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WYCOMBE v Burnley
Saturday 7th August 1999 - Division Two
Wycombe kicked-off the season against Burnley on Saturday with a 1-1 draw at a hot and sticky Adams Park. With survival hero Paul Emblen suspended and fellow striker Andy Baird out with a leg injury Jermaine McSporran got his chance up front alongside goal machine Sean Devine and it was McSporran who gave Wycombe the lead after 29 minutes. Wycombe missed chances to extend their lead after the break and Burnley's prolific scorer Andy Cooke levelled the scores on 68 minutes when he headed in at the near post after a cross from the left. Burnley finished the stronger side as they celebrated their first ever point at Adams Park having been beaten on all four previous visits.
Wycombe began the more lively side with Sean Devine crafting an opening within the first minute. Paul McCarthy also became the first Wycombe player booked this season - taking just four minutes to enter into the referee's notebook for what looked a fairly tame challenge. As the game settled it was Devine who again the danger man for Burnley. On 19 minutes Dave Carroll laid the ball into the path of Devine and Paul Crichton in the Burnley goal had to be at his best to push the ball away. At the other end Taylor was clinging to the crosses but as Burnley began to threaten, Wycombe took the lead when a long ball found McSporran on the right side of goal and after a couple of touches he unleashed a great shot that flew past Crichton from all of 20 yards. The goal sparked a bizzare celebration from the Wycombe players when Steve Brown revealed a piece of A4 paper that had been taped to his chest from kick-off with the words TUNE on (??). Wycombe's defence looked reasonably solid but it took a brilliant save from Taylor from Cooke's close range shot to keep the scores level at half-time.
Half-time Wycombe 1 Burnley 0
Wycombe could have sealed victory within the first ten minutes of the second-half. First the supersonic pace of McSporran brought openings that on better day would have brought goals. Then Devine, cutting in from the left, pulled a shot wide with the goal at his mercy. McSporran's speed saw Burnley's Dean West booked for a blatant body-check on the youngster after 52 minutes. Wycombe completed their purple patch on 57 minutes when an extraordinary run from Jamie Bates from midfield culminated with Devine sending in an angled shot from the left that Crichton managed to push away again. Burnley dominated the final 25 minutes of the game starting when Paul McCarthy had excellent vision to head Andy Cooke's shot off the line after Taylor was caught out of goal on 64 minutes. That effort seemed to strike fear into the Wycombe players and fans alike as the visitors began to move the ball around. Wycombe's cause wasn't helped by an off day for both Keith Ryan and Michael Simpson, exposing again the shortcomings in midfield. The visitors levelled the scores on 68 minutes when a Andy Payton cross from the left was headed in at the near post by Cooke leaving Taylor rooted to his line. Sanchez sent on Danny Senda and Paul Holsgrove for a taste of the action for the tiring Carroll and Simpson as the game ended all square.
There was certainly enough positive points to take from this game. The defence looked relatively strong lead by Jamie Bates. Up front Wycombe created more chances than in the opening five games of last season and with a point in the bag against a team that has spent over a £1m in transfers over the past 12 months, we may be looking back on this as an extremely good result come next May. The atmosphere was also excellent at times despite the contrived drum beat at corners (How about bringing in real drums and letting the Valley End take control?). And finally who ever sanctioned the half-time singing contest, please see me after school for detention. All in all it's good to be back - next game at home to Wolves on Tuesday in the Worthington Cup.
Final Score Wycombe 1 Burnley 1
WYCOMBE TEAM:Taylor, Lawrence, Vinnicombe, McCarthy, Bates, Simpson (sub 75 Senda), Carroll (sub 79 Holsgrove), Ryan, Devine, Brown, McSporran subs not used Cousins, Osborn and Lee Att:6,119
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