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Wycombe Wanderers 0
Saturday 1st March 2003
Football League Division Two
Jonny Dixon
Jonny Dixon - Back in the starting line-up for the visit to Bloomfield Road.[player profiles ]
Wanderers lost for the first time ever at Bloomfield Road with a solitary goal from John Murphy enough to seperate the sides. However, Wanderers had enough chances to have kept their remarkable record at Blackpool going.
The goal came in the 20th minute when Martin Bullock got past the Wanderers' defence and crossed from the right bye-line for Murhpy to head home at the near post. Wycombe went close through Dixon six minutes before the break from a Craig Faulconbridge delivery and after having slighty the better of the second-half, Wycombe thought they had drew level in the final minute but Phil Barnes made a brilliant save to keep out Gavin Holligan's effort.
Wanderers were forced in to making two changes to the starting line-up that had lost to Wigan the previous week. Keith Ryan didn't travel after suffering from tonsillitis all week and Jermaine McSporran was forced into an unusual wing back role. It had been planned for McSporran to take the place of the injured Stuart Roberts but instead Jonny Dixon got a surprise start after his seven week lay off through injury.
It was Blackpool who started the game the brighter side. Frabk Talia was forced to save from John Hills on 12 minutes and four minutes later Keith Southern saw a shot come back off the Wycombe upright. Murphy's goal on 20 minutes came after Bullock got the better of Mark Rogers. Bullock then went close to doubling the lead as Wycombe struggled to get out of the starting blocks.
Wanderers fans tucked up in the upper tier of the old stand behind the goal and some 50 yards from the action because of re-developments to Bloomfield Road, had to wait until six minutes before the interval before straining to see Wycombe go close. However, after Faulconbridge had managed to get the ball back from the right following a sloppy header by Colin Hendry, Dixon was beaten to the ball on the edge of the six yard box by Simon Grayson before he was able to get in a precise shot.
Half-time Blackpool 1 Wycombe 0
The statisticians will know that Wycombe are not at their best when chasing a game but this performance gave a little hope in that field, even though the end result was still a defeat. Steve Brown and Dannie Bulman had half chances before Wycombe were denied an equaliser when referee Phil Prosser (he of the Loftus Road December 2001 debacle) blew his whistle to stop the game for a head injury to Craig Faulconbridge following a clash with the Blackpool 'keeper. Almost as the whistle blew Jermaine McSporran rifled the ball home from around 30 yards, only for the 'goal' to be ruled out. Lawrie Sanchez and Terry Gibson were not amused on the touchline.
Prosser also won few friends with home fans when he waved away claims for a penalty on 64 minutes and then booked Wellens for diving after a clumsy challenge by Andy Thomson. It was decision that was later to prove very costly for Wellens.
Meanwhile, Wycombe brought on Darren Currie and Gavin Holligan in an effort to snatch something from the game but Blackpool's ageing defence held firm and with McSporran playing so deep, there were always too many bodies to get through as Wycombe made efforts for a leveller.
Holligan's effort a few seconds before the end of normal time nearly brought Wycombe a deserved equaliser but it was not to be and only another good save from Talia in stoppage time prevented Blackpool rubbing salt into the wounds of a first defeat at the seaside town.
The game ended on a sour note for the home side when Blackpool substitute Richard Wellens was sent off for a second bookable offence after he kicked the ball away. It left the home fans with plenty to boo about at the final whistle but at least they had the comfort of taking all three points.
Final Score Blackpool 1 Wycombe 0
Wycombe: Talia, Johnson, Rogers, Thomson, Senda (sub 77 Cook), McSporran, Bulman, Simpson, Brown (sub 72 Currie), Dixon, Faulconbridge (sub 72 Holligan) - subs not used McCarthy, Lee
Yellow Cards: Simpson (foul 78)
Blackpool: Barnes, Grayson, Hendry, Flynn, Richardson, Bullock (sub 79 Thornley), Southern (sub 53 Wellens), Evans, Hills, Murphy, Walker (sub 89 Jaszczun) - subs not used: Lonergan, Taylor
Yellow Cards: Richardson (foul 57), Wellens (diving 64)
Red Card: Wellens (2nd yellow - 89 unsporting behaviour )
Referee: Phil Prosser Attendance: 7,266 (354 away end)
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