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Wycombe Wanderers 1
Saturday 1st January 2005
Football League 'League Two'
Craig Faulconbridge heads home in the stoppage time but the effort is ruled outIt was miserable weather and an even more miserable result for Wanderers as they suffered their third consecutive defeat over the holiday period - losing 2-1 to Oxford United in their first ever visit to The Kassam Stadium on New Years Day. Wanderers were denied a dramatic equaliser in stoppage time when a Craig Faulconbridge header from a Steve Guppy corner was ruled out for pushing. Earlier the home side had taken the lead in the 22nd minute when Jamie Brooks converted from the left of goal. Wanderers were then given a one man advantage in the 33rd minute when Chris Hackett was red carded for striking out at Tony Craig. However, in dreadful second-half conditions it was United who extended their lead on 85 minutes when Steve Basham deflected a 25 yard free-kick past Frank Talia. A trip on Danny Senda in the 90th minute gave Wycombe a penalty that Senda got up to convert, before what would have been an equaliser was ruled out.
Once again Wanderers will look back on the chances they missed against a side struggling below them in the 'League Two' table. Within the first minute Nathan Tyson had pulled an effort wide of the right hand post and moments later he sliced a cross from the left flank high into the home end.
Danger man Mooney struck past Talia's right hand upright in the fourth minute after Tony Craig had been beaten down the Oxford right wing and it was Mooney who was the provider for the opening goal on 22 minutes when he fed the ball to the left of goal for Brooks to side foot past Talia from the angle.
Hackett's red card came after he tangled with Craig around 40 yards from the Wycombe goal. Both players seem to swing out at each other with Hackett the unlucky one to be noticed by referee Cowburn. The one man advantage prompted John Gorman to make a tactical switch as he replaced Gary Silk with Steve Guppy. It signalled Wycombe's best spell of the half. On 41 minutes Roger Johnson saw a placed shot from the left of goal pushed over by Chris Tardif in the United goal. A minute before the break Guppy's free-kick from the left was eventually met by Senda's head but Tardiff got a hand to push the ball onto the crossbar. Then in stoppage time Craig's long range strike from a central position was denied again by Tardif who pushed the ball around the left-hand post.
Half-time Oxford 1 Wycombe 0
John Gorman made another tactical switch at the break, this time replacing Ian Stonebridge with Aston Villa loanee Stephen Cooke. Once again it prompted a mini-spell of Wycombe pressure. Three corners in quick succession from the right, all taken by Steve Guppy, all came to nothing as the home side managed to get bodies behind the ball.
Tony Craig thought he had a big claim for a penalty shortly after the hour mark when he went down on the left side of the penalty, while on the other flank Gus Uhlenbeek sent away Tyson but there was nobody to meet the inviting low ball into the danger zone. Tyson was replaced soon afterwards by Faulconbridge while the sweeping wind and rain in Oxford's three sided ground increased in strength into the faces of the Wycombe forward line.
It was on a rare breakaway that Oxford got their decisive second goal. A foul by Craig on Basham gave the home side a free-kick some 25 yards from goal. Lee Molyneaux blasted the kick straight at the four man Wycombe wall and Basham, who may have been trying to get out of the way of the ball, got a touch with some part of his body to completely wrong foot Talia.
This should have been game over but Wycombe almost pulled a goal back straight from the kick-off, with a goal mouth scramble seeing the right hand post coming to home side's rescue. On the stroke of ninety minutes, what looked like a clean tackle by Barry Quinn on Senda down the right side of the penalty area brought Wanderers a spot-kick. Senda converted to give Wanderers a glimmer of hope and when Faulconbridge thumped in a header from Guppy's corner it looked like the impossible had been salavaged. But it was not to be and Wycombe were left to reflect on where it had all gone wrong over the holiday period.
Final Score - Oxford United 2 Wycombe 1
Speaking after the game to BBC Three Counties Radio John Gorman said he was 'absolutely gutted' and added "I don't understand it. Today we started off bright and came out of the traps and maybe could have gone a couple of goals up. They've got the goal when Keith Ryan has been off the pitch getting stitches, which for me was really very disappointing because we should have been able to just hold on as Oxford proved with ten men for the long time that they did. I know people say you should beat ten men but I've played with it and against it and it is ever so difficult because it is hard to wear teams down when they all just get behind the ball and with somebody like Mooney up front who is always likely to catch you on the break." The Wycombe boss also apologised to the 1,600 plus Wycombe fans who made the journey to The Kassam Stadium, saying "We've let them down today and I just hope that they don't give up on us and come and watch us on Monday and really get behind the team." And he reflected on three defeats so far, concluding It is really disappointing because I thought the team had the capability of winning the three games that we played. You can't say it was unlucky today because we didn't deserve it but we still should have got something out of the game. It shouldn't have been a loss for us but it is and we've got to bounce back straight away against Cheltenham on Monday."
Wycombe: Talia, Silk (sub 37 Guppy), Craig, Johnson, Williamson, Ryan, Senda, Stonebridge (sub HT Cooke), Uhlenbeek, Tyson (sub 68 Faulconbridge), Broughton - subs not used: Williams, Nethercott
Bookings: Williamson (25 foul), Broughton (60 foul)
Scorers: Senda (89 penalty)
Oxford United: Tardif, Mackay, Roget, Woozley, Robinson, Hackett, Bradbury, Quinn, Brooks (sub 57 Wolleaston), Mooney (sub 69 Basham), Davies (sub 46 Molyneaux) - subs not used: Clarke, Doudou
Bookings: Quinn (24 foul), Woozley (40 foul)
Red Card: Hackett (33 violent conduct)
Scorers: Brooks (22) Basham (85)
Referee: C Cowburn Attendance: 7,195 (1,674 away section)
The Oxford and Wycombe players join for a minute's silence prior to kick-off
Before the game there was a bucket collection by Oxfam in aid of the Tsunami Disaster plus a minute's silence prior to kick-off. This report is dedicated to those affected in any way by the disaster.
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