Rochdale 0
Wycombe Wanderers 2
Saturday 16th September 2006
Football League Two

Goals from Tommy Mooney and substitute Jonny Dixon took Wanderers to the top of the table for the first time in the 2006/7 season following a 2-0 victory at Rochdale. Mooney’s 16th minute opener and Dixon’s injury-time sealer also extended Wycombe’s winning run to a Club record six successive league games as they leapfrogged leaders Swindon Town and second-placed Lincoln City to sit pretty in 1st spot with 22 points from their opening nine games.

In a game which marked the debut for on-loan QPR midfielder Tommy Doherty, victory at Spotland was a fourth successive clean sheet for Paul Lambert's side but the game was never easy. There was also a larger intake of breath for Wanderers followers in 12 minutes when 'keeper Ricardo Batista clattered into 6ft 8ins Dale striker Morike Sako outside the area, but survived with just a yellow card despite the ball also striking the hand of the Wycombe player. It proved a pivotal moment, as four minutes later Wycombe took the lead with a goal started and finished by Mooney. The experienced striker headed the ball into the path of Russell Martin who pushed forward before returning the ball back inside the area where Mooney smashed the ball home.

It could have been 2-0 moments later when Sam Stockley swung over a free kick which Mooney headed down to Jermaine Easter but his usual clinical finished deserted him and his shot was blocked. Easter went close again with a header before the home side attempted to claw their way back into the game in more ways than one.

With a Wycombe switching from a back three to a four, frustration for some of the home support spilled over in bizzare fashion when a fan came onto the pitch during the second-half. He was led back to the stands by Sako but more trouble broke out when the pitch invader, plus some of his irate friends, clashed with police and stewards in the far corner of the ground. Several punches and kicks were thrown before the culprits were led away.

Thankfully Wanderers refused to let the incident unsettle them, keeping home side at bay for the remainder of the game and then finishig on top. With two minutes left on the clock an unmarked Jonny Dixon, on as a substitute for Mooney, sent a diving header from a Kevin Betsy cross wide. Then in injury-time Dale defender Nathan Stanton, who had just been announced as Rochdale’s Man of the Match, trod on the ball as he attempted to pass it back to his 'keeper, allowing Betsy to run on. Betsy could have scored himself but he unselfishly squared it to Dixon who could not miss from six yards.

Final Score - Rochdale 0 Wycombe 2
Wycombe: Batista, Williamson, Stockley, Antwi, Betsy, Martin, Doherty (sub 53 Gregory), Bloomfield (sub 75 Anya), Golbourne, Easter, Mooney (sub 85 Dixon) - subs not used: Young, Fernandez
Scorers: Mooney 16, Dixon 90
Bookings: Batista, Martin
Rochdale: Gilks, Jackson, Stanton, Sharp, Goodall, Doolan, Crooks (sub 63 Cooksey), Jones, Dagnall (sub 63 Moyo-Modise), Sako, Barker - subs not used: Rundle, Clarke, Ramsden
Scorers: none
Bookings: none
Referee: Mr P Walton (Northamptonshire) Attendance: 2,313
Speaking after the game, Wycombe Manager Paul Lambert warned people not to get carried away with Wycombe's League position, saying: "We’ve done great so far but there is a long way to go yet. I’m not interested in league tables yet. The only table that matters is the last one in May." He added: “I think that was one of the hardest games I’ve seen all season. They put us under unbelievable pressure with the big lad up front. But the lads coped brilliantly. Rochdale were a real handful and this was three big points for us, make no mistake about that. I’ve got five lads back in Wycombe who could not play, we were down to the bare bones but the lads were brilliant."

Wanderers would continue their bright start to the 2006/7 campaign the following Wednesday with a trip to Premiership Fulham in the 2nd Round of the Football League Cup. With victory away to Swansea City in the previous round, hopes were high.

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