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Team news for Wycombe at Whaddon Road had seen Sergio Torres miss out after suffering what was described by the Club as 'slight ankle damage' in the previous week's victory over Oxford United. Jermaine Easter came to take Torres' place in the starting line-up. Elsewhere Stefan Oakes and Charlie Griffin both returned as substitutues while Joe Burnell still remained absent with his calf injury. Manager John Gorman returned on the bench following the midweek funeral of his wife but left Steve Brown and Keith Ryan to carry out most of the match day managerial duties.
It was all Wycombe in the opening 15 minutes but a succession of corners and balls into the Cheltenham penalty area failed to produce that vital final touch. It was right wing play from Danny Senda and Betsy that led to Wycombe breaking the deadlock on 16 minutes after Betsy's flighted ball was glanced just inside the far past by Johnson.
The home side went close to equalising on 18 minutes with Wycombe almost left wanting again from a free-kick from outside the penalty area by Grant McCann that thumped against the right hand upright and shot across the face of the goal before being cleared by Johnson.
But Wycombe had further chances to extend the lead before the break. On 30 minutes Betsy was allowed space on the right but shot high of the target and Jermaine Easter sufferred a similar fate momemnts later. On the stroke of half-time Betsy saw an effort from the right tipped away by Higgs in the home goal.
Wanderers, now kicking towards the travelling contingent, continued to dominate in the opening stages of the second period and Tommy Mooney will think he should have done better on 55 minutes when he blasted a shot from a tight angle on the left into the side netting. But it was the home side who came on stronger for the remainder of the game.
On 57 minutes former Wanderer Mickey Bell crossed from the left for Gillespie to glance a header wide. Bell was substituted a few minutes later but after further pressure from the home side the equaliser came on 72 minutes when a free kick from the left wing delivered to the centre of the Wycombe six yard box was headed back down for Caines to volley home at the near post. Moments later Betsy was shown his red card, a decision that left the Wycombe bench fuming and most of the crowd confused as to what actually happened. Then with Wanderers seemingly having to settle for a point, the day went from bad to worse for John Gorman's side when a Cheltenham free-kick from their own half was partially cleared to Gillespie whose 20 yard shot deflected off Clint Easton and looped over Talia to send Wycombe to only their fourth League defeat of the season.
With ten games remaining Wycombe are 2nd in the table and on the same points (62) as Carlisle put now having played a game more (United's game at home to Lincoln was postponed due to a frozen pitch). 3rd placed Grimsby (61) and 4th placed Northampton (60) also have a game hand, leaving Wycombe with the task of improving on recent form if they are to be sure of an automatic promotion place. The next two games (both at home) could be crucial to that ambition.
Final Score - Cheltenham Town 2 Wycombe 1
Speaking to the Wanderers official website after the game Keith Ryan admitted that the Wycombe players were devestated with the result but added, "It's gut wrenching but we'll get over it and with ten games to go we'll let nothing stand in our way of achieving promotion." The Wycombe coach attempted to explain the decision which saw Kevin Betsy sent-off, saying, "The ball was clearly out of play and while we can't excuse Kevin if he has sworn at the referee, because that's the rules of the game, in a very heated situation you can forgive him a little bit because the linesman got it wrong." Betsy will miss two games through suspension as a result of the decision and although the Club can appeal it's a route they are unlikely to take. Ryan concluded "Kevin has been one of our best players over the last month. We're now going to lose him at a crucial time in the season but these things are sent to try us. We've had a lot to deal with and we're certainly not going to let that be an excuse."
Meanwhile, Cheltenham boss John Ward commented to The Robins official website, "In the first half, perhaps Wycombe were better and passed it around slicker but we stayed with it and it was the opposite way around. We upset them and got amongst a bit more. It was two very good teams playing today and i'm delighted to have taken four points off them this season. If we have to meet them again we'll have another good game."
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