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Wycombe Wanderers 0
Saturday 12th January 2002
Football League Division Two
Sean Devine Wanderers injury and suspension hit side drew 0-0 at struggling Wrexham on Saturday but still managed to climb two places in the Division Two table to ninth. It was a disappointing result as the home side were clearly there for the taking but after Wycombe just shaded the first half it was the Welsh side who could have won the game but for some poor finishing. Wrexham's Hector Sam was guilty of a hat full of misses, while Wycombe's best chance to steal the points came in the 88th minute when Sean Devine's cross from the left was almost turned in by fellow substitute Gavin Holligan.
Devine's entry in the 76th minute was the highlight of the day for Wycombe. It was the strikers first competitive appearance for 20 months and after a relatively slow start, Devine was in the thick of the action and he began to create chances down the left flank. It was the one positive point from an otherwise gloomy second-half performance from Wycombe but if Holligan's chance had floated in, the usual moaners would have been left in the closet.
Wanderers went into the game without the suspended Chris Vinnicombe, Danny Senda and Paul Emblen, while Andy Rammell and Paul McCarthy were injury victims from the midweek cup clash with Fulham. Those absentees saw Lawrie Sanchez rely on the experience of Dave Carroll and Steve Brown at right and left back respectively, with Jason Cousins and Mark Rogers patrolling the centre of defence. Playing in front of a midfield of Stuart Roberts, Dannie Bulman, Michael Simpson and Darren Currie were wide striker Jermaine McSporran and target man Keith Ryan.
It was an attack minded formation and it nearly brought a goal on seven minutes when McSporran's cross from the right was flicked on by Ryan but Wrexham 'keeper Kristian Rogers had Jim Whitley to thank for clearing the ball off the line.
Wycombe's makeshift defence began to be tested on 14 minutes when Michael Blackwood shot was deflected wide for a corner on the left. From the corner Brian Carey got a flick and Steve Brown was grateful to see his desperate clearing header cameback off his own crossbar.
At the other end Cousins headed wide of the far post from Simpson's corner on 18 minutes and Wycombe continued to threaten their Welsh opponents. On 20 minutes Roberts sent the ball wide right to Currie and from the resulting delivery McSporran looped his header over. Three minutes later Ryan laid the ball back to Bulman but he pulled his 20 yard shot wide of the left-hand upright.
There was a worry for Wycombe on 29 minutes when McSporran needed treatment on his left knee following a challenge down the right wing. It was at least five minutes before 'Jocky' looked to have run the injury off. In the meantime Roberts had weaved in from the left before seeing his low shot saved at the near post.
Simpson saw a free-kick from the left go close on 35 minutes following a foul on Roberts while Bulman had a shot deflected wide and McSporran eventually perked up to cut in from the right before shooting weakly at the near post.
In between these efforts Wrexham saw a loud claim for a penalty turned down after Andy Morrell had blasted the ball into the arm of Cousins.
Half-time 0-0
Wycombe struggled badly after the break. Within two minutes of the re-start Martin Taylor had to be quick off his line to cut-out Darren Ferguson's run to his left hand post and two minutes later Taylor was forced to tip over Wayne Phillips' shot on the run following a cross from the right.
Hector Sam's began his round of blanks in the 54th minute as he shot wide at the far post following another ball in from the Wrexham right. Mark Rogers then had to be on his toes to intercept Blackwood as the Wrexham player was about to shoot from the left side of goal.
An inffective Ryan was replaced by Gavin Holligan on 63 minutes but Wycombe struggled to make any sort of impact on the home goal. Bulman's long range speculative effort on 74 minutes was Wycombe's lone second-half attempt before the introduction of Devine two minutes later.
Not surprisingly Devine took a while to settle and it was the home side who had further chances to snatch victory. On 79 minutes Sam completely mis-kicked at the far post and two minutes later Cousins was forced to clear over his own crossbar from Sam's right wing cross.
Martyn Lee joined the show on 81 minutes and with Devine pushed out to the left, Wycombe began to look like they might steal the points. Some neat flicks and runs by Devine were enough to get the mouth watering for the matches to come although it was Wycombe who were grateful to hear the final whistle after the home side finished the day with another ludicrous claim for a penalty, this time for handball against Steve Brown.
Final Score Wrexham 0 Wycombe 0
Wycombe: Taylor, Carroll, Brown, Cousins, Rogers, Bulman, Simpson, Currie, Roberts (subs 81 Lee), McSporran (sub 76 Devine), Ryan (sub 63 Holligan)
subs not used: Johnson, Osborn
Yellow Cards: none
Wrexham: Rogers, Whitley, Carey, Roberts, Holmes, Thomas (sub 76 Chalk), Phillips (sub 90 Gibson), Ferguson, Blackwood (sub 68 Edwards), Morrell, Sam
subs not used Walsh, Lawrence
Yellow Cards: none
Referee:Ray Olivier (Sutton Coldfield) Attendance: 2,752 (Wycombe 231)
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