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Nationwide League Division Two WYCOMBE v Gillingham
Tuesday 28th March 2000
Division Two
Andy Baird eased Wycombe's fear of being drawn into a relegation battle when he popped up just seven minutes from time to grab the only goal of the game.. After Saturday's reverse at Bournemouth this was just the tonic for Wycombe fans who, before Baird's strike, had seen The Wanderers go five and half hours without a goal. It was also Baird's first goal this year and his first at Adams Park for six months.
There was also a major boost shortly before kick-off when it was confirmed that Sean Devine would be making a surprise return from injury, to start his first game for three weeks.
Devine's influence was there for all to see and he went close after 18 minutes when he cut in from the left before shooting just high of the target. At the other end
Brian McGlinchey's deflected shot caused Taylor to scramble back and clear as The Gills showed why they are chasing a play-off place. On 35 minutes Junior Lewis cut the ball back for Iffy Onura but The Gills striker shot weakly at Taylor. Moments later there was another injury set-back for Wycombe when McGlinchey and Jason Cousins clashed legs on the edge of the Wycombe box - a collision that saw the Wycombe player stretchered off to be replaced by Dannie Bulman. Dave Carroll switched back into the right-back role as Wycombe regrouped again. A minute before the break Lewis smashed the ball against Taylor's left hand upright before the Wycombe defence scrambled the ball clear.
Half-time 0-0
The second period saw The Gills put further pressure on the Wycombe back four but perhaps more significantly, Martin Taylor was rarely troubled in the Wycombe goal. The nearest the visitors came to scoring was in in the 68th minute when McGlinchey's 20 yard shot from the left side of the Wycombe penalty area crashed against Martin Taylor's crossbar before being cleared. Wycombe eventually began to create chances of their own. On 70 minutes a deep cross from Devine saw Senda head into the arms Vince Bartram in The Gills goal. Keith Ryan and Bulman also had great chances to break the deadlock before Baird struck. Bulman powered through down the left side of midfield before setting up Baird who cut inside Barry Ashby before curling a sweet shot past Bartram and reward the loyal Wycombe fans for their patience. Even the introduction of former Leeds United forward Lee Matthews failed to salvage anything for The Gills whose recent injury crisis has probably cost them the chance of promotion. Wycombe, on the other hand, have managed to pull through their own injury crisis and the relief on the faces of those connected with the Club at the end of the game was plain for all to see.
Wycombe's first win in six games lifts them up to 13th place in the table with 49 points from 39 games.
Full-time Wycombe 1 Gillingham 0
Wycombe Team: Taylor, Cousins (sub 39 Bulman), Brown, Rogers, McCarthy, Ryan, Carroll, Simpson, Devine (sub 85 Thompson), Baird, McSporran (sub 62 Senda) subs not used Brady, Holsgrove Att:4,183
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