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Wycombe Wanderers 0
Saturday 25th April 2015
Football League Two
There was heartbreak for Wanderers in their final home game of the 2014/15 League season when an 86th minute goal from Paul Mullin saw Morecambe go away from Adams Park with a 1-0 victory. Victories for both Bury and Southend meant that Wycombe dropped to 5th place in the table, leaving Gareth Ainsworth's troops the task of winning away at Northampton on the final day of the season and hoping that Southend lose (away to Morecambe) and Bury do not win at already relegated Tranmere.
Wanderers went into the game with two changes to the side that had drew at Wimbledon the previous week - Marcus Bean returning to the starting XI at full-back, with Nico Yennaris moving to centre back to cover for the suspended Aaron Pierre. Elsewhere, Max Kretzschmar was a late change to the starting XI after Sam Saunders was injured in the pre-match warm-up. The injury situation left Wycombe with just four players on the bench (two of those, Tommy Fletcher and goalkeeper Alex Lynch, with no previous Football League experience).
It was credit to the Wycombe side, with so many players playing out of position, that they managed to compete to the level that they did. Against a Morecambe side with away victories at Bury, Southend and Burton, Wycombe enjoyed the better of the possession in the first-half but struggled to create clear cut chances in front of goal.
Roared on by a 5,000 plus home following, the second-half saw Wanderers go closest on 50 minutes when Alfie Mawson thundered a header against the crossbar following a corner from the right. However, as the game wore on, it was the visitors who began to look the stronger side. A string of incredible Matt Ingram saves, including a one-handed save to deny Mark Hughes on 70 minutes, and then again on 73 minutes to tip over a Kevin Ellison header, had the opponents congratulating the Wanderers 'keeper and the home fans still hoping for that elusive Wycombe goal. However, Wycombe's worse fears were confirmed with four minutes remaining when a Morecambe free-kick from the right by Ellison was blocked by the Wycombe wall but returned by Ellison for Mullin to ghost in at the far post and head home from less than six yards. It was cruel for Wycombe who now must hope for a remarkable set of results on the final day of the season to achieve automatic promotion or face the prospect of the play-offs.
Full-time - Wycombe 0 Morecambe 1
Post match reaction:
Commenting after the game, Gareth Ainsworth said, "We have to rely on two games on the last day of the season, away from home, and we’ve been there before I think. We’ll see what happens. I’ve just told the boys ‘look, no matter what happens next week it’s still in your hands because if we end up in the play-offs and we win three games you get promoted. That’s what we’ll have to look at, but next week we’ll be going for the win because we need a win to get above the other two. We need favours from other teams, I’ll be hoping that happens and if it doesn’t we readdress where we are and go again." With Wanderers down to bare bones squad, the Wycombe insisted there would be no taking it easy in the final League game at Northampton next week: "If Bury and Southend get beat I’ll never forgive myself if I try and play it cool and save players for the play-offs. It’s about winning the game next week, that’s what we’ve got to do and I think we’ve got a chance to do that. We’ll put out the strongest side we can, there will definitely be players back for next week and there will be players back for the play-offs – if we end up in the play-offs. I’m positive and I think we can do it next week. If not we’ve got a full back, but let’s concentrate on Northampton. I think I’ll be working on defending set plays for a couple of days this week and we’ll go again." The Wycombe boss was also thinking of another day of celebration on part with that at Torquay twelve months previous: "I’d love to have a coach journey home with success from Northampton. It’s asking a bit much, two years running, but who knows. Morecambe play well, they’re good at home, they’ve beaten some top teams and Tranmere have been relegated today so that’s the last game in the Football League and I’m sure they’ll want to perform in front of their home fans. We’ll have a look, see what happens and play our own game at Northampton. We’re not thinking about the play-offs but we know we have that cushion if we fail to go up automatically."
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