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Wycombe Wanderers 1
Newport County 2
Saturday 14th February 2015
Football League Two
Wanderers suffered back to back defeats for the first time in the 2014/15 campaign as they went down 2-1 to Newport County at Adams Park. The loss came after Gareth Ainsworth made three changes to the starting line-up that had lost in the week to Plymouth - Steven Craig and Matt McClure returning up front in favour of Hogan Ephraim and Aaron Holloway, while Peter Murphy came into the midfield in place of Matt Bloomfield.
Craig was involved in a half-hearted penalty claim for Wanderers on 15 minutes as both sides found it difficult to create chances. However, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock on 20 minutes when County worked the ball into the right corner where Miles Storey's crossed for Rene Howe to lay the ball back for Yan Klukowski to arrow a shot past Matt Ingram from 12 yards. County gained confidence from the goal but Wanderers should have been level a minute before the break when McClure found himself one on one with County 'keeper Joe Day but he took a touch too many and the 'keeper was able to push the ball away.
However, Wanderers did make it 1-1 ten minutes after the restart when Sam Wood won the ball in midfield before sending in a shot from 25 yards that Day spilled at the right hand post - Fred Onyedinma being first to the rebound to slide in and tuck into the back of the Valley End net. Alfie Mawson then went close with a header before the return of Paul Hayes as substitute looked to have given Wanderers the perfect imputus to grab victory. Hayes was in the action immediately, laying the ball off down the left wing and then firing the resulting cross straight at Day with just his second touch of the game.
With the home crowd sensing a win, it was the visitors who sneaked the win in controversial circumstances on 79 minutes. County were awarded a disputed free-kick on the left wing that Mark Byrne swung in deep beyond the far post and over the head of Mawson. But Ismail Yakubu was lurking to return the ball low into the danger zone where Klukowski drilled home from around 10 yards. Former County player Aaron Holloway was introduced with five minutes remaining for Craig, it put another spring in Wycombe's step but time ran out and it proved an unusual feeling for Wanderers followers as they saw their side fall to their first defeat on a Saturday since losing at home to Bristol Rovers on 26th April 2014.
Despite the loss, Wycombe remain third in the table but are now five points adrift of Shrewsbury and Burton (both on 61 points), while 4th placed Luton are a point behind with a game in hand.
Full-time - Wycombe 1 Newport 2
Post match reaction:
Commenting after the game, Gareth Ainsworth said, "I don’t see how the referee’s given a foul against Sido in the corner. He’s been conned. But we have to defend the free kick. It’s hard to take that because the game turns on that. They packed the box out and defend a 2-1 lead – fair play to them. I don’t often do that [have a go at referees] – they have a tough job – but I thought the free kick for their goal was a terrible decision. Sam Wood was held in the box when the ball was bouncing round – it’s a definite penalty. You can’t base everything on these things. They are human beings and they make mistakes. It just seemed to be a costly one for us today."
"We weren’t as intense as we should’ve been. I got them fired up for the second half. Why we weren’t fired up for the first half, I don’t know. We’ve got to be starting games with the same intensity as we’re finishing them. If we can do that we’ll be back on track. We deserved something today but when you don’t stick your chances in you’re asking for trouble. We needed to put some of the chances away. The boys will be fired up for next week, without a doubt, going away to Carlisle. The boys are down but they know it was individual errors. Teams aren’t tearing us apart so it’s different to last season. The positives are there for me. We’re still in the top three which is fantastic for us."
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