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Luton Town 2
Saturday 28th December 2002
Football League Division Two
Jonny Dixon
Jonny Dixon - second goal in as many starts for Wanderers. profile
Wanderers miserable run of results continued with a fifth home defeat of the season, this time to 6th placed Luton Town. Like the Boxing Day defeat at QPR the one highlight of the day was Youth Teamer Jonny Dixon scoring but also like the QPR game Wycombe were already 2-0 down and there was no coming back.
Incredibly, despite the defeat, Wycombe move up a place in the League to 13th thanks to Stockport's 4-1 home defeat to Bristol City.
Lawrie Sanchez made two changes to the side that lost at Loftus Road. Danny Senda came in to start at right back instead of Keith Ryan and Steve Brown was brought in to bolster the midfield in preference to Darren Currie.
It was Brown who went closest for Wycombe in the first half when his 12th minute free-kick from the right hit the cross-bar. However, it was the visitors who took the lead on 21 minutes when Steven Howard was allowed to fire home from the edge of the box. The writing was on the wall then as Wanderers have not won a game this season after conceeding the first goal. Howard's second on 34 minutes from a poorly defended throw-in emphasised Wycombe's problems at the back and despite Dixon's close range strike on 65 minutes it was Luton who went away with all three points as they held on with relative ease.
Once again questions will be asked of Wanderers' defence following this latest defeat and it was dissapointing to see a mediocre response after conceeding the second goal. The game had started in a fairly even manner with Frank Talia being asked to pull of a great block at his near post on 2 minutes to keep out a Howard header. But Wanderers clung on and had a brief spell of pressure starting on 9 minutes when Dixon delighted the holiday crowd by holding up the ball down the right channel from a Danny Bulman pass before placing his effort just wide of the upright. The move was like a breath of fresh air around Adams Park.
Three minutes later a foul on Stuart Roberts gave Wycombe a free-kick on the right wing and Brown was unlucky to see his curling effort hit the crossbar on the far side of The Valley End goal. The signs there were a little more encouraging for Wycombe but they shot themselves in the foot again on 21 minutes when Sol Davis was allowed to cross a ball from the right. Dean Crowe headed it back to Tony Thorpe who laided it back to Howard to shoot home from the edge of the penalty area.
The visitors seemed more than content to sit on their lead but nearly paid the price on 33 minutes when Andy Rammell was given space on the right wing and Dixon shot just a fraction over from the resulting cross after beating the Luton defence to the ball on the edge of the six yard box.
A minute later The Hatters had doubled their lead. This time a throw-in from the right by Hillier was won at the near post by the head of Howard and the contact was enough to take the ball past a helpless Talia.
The visitors had to deal with the first of two injuries on 42 minutes - a dazed Dean Crowe being replaced by Lee Mansell. Then seven minutes into the second period Ahmet Brkovic was injured in the process of foulig Danny Senda was with replaced by Alan Kimble.
Despite the disruptions to their line-up it was the visitors who nearly increased their lead to three on 58 minutes when Wanderers defence was torn apart again - Howard shooting the final effort wide. But Wycombe were given a lifeline thanks to the quick reactions of Dixon. Simpson's free-kick from the left was headed skywards by the Luton defence and when Carl Emberson made a hash of his punch Dixon jumped at the chance to tuck the ball home from close range.
Rammell and Roberts were replaced by Craig Faulconbridge and Lewis Cook respectively as the game entered its final quarter but an equaliser failed to materialise. The nearest Wanderers came was on 80 minutes when Danny Bulman's free-kick breached the Luton wall and Emberson just instinctively got down to some how push the ball away.
Then in the 88th minute Lewis Cook, celebrating his 19th birthday, saw his corner from the left headed just wide by McCarthy. The defeat concluded a sad end to 2002 for Wycombe which shows the rather worrying stats of 14 league wins from 46 games and 53 points returned in the process.
Full-time Wycombe 1 Luton Town 2
Wycombe: : Talia, Senda, Anderson, McCarthy, Rogers, Brown, Simpson, Bulman, Roberts (sub 77 Cook), Dixon, Rammell (sub 71 Faulconbridge) - subs not used: Harris, Johnson, Currie
Yellow Cards: McCarthy (shirt pulling 29)
Luton Town: : Emberson, Boyce, Hillier, Coyne, Davis, Crowe (sub 43 Mansell), Hughes, Robinson, Brkovic (sub 52 Kimble), Howard, Thorpe (sub 90 Fotiadis) - subs not used: Deeney, Ovendale
Yellow Cards: Brkovic (foul 46), Hillier (time-wasting 90)
Referee: Peter Walton (Northants) Attendance: 7,740 (2,039 away end)
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