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Wycombe Wanderers - click here for your Rough Guide to The Chairboys Wycombe Wanderers 1 Lincoln City - Click here for Quick Guide to The Imps
Lincoln City 0
Saturday 18th December 2004
Football League 'League Two'
Keith Ryan - late winner against Lincoln A headed goal two minutes from time by Keith Ryan raised the Christmas spirit at Adams Park as Lincoln City became the latest victims of Wycombe's revival. In a tight game both sides had chances but solid defending plus some outstanding saves by Frank Talia and an unbelievable goal line clearance by Danny Senda kept the visitors at bay. Wycombe kept plugging away until the end and were rewarded following the introduction of debutant loanee Drewe Broughton. The winner came following an outswinging corner from the left by Steve Guppy and sparked some amazing celebration scenes in front of the Valley End. This latest victory lifts Wycombe to sixth place in the table having been 10th and on the same points as Lincoln prior to kick-off.
Manager John Gorman had admitted to being nervous before the game that Lincoln's big physical prescence may cause Wanderers problems. His approach was to adopt a passing policy and it was a risk that paid off. The Wycombe boss made two changes to the side that had won at Notts County the previous week - Gus Uhlenbeek returning from a one match suspension to replace Gary Silk at right back, while Steve Guppy returned to the left of midfield with top scorer Nathan Tyson ruled out with a slight knee problem. Keith Ryan recovered from a back problem suffered in training to lead the team in midfield and he was to prove the match winner.
Wycombe had the better of the chances early on. An Ian Stonebridge shot from the left side of the penalty area was blocked by the back of Craig Faulconbridge after nine minutes while on the quarter of the hour mark a Guppy cross from the left was headed onto the roof of the net by Faulconbridge who continued to show promise following his return from injury.
The visitors lost Gareth McCauley a minute later through injury. The Northern Ireland 'B' International was one of a number of six foot plus players in The Imps side and his departure seemed a boost to Wycombe chances. Within a minute Guppy had sent another inviting cross from the left that Faulconbridge was a fraction away from connecting. Then on 22 minutes Tony Craig overlapped down the left before seeing his cross sidefooted wide of the far post by Stonebridge.
The visitors first began to threaten midway through the half when substitute Martin Carruthers tried it on when he dived in the penalty area following a challenge by Craig. Moments later the 32 year old almost had the last laugh when he saw a shot from around 10 yards saved by Talia following a ball in from the Lincoln right.
Wycombe responded on 30 minutes when Faulconbridge laid the ball into the path of Roger Johnson down the left channel but the final shot was high of the target. Four minutes later Danny Senda provided a great deep cross from the right that Faulconbridge rose to meet but again the effort lacked accuracy.
However, it was the visitors who finished the half slightly on top but with the game still goalless following an amazing sequence of defending from Wycombe. With three minutes left to the break first Craig shut out a Lincoln attack down the right but the ball broke loose and the resulting cross saw Curruthers connect only for Talia to make a brilliant block. It then appeared that Simon Yeo had completed the simple task of looping the loose ball into the net but Senda had other ideas and somehow managed to get back onto the goalline and not only block the shot but clear it away too.
Half-time 0-0
The chances continued to fall for both sides following the interval. On 48 minutes Gus Uhlenbeek sent in a low shot from the right that Imps 'keeper Alan Marriott managed to push away only for Faulconbridge to hit the post with his follow up from a narrow angle. Seconds later Faulconbridge saw his shot on the turn rise high of the Valley End goal.
After Carruthers had pulled a shot wide of the left-hand post for the visitors on 58 minutes it was the introduction of Broughton that gave Wycombe a slightly different option up front. Within two minutes of his introduction the on loan Southend striker had nodded the ball down into the path of Faulconbridge but Marriott was their to deny again.
The action spun to the other end on 72 minutes when Yeo was left in space on the left channel but Talia was quick off his line again to produce another great save and keep the Wycombe goal intact.
Faulconbridge actually had the ball in the net on 81 minutes when he headed home an Uhlenbeek cross from the right but it was ruled out for a marginal offside, possibly against Broughton. At this point everything pointed to this being Wanderers first goalless draw in the League since February 2004 at Barnsley - a run of 35 games. It would have been easy to sit back and settle for a point but Wycombe had other ideas. With just over two minutes left on the clock a chance fell to Roger Johnson on the left side of goal following a though ball by Craig but Johnson's shot was blocked for a corner. Up stepped Guppy to deliver the deadball - swinging a right-footed cross to meet the head of Ryan who came through a mass of Lincoln defenders to plant the ball into the left bottom corner of the Valley End net. A perfect ending and just reward for a stylish display that saw football overcome physical prescence. It may not work all the time but when it does you have to enjoy it.
Final Score - Wycombe 1 Lincoln City 0
John Gorman left assistant Steve Brown to conduct the post match interview. Brown commented to BBC Three Counties Radio "(It was) a fantastic team performance with Craig Faulconbridge again outstanding against a big, strong physical Lincoln side. I thought he led the line well and linked it well with our midfield and the two wingers. They gave us fantastic service today and it was a fantastic win. We left it late but there's no better time to score in football." Brown also praised 'keeper Frank Talia for his contribution before he was asked how important it was that the supporters were noisey in their backing of the team. He said "More importantly, we've given them something to shout about. I think it's like any football ground, if you go there and play poor football, fans will boo. Fans pay their money, they are entitled to their say and they will show their disappointment. If you give them something to get them off the edge of their seats and shout about, they will do it and I think we did that thoroughly today."
Meanwhile, Lincoln boss Keith Alexender was not the happiest person around. He told the Imps official website "This was a game we should have won 4-0. Looking at the chances, if we had gone two or three up then they don't get a chance. For all their good football and nice passing stuff it got them nowhere. We've had two or three good chances and people have missed them." He added "There was nothing in their game that worried us. It was our poor defending from a set-piece that let us down. We should have got something out of this game and unless the players start livening up I'm going to get new ones in. It's as simple as that."
Wycombe: Talia, Uhlenbeek, Johnson, Williamson, Craig, Cooke (sub 85 Bloomfield), Ryan, Senda, Guppy, Stonebridge (sub 68 Broughton), Faulconbridge - subs not used: Silk, Nethercott, Williams
Bookings: none
Scorers: Ryan (88)
Lincoln: Marriott, Bloomer, McAuley (sub Carruthers), Futcher, Morgan, Sandwith, Butcher, Toner (sub 83 Hanlon), McCombe, Yeo, Richardson - subs not used Peat, Frecklington, Ryan
Bookings: Bloomer (foul 77)
Scorers: none
Referee: Tony Bates Attendance: 4,277 (away end 367)
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