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A goal in each half by Sean Devine brought the smiling faces back to the fans as Wycombe's top scorer renewed his partnership up front with Andy Baird. It wasn't a classic performance but a "win's a win" as they say. There was more injury woe for Wycombe though as Paul Emblen limped off less then two minutes after coming on as a substitute and left Adams Park on crutches with his ankle heavily bandaged.
Brentford came to Adams Park in fourth place in the table having got off to a flying start after promotion last season. Their last Football League visit to Wycombe in February 1998 ended goalless but with both teams conceding four in their midweek games, there was always likely to be goals. Jamie Bates needed to pass a later fitness test in order to play for the first time against his former club while Steve Brown was still missing for The Wanderers as he was still attending to his newly born baby girl. Keith Ryan dropped back into midfield to cover for Brownie but it was Dave Carroll who once again provided the variety in midfield.
Bates got a tremendous reception from the 1,500 Bees fans at Adams Park but was in no mood to repay the compliment on the pitch along with other former Bee, Jason Cousins.
In a fairly uneventful first-half Martin Taylor had very little to do in the Wycombe goal against an injury hit Brentford side. On six minutes ex-Wycombe youngster Richard Kennedy picked up a yellow card for taking out Michael Simpson. Those nearest the incident say it deserved a red but Kennedy was to pay for it later on. Wycombe began to believe they had the beating of the visitors when Bates started to push up for a Wycombe corner on 31 minutes. He looked determined to score but it was the Baird/Devine duo that finally made the breakthrough for Wycombe a minute before half-time. Brentford were still fuming over a disputed goal-kick decision from one of their few attacks when Baird broke in from the right. Danny Boxwall cut him down and the referee had the first easy decision of the day. Devine stepped up - converted and Wycombe were on their way.
Half-time Wycombe 1 Brentford 0
Brentford briefly threatened after the break when another former Wycombe youth player, Martin Rowlands, saw a shot ease wide to the right of Taylor's goal. Wycombe countered with a massive goalmouth scramble on 51 minutes after Carroll had sent in a free-kick from the right. Devine was inches after from doubling Wycombe's lead on 55 minutes when he saw a thunderous drive hit the corner of bar and post with Bees 'keeper Andy Woodman nowhere. Brentford self destructed just before the hour mark when Richard Kennedy was sent off for a fierce challenge on Dave Carroll. The incident sparked the usual hand-bags at ten paces as Lloyd Owusu claimed that Carroll was faking it while Matt Lawrence and Jason Cousins had their views too. After Kennedy had been sent packing, Wycombe scored directly from the resulting free-kick - Devine cutting in from the left and driving the ball low past Woodham. After the recent spate of poor results it was gratifying to see Wycombe hold the lead with ease. Danny Bulman also got a fifteen minute run-out that saw him shine up front with Devine. With eight minutes left on the clock a Devine cross from the left set up Bulman but Woodman saved from point blank range. A minute later Bulman crossed from a similar position to Devine but the Wanderers goal machine was unable to complete his second hat-trick of the season when he blasted over.
This long overdue victory sneaks Wycombe into the top of the table with 25 points from 19 games. At the same stage last season Wycombe had just 15 points and took until February to reach 25 points.
Final Score Wycombe 2 Brentford 0
Wycombe Team: Taylor, Lawrence, Vinnicombe, Cousins, Bates, Carroll, Ryan, Baird (sub 75 Bulman), Devine, McSporran (sub 79 Emblen(sub 81 Harkin)), Simpson subs not used Osborn and Beeton Att:5,879 (Wycombe's third highest of the season)
Read the pre-match Carling Opta Head to Head facts Michael Simpson v Gavin Mahon.
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