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Wycombe Wanderers 1
Saturday 2nd February 2002
Football League Division Two
Danny Bulman - grabbed the equaliser on 73 minutes A Danny Bulman goal on 73 minutes earned Wycombe a deserved point from the visit to Vale Park. Wycombe had fallen behind in the 23rd minute when Michael Simpson's foul on McPhee gifted the home side a free-kick some 25 yards from goal out on the right wing. Wycombe were then stunned as John Durnin's kick evaded the Wycombe defence and the ball floated straight over Martin Taylor.
It could of got worse seven minutes later when there was a harsh handball awarded against Simpson in the Wycombe penalty area. However, Taylor, under instructions from Manager Lawrie Sanchez to dive to his left if Steve McPhee took a penalty, took the advice and saved the spot-kick.
Wycombe started the game with just one change from the side that had beaten Notts County the previous week, Keith Ryan deputising for the suspended and injured Jason Cousins. Roger Johnson continued alongside Ryan in the centre of defence and put in another stunning display.
It was Johnson who came closest for Wycombe in the first half when his header from Chris Vinnicombe's free-kick was forced wide. Sean Devine shot straight at Vale 'keeper Mark Goodlad from the resulting corner.
In increasingly heavy conditions the second-half saw chances for both sides. Andy Baird replaced Jermaine McSporran on 57 minutes and it was Bulman's goal with seventeen minutes left that brought cheer to the travelling fans. Bulman notched his fifth League goal of the season after exchanging with Stuart Roberts down the right wing and finishing from around 12 yards.
Wycombe certainly finished the game the stronger and the appearance of Baird in the front line gave Wanderers an added dimension. However, the game hadn't started that way. Vale forced early corner that missed a golden opportunity to take the lead when Ian Armstrong headed wide of a gaping net after McPhee had delivered from the Vale right.
Wycombe briefly responded with Bulman just failing to connect with Roberts ball in from the right, the Welshman looking far happier playing on his preferred right side and was many Wycombe's Man of the Match.
Currie curled an effort over the Vale crossbar on 14 minutes before the home side were gifted the opening goal of the game. Taylor may have been slightly at fault for the goal but he made ammends six minutes later when he saved McPhee's penalty and keep Wycombe in the game.
2-0 down then may have signalled the end for Wycombe but the scores should have been level almost immediately when Simpson miskicked in front of goal after Wanderers and broken away following the penalty miss.
Johnson's effort on the stroke of half-time was warning enough that Wycombe were not yet out of the game and although Taylor had to be alert to save a Michael Cummins header three minutes into the second-half, it was Wycombe who began to have more of the play following Baird's introduction. Baird replaced a disappointing McSporran who has not looked his usual self following injuries picked up in the games at Wrexham and Fulham.
For Baird his introduction had lasted less than sixty seconds before he lived up to his 'crash-test-dummy' nickname by being clattered by Steve Roland. A challenge that earned the Vale player a yellow card.
Taylor made a great save from McPhee on 60 minutes after substitute Marc Bridge-Wilkinson and sent the ball through, while at the other end Devine missed a good chance after more good work from Roberts. Then on 65 minutes an amazing run by Currie ended with a shot blazed high of the target. If the ball had nestled in the net instead of the stands, Wycombe fans would have been talking about that goal for ever more.
But Wycombe kept on going and were rewarded on 73 minutes with Bulman's goal after another assist from our Welsh wizard. Martyn Lee replaced Currie almost immediately and with a bit more luck Wycombe could have snatched the winner. The nearest Wycombe came was with three minutes of normal time remaining when Roberts put in Baird but despite being sandwiched by two Vale players, referee Pike wasn't interest in pointing to the spot. It would have been a harsh decision but we've all seen them given in the past.
Keith Ryan took a nasty bash deep into stoppage time as Vale pressed for winner but with the help of the fast learning Johnson, Wycombe dug in to come away with a point.
Full-time Port Vale 1 Wycombe 1
Wycombe: Taylor, Vinnicombe, Senda, Ryan, Johnson, Bulman, Roberts, Currie (sub 73 Lee), Simpson, Devine, McSporran (sub 57 Baird) - subs not used: Emblen, Holligan, Osborn
Yellow Cards: Simpson (82 foul)
Port Vale: Goodlad, Carragher, Burns (sub 83 Ingram) , Walsh, McClare, Cummins, Durnin, McPhee, Armstrong, Rowland, Atangana (sub 37 Bridge-Wilkinson) - subs not used: Delaney, Brisco, O'Callaghan.
Yellow Cards: McPhee (53 foul), Rowland (foul 58)
Referee: Mike Pike (Cumbria) Attendance: 4,737 (Wycombe approx 250)
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