before the break when Andy Cooke headed down a Wayne Thomas cross and Brynjar Gunnarsson was there again to make the score 3-1.
Lawrie Sanchez's damage limitation tactics at half-time saw Jason Cousins and Steve Brown thrown in for Bulman and Currie but it really was a case of backs to the wall for Wycombe. A Thomas cross on 58 minutes saw Andy Cooke head home to make it 4-1 and with five minutes left substitute Marc Goodfellow struck home from six yards to complete the misery.
Wycombe went into the game without a recognised centre-forward available and Lawrie Sanchez choose to play Emblen as the lone front man with Stuart Roberts on the left and Jermaine McSporran on the right. It was Emblen who had the first real chance of the game on 10 minutes but he shot into the side netting with Neil Cutler in the home goal struggling to cover. A minute later Roberts fired over from McSporran's cross to the far post, the ball bouncing too high for the diminutive Welshman.
Not surprisingly the home side responded with Iwelumo causing problems before Mark Rogers cleared on 13 minutes. Martin Taylor was then quick to pick out another Stoke effort before the home side opened the scoring through Gunnarsson. Even then Wycombe should have been level within three minutes but Emblen failed to connect properly with McSporran's ball into Stoke penalty area. However, that miss was forgotten in the 24th minute when 'Jocky' headed home Vinnicombe's free-kick and Wycombe were right back in the game.
Iwelumo retored Stoke's lead on 30 minutes but Emblen's rush of blood turned the day pear shaped for Wanderers. Cooke's goal on the stroke of half-time prompted Sanchez to opt for a back-five in the second period but Wycombe still managed to create a few openings that could have salvaged something from the day. On 52 minutes Vinnicombe, who had only just recovered from a nasty head injury, saw a shot deflected after Brown's free-kick had been half-cleared. Brown then saw an effort blocked from thes resulting corner before Stoke drove another nail in Wycombe's coffin, Cooke heading past Taylor on 58 minutes. Cooke then looked to have made it five moments later but for another remarkable block Taylor. Mark Rogers went close with a header for Wycombe in the 71st minute but Goodfellow's effort after Gunnarsson had provided from the right in the 85th minute sealed a day to forget for Wycombe and their followers who had braved the cold weather. Full-time Stoke City 5 Wycombe 1
Wycombe: Wycombe: Taylor, Senda, McCarthy, Rogers, Vinnicombe, Roberts (sub 60 Ryan), Bulman (sub HT Cousins), Simpson, Currie (sub HT Brown), Emblen, McSporran
subs not used: Carroll, Lee
Yellow Cards: Senda (80 foul)
Red Card: Emblen (32 mins violent conduct)
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