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Wycombe Wanderers 0
Saturday 2nd January 2016
Football League Two
Wanderers' mini run of consecutive victories came to a skidding end following a 2-0 home defeat to Morecambe on New Years Day. To add insult to injury, 'keeper Matt Ingram was shown a red card on 83 minutes for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity and is now set to miss the FA Cup meeting with Aston Villa on Saturday 9th January.
Defeat to The Shrimps came after Gareth Ainsworth recalled Joe Jacobson, Matt Bloomfield and Garry Thompson to the starting XI in favour of Sido Jombati, Steven McGinn and Aaron Amadi-Holloway - but on an afternoon where rain was virtually non-stop, Wanderers failed to adapt to the conditions and didn't register a shot on target during the 90 minutes. The closest Wanderers came in the entire game was on 39 minutes when Sam Wood's low ball from the left was flicked past the right-hand post by Thompson.
Meanwhile, the visitors included former Wanderer Peter Murphy as their Captain but the midfielder seemed to be on a kamikaze mission and was booked on 5 minutes for a pull on Bloomfield and then left the field on a stretcher on 15 minutes after coming off worse for a foul on Luke O'Nein. In a show of respect, Murphy received applause from all four sides of the ground as he was taken from the pitch.
The half-time break was perhaps a time for both sides to re-group but it was the visitors who got the breakthrough on 53 minutes when Shaun Miller powered the ball into the roof of net from the right of the Wycombe penalty area after Anthony Stewart had miscued a clearance.
Brentford loanee Jermaine Udumaga was introduced again shortly afterwards and added a bit more spark to Wycombe efforts. A later double substitution bringing on Amadi-Holloway and Gozie Ugwu (his first League appearance for five games) was also seen as a possible catalyst for a late surge from Wanderers butinstead on 83 minutes a Morecambe break down the right channel saw referee Andy Davies adjudge that Ingram had tripped Aaron Wildig as he was about to shoot at goal and consequently produced a red card. With all Wanderers' substitutes used, Jason McCarthy pulled on the goalkeeper's shirt for the resulting penalty but although diving the correct way, was unable to stop Jamie Devitt spot-kick.
Not a happy way to start the year but Wanderers are still in a relatively heathly position in the table (6th with 40 points from 24 games). That compares to the same stage in the 2014/15 season, where Wanderers were sitting on top of the table with 47 points from 24 games.
Full-time - Wycombe 0 Morecambe 2
Speaking after the game, Wanderers Manager Gareth Ainsworth told the press: "Mistakes were always going to win or lose the game today and we made two bad mistakes to let Morecambe in. It was an awful day but we’ll put it to bed." Commenting on the first goal, he added: "Anthony [Stewart] has been a brilliant defender for us. He has taken a bad touch and I think it has skipped up off the surface and put the ball in the air. You are going to capitalise on that as a centre forward. There is no finger pointing though because the build up to the goal wasn’t good either." The Wycombe Manager added: "I can count on one hand today the players who came out of the game with anything. I’m not going to say who because we win and lose together. Believe me I will definitely be showing the players what went wrong today and I am sure we can be better, but towards the end of the week it will be all about Villa. I am sure whoever I put out there is going to be up for a glamorous FA Cup tie. With Wycombe Wanderers’ fantastic FA Cup history, it would be great to be known as the side in 2016 to put in a good shift against a Premier League side."
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