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Wycombe Wanderers 0
Saturday 25th January 2003
Nationwide Football League Division Two
Steve Brown
Steve Brown - Made his 400th appearance in a Wycombe shirt with his appearance at Kenilworth Road.[profile]
Wanderers went down 1-0 at Kenilworth Road and should have had few complaints about losing to a Luton side with that added edge up front compared to Wycombe.
The only goal of the game came on 57 minutes when Matthew Spring smashed the ball home from a narrow angle on the left after Thorpe's initial effort had been half cleared.
Lawrie Sanchez made just one change to the starting line-up from the previous week's draw with Oldham, bringing in Richard Harris in favour of Stuart Roberts. The five man defence held out until the break but The Hatters started the second-half like a house on fire and after going close through Steve Howard eventually opening the scoring through Spring. Wanderers failed to respond with any real clear cut opportunties and the home side finished the stronger side.
Wanderers best effort came early on when Harris put in Steve Brown down the left side but his shot was blocked by Hatters 'keeper Carl Emberson. Even conceeding the goal didn't appear to fire Wycombe up and Mark Rogers shot on the turn in the 63rd minute that went wide was the closest to an equaliser.
It was a disappointing result for a healthy Wycombe following of over 700 who gave good support to the team throughout. Wanderers will look back to Brown's chance on 10 minutes and a half hit shot from Harris on 39 minutes but the tactics never looked likely to pose any serious threat to Luton.
It was a scrappy game made worse by five bookings in seventeen minutes spell during the first half. It was during this frenetic period that Frank Talia ended up with a head bandage when he slightly misjudged a bouncing through ball in the 22nd minute and was caught in the face by Howard. The Luton player was booked for his part in the incident while Talia needed lengthy treatment before being allowed to continue. However, Talia was still alert to save from Howard at his right hand near post on 31 miniutes and shortly before the break he held onto a long range effort from the same player.
Half-time 0-0
Howard went close again six minutes after the re-start when he headed just wide from a central position following a right wing cross from Boyce. Two minutes later Andy Thomson had to direct a header over his own crossbar after another cross from the right.
Luton's opener came after Wanderers were caught again down the Luton right. The ball was delivered into the danger area and Thorpe was left in space before Spring finally converted from a narrow angle.
Wycombe responded briefly with Brown shooting on the run after 62 minutes and a minute later a long throw from Harris from the left was flicked but Rogers could only hook the ball wide as he shot on the turn. On 66 minutes another long throw, this time from the right, was headed on by Roger Johnson but Craig Faulconbridge was unable to connect as he lunged in at the edge of the six yard box.
The introduction of Darren Currie and Stuart Roberts midway through the second-half saw Wanderers revert back to the traditonal 4-4-2 formation but after Faulconbridge had spurned a good chance on 80 minutes it was the home side who could have added to score. Howard and Spring went close before Talia made a brilliant last minute save from Howard to keep the margin down to one goal but leaves Wycombe with just one win in twelve attempts against The Hatters.
Full-time Luton 1 Wycombe 0
Wycombe: Talia, Thomson (sub 76 Currie), Rogers, Johnson, Senda, Ryan (sub 88 Cook), Bulman, Simpson, Brown (sub 76 Roberts), Faulconbridge, Harris - subs not used Simpemba, Lee
Yellow Cards: Harris (foul 12), Simpson (foul 19) Brown (foul 28)
Luton: Emberson, Boyce, Neilson, Coyne, Kimble, Spring, Nicholls, Robinson (sub 67 Brkovic), Hughes, Thorpe, Howard - subs not used: Ovendale, Fotiadis, Crowe, Hillier
Yellow Cards: Nicholls (foul 11), Howard (foul 22)
Referee: Clive Wilkes (Gloucester) Attendance: 7,351 (702 away end)
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