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Wycombe Wanderers 0
Saturday 11th August 2001
Football League Division Two
It all kicks off at Cardiff - picture Chairboys on the Net Wycombe went down 1-0 to big spending Cardiff on the opening day of the season but it wasn't an easy ride for Sam Hammam's boyos. It looked like The Wanderers might be over-run by the Welsh side after Daniel Gabbidon's 17th minute opener but Wycombe fought back and could have earned a draw.
With Lawrie Sanchez banned from the touchline he spent much of the game trying to relay instructions to the bench via a mobile phone. However, the Wycombe boss would have struggled to make himself heard above Cardiff's biggest crowd for years - more than 17,000.
Wycombe started with just one change from the side that had beaten Aldershot in the final pre-season friendly - Steve Brown coming into midfield in preference for Dave Carroll. Darren Currie was given his full Wycombe debut and there was a place on the bench for Wycombe's other new signing, Gavin Holligan. Cardiff's multi-million pound side included ex-Stoke midfielder Graham Kavanagh. It was Kavanagh who ran the show in the opening minute as the home side tore into Wycombe. Within the first minute Des Hamilton saw a 25 yard effort beaten away by Taylor and on five minutes Kavanagh's free-kick was blocked before Martin Taylor saved Robert Earnshaw's follow-up.
Taylor didn't have a happy opening 20 minutes in goal. In the 14th minute he came for a high cross into the box from the left but dropped the ball under pressure but thankfully Robert Earnshaw turned the loose ball wide.
Three minutes later City were ahead. Brown conceded a free-kick following a foul on Kavanagh and the ex-Stoke man picked himself up to power in the free-kick. The ball was half-cleared to Michael Simpkins who delivered another looping ball in from the left that Taylor hestitated on and as the ball broke free Gabbidon converted with an overhead kick from around eight yards.
However, Wycombe didn't crumble and fought back starting with a neat midfield dribble by Michael Simpson that ended with Brown ballooning the ball over from 35 yards. A minute later Simpson's shot was deflected wide for Wycombe's first corner and the home side knew they were in a game.
Paul McCarthy went close with a header on 33 minutes while Darren Currie, who had another outstanding game, saw a 25 yard free-kick tipped over by Neil Alexander in the Cardiff goal. Currie also saw an effort blocked during five minutes of first half stoppage time, while Dannie Bulman and Andy Rammell wasted chances to draw Wycombe level.
Half-time Cardiff 1 Wycombe 0
After the cut and thrust of the first-half it was no surprise that the second period was a tamer affair. Andy Legg and Earnshaw went close for the home side before Sanchez got his mobile phone instructions to the bench to bring on Gavin Holligan. Keith Ryan and Danny Senda were also introduced but the home side seemed happy to sit on their lead and Wycombe failed to seriously test Alexander.
Taylor returned to his normal class act with a stunning low save to his left in the 82nd minute from Earnshaw but referee Dowd played another five minutes of stoppage time to make it a nervous finale for the home fans. By this time Sam Hammam was posing behind the goal with his new fans who were grateful to hear the final whistle.
Cardiff are sure to be there or there abouts come the end of the season and Wycombe are unlikely to have to suffer a more intimadating atmosphere. Not a bad start for Wycombe but Sanchez will be keen to get points on the board when Wrexham are first visitors of the season to Adams Park on Saturday 18th August.
Final Score Cardiff 1 Wycombe 0
Wycombe: Taylor, Cousins, Vinnicombe, McCarthy, Rogers, Simpson, Brown, Bulman (sub 83 Senda), Currie, McSporran (sub 75 Holligan), Rammell (sub 81 Ryan)
subs not used: Carroll, Marsh
Yellow Cards: Bulman (shirt pulling 39), Simpson (shirt pulling 90)
Cardiff: Alexander, Weston, Young (sub 11 Hughes), Gabbidon, Simpkins, Legg, Hamilton, Kavanagh, Low (sub 54 Brayson), Gordon (sub 81 Fortune-West), Earnshaw
subs not used: Boland, Maxwell
Yellow Card: Weston (foul 33), Gordon (foul 42)
Referee: Paul Dowd Attendance: 17,403 (577 Wycombe)
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