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Cambridge United 0
Saturday 22nd December 2001
Football League Division Two
Keith Ryan - opening goal against Cambridge? Wycombe skidded past Cambridge United at Adams Park on Saturday thanks to two goals in the closing eight minutes of the first half. Keith Ryan, starting his first League game since September, opened the scoring on 37 minutes, then on the stroke of half-time McSporran fired home himself from close range.
However, it was no easy passage past a determined United side and there was also a scare when there was another Adams Park floodlight failure six minutes into the second-half. Fortunately the fault was fixed within ten minutes and on a rock-hard surface there was massive relief for Wycombe that the game actually finished. United, who hadn't wanted the game to start because of the semi-frozen pitch, adapted to the conditions better than Wycombe and if their finishing had been up to scratch it could have been a different story.
Lawrie Sanchez made two changes to the side that had lost 5-1 at Stoke the previous week, bringing in Keith Ryan as centre-forward instead of Paul Emblen and opting for Steve Brown in the centre of the park in favour of Dannie Bulman. However, Wycombe never really got to grips with the treacherous surface. Chris Vinnicombe was forced to head over his own crossbar within the opening two minutes and moments later Paul Wanless saw a long range effort slide wide of Martin Taylor's left-hand post. Daniel Chillingworth, making his full League debut for the U's following his recall from Darlington, then enjoyed too much freedom in front of the Wycombe goal and the 21 year old should have done better with a 13th minute header following a floated cross from the right from Luke Guttridge.
Wanderers first real penetration into the United half came on 20 minutes with a move down the left flank that ended with Darren Currie shooting wide after a quick one-two with McSporran. Wycombe then forced three corners in five minutes as they began to find their feet. Wycombe continued to press and Vinnicombe's free-kick from the left on 31 minutes found Michael Simpson but McSporran couldn't keep his shot down after 'Simo' had flicked the ball on.
However, Wycombe's patience was rewarded on 37 minutes when Simpson's through ball eventually fell to McSporran on the left side of the U's penalty area. 'Jocky' thundered in a shot that crashed against the crossbar and Ryan was first to react to head home. It took the linesman's signal to award the goal and despite fierce protests from Lionel Perez in the U's goal, Wycombe had got the breakthrough against the basement side.
Wycombe then took a strong hold of the game on the stroke of half-time when Simpson's didn't really connect properly but McSporran followed up to rattle the ball into the back of the net from around eight yards.
Half-time Wycombe 2 Cambridge United 0
Lights out at Adams ParkJason Cousins replaced Paul McCarthy three minutes into the second-half as 'Macca' struggled to shake off a knock picked up in the opening ten minutes of the game. Three minutes later there was the biggest groan of the day when a floodlight failure threatened to ruin Wycombe's day. Having seen the lights fail against Peterborough back in November, this latest blackout must have had alarm bells ringing behind the scenes at Adams Park. Thankfully the power was restored after nine minutes and play resumed a minute later.
The delay didn't help Wycombe one bit. The visitors responded with nippy on loan Wolves left winger Shane Tudor looking particuarly dangerous. Both Paul Wanless and 18 year old Alex Revell shot wide on the hour mark, the latter after Cousins had slipped on a surface that had now become rock-hard.
The pitch didn't suit Currie and Roberts and they were replaced by Dave Carroll and Dannie Bulman as Sanchez tried to steady the ship. However, Chillingworth had time to fire another effort wide before Wycombe managed a few attacks of their own to relieve the pressure on Martin Taylor's goal.
On 75 minutes Simpson's run from midfield found Carroll wide on the right and as Ryan's header from the resulting cross was cleared, Bulman struck just wide. Five minutes later a short corner from the left was centered by Brown for Ryan to cause more problems for The U's defence with a header and there were also some half-hearted claims for a penalty after Ian Ashbee had looked to have pulled back McSporran.
Lawrie Sanchez was relieved that his side had got the three points he had called for before the game. "It was one of those games where the win was the most important thing. One of those games where a bottom of the table team, who hadn’t won for so long, should come in here and play quite well, whereas in the past we would have collapsed under that pressure we were able to gain the win. Today we won it, we’ve done the job professionally without playing anywhere near like we can. We’re up in sixth position at the halfway stage and I would have settled for that at the beginning of the season."
Full-time Wycombe 2 Cambridge United 0
Wycombe: Wycombe: Taylor, Senda, McCarthy (sub 48 Cousins), Rogers, Vinnicombe, Roberts (sub 69 Carroll), Brown, Simpson, Currie (sub 69 Bulman), Ryan, McSporran
subs not used: Emblen, Lee
Yellow Cards: none
Cambridge United:: Perez, Ashbee, Duncan, Wanless, Guttridge, Scully, Tudor, Tann, Chillingworth, Revell (sub 77 Youngs), Murray
subs not used: Marshall, One, Taylor, Goodhind
Yellow Cards: none
Referee:B Curson (Leicester) Attendance: 6,560 (Cambridge 309)
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