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Saturday 11th December 2004
Football League 'League Two'
Ian Stonebridge Ian Stonebridge netted his first goal since August as Wanderers beat Notts County at Meadow Lane. Wycombe have now gone four games unbeaten in the League since the departure of Tony Adams and climb to 10th place in the table, just a point off the play-off places. The only goal of the game came three minutes before the break when Stonebridge followed up a blocked effort by Wycombe debutant Stephen Cooke. It followed a fairly drab first-half where it was the home side who had created the better chances. However, the second period saw Wanderers dominate for large periods and the final winning margin could have greater. Nathan Tyson was forced off with a knee injury in the second-half but the player believes it is not too serious.
John Gorman made three changes to the side that had drawn at Bury 2-2 the previous Tuesday. Gary Silk returned in defence in place of the suspended Gus Uhlenbeek, while Villa loanee Stephen Cooke came in on the right of midfield instead of Stuart Nethercott. Ian Stonebridge came into a Wanderers front three with Steve Guppy dropping to the bench.
It was Stonebridge who had the first clear chance of the game when he sidefooted a weak effort from the left side of the penalty area straight at former Wycombe loanee Wayne Henderson in the County goal. However, it was Frank Talia who was the busier of the 'keepers during the first-half. He pushed away a Chris O'Grady effort from the left flank in the 23rd minute. Then on 38 minutes, Talia was down quickly to grab the ball after Matt Williams had driven the ball goalwards from the left corner of the six yard area.
Wycombe survived and the uncertainty in the early stages was put to the back of the mind after Stonebridge had ended his goal drought. The goal came after Craig Faulconbridge had headed on a free-kick for Cooke to shoot goalwards. The shot rebounded off the heels of Tony Scully but Stonebridge was first to react to the loose ball and give Wycombe the bonus of leading at the break when a 0-0 scoreline looked likely.
Half-time Notts County 0 Wycombe 1
A more confident looking Wycombe side took the field in the second-half and the injection of the experienced Guppy for the injured Tyson gave the vital edge and by far the better chances in the remainder of the game. One of those came when Guppy's corner on the hour mark was headed just wide by Faulconbridge. .
Cooke, who had a quiet debut was replaced by Matt Bloomfield shortly afterwards and it was Bloomfield's presence that also gave Wycombe more stabilty. The ex-Ipswich Town trainee almost netted when he was picked out on the right wing by Stonebridge in the 77th minute but the final shot was dragged wide of the far post. A minute later Guppy sent through Danny Senda down the flank and Faulconbridge was inches away from converting the resulting low cross.
Guppy fired over himself in the 84th minute after Senda's cross from the right, while Faulconbridge's ball from the right with two minutes left on the clock saw Mike Whitlow head against his own near post. There was always the danger that County might sneak an equaliser but Wanderers' defence held firm on any threat, while Talia was efficient in dealing with crosses. All in all a pleasing result after a slow start and one that will give John Gorman's side the chance to push on up the table over the holiday period.
Final Score - Notts County 0 Wycombe 1
Speaking after the game John Gorman commented to BBC Three Counties Radio "We trained at Nottingham Forest's training yesterday, which was a joy and there was a difference in the atttitude today that we could get the ball down. It took us a little bit of time, about 20 minutes and to be fair to them they dominated the early stages and our goalkeeper did really well to save us from their little left wing back. But after that I think we completely commanded the game. We deservedly got the break and we should have scored just before it. I think in the second half it was basically one way traffic and for an away team we made a lot of chances."
Wycombe: Talia, Silk, Craig, Johnson, Williamson, Ryan, Senda, Cooke (sub 68 Bloomfield), Stonebridge, Faulconbridge, Tyson (sub 55 Guppy) - subs not used Williams, Dixon, Nethercott
Bookings: none
Scorers: Stonebridge (42)
Notts County: Henderson, Pipe, O'Grady (sub 72 Kuduzovic), Whitlow, Scully, Gill, Oakes, Palmer, McFaul (sub HT Friars), Hurst, Williams - subs not used: Deeney, Harrad, McIntyre
Bookings: none
Scorers: none
Referee: Phil Prosser Attendance: 6,529 (368 away end)
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