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Crewe Alexandra 2
Tuesday 17th September 2002
Football League Division Two
Sean Devine
Sean Devine penalty gave Wycombe a dream start
Wanderers fell to their third successive League defeat as they went succumbed 2-1 to Crewe Alexandra at Adams Park. The loss came after Wycombe were gifted a dream start when Sean Devine slotted home a 3rd minute penalty following a handball by Neil Sorvel. However, the visitors always looked the classier side and drew level in the 26th minute when Rob Hulse flicked home Kenny Lunt's free-kick from the right flank after a foul by Chris Vinnicombe.
Wanderers defence was then ripped apart in the 32nd minute when former Crewe trainee Ben Rix came through from the left side of midfield before finding Dave Brammer on the opposite wing who squared for Rob Hulse to convert again in clinical fashion.
Wanderers best spell came in the ten minutes or so leading up to the break but Crewe always looked comfortable and only a couple of decent second half saves by Frank Talia kept Wycombe in the game. The introduction of Stuart Roberts, Richard Harris and Jonny Dixon for Sean Devine, Steve Brown and Darren Currie in a 4-2-4 formation was a late gamble from Lawrie Sanchez that didn't pay off and Wycombe now find themselves in 17th place in the Division Two table.
Wycombe went into the game with one change from the previous Saturday's defeat to Blackpool - Steve Brown replacing Stuart Roberts in midfield. Sanchez stuck with two forwards in the form of Devine and Craig Faulconbridge and Wycombe couldn't have asked for a better start when Currie's cross from deep on the right was only half cleared and an unfortunate handball gave Wycombe a penalty. Devine slotted the spot kick away to the 'keepers right and there was a hint that this could be Wycombe's night.
However, the stark reality of Wycombe's current plight was brought home as the visitors scored twice inside six first half minutes. In between the goals Devine saw a header saved by Clayton Ince from Brown's cross from the left but it took Crewe's second goal and a threat of a third by Rodney Jack to finally prompt a potential response from Wycombe. Sarcastic cheers from the Wyombe crowd, as the players strung some passes together, were quickly followed by a Brown effort on 41 minutes that was blocked by the 'keepers legs. A minute later Devine followed up to head in Brown's shot that had crashed off the crossbar but the equaliser was ruled out for offside on Devine. Then to complete the flurry of activity Vinnicombe flashed in a ball from the left flank that Devine glanced just wide of the far post.
Half-time Wycombe 1 Crewe 2
The encouraging signs continued into the second half as Brown saw another shot cleared off the line following a scramble in the Crewe penalty area but the visitors held on and returned to dominate.
Hulse missed a glorious chance to complete his hat-trick on 54 minutes when he was allowed to race through from midfield. Only the quick thinking of Talia, who got down to block the shot with his right arm, spared the blushes for his defenders.
Wanderers' defence continued to look unsettled as another goalmouth scramble kicked off on the hour mark. Then on 74 minutes Rix was left in too much space down the Crewe left but his final shot wasn't enough to get past Talia.
By this time Stuart Roberts had been introduced for Devine and playing in a position that appeared to be centre forward, the Welshman must have been close to winning a penalty in the 80th minute when he went down under a challenge by Ince on the right bye-line. However, with the ball running out of play, the referee no wrong. Michael simpson was booked for his part in the discussions that followed.
Sanchez's last gamble of the evening came with the introduction of Richard Harris and youngster Jonny Dixon as Wycombe went four up front. It made for a interesting closing spell. First the now obligatory long throw from Harris was picked out with ease by the head of Sodje before the best chance of an equaliser fell to Faulconbridge but excellent defending by Walker stiffled the opportunity. Dixon looked extremely lively in his short spell. His snap shot on 88 minutes brought claims for handball before Roberts returned the ball from the left only for Dixon to be inches away from connecting at the far post. It proved to be the last serious opening for Wycombe.
Final Score Wycombe 1 Crewe 2
Wycombe: Talia, Rogers, Vinnicombe, McCarthy, Thomson, Simpson, Currie (sub 83 Dixon), Bulman, Brown (sub 83 Harris), Faulconbridge, Devine (sub 69 Roberts) subs not used: Johnson, Harris, Ryan
Yellow Cards:Simpson (81 dissent)
Crewe: Ince, Sodje, Walker, Foster, Wright, Lunt, Brammer, Rix (sub 90 Ashton), Sorvel, Jack, Hulse subs not used: Bankole, Jones, Little, Bell
Yellow Cards: Hulse (90 kicking ball away)
Referee: Lee Cable (Woking) Attendance: 4,909 (244 Crewe)
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