Wycombe Wanderers 2
Doncaster Rovers 2
Tuesday 24th October 2006
Football League Cup - 3rd Round

Wanderers' keeper Ricardo Batista saved three times in a 3-2 penalty shoot-out victory against Doncaster Rovers as Wanderers progressed to the Fourth Round of the Football League Cup for the first time.

An entertaining tie saw Wanderers begin the match like a house on fire. Stephan Oakes’ volley was headed off the line inside the first five minutes, Anthony Grant’s curler was tipped over and Russell Martin and Kevin Betsy both drew saves out of keeper Ben Smith.

Matt Bloomfield headed a sitter over the top and Anthony Grant was denied again by a fantastic Smith save but it was the League One outfit who opened the scoring 20 minutes into the second-half with a break from their own half saw a flowing eight-pass move emphatically finished off by a sharp turn and shot by Jonathan Forte.

An Oakes' thunderbolt free-kick on 71 minutes saw Wanderers equalise but Wycombe were left chasing the game after Oakes was sent off for serious foul play on 74 minutes for a sliding in late on Stock.

Wanderers held out to take the tie into extra-time but an unfortunate glanced own goal from Grant gave Rovers the edge seven minutes into additional 30 minutes. But Wycombe resfused to give-up, with Jermaine Easter seeing a shot shake the Rovers cross-bar 60 seconds later after Smith got a crucial touch on the goalbound effort. And with just four minutes remaining Wanderers' perseverance paid off as Easter got in front of the 'keeper to meet Kevin Betsy’s low cross and slam in his 11th goal in 12 games and force the tie to penalties.

Again it looked as though it was going against Wycombe when Paul Green scored first for Rovers and then Easter saw his penalty saved to hand Doncaster an immediate advantage in the shootout. But Batista then saved from Coppinger, while Betsy converted for Wycombe to level things up. Russell Martin and Paul Heffernan then scored their respective penalties to keep it level before Batista came up trumps again to thwart McDaid. Ian Stonebridge then stepped up to put Wycombe ahead for the first time in the tie and when Batista dived to save Stock’s effort, the celebrations began.

Wanderers will find out their opponents in Round Four when the draw is made after the Crewe Alexandra versus Manchester United tie on Wednesday 25th October. The tie will take place the week commencing 6th November.

Final Score after extra-time - Wycombe 2 Doncaster 2
Wanderers won 3-2 on penalties

Wycombe: Batista, Stockley, Williamson, Golbourne, Martin, Grant (sub 110 Stonebridge), Bloomfield, Doherty (sub 95 Palmer), Oakes, Betsy, Easter - subs not used: Young, Dixon, Anya
Scorers: Oakes 71, Easter 116
Bookings: Bloomfield - Red Card: Oakes 74
Doncaster: Smith, O'Connor, Roberts (sub 70 Street), Lee, Lockwood, McDaid, Forte (sub 103 Coppinger), Stock, Green, Guy, Price (sub 110 Heffernan) - subs not used: Roberts, Richardson
Scorers: Forte 65, Lee 97
Bookings: Smith
Referee: Mr Rob Styles (Hampshire) Attendance: 3,308 (543 away)
Speaking after the game, Wycombe Manager Paul Lambert said: "The lads were first class right from the off. It’s never easy when you’ve got ten men but to come back the way they did was extraordinary. I always knew we had the players who were capable of doing something special and they were absolutely brilliant. Doncaster were favourites to get through even when we had 11 men on the field, but we have done it again. It takes big players to do what they have done and I can’t praise them highly enough."

Meanwhile penalty saving hero Ricardo Batista said: “I am not going to say I was lucky because I wasn’t, it was good technique. I practice saving penalties every day. I like facing them and l am always confident I can save them. l am always asking the boys to take penalties against me. I enjoy it. I knew before it started that I could save three of them."

Matt Bloomfield added: “We have a squad and a Manager here who don’t know how to give up. The gaffer never gave up as a player and he’s like that as a manager and it filters through to the lads. The character comes with confidence. When things are going well like they are, it gives you that extra little kick and extra belief."

Fellow midfielder Anthony Grant commented: “After I missed the two chances and scored an own goal I thought it wasn’t going to be our night but in the end it was.” Jermaine Easter scored the goal to take it to penalties but then missed his spot kick: “Missing my penalty put a downer on the win for me. All the lads were jumping around celebrating and I was thinking about my penalty. Every Friday we practice penalties and every week I score. I go to the keeper’s left but I changed my mind at the last minute and missed. It was big relief at the end. Ricardo pulled me out.”

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