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Wycombe Wanderers 1
Saturday 13th December 2003
Football League Division Two
Steven Taylor and Roger Johnson acknowledge the Wanderers support at Meadow Lane Wanderers put in an encouraging performance as they drew 1-1 at Notts County at Meadow Lane. Michael Simpson's deflected shot gave Wycombe the lead on the stroke of half-time but Paul Heffernan equalised for the home side on 74 minutes to prevent Wycombe grabbing their first away League victory since March.
Once again Tony Adams rang the changes in the side with 17 year old's Luke Moore and Steven Taylor going straight into the starting line-up after the players agreed loan moves from Aston Villa and Newcastle United respectively. Wanderers were also boosted by the return of Chris Vinnicombe after he missed Tuesday's LDV defeat to Colchester with an ankle injury while former County player Michael Simpson also made his return to League action following suspension and injury. Steve Williams was a surprise choice in goal after it's suspected that Frank Talia was not risked due to a minor ailment.
Both on loan players but in solid performances considering their age. Taylor, in particular, was outstanding in his central defensive role alongside Roger Johnson. Meanwhile, Moore was left as loan striker for the majority of this game but showed signs that he has a lot to offer as a potential goalscorer.
Moore was involved in Wanderers' first attack of the game within the first minute when Danny Bulman found the former Villa trainee who then crossed for McSporran before the County defence managed to the clear the danger. Within moments at the other end Simon Baldry sent a shot wide of Williams' right-hand post in what turned out to be the general pattern of play for the remainder of the match.
Mark Rogers, who made his Football League debut at Meadow Lane in October 1999, was in the wars in the 12th minute when he was forced to get treatment for a cut to the back his head. It was while Rogers was off the pitch that Heffernan saw a header deflected wide following a County free-kick from the right wing.
Darren Currie went close with a chip from the right edge of the penalty area after 24 minutes before Moore set-up Jermaine McSporran on 27 minutes with a golden chance that County 'keeper Steve Mildenhall managed to beat away at point blank range.
The home side put in a big claim for a penalty on 34 minutes when Steve Williams rushed out to the right side of his area to block Heffernan whose theatrical dive didn't impress the referee. County's best spell of the half followed but they couldn't break down a resolute Wanderers' defence.
Four minutes before the break Wanderers worked the ball down the left wing where Moore managed to square the ball and find McSporran whose shot ended just wide of the right-hand upright. Moore himself was presented with an opening just moments before the break when Danny Bulman battled through from midfield but the youngster slipped on the left side of the penalty area just as he was about to pull the trigger.
Wanderers took the lead after an exquiste cross from deep on the left by McSporran. The pass picked out Darren Currie on the far side of the penalty who then played it back to Simpson who crashed in a shot from the edge of the penalty area that took a deflection off Ian Richardson and past Mildenhall.
Half-time County 0 Wycombe 1
Not surprisingly County came out in the second-half looking for an equaliser but it was Wanderers who had a great chance to extend their lead on 59 minutes. Charlie Mapes' pass from midfield found McSporran just left of centre but 'Jocky' shot wide of the opposite hand post from the edge of the penalty as the 'keeper advanced to cut down the angle.
However, another of County pressure began on 67 minutes when Ian Baraclough's low shot was deflected but Williams reacted well to save. Two minutes later County broke in from the left but were stopped in their tracks when Johnson handled and earned a yellow card in the process.
County's equaliser came after a cross from the right by Simon Baldry. The ball pinged around in the box before being delivered back in from the left where Heffernan gave Williams no chance with a powerful close range shot.
Former Wanderer Mark Stallard went close after beating the offside trap down the right wing but despite the set-back of the equaliser, Wanderers still finished the game in positive style. Craig Faulconbridge and finally Jonny Dixon were introduced and it nearly paid off when Johnson's goalbound header at the death was cleared off the line following a Currie corner from the right.
Tony Adams applaudes the Wanderers fans at Meadow LaneSpeaking to the press after the game Tony Adams said "I was pleased overall. I thought we defended very well and were unfortunate with the equalising goal because their player mis-hit it when it went across goal." He added "We still have a lot of work to do but the signs are that we are getting there. We got more shots in than we have in my time here so that's a real positive - especially when we looked so much more solid defensively."
Meanwhile, County boss Billy Dearden said it was "probably one of the worst performances at home this season." before adding "They set off brighter than us, and we gave the ball away and did nothing of what we have worked on all week. They got the goal just before half-time and it lifted them. We came out in the second-half and improved and I thought we could go on and nick it after we had equalised."
Final Score - Notts County 1 Wycombe 1
Wycombe: Williams, Rogers, Vinnicombe, Taylor, Johnson, Currie, Bulman (sub 82 Faulconbridge), Simpson, Mapes (sub 62 Ryan), McSporran, Moore (sub 91 Dixon) - subs not used: Talia, Brown
Bookings: Rogers (foul 8), Bulman (foul 10), Johnson (handball 69)
Scorer: Simpson (45)
Notts County: Mildenhall, Jenkins, Fenton, Richardson, Nicholson, Bolland (sub 58 Murray), Caskey, Baraclough, Baldry, Stallard (sub 84 Hackworth), Heffernan - subs not used: Deeney, Barras, Riley
Bookings: Bolland (foul 29), Fenton (pulling shirt 63), Baraclough (foul 87), Nicholson (foul 88)
Scorer: Heffernan (74)
Referee: Mr Trevor Parker Attendance: Att:5,014 (away end 400 approx)
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