Wycombe Wanderers 1
Rochdale 1
Saturday 6th January 2007
Football League Two

Ahead of their League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg with Chelsea on Tuesday, Wanderers had to settle for a point at home to Rochdale in 'League Two'. Jermaine Easter had given Wycombe the lead on 51 minutes and missed a golden opportunity to double the lead before Kelvin Etuhu earned a point for the visitors with an equaliser on 80 minutes that 'keeper Ricardo Batista will want to forget.

Easter was also fortunate to avoid a red-card and subsequent suspension for the Chelsea 1st Leg after he lunged into John Doolan - Easter and the watching crowd breathing a sigh of relief when referee Drysdale only produced a yellow-card and a stern warning.

Team news saw Manager Paul Lambert give a debut to loan centre half Leon Crooks who impressed on his debut from Milton Keynes in place of the suspended Mike Williamson but Crooks cannot play against Chelsea due to be being cup-tied. However, there was no place in the side for Fola Onibuke. The former Swindon striker made his Wycombe debut against Hereford the previous Monday having signed an 18 month Adams Park contract on Friday.

Wanderers, with just one win in the previous five League games, were glad to see the breakthough when Easter finished cooly after Kevin Betsy had rolled the ball across the face of the goal. But Easter missed a chance to make it 2-0 when he found himself in the clear from Tommy Mooney’s headed flick on but only found the keeper’s legs as he tried to send the ball between the legs of Gilks.

Matt Bloomfield also missed a one on one for Wanderers before Batista's error for the equaliser. Etuhu broke down the right wind and his cross wrong-footed Batista who parried the ball into his own net on the near post. However, Batista made amends, preventing a win for Dale by pushing a Chris Dagnall shot onto the bar and then denying Gary Jones.

In the end, Wycombe were glad to hear the final whistle on a day when both Tommy Doherty and Tommy Mooney were substituted as precautions ahead of the prestigious tie against Chelsea at Adams Park.

Final Score - Wycombe 1 Rochdale 1
Wycombe: Batista, Martin, O’Halloran, Crooks, Palmer, Betsy, Bloomfield, Doherty (sub 70 Torres), Grant, Easter, Mooney (sub 90 McParland) – subs not used: Young, Christon, Anya
Scorers: Easter 51
Bookings: Martin, Easter
Rochdale:Gilks, Ramsden, Goodall, Crooks (sub HT Jackson), McArdle, Jones, Doolsn, Rundle, (sub 76 Thompson), Brown (sub 56 Etuhu), Dagnall, Murray - subs not used: Rigby, Cooksey
Scorers: Etuhu 80
Bookings: Crooks, Doolan
Referee: D Drysdale (Lincoinshire) Attendance: 4,067 (217 away)
Speaking after the game, Wycombe Manager Paul Lambert said: "“We should’ve been out of sight before Rochdale scored and we ended up needing two great saves from Ricardo to keep us in it. We played well without turning the screw when we should have done."

Explaining his team selection, he added: "“I decided to change it about because the lads who will play on Wednesday needed a game. That’s it, only reason.”

Goalscorer Jermaine Easter also commented on his goal the disapppointment of not winning the game, saying: “It was good to get a goal but I’m more disappointed about the one I didn’t get when I was one on one with the keeper. I was caught in two minds and I ended up missing it. It was a bread and butter chance and one I shouldn’t have missed. We should have killed the game off and we were made to pay. It is one win in seven in the league now and that’s pretty disgusting. It’s all good and well being in the cup with the two big games against Chelsea to look forward to but if we don’t get promoted it’s no good for the club. It’s more important to get promoted.”

On his dice with suspension for the Chelsea game, he added: "“The guy stamped on me and the referee didn’t see it. I lost my head and at that moment Chelsea wasn’t even in my mind and I lunged at him. If I had of got sent off I would have been so disappointed.”

Wednesday 10th January 2007 - Wycombe take on Chelsea in League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg.

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