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Hartlepool United 4
Saturday 28th February 2004
Football League Division Two
Action versus Hartlepool Wanderers scored three great goals but still managed to lose as they conceded four times against the first time visitors to Adams Park. After the game Tony Adams described his side as showing "schoolboy defending" as the mountain to avoid the drop becomes even bigger.
In what many regarded as a 'must win' game for Wycombe, it was Hartlepool who took the lead in the 4th minute when Eifion Williams got past Chris Vinnicombe on the right side of midfield before angling a shot past Steve Williams.
Williams was back in the side after former Pools 'keeper Frank Talia had been injured in training on friday. The news on Talia was that he pulled a hamstring in training with estimates on a recovery time ranging from three weeks to the end of the season. Ian Simpemba replaced the suspended Roger Johnson as the only other change from the previous week's draw at Barnsley.
Despite the early set-back Wycombe were back in the game after 8 minutes when Darren Currie's cross from the left saw Simpemba direct a header home from eight yards. However, the visitors regained the lead within two minutes when Hugh Robertson smashed home a 25 yard plus free-kick into the top right corner of Williams' goal following a foul by Steve Brown.
Joel Porter's attempted lob went into the side netting on 19 minutes before Wanderers hit back again. First Currie's free-kick from the left beat Jim Provett in the Pools goal but the ball crashed back off the far post and hit an unware Provett before being cleared.
Action versus HartlepoolWanderers second equaliser on 23 minutes was a classic counter-attack with Brown directing a clearance from inside the Wycombe penalty area and finding Jermaine McSporran who ran on before curling the ball from 20 yards inside the right hand upright. Brown then went close to giving Wycombe the lead on 30 minutes with a shot from the edge of the penalty area following a sweeping passing move that started with a neat back heel from Senda out on the right wing.
All that good work was wasted again six minutes before the break when a low cross from the right bye-line saw Stuart Nethercott and Senda get in each other's way and with Senda on the floor Darrell Clarke's shot was blocked by the Wycombe defender's hand and although Clarke fired the loose ball into the net, the referee had already pointed to the spot. Senda was booked for his part in the proceedings and was lucky not to see red. Steve Williams got a hand to Mark Tinkler's penalty but it couldn't stop Hartlepool taking a 3-2 advantage at the break.
Half-time Wycombe 2 Hartlepool 3
Thoughts of another come back were shelved a minute into the second half when another disaster hit the Wanderers defence. The ball was knocked into the Wycombe penalty from the left side of midfield but Vinnicombe sliced his clearance straight into the path of Eifion Williams. Steve Williams managed to block the shot but couldn't hold on to it and the same player knocked the ball into the empty net to make the score 4-2.
Wycombe should have been back in the game on 50 minutes when good work from McSporran down the right gave Tyson the opportunity to lay the ball back to Michael Simpson who was lurking just inside the near of side of the penalty area. Unfortunately Simo fired his shot wide of the right-hand upright.
Nathan Tyson Craig Faulconbridge was introduced for Dannie Bulman as Wycombe threw caution to the wind up front and it paid off on 64 minutes when another long clearance down the right channel saw Tyson throw off his marker before sending a wonderfull running lob over the advancing Provett and into the back of the Valley End net.
Currie smashed a chance into the side netting on 70 minutes as Wycombe pressed for a third equaliser but even with the late introduction of Mark Philo as another forward in place of Simpemba, the fourth goal wouldn't come as Division Two survival looks increasingly more unlikely for the Wanderers.
Final Score - Wycombe 3 Hartlepool United 4
Speaking in the press conference after the game Wanderers' Manager Tony Adams said "It was schoolboy defending today, and it is very disappointing because I don't know where they got it from." Adams said he was frustrated with the defending put praised the way his team attacked "I can't fault any of them, I thought we looked very exciting and encouraging going forward. We created chances, there was good movement and good pace but defensively you can't give away goals."
Wycombe: Williams, Senda, Vinnicombe, Simpemba (sub 84 Philo), Nethercott, Currie, Bulman (sub 55 Faulconbridge), Brown, (sub 79 Bloomfield), Simpson, Tyson, McSporran - subs not used: Mapes, Reilly
Bookings: Senda (deliberate handball 39), Brown (dissent 62)
Scorers: Simpemba (8), McSporran (23), Tyson (65)
Hartlepool: Provett, Barron, Westwood, Walker, Robertson, Tinkler, Clarke (sub 54 Robson), Humphreys, Shuker (sub 87 Istead), Williams, Porter (sub 80 Craddock) - subs not used Carson, Konstantopoulos
Bookings: Barron (foul 20), Walker (foul 60), Humphreys (foul 74)
Scorers: Williams (4, 46), Robertson (10), Tinkler (39,pen)
Referee: Mark Warren Attendance: 4,731 (away end 349)
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