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Bristol City 1
Wednesday 1st January 2003
Football League Division Two
Roger Johnson
Roger Johnson - Headed goal set Wanderers on their way.
After completing 2002 with two straight defeats, Wanderers came through a severe test of character on News Year Day with flying colours following a 2-1 victory over Bristol City at Adams Park. City came to Wycombe on the back of a 12 match unbeaten run in the League stretching back to September and Danny Wilson's side had already beaten Wycombe 3-0 on two occasions earlier in the season in League and LDV cup games at Ashton Gate. However, after Roger Johnson had headed Wycombe into a 49th minute lead Wanderers took the game by the scruff of the neck. Steve Brown's penalty on 68 minutes after Jonny Dixon had been fouled gave Wycombe a little bit of breathing space and although Brian Tinnion pulled a goal back for City from the penalty spot with three minutes of normal time, Wanderers clung on for three very welcome points.
Before the game it had been Wanderers defensive performances that the question marks have been hanging over. Those problems led to Lawrie Sanchez opting for a central defensive trio of Andy Thomson, Mark Rogers and Roger Johnson while Paul McCarthy was left on the bench. Keith Ryan filled the left back role after Ijah Anderson was ruled out through injury. Danny Senda and Dannie Bulman alternated in the right back position for the opening stages with Steve Brown and Michael Simpson completing the midfield. Up front Youth Teamer Jonny Dixon retained his place in the starting line-up and was partnered by Craig Faulconbridge after it has been revealed that Andy Rammell suffered a calf strain against Luton and will be out for a month.
For the main Wycombe's back five snuffed out City's foray's forward. Ryan did his best to contain the highly respected Scott Murray with Steve Brown also making his presence felt on the City striker. It was a Brown challenge on Murray in the 39th minute that led to a booking for the Wycombe player while earlier in the half Brown had one of Wycombe's best efforts when he shot wide in the 9th minute.
Wanderers came closest to scoring in an otherwise dull first half when Johnson just failed to connect at the far post following a Michael Simpson corner from the left after 25 minutes.
But City finished the half on top as they finally showed a glimmer of their true potential. Murray crossed the ball low from the right on 42 minutes and when the ball broke loose at the far post Andy Thomson was well placed to block Aaron Brown's follow-up. Then a minute before the break ex-Wanderer Mickey Bell shot wide from the left side of the Wycombe penalty area after he got in front of Senda.
Half-time 0-0
Wanderers stunned City by taking the lead four minutes into the second half when Johnson scored his second goal of the season from Simpson's left wing corner. The least said about the celebration the better.
The goal fired up Wycombe's confidence and the belief that the game could be won came flooding back. Wanderers second came moments after play had been held up while repairs were made to an otherwise excellent surface - Frank Talia spotting that one of the holes for the rugby posts had become exposed due to the continual rain. After play had restarted Dixon picked up a poor clearance from the City 'keeper down the Wycombe left wing. Dixon's pace caused Danny Coles all sorts of problems and in a mad panic the City player tugged and barged at Dixon and the referee had very little hestitation in pointing to the spot. Brown semi-dummied the spot-kick before sending Steve Phillips the wrong way in the City goal.
It was just the cushion Wycombe needed to counteract any late flurry by City. The pressure did eventually arrive as Wycombe began to sit deeper in their own half. Coles headed over from Tinnion's cross on 78 minutes before the harsh penalty award against Ryan with three minutes of normal time remaining made it a nervous finish. Ryan could do little to get his hand out of the way of Murray's shot but City accepted their lifeline with Tinnion converting from the spot. However, it wasn't enough and Wanderers substitute Richard Harris could have made it 3-1 to Wycombe in the third minute of stoppage time but he pulled his effort wide of the left hand post after cutting in from the right wing.
Full-time Wycombe 2 Bristol City 1
Wycombe: : Talia, Senda, Ryan, Rogers, Thomson, Johnson, Brown, Simpson, Bulman, Dixon, Faulconbridge (sub 89 Harris) - subs not used: Roberts, Cook, Currie, McCarthy
Yellow Cards: Dixon (foul 18), Brown (foul 40), Thomson (foul 70), Bulman (86 not retreating)
Bristol City: Phillips, Bell, Butler, Hill, Coles, Murray, Doherty, Tinnion, Aaron Brown (sub 72 Beadle), Peacock, Rosenior (sub 58 Roberts [sub 85 Carey]) - subs not used: Fortune, Stowell
Yellow Cards: Doherty (foul 76)
Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancs) Attendance: 6,785 (1,849 away end)
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