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Wycombe Wanderers 2
Tuesday 14th February 2006
Football League 'League Two'
Dean Bowditch - opened his account for Wanderers at Meadow Lane Wycombe went back to the top of 'League Two' after a 76th minute goal from substitute Ian Stonebridge grabbed all three points in a 2-1 victory at Meadow Lane. Stonebridge had only been on the pitch for a few seconds when he headed home Clint Easton's free-kick from the right. Earlier Dean Bowditch had given Wycombe a deserved lead in the 31st minute when he crept in at the far post to left foot home a looping right wing delivery from Tommy Mooney. However, the home side got back into the game ten minutes into the second-half when a free-kick came back off the Wycombe wall and Brian O'Callaghan's return shot from around twelve yards took a deflection past Frank Talia. But Wanderers kept positive and earned their first victory in five games to send the travelling support home happy. There was more good news too when Wycombe Manager John Gorman made a surprise and welcome appearance at the ground after taking a break from being with his wife in her battle against recent illness. Steve Brown and Keith Ryan continued to take charge of affairs on the bench but Gorman had urged his side to go on without him, saying to the Bucks Free Press Midweek prior to the game, "It would be a really big boost to me and Myra if the team were to win this match" He got his wish on a confidence boosting night for all concerned with the Club.
Team news had seen Wanderers forced into making three changes to the side that drew with Mansfield the previous Saturday. Jermaine Easter (ribs), Joe Burnell (calf) and Matt Bloomfield (knee) were all ruled out following injuries against The Stags. Rob Lee, Sergio Torres and Stefan Oakes were the replacements in the starting line-up while defender Aidan Collins returned on the bench after missing the Mansfield match due to illness. At just over 40 years old, Lee became the oldest player ever to represent Wycombe Wanderers in the Football League.
Wanderers dominated the first-half although could have been behind in the early stages when Mike Edwards found space only to shoot straight at Frank Talia. But Wanderers gradually stepped up a gear and saw a Roger Johnson header cleared off the line on 26 minutes before Bowditch opened his Wanderers account five minutes later. It could have been 2-0 on 40 minutes when former County player Stefan Oakes struck a free-kick that 'keeper Kevin Pilkington managed to palmed away before the ball was cleared off the line again with Wanderers claiming a goal.
Ian Stonebridge - winner within seconds of coming on as substitute The second half was a more even affair but the equaliser was still a scrappy goal from Wycombe's point of view with O'Callaghan's deflected shot giving Talia no chance. The game turned again in Wycombe's favour when Oakes was replaced with Stonebridge and in one flowing move the former Plymouth striker ran from his entry at the half-way line towards goal and headed in Easton's free-kick at the far post before celebrating in front of the Wycombe fans. By coincidence Stonebridge scored the winner in Wanderers 1-0 victory at Meadow Lane the previous season.
The latter stages saw Wanderers' defence hold firm and claim their first victory since beating County exactly one month previous. The good news continued after the final whistle when results elsewhere saw previous leaders Grimsby Town go down 2-1 at Mansfield and second placed Carlisle United draw 2-2 at home to Shrewsbury Town. Northampton drew with Leyton Orient to leave Wycombe four points ahead of the play-off zone.
Final Score - Notts County 1 Wycombe 2
Wycombe: Talia, Senda (sub 83 Collins), Easton, Williamson, Johnson, Lee, Betsy, Oakes (sub 75 Stonebridge), Bowditch, Mooney, Torres (sub 65 Martin) - subs not used: Williams, Anya
Bookings: none
Scorers: Bowditch (31), Stonebridge (76)
Notts County: Pilkington, Wilson, Baudet, O'Callaghan, Pipe, Edwards (sub 79 Sissoko) , Crooks, McMahon, Needham, Dadi, Chillingworth (sub 67 DeBolla) - subs not used: Marshall, Palmer, Martin
Bookings: Pipe (45 foul), McMahon (90+ dissent)
Scorers: O'Callaghan (55)
Referee: Mr K Wright Attendance: 3,710 (301 away end)
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