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Cardiff City 4
Tuesday 8th April 2003
Football League Division Two
Keith Ryan
Keith Ryan - started up front alongside Jonny Dixon.[player profiles ]
Expect the unexpected was the message for anybody turning up for this game versus promotion chasing Cardiff City at Adams Park. And that was just what they got as Wanderers ended up conceding four goals for the third consecutive game despite enjoying large spells of possession and going close on numerous occasions. In the end the visitors had too much class up front as they ran Wycombe ragged in the final ten minutes but prior to that Wanderers showed they could play some entertaining football.
It was evening that began with a surprise return to a 4-4-2 formation as Keith Ryan joined Jonny Dixon up front. Darren Currie also started in midfield along with Steve Brown following his return from suspension. Chris Vinnicombe played despite his head injury from the previous Saturday while Andy Thomson, Gavin Holligan, Jermaine McSporran and Martyn Lee were all absent from the starting line-up. Welshman Stuart Roberts was on the bench and came on to play the final 20 minutes.
Despite the positive approach it looked ominous for Wycombe from the off. Alan Mohan saw an angled shot from the left cleared off the line by Michael Simpson in the third minute but a minute later City went ahead. It was the terrifying pace and strength of Robert Earnshaw that caused all the problems and when he delivered from the left bye-line Peter Thorne had the simple task of heading home at the far post.
However, Wanderers enjoyed the better of the remainder of the half. Dixon went on a run from the left on 11 minutes but was somehow of adjudged to committed a foul as he reached the edge of the box. Four minutes later Ryan flashed a shot over the cross bar.
Frank Talia tipped around a Mahon effort on 18 minutes as the play continued to switch from end to end. On 24 minutes a neat pass from Simpson down the right found Dixon who cut inside before hitting a shot that skimmed the top of the City cross-bar.
Wanderers were claiming for a foul on Currie on the half-way line in the 30th minute but with play waved on Earnshaw started a move down the City left that ended with the same player heading just wide of the post. Steve Brown was booked for dissent for his comments regarding the decision and the half ended with a set-to between Brown and Willie Bolland. The two players went head to head, with Brown ending on the floor after Boland seemingly gave the Wycombe player a headbutt. The referee saw differently and only gave Boland a yellow card.
Half-time Wycombe 0 Cardiff 1
The first real action of the second-half came on 58 minutes when Currie cleverly back-heeled to Senda down the right wing to force a corner. Mark Rogers sprayed his header wide of the target from Simpson's resulting delivery but the signs were still encouraging for Wycombe. Ryan saw a shot on the run from 25 yards picked out by Martyn Margetson on 61 minutes while two minutes later Roger Johnson headed fractionally wide from Simpson's free-kick that had been floated in from the right.
However, all the good work counted for nothing when City hit Wycombe with a sucker punch on 69 minutes after Simpson gave the ball away and Mahon finished with a low shot past Talia. Earnshaw could have made it three on 72 minutes but Senda got back to deflect the shot over the bar.
Simpson almost made ammends for his mistake in 75th minute when his spectacular overhead kick from Senda's ball in from the right hit the right upright and Dixon just missed connecting with the rebound. But there were two further cruel blows for Wycombe when Thorne made it 3-0 on 81 minutes after a low cross from the right and then on 84 minutes substitute Andy Legg smashed in the goal of the night to complete another defensive capitulation and more time for reflection by The Wanderers management.
Despite another set-back on the pitch the Wycombe fans responded well in trying to raise the team but have now seen Wanderers fall to 15th place in the table with 49 points from 41 games. The games at home to Cheltenham on 19th April and a week later at home to Colchester now look vital in grabbing those last few points to ensure Division Two safety for yet another season.
Final Score Wycombe 0 Cardiff 4
Wycombe: Talia, Senda, Rogers, Johnson, Vinnicombe, Bulman, Simpson, Brown (sub 72 Roberts), Currie, Dixon (sub 85 Cook), Ryan (sub 72 Holligan) - subs not used: Thomson, Simpemba
Yellow Cards: Brown (dissent 30)
Cardiff: Margetson, Weston, Prior (sub 61 Gabbidon), Barker, Croft, Mahon (sub 77 Legg), Kavanagh, Boland, Ainsworth (sub 89 Bonner), Earnshaw, Thorne - subs not used Gordon, Walton
Yellow Card: Boland (ungentlemanly conduct 45), Thorne (dissent 61), Mahon (foul 69), Weston (foul 80)
Referee: Clive Penton (Sussex) Attendance: 5,889 (1027 away end)
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