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Wycombe Wanderers 0
Tuesday 5th March 2002
Football League Division Two
Marc Leach - surprise debut at Brighton Wanderers crashed to their third successive defeat as they went down 4-0 to promotion favourites Brighton at The Withdean Stadium. A makeshift Wycombe side had more than held their own for the opening 39 minutes before top scorer Bobby Zamora smashed in a half-chance past Martin Taylor. After that it was virtually all one-way traffic and when Paul Brooker made it 2-0 on 58 minutes, Wycombe's task was impossible. The best goal of the evening came from Zamora with 15 minutes remaining when he ran through to convert again. Paul Watson made it 4-0 on 82 minutes when he directed a free-kick over the Wycombe wall.
As expected Lawrie Sanchez made changes to his side as he attempted to stir them up enough to get a surprise result and keep the slim chances of place in the play-offs alive. The Wycombe boss called his players in for Sunday training after Saturday's 2-0 reverse to Bury and both Stuart Roberts and Andy Baird were dropped from the starting line-up to make way for Steve Brown and Paul Emblen.
Elsewhere, Wycombe were still without Michael Simpson in midfield as he completed the second game of his two match ban and Mark Rogers was missing due to a family bereavement. His place was partly taken by Youth Teamer Marc Leach as Wycombe went five across the back with Keith Ryan coming in as the extra man. Martyn Lee was the other player dropped from Saturday's starting line-up. Sadly there was no place for Youth Team striker Leeyon Phelan, although to be honest it would have made little difference, as Wycombe were simply outclassed.
Wycombe had scared the locals in the opening stages with Devine seeing a snap shot saved on five minutes although the flag was up for offside. Emblen then had an effort saved after he had run on to a flicked on clearance by Martin Taylor.
Inevitably the home side started to show why they are heading for automatic promotion. On 22 minutes Zamora just manage to get past Leach and Tuttle but Taylor came to the rescue with a save. Five minutes later Richard Carpenter fired a just just over the Wycombe crossbar.
Wycombe's best spell of the game came just before the Brighton opened the scoring. First on 37 minutes Currie and Devine combined to set up Emblen but the former Brighton loanee shot into the side netting. A minute later Devine headed inches over from Vinnicombe's cross but Wycombe's slide began from Brighton's next attack.
Not surprisingly it was Zamora who broke the deadlock when he latched on tp Lee Steel's ball in from the left before striking the ball left footed and into the roof of the net past Taylor. Tuttle gave Zamora some stick a few moments later and got booked while Danny Cullip could have doubled the lead two minutes before the break when he headed against the woodwork at the near post.
To their credit Wycombe still made battled to try and get an early equaliser but Brooker's strike on 58 minutes highlighted Wycombe's problems at the back and there was only one winning from there on. Zamora took his tally for the season to 28 on 75 minutes as Danny Senda was left wanting again. Then after Leach had fouled Robbie Pethick on the edge of the box, Watson curled the free-kick over the Wycombe wall and the misery was complete. Only Martin Taylor's save from a Junior Lewis header prevented this from being a record dfeat under Lawrie Sanchez.
Full-time Brighton 4 Wycombe 0
Wycombe: - Taylor, Vinnicombe, Tuttle, Senda, Leach (sub 85 Roberts), Ryan, Currie, Bulman, Brown, Devine, Emblen (sub 65 McSporran) - subs not used Townsend, Lee, Baird
Yellow Cards: Tuttle (foul 41), Brown (foul 68), Leach (foul 81)
Brighton: Kuipers, Watson, Mayo, Cullip, Morgan, Lewis, Brooker, Carpenter (sub 86 Rogers), Steele (sub 53 Pethick), Zamora (sub 86 Oatway), Hart - subs not used Jones, Webb
Yellow Cards: -
Referee:P Danson (Leicester) Att: 6,398 (Wycombe 300 approx)
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