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Wycombe Wanderers 2
Saturday 30th December 2000
Nationwide Football League Division Two
ex-Cobbler Steve Brown - rather enjoyed his goal - picture Paul DennisWycombe missed out on confidence boosting away win when The Cobblers snatched an equaliser with five minutes left of normal time at an ice bound Sixfields. After the disaster at Cambridge on Boxing Day it was ex-Cobbler Steve Brown who silenced the home fans with a stunning 7th minute strike to give The Wanderers an early lead. The home side drew level through top scorer Jamie Forrester but Wycombe's lead was restored when Dannie Bulman converted after neat play by Sam Parkin. Steven Howard equalised for the Cobblers after Martin Taylor failed to deal with a cross from substitute John Hodge.
The game only went ahead after the pitch was cleared of snow at 8am on the morning of the game. The pitch was still partially covered 30 minutes before kick-off and there were areas that were still clearly frozen.
After two straight victories, The Cobblers were obviously keen to keep their run going into the New Year but the surface brought some very concerned faces from Wycombe officials prior to kick-off.
However, Northampton's plan to catch Wycombe off-guard nearly back-fired as Lawrie Sanchez's side adapted better to the difficult under-foot conditions. Sanchez made four changes to the side that lost at Cambridge on Boxing Day. Mark Rogers came in at right-back to replace the injured Ben Townsend while Dannie Bulman and Mo Harkin returned in midfield as alternatives for Dave Carroll and Keith Ryan. The biggest surprise in the line-up was the absence of Andy Rammell. Wycombe's top scorer cried off with an illness that was initially reported as flu but was later confirmed as an ear infection that was affecting his balance. Rammell was replaced by trailist Niall Thompson who partnered Sam Parkin up front.
Parkin seemed better suited to playing off Thompson and when Michael Simpson's 7th minute free-kick was knocked on by Paul McCarthy, Parkin picked up Harkin's cross to lay the ball back to Brown who shot sweetly into the top right-hand corner of the net. It could have been 2-0 five minutes later when Parkin got away from his marker down the right but Bulman could only stab the ball onto the top of the net.
Northampton's equaliser came following a poor throw-in from Mark Rogers. Roger's throw from deep inside the Wycombe half went straight to Lee Crooks whose pass found Howard who then fed Forrester before The Cobblers top scorer smashed the ball past Taylor at the neat post.
Thompson had a golden opportunity to restore Wycombe's lead moments before the break. A poor defensive clearance was blocked by the head of the Canadian and with Cobblers' 'keeper Keith Welch caught off his line, Thompson did the right thing in trying to lob the ball home but the attempt bounced agonisingly wide.
Half-time 1-1
Within seconds of the re-start Wycombe should have been back in the lead after Thompson had nodded on a cross from the Wycombe right only for Parkin to scuff his close range shot. But Wycombe were back in the lead in the 49th minute when Simpson's through ball found Parkin who with his back to goal laid the ball right into the path of Bulman who made no mistake with a crisp shot from 12 yards.
An unlucky afternoon for Thompson was concluded just after the hour when he limped off with an injury to his right knee. His replacement Danny Senda saw a lot of the ball during his time on the ice-rink but he slipped at the vital moment when he broke down the left on 76 minutes.
By comparison an injury to Cobblers' midfielder Lee Crooks saw the introduction of the popular John Hodge and the ex-Swansea, Walsall and Gillingham man helped spoil the day for Wycombe. He forced Taylor to palm away a free-kick just moments before Senda has his chance for glory, then  Hodge's cross from the right in the 85th minute saw Taylor beaten to the punch by the head of Howard and the home side had got out of jail.
Parkin had a half-hearted claim for a penalty waved away two minutes later but after Marco Gabbiadini went close to scoring a dramatic winner for the home side most Wycombe fans were happy to settle for a point.
Final Score Northampton 2 Wycombe 2
Wycombe: Taylor, Vinnicombe, Rogers, Cousins, McCarthy, Harkin (sub 79 Carroll), Simpson, Brown, Bulman, Thompson (sub 61 Senda), Parkin
subs not used: Ryan, Castledine, Lee
Yellow Card: Thompson (16 foul)
Northampton: Welch, Chilvers, Spedding, Green, Sampson, Savage (sub 83 Gabbiadini), Hargreaves, Hunt, Crooks (sub 63 Hodge), Howard, Forrester
subs not used: Sollit, Hughes, Hope
Yellow Card: Hargreaves (16 foul)
Referee: M Warren Attendance: 5,722 (Wycombe 650 approx)
Chairboys Stat File
30th Dec 2000

Division Two
Goals For
Goals Against

Top Scorers (League)
Andy Rammell 8
Steve Brown
Andy Baird 3
Jamie Bates 3
Jermaine McSporran 2
Dannie Bulman

Sam Parkin 1

Paul McCarthy 1
Michael Simpson 1
Previous Games
Tue 26th Dec 2000
Division Two
Cambridge 1
Wycombe 0

Sat 23rd Dec 2000
Division Two
Wycombe 2
Swansea 1

Tue 19th Dec 2000
FA Cup 2nd Round
Wycombe 2
Millwall 1

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