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Walsall 1
Saturday 21st Oct 2000
Nationwide Football League Division Two
Andy Rammell - picture Paul DennisTwo goals from former Walsall striker Andy Rammell set Wycombe on their way to very impressive 3-1 victory over the league leaders at Adams Park. Rammell's strikes came in a four minute spell in the second-half and completely knocked the midland side off their stride.
Wycombe were looking to stop the rot after two straight 2-0 defeats but it was never going to be an easy task against a Walsall side that have had a storming start to the season following relegation from Division One. 
After the two straight losses there were the expected changes to the formation from Lawrie Sanchez who signed a new four year deal with Wycombe during the week. Keith Ryan got his first start of the season while there was also a start for Danny Senda as Mo Harkin and Stewart Castledine were relegated to the subs bench.
With FIFA Fair Play Day announced before the game Steve Brown was in no mood to join with such trivial publicity stunts - being pulled up by referee Messias within 25 seconds of the start. Messias was the man who was in charge for Neil Smillie's last game in charge as Wycombe Manager back in January 1999.
Thankfully there were no red cards this day but
Wycombe did have to survive a fierce opening spell from the visitors. Chris Vinnicombe was caught out down the Walsall right in the 9th minute by a dangerous looking Darren Wrack and Martin Taylor did well to block before Darren Byfield fired wide.
A great challenge by Brown led to Wycombe's first opening in the 20th minute. After 'Brownie' had intercepted, the ball fell kindly to Jermaine McSporran but 'Jocky's rasping 25 yard shot was punched away by Saddlers 'keeper James Walker.
Walsall fell behind to real sucker punch. Ian Roper fouled McSporran wide on the Wycombe left and when Simpson floated in a free-kick to the far post there seemed no danger for 'keeper Walker. However, the visiting 'keeper then appeared to let the ball go and then had to take the flack as the ball curled in and went into the net off the far post.
The Saddlers pressed hard for an equaliser and Jamie Bates had to be alert to clear a Matias cross from the left in the 31st minute. However, Walsall were level a minute later from a similar move. Matias wrong footed Mark Rogers on the Walsall left and his deep outswinging cross was volleyed spectacularly home by Darren Wrack past Taylor.
There were further chances for both sides before the break. A Bates knock down in the 39th minute saw Keith Ryan's snap shot fly just wide of Walker's left hand upright while at the other end Bennett fired over from 20 yards after a quick throw on the left from Matias.
A significant incident just before the break could have swung the game Wycombe's way when Wrack fell awkwardly and had to be carried off with a injury to his ankle.
Bates forced Walker to save a low free-kick in first-half stoppage time but there was no world record attempts this time around.
Half-time 1-1
It was an inspired change of formation that gave Wycombe the edge for the remainder of the game. After playing with Rammell and Ryan up front for the first half, Lawrie Sanchez switched to a 3-5-2 formation in the second - bringing on Jason Cousins for Mark Rogers and pushing Jermaine McSporran up front.
However, it was Walsall that came out like a house on fire - forcing three quick corners, the second from which Taylor tipped over Tillson's header as Wycombe got back in numbers to defende.
The change in formation paid off seven minutes into the second-half when 'Jocky' broke down the right wing before delivering a ball from the bye-line that Rammell smashed in at the near post.
Martin Taylor made a breathtaking tip over from Tom Bennett's drive in the 55th minute and the importance of that save was highlighted as Wycombe took the lead within a minute. Danny Senda forced Walker to save at his near post but from Simpson's corner, Rammell was there again to head home and send the Valley End into wonderland. McSporran made a spirited attempted to claim a touch on the line but 'Rambo' won't be having any of that.
The third goal really knocked Walsall sideways and Wycombe could have added more as the visitors left gaps at the back. In the 58th minute McSporran should have done better from just outside the box but he scuffed his shot. With ten minutes left on the clock Vinnicombe's pass found McSporran on the right wing but Walker beat away 'Jocky's fierce drive.
Brett Angell was introduced for the visitors and he had the best chance to cause a tense close to the game when he headed a Matias corner high of Taylor's crossbar.
The last significant piece of action fell to McSporran when he sprinted in from the left but instead of squaring the ball to an unmarked Rammell he tried to place the ball past Walker but the Walsall 'keeper saved.
A fantastic result and one that will get the heads turning after recent set-backs on the road. Wycombe move up to fourth place after this victory and with both Reading and Bury losing it's getting quite tight at the top of the table.

Final score Wycombe 3 Walsall 1
Wycombe: Taylor, Rogers (sub HT Cousins), Vinnicombe, McCarthy, Bates, Simpson, Ryan, Brown, Senda, McSporran, Rammell
subs not used: Lee, Brady, Castledine, Harkin
Walsall: Walker, Brightwell, Roper, Tillson, Arnalde, Wrack (sub 45 Hall), Bennett, Bukran, Matias, Byfield (sub 62 Angell), Leitao
subs not used: Emberson, Keates, Scott
Yellow Cards: Brightwell (37 foul), Bennett (45 foul)
Referee: M Messias (York) Attendance: 5,564 (857 Walsall)
Chairboys Stat File
21st Oct 2000

Division Two
Drew 3
Goals For
Goals Against

Top Scorers (League)
Andy Rammell 4
Steve Brown
Andy Baird 3
Jermaine McSporran 2
Jamie Bates 1

Dannie Bulman 1

Paul McCarthy 1
Michael Simpson 1
Recent Games
Tue 17th Oct 2000
Division Two
Oldham Athetic 2
Wycombe 0

Sat 14th Oct 2000
Division Two
Reading 2
Wycombe 0

Fri 6th Oct 2000
Division Two
Wycombe 3
Notts County 1
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