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Wanderers made the long haul north knowing that it was ten years to the day that their previous record unbeaten Football League record had come to an end at the same venue. But unlike the dour side Alan Smith was concocting, John Gorman's 2005 version continues to attract acclaim and reaching December (at least) still unbeaten in the League is a record that is likely to remain for some time.
Gorman, a former player with United, made one change to the side that had beaten Grimsby Town seven days previous - Mike Williamson returning into the centre of defence in favour of Bristol City loanee Richard Keogh. Williamson had impressed in the midweek LDV victory over Gillingham. Also returning after being rested in the LDV tie were Tommy Mooney, Clint Easton and Rob Lee. Meanwhile, Carlisle United boss Paul Simpson had threatened prior to the game to go with a front three but in the end opted for a conventional 4-4-2. It saw Wycombe dominate the opening 45 minutes and create the better chances. Mooney fired in a decent shot on 19 minutes but four minutes later Joe Burnell should have given Wycombe the lead when he shot over from just over six yards after Johnson had headed on a free-kick. Mooney and Griffin also saw further efforts go close before the break as the home side struggled to create anything and kept their largest gate of the season strangely subdued.
Simpson switched to a front three at the start of the second period - bringing on former Leeds United and Sunderland striker Michael Bridges. It gave United more options and they went on to enjoy their best spell of the game with the home crowd respondinging accordingly. On 57 minutes Iain Turner did well to pick out a free-kick from Adam Murray, while a minute later the Everton loanee saw Hawley direct a header onto the underside of his crossbar before Griffin managed to clear. Turner was then in action again as he tipped over a long range effort from Murray.
The final twenty minutes were more even with both sides having chances to snatch the points. Kevin Betsy saw his cross/shot clip the top of the cross bar on 76 minutes while a minute later Chris Lumsdon pulled a shot wide at the other end. Betsy failed to find his man from a cross from the right on 79 minutes while there was scare for Wycombe when Hawley's deflected shot crept just wide of the upright.
Any 'normal' side playing away from home would have settled for a point at this stage but not Wycombe. Further pressure on the Carlisle forced a corner with just three minutes left on the clock and when the ball pinballed in and hit the post it was none other than Captain Johnson who found the net to the delight of the travelling fans and the Wycombe bench.
Final Score - Carlisle 0 Wycombe 1
Wycombe Manager John Gorman admmitted to being 'estatic' with the result when speaking to BBC Three Counties Radio after the game. The Wycombe boss added, "The football that we played today was a joy to watch. Both teams are a credit to the League but we were absolutely magnificent. We controlled the game in the first half, almost too good. It was too one sided for an away team." He went on to praise the entire team, picking out two of the 'older' heads for special comment, saying "Rob Lee was absolutely out of this world for a guy nearly at 40 years old. He was tackling, he was passing. Anybody of our fans who sometimes turn around and say, 'Why is Rob Lee in team', should have been here today. Tommy Mooney was absolutely outstanding for us as well and just worked his socks off."
Meanwhile, Carlisle boss Paul Simpson was naturally disappointed to have lost the game so late. He commented to BBC Radio Cumbria, "I think today was cruel, especially on the second-half. I think they are a very, very good side though...a good footballing side. They defended very, very well and we put them under a hell of a lot of pressure in the second half." He went on to say "There is no such thing as a glorious defeat because everybody just looks at the results and the league table and sees that Wycombe have won 1-0 away from home and they are now 19 games unbeaten and maybe they just expect it?" And Gorman commented too on BBC Radio Cumbria about the home crowd, saying, "The crowd really inspired Carlisle today and I wish that we could get our fans behind us like that at home. I didn't think that it was going to be our day today but we've got the goal and it was a great win."
Before the game at Brunton Park there was a minute's silence for footballing legend George Best who died in hospital on Friday 25th November aged 59. This report is dedicated to the memory of his many great football moments.
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