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Wycombe Wanderers 1
Saturday 24th March 2001
Nationwide Football League Division Two
Dave Carroll - best chance for Wycombe  - picture Paul DennisWycombe were totally outclassed at The Bescot Stadium as they conceded five goals against an attack minded Walsall side.
With priority stacked totally on avoiding any 'stupid' red cards that would have meant suspension for the FA Cup Semi-Final in two weeks time, the Wycombe players didn't appear to be pulling many punches and both Jamie Bates and Chris Vinnicombe came close to the walk of shame. Bates was substituted at half-time after picking up a yellow card for a 38th minute lunge on Pedro Matias. Matias extracted his own revenge by opening the scoring three minutes later and then adding two more in the second-half to complete his hat-trick.
Vinnicombe's dice with danger came in the 85th minute when he brought down the last player through on goal. Referee Mike Dean pulled out a yellow and red card from his pocket but luckily it was the former that was shown.
As expected both Andy Rammell and Dave Carroll returned after their recent injuries and there was a brief appearance by Guy Whittingham following his free move from Portsmouth on deadline day.
The 5-1 scoreline could have been worse had it not been for yet more quality saves from Martin Taylor. Wycombe's only hint of getting back into the game came three minutes after the re-start when Dave Carroll latched onto a mis-kick by Ian Brightwell but his placed shot went agonisingly wide of the far post.
Before then The Saddlers had dominated on the 'paddy field' type surface which, according to the locals, was better than normal. The home side certainly adapted to it better than Wycombe with Don Goodman, Zigor Aranalde and Jorge Leitao all going close in the opening fifteen minutes.
Wycombe only serious effort at goal during the first-half came after Rammell had been fouled a few yards outside the Walsall penalty area but Bates could only blast the resulting free-kick into home wall.
Despite all the pressure from the home side it took a scrappy goal to open the scoring - Taylor failing to claim a cross from the left and when the ball was returned, Matias was on hand at the near post to net his first of the day.
The Saddlers killed the game off with three goals in ten second-half minutes. On the hour mark Matias volleyed a bouncer over Taylor from Jorge Letao's cross from the right. Seven minutes later Matias crossed from the opposite flank before Paul Hall fired past Taylor. Leitao completed the goal spree in the 70th minute when he made space on the right side of goal before flashing the ball home.
Martyn Lee curled home a free-kick from 20 yards in the 81st minute to give the loyal contingent of Wycombe fans something to cheer about but four minutes it was 5-1 when Matias headed home Hall's cross.
"Are you watching Liverpool?" chanted some of the Wycombe fans in the dying moments. If they were, then hopefully they will be even more confused.
Final Score Walsall 5 Wycombe 1
Wycombe: Taylor, Vinnicombe, Cousins, McCarthy, Bates (sub HT Townsend),  Simpson, Carroll, Ryan (sub 68 Lee), Bulman, Essandoh, Rammell (sub 68 Whittingham)
subs not used: Clegg, Castledine
Yellow Cards: Bates (38 foul), Vinnicombe (85 foul)
Walsall: Walker, Brightwell, Arandale, Tillson, Barras, Keates, Bukran (sub Horne), Hall, Matias (sub 86 Angell), Goodman (sub 75 Simpson), Leitao
subs not used: Emberson, Gadsby
Referee: Mike Dean Attendance: 4,530 (350 approx Wycombe)
Chairboys Stat File
24th March 2001

Division Two
Played 35
Won 12
Drew 9
Lost 14
Goals For 35
Goals Against 41
Position 16th

Top Scorers (League)
Andy Rammell 10
Steve Brown
Andy Baird 3
Jamie Bates 3
Keith Ryan 3
Martyn Lee 3
Jermaine McSporran 2
Dannie Bulman 2
Michael Simpson 2
Sam Parkin 1
Paul McCarthy 1
Mark Rogers 1
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