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Scunthorpe United 1
Tuesday 15th February 2005
Football League 'League Two'
Nathan TysonSteve Claridge's first goal for Wycombe set up an exciting 2-1 victory over second placed Scunthorpe United at Adams Park. The veteran striker converted a Nathan Tyson cross on 13 minutes and it was Tyson who doubled the lead three minutes before the break after Gus Uhlenbeek had provided from the right of midfield. Tyson's mixed evening ended moments later when he was injured and replaced at the break by Jonny Dixon. Wanderers continued to have the better of the play in the second-half but were dealt a blow in the 75th minute when Roger Johnson was red carded following an aeriel challenge with Steve Torpey. Wycombe will appeal the decision with the FA. The visitors pulled a goal back on 87 minutes when Matthew Sparrow fired in a low shot from the left channel but Wanderers hung on for a thoroughly deserved victory and are now only two points from the play-off zone.
Wanderers' victory came after John Gorman made two changes to the line-up that had beaten Rushden the previous Saturday - Ian Stonebridge came in for the injured Steve Guppy, while Matt Bloomfield earned a start in midfield with Clint Easton moving to left-back in favour of David Perpetuni.
A confident start by Wycombe culminated with Claridge's goal on 13 minutes. It was Stonebridge who flighted the ball through from midfield to Tyson on the left flank. The Wycombe top scorer then delivered a low ball that left Claridge with virtually an open goal at the far post. The relief when his side-footed shot hit the back of the net via the right-hand upright was plain to see.
Tyson could have made it 2-0 on 26 minutes when clear on the left but he delayed too long with his shot. Five minutes later a rare attack from the visitors saw Sparrow send in a stinging shot from the edge of the box that Frank Talia held at the second attempt.
Wycombe finished the half on top and when Uhlenbeek picked up a wayward pass from Stev Angus out on the right wing, the resulting pass to Tyson was inch perfect and the finish clinical from the right corner of the penalty area.
Tyson pulled up with what looked like a hamstring problem moments later with early indications suggesting the injury is not too serious.
Half-time Wycombe 2 Scunthorpe 0
Wanderers continued to control possession in the opening stages of the second-half and once again created chances. On 59 minutes Stonebridge got sight of goal following a move from midfield. He pushed the ball right to Uhlenbeek but his shot was high of the Valley End goal.
A scare for Wycombe came two minutes later when Peter Beagrie saw a shot from the left deflected wide for a corner but it was Wycombe who looked the more likely to add to the score. Claridge had an effort from the left of the box cruelly ruled out for offside on 65 minutes while a run from the opposite side by substitute Dixon saw Angus just do enough to prevent the vital shot at goal. Two minutes later Uhlenbeek should have done better from a similar position following a delightful flick through by Dixon.
Johnson's dismissal on 75 minutes threatened to spoil Wycombe's evening. The decision came after a challenge on Torpey on the right of the Scunthorpe midfield. The two players were walking away when Torpey fell to the fall clutching his face after Johnson made minimal contact, if any, with his hand. The referee missed the incident and consulted with his assistant before brandishing the red card. With Wycombe still in a state of shock the resulting free-kick the ball was eventually centred from the left but Paul Hayes's directed his header straight into the hands of Talia.
Claridge was sacrificied for defender Mike Williamson on 79 minutes but it took another Talia save to keep the visitors at bay - this time tipping over a Beagrie free-kick from under the crossbar with five minutes left on the clock. Two minutes later Sparrow cut in from the left to score but it was not to deny Wycombe their three points from a thoroughly entertaining game.
Final Score - Wycombe 2 Scunthorpe United 1
Speaking in the press conference after the game Wanderers boss John Gorman said he was proud of they way his team had played, adding "I gave them a plan to work at a high tempo from start to finish and it worked a treat. They did everything they set out to do." After nearly two months without a home win, Gorman was also glad to get back to winning at Adams Park, saying "Tonight we've got what we deserved. It was important to break our duck at home on top of three great draws and two away wins and I think the team are ready to go further. It's funny, we've played lesser teams than Scunthorpe but tonight we were in command. The good thing now is that we know how capable we are." He concluded "I wanted that result badly tonight and it keeps our season alive."
Meanwhile, Scunthorpe boss Brian Laws used the "game of two halves" soundbite to sum up his feelings, adding "Had we started the game like we started the second half then we would have won the game. It seemed in the first half that one or two players were frightened of the ball and we were second to the ball all over." He concluded "Overall I have to be honest and say we didn't deserve to get anything from the game. You can not win games with a first half performance like that."
Wycombe: Talia, Senda, Easton, Nethercott, Johnson, Ryan, Stonebridge, Bloomfield, Uhlenbeek, Tyson (sub HT Dixon), Claridge (sub 79 Williamson) - subs not used: Silk, Perpetuni, Martin
Bookings: Johnson (red card - violent conduct 75)
Scorers: Claridge (13), Tyson (43)
Scunthorpe: Musselwhite, Byrne, Sharp (sub 73 Ridley), Crosby, Angus, Taylor (sub HT Keogh), Sparrow, Kell, Beagrie, Torpey, Walters (sub 59 Hayes) - subs not used: Evans, Jackson
Bookings: Kell (foul 30), Sparrow (foul 37)
Scorers: Sparrow (87)
Referee: S Tanner Attendance: 4,089 (331 away end)
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