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Wycombe Wanderers 5
Saturday 4th January 2003
Football League Division Two
Stuart Roberts
Stuart Roberts - Hat-trick at Sixfields had the Wycombe fans going crazy.profile
Stuart Roberts scored a sensational second-half hat-trick as Wanderers recorded their biggest ever away victory in the Football League. It was also the Welshman's first goals for the Wanderers First Team and there were celebrations to match from the players and fans alike.
Roberts' triple blast followed a first half where Wanderers had taken a two goal lead thanks an 8th minute close range strike from Jonny Dixon after Craig Faulconbridge had done the hard work from the left wing and then in stoppage time Michael Simpson's free-kick from wide on the left eluded all and ended in the far corner of the Cobblers' net.
Ironically Roberts had been forced into action after Dixon limped off in the 33rd minute after an earlier knock. Dixon had started in an unchanged line-up to the one that beat Bristol City on New Years Day and his third goal in four starts only enhanced his reputation. However, despite the scoreline it was never all one way traffic with the home side guilty of several missed chances against a Wanderers back five that looked far from watertight during the first half. Then in the second-half Wanderers took advantage of a Northampton defensive performance described after the game as a "shambles" by Cobblers boss Kevan Broadhurst. But it's the final score that counts and with a clean-sheet in the book plus a five goal away blitz this result goes some way to erasing the memory of the previous season's horror show at Sixfields where Wanderers lost 4-1.
Before the game most people were predicting a tight game but even before Dixon had opened the scoring there were chances for both sides. In the 5th minute Town broke down the right channel before Brown intervened with a robust challenge on Paul Harsley. Moments later Dannie Bulman made a good run from midfield before sending the ball left to Faulconbridge who eventually saw his shot saved.
Seven minutes had passed when Chris Hargreaves centered from the left wing only for Marco Gabbiadini to flick his header wide of the far post.
The opening goal on 8 minutes began, as with many of Wanderers move on the day, through a Steve Brown pass. The ex-Cobbler found Faulconbridge down the left channel and after shrugging off a challenge squared the ball to the centre of the six yard box where Dixon nudged the ball into the far corner of the net with Danny Senda also there to see the ball home.
Dixon's enthusiasm to chase and win every ball earned him a bang on the knee in the 22nd minute but after treatment he returned in an attempt to run the injury off.
Meanwhile Cobblers continued to look dangerous on the attack. Gabbiadini beat Ryan easily down the right after 30 minutes but Andy Thomson pulled off an exceptional header at the far post to direct the ball away from the goal.
Roberts was ready to replace a struggling Dixon on 33 minutes but not before Dixon clashed with Cobbers Jerry Gill on the left touchline. Both players earned a booking before Welshman Roberts entered the scene.
While Wanderers re-organised the home side continued to create chances the best of which fell to Gabbiadini on 36 minutes after Wanderers defence had been embarrassed again. Thankfully for Wycombe Gabbiadini screwed his effort wide of Talia's right-hand post.
Two minutes later Darryn Stamp fired over from the left after Wanderers were exposed following another cross from the right flank. Stamp headed over moments later under pressure from Thomson.
But it was Wanderers who finished the half on top. First on 41 minutes Senda headed just wide after Roberts had crossed from the left bye-line and then in stoppage time Simpson converted direct from a free-kick. Cobbers 'keeper Glyn Thompson will have nightmares about this one as the on loan Fulham player was caught totally out of position as the ball came through a sea of players. Mark Rogers appeared to be claiming the final touch but Simo is unlikely to be interested.
It could even have been 3-0 at half-time when Senda's long range effort from another Roberts cross was saved by Thompson.
Half-time Northampton 0 Wycombe 2
Any thoughts of a Northampton comeback were extinguished within a minute of the restart. Roberts managed to fight off a challenge on the left wing before cutting inside, beating a couple of players, and then firing a low right footed effort into the back of the net. His first Football League goal for Wycombe wasn't without a celebration to match. The shirt came off and he danced for joy in front of the travelling fans from Bucks. Spoil-sport referee Mike Ryan saw fit to issue a yellow card, presumably for time-wasting.
It was now all Wycombe. On 57 minutes Roberts nudged the ball through to Senda but Thompson managed to tip over the placed shot. A minute later a controlled cross from the right by Simpson saw Faulconbridge head the ball against the far post. On the hour mark Bulman saw a shot slip through Thompson's fingers only for the linesman to give a goal-kick.
The Cobblers' comical day in front of goal was summed up in the 69th minute when substitute Derek Asamoah contrived to miss from close range at the far post following a low cross from the left.
There was more to come from Wycombe though and Roberts in particular. On 78 minutes Brown delivered a through ball from the half-way line that allowed Roberts to run onto just right of centre before angling the ball into the far corner of the net. Cue a few more celebrations, shirt retained this time.
Eight minutes left on the clock and once again Brown passes from inside his own half to find Roberts down the right channel. Senda then picked up play and unselfishly passed back to Roberts who cut back inside before sending a left footed shot past Thompson from around six-yards to complete his hat-trick complete and spark a few more celebrations.
Full-time Northampton 0 Wycombe 5
Wycombe: Talia, Senda, Thomson, Rogers, Johnson, Ryan, Bulman, Simpson, Brown (sub 85 Currie), Faulconbridge (sub 85 Harris), Dixon (sub 34 Roberts) - subs not used: McCarthy, Cook
Yellow Cards: Dixon (foul 33), Roberts (unsporting behaviour 46), Johnson (foul 77)
Northampton Town: Thompson, Gill (sub 56 Asamoah), Sampson, Hope (sub 76 Forrester), Marsh, Harsley, Trollope (sub 60 Carruthers), Reid, Hargreaves, Stamp, Gabbiadini - subs not used: McGregor, Abbey
Yellow Cards: Hargreaves (foul 11), Gill (foul 33), Reid (foul 55)
Referee: Mike Ryan (Lancs) Attendance: 4,679 (805 away end)
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