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Wycombe Wanderers 0
Saturday 12th August 2000
Nationwide Football League Division Two
0-0 draw at Stoke maintains unbeaten record at The Britannia Stadium - Picture Paul DennisIn front of the biggest Division Two gate of the day Wycombe earned a well deserved point at Stoke and it could have been three if it hadn't been for a brilliant second-half save by Stoke substitute 'keeper Carl Muggleton.  Muggleton replaced the injured Gavin Ward early in the first half after a clash with Steve Jones and denied Jermaine McSporran after Jones' flicked on.
Jones was given the nod ahead of Andy Baird in the starting line-up and rewarded Lawrie Sanchez's faith in the striker by chasing everything and creating chances through-out the ninety minutes.
The game was a real blood and thunder affair with Wycombe picking up four bookings while The Potters saw two shown yellow cards. Martin Taylor also played the most of the game concussed while Nicky Mohan and Paul McCarthy had to receive treatment in the second-half for minor cuts to the head. After the game Lawrie Sanchez described the game as "A good English game of football, there was plenty of blood on both sides. If I was a fan I would go away thinking I'd watched a game today" He added "There were a few tackles flying in but the referee was probably right in the bookings, if you take the contact out of it you haven't got much of a game..it wasn't one way that's for sure."
Jones was presented with a great chance after just two minutes when Mo Harkin drove through from midfield before finding the Bristol City loan player in space on the right. However, as the target loomed Jones half-hit his shot straight at Gavin Ward in the Stoke goal.
At the other end, Wayne Thomas, one of three players making their home League debuts for The Potters, headed over a fourth minute corner but Wycombe created more chances with Harkin shooting low at Ward from just inside the 'D' on 11 minutes while a minute later a Bulman and Simpson combination on the left side of midfield gave McSporran room on the left but his bye-line return was snuffed out by the home defence.
Icelander Stefan Thordarson saw a downward header bounce over Martin Taylor's crossbar on 15 minutes but a minute later there was controversy when Jones and Ward challenged for a 50/50 ball in the Stoke area. It left both players needing treatment with the unlucky Ward having to be carried off. The incident left Jones as public enemy No.1 while the game quickly turned into a battle of the brave.
After Thomas had seen a header end in the side netting after a Stoke free-kick had been floated over the Wycombe wall, Mark Rogers became the first player to be shown a yellow card for a late 22nd minute lunge. Four minutes Kyle Lightbourne bundled over Taylor with the ball ending in the net and the Wycombe 'keeper needing treatment. The referee ruled out the goal but with reserve 'keeper Mark Westhead up in the stands there was little choice but for a dazed Taylor to carry on.
In the 35th minute Jones got a severe talking to for persistent foul play but just when it seemed he had away with a warning he talked himself into the book - the home fans loved it! There were more screams from the home fans in the 37th minute when Jamie Bates ruffed up Thordarson in the Stoke area but claims for a penalty were waved away. Five minute later McSporran was very unfortunate to be booked following a tangle with Mikael Hansson. The Icelander went down like he had been shot but made a remarkably swift recovery.
Wycombe finished the half on top, forcing their second corner on 44 minutes and then in the third minute of stoppage time Jones shot straight at stand-in keeper Muggleton from just inside the box.
Half-time 0-0
Wycombe continued to have the upper hand in the early stages of the second-half. After Thomas had been booked for hauling back Jones, Wycombe took advantage shortly afterwards by forcing the ball into the right side of the Stoke box. Jones glanced the ball through only to see McSporran's clear strike at goal from 12 yards brilliantly saved by Muggleton. Jones followed up but his deflected shot just failed to find the outstretched boot of Steve Brown at the far post.
Bulman became the third Wycombe player booked on 53 minutes for a challenge on Thordarson. Again the decision looked harsh as Bulman clearly won the ball but the referee took exception because it was from behind the Icelander.
Stoke's best efforts came when they worked the ball down their right wing. On 57 minutes after McSporran was thrown off the ball, a cross from deep on the right found Thordarson but he blasted high into the packed North Stand.
A minute later Jones clashed with Stoke 'keeper No.2 in another 50/50 challenge and shortly afterwards Nicky Mohan needed treatment for a cut head.
Chris Vinnicombe almost caught Muggleton off his line in the 63rd minute with a speculative effort from out on the left before Thomas twice went close for the home side with headers. The second of those came after Taylor had ventured out of his goal something that was more understandable when it was revealed he was playing with double-vision.
That effort, twenty minutes before the end of normal time, turned out to be the last serious assault on the Wycombe goal as the home fans became more and more subdued. Even their famous 'Delilah' chant lacked any real conviction - in fact it was more Aled Jones than Tom Jones.
Wycombe could have sneaked all three points in those closing stages. On 76 minutes Bulman sent through Jones down the right side but again the final shot wasn't good enough to get past the Stoke 'keeper. Then in the dying moments Wanderers Captain Paul McCarthy was within inches of connecting to a Michael Simpson corner.
Final Score Stoke City 0 Wycombe Wanderers 0
Wycombe: Taylor, Vinnicombe, McCarthy, Bates, Rogers, Simpson, Bulman, Brown, Harkin (sub 70 Castledine), Jones, McSporran (sub 65 Baird)
Subs not used: Cousins, Senda, Lee
Yellow Cards:Rogers (22), Jones (35) McSporran (42), Bulman (53)
Stoke City: Ward (sub 18 Muggleton), Hansson, Mohan, Gunnarsson, Gudjonson, Risom, Lightbourne (sub 85 Connor), O'Connor, Petty (sub 61 Fenton), Thordarson, Thomas
Subs not used: Heath, Wooliscroft
Yellow Cards:Thomas (47), Gunnarsson (90)
Referee: A Butler Attendance:14,532 (479 Wycombe)
Pre-Season Friendlies
Saturday 22nd July 2000
Boreham W 0
Wycombe 2

Tuesday 25th July 2000
Wycombe 2

Saturday 29th July 2000
Bohemian 1
Wycombe 3

Tuesday 1st Aug 2000
Wycombe 0
Leicester 3

Saturday 5th Aug 2000
Wycombe 3
Crystal Palace 1
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