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Wigan Athletic 2
Saturday 22nd February 2003
Football League Division Two
Jermaine McSporran
Jermaine McSporran - Looked lively after coming on for the injured Stuart Roberts in the 34th minute..[player profiles ]
Wanderers went down 2-0 to league leaders Wigan Athletic but were never outclassed by a side who had lost just three League games all season before their visit to Adams Park. Lee McCulloch opened the scoring in the 9th minute when he touched home a corner from the right but it wasn't until the final minute when The Latics sealed the three points - Andy Liddell firing home a penalty after Jermaine McSporran had been adjudged to have fouled in the box.
McSporran had been a surprise addition to the bench for Wycombe after making a rapid recovery from a knock he picked up while playing for the Reserves midweek. McSporran's introduction into the game came at the expense of Stuart Roberts who went down in pain in the 31st minute with what looked like a bad twist to the ankle.
Inbetween the two Wigan goals McSporran was a livewire for Wycombe. On at least three occasions he put in low crosses from the right but without a Wanderers player able to convert. Substitute Lewis Cook also had a great chance to equalise in the 74th minute but he shot wide.
By the time Wigan grabbed their last minute penalty Wycombe had converted to a more attacking 3-5-2 formation and it was Danny Bulman who went closest to grabbing an deserved equaliser when he saw a close range effort blocked following good work down the right flank from Danny Senda and McSporran.
It was Wanderers slow start that ultimately cost them the chance to put one over the run away leaders of Division Two. A spell of Wigan pressure culminated in the opening goal in the 9th minute when a short corner from the right was curled in by Gary Teale and the ball eventually found its way past Frank Talia via the back of Andy Thomson although McCulloch was credited with the goal on the day.
But Wigan did look beatable at the back. Stuart Roberts pulled a shot wide of the far post after 14 minutes following a short free-kick from the right and Thomson should have equalised on 23 minutes when the ex-Bristol Rovers defender swept a shot straight at Andy Filan from six yards following a free-kick pumped into the box from midfield by Michael Simpson.
Roberts found himself in another good position in the 31st minute but he ended up twisting an ankle in his effort to get in a shot and was replaced a few minutes later. The good news after the game was that the injury was not as serious as first thought.
The departure of Roberts came after a good spell of pressure from Wycombe but the visitors always looked dangerous on the attack. Jason De Voss had the best chance to extend their lead in the 37th minute when he was presented with a free header but was unable to keep his effort on target.
Half-time Wycombe 0 Wigan 1
Trailing at the break this season is not a good omen for Wycombe. On the eight occasions in the league before this game they had lost seven and drawn one. Unfortunately this game did not prove to be an exception to the rule.
But Wycombe didn't go down without a bit of fight. McSporran's mis-hit shot on 51 minutes almost caught out Filan. McSporran then provided two crosses from the right in the space of two minutes. The first one was delivered low but failed to find a Wanderers boot and from the second Keith Ryan sent a half-volley high of the crossbar.
Darren Currie and Lewis Cook were introduced on 69 minutes as Lawrie Sanchez switched to a wider attacking formation. Five minutes later a flowing move could have brought a goal. Currie worked the ball to Cook who played an exchange with Craig Faulconbridge before the former Youth Teamer set off on a darting run into the box but unfortunately scuffed his shot wide after doing most of the hard work.
A right wing cross from Currie on 76 minutes found Roger Johnson waiting on the opposite side of the penalty area but Wigan managed to get enough bodies in the way of the shot. Moments later a late challenge on Danny Senda saw Lawrie Sanchez have an altercation with the fourth official after no free-kick was given. Sanchez along with Assistant Gibson had been the subject of a TV feature during the game but this particular incident, like the challenge on Senda, will probably be X-rated.
Wanderers final roll of the dice came with three minutes of normal time remaining when Senda set away McSporran down the right flank but somehow Bulman couldn't turn the ball past Filan.
With Wycombe still trying to push forward Wanderers were caught on the break when Steve McMillan ran onto a loose ball in the left side of the penalty area. McSporran made an incredible effort to chase back but the Wigan player went to ground on the slightest of contacts and referee Paul Rejer had no hestitation in pointing to the spot in what was a very harsh decision. Liddell stepped up to convert the penalty and seal the visitors victory.
Final Score Wycombe 0 Wigan 2
Wycombe: Talia, Thomson, Rogers, Johnson, Senda, Ryan (sub 69 Cook), Bulman, Simpson, Brown (sub 69 Currie), Faulconbridge, Roberts (sub 33 McSporran) - subs not used: McCarthy, Lee
Yellow Cards: none
Wigan: Filan, Eaden, McMillan, Jackson, De Vos, Teale (sub 85 Jarrett), Bullard, Dinning, McCulloch (sub 78 Mitchell), Liddell, Ellington (sub 74 Roberts) - subs not used Yeomans, Breckin
Yellow Cards: none
Referee: Paul Rejer Attendance: 6,052 (away end 373)
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