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Nationwide League Division Two Stoke City v WYCOMBE
Saturday 18th March 2000
Division Two
Wycombe prevented Stoke City becoming the first side to do the double over of The Wanderers this season when they came away with a very creditable 1-1draw at The Britannia Stadium on Saturday. Earlier in the season Stoke inflicted Wycombe's biggest ever Football League defeat at Adams Park when they scored four goals without reply.
A massive injection from Icelandic backers have given City a boost that has seen them creep into play-off contention. Crowds have risen to an average of over 11,000 and injury hit Wycombe were up against against the Potteries side.
Matt Lawrence failed a late fitness and didn't return to the side. Wycombe started with five across the back and survived an early spell of pressure from promotion hopeful Stoke. On five minutes Martin Taylor misjudged a long throw from the Stoke right but Jason Cousins managed to clear. Wycombe relied on the break and on 12 minutes Simpson played through McSporran down the left but Jock was shut out as Stoke forced the ball out for a corner. On 19 minutes McSporran found space again on the left but when the ball broke to Ryan, the final shot didn't have enough pace.
There was another injury set-back for Wycombe on 21 minutes when Vinnicombe failed to shake off a first minute knock to his ankle and was replaced by Dannie Bulman.
Steve Brown dropped back to the left-back position and with his first headed clearance on 23 minutes Wycombe took the lead. Senda picked up Brown's clearance and then Bulman's quick through ball saw McSporran beat the offside trap and 'Jock' went on into the Stoke area before slipping the ball past Gavin Ward in the home goal.
A frustrated Stoke side saw Gunnlaugsson booked in the 27th minute after referee Fraser Stretton accused the Icelander of diving. Stretton is well remembered by Wycombe fans for abandoning a game against Peterborough in 1997 with The Wanderers winning 2-0. This time it was the Stoke players and fans who showed their dislike for the official. 
The nearest Stoke came to equalising in the first half came in the 32nd minute when an almighty scramble in the Wycombe box ended as The Wanderers got enough players in front of the ball. Graham Kavanagh was shown the yellow card in the 44th minute for dissent bwhile during the fifth minute of first half stoppage time, Peter Thorne's header whistled inches wide of Taylor's left hand post.
Half-time Stoke 0 Wycombe 1
Stoke changed their tactics in the second-half with wing-back Bjarni Gudjonsson coming on for central defender Anders Jacobsen. Three minutes into the second-half a long throw from Kavanagh on the Stoke left needed a one handed save from Taylor to deny Nicky Mohan scoring against his former club with a near post header.
The Stoke onslaught continued but it was a needless penalty that gave the home side their equaliser after 54 minutes - Lee Holsgrove's flapping arm cutting out a Stoke cross from the right and Arnar Gunnlaugsson hammered the resulting penalty down the middle to draw the sides level.
Three minutes it could have been worse when Thorne's header hit the base of Taylor's right hand post. Moments later a rare Wycombe break saw McSporran send a dipping shot high of the target.
Mark Rogers confirmed his continual progress in the centre of defence when he cleverly cut out Gunnlaugsson on 62 minutes just as the Icelander was about to pull the trigger from 12 yards out.
By this time Wycombe had reverted to their traditional 4-4-2 line-up - Holsgrove being taken out of the danger area and into midfield.
The game threatened to boil over in the final quarter. First Bulman complained of being caught late by James O'Connor and then after a heavy challenge by Brown on Thorne it was Bulman and O'Connor who joined in a mass player brawl. It was difficult to pick out the offenders and both sides escaped without any cautions.
With Brown getting stick from the home fans it was his back pass that caused Taylor to clear on 72 minutes but Stoke were running out of ideas in front of goal and just for good measure Mr Stretton booked the hair-brained O'Connor.
McSporran picked up another pointless booking on 81 minutes when he knocked the ball into the Stoke net after being given offside before a late spell of Stoke pressure gave the Wycombe fans some nervous moments. A Steve Brown foul on Hannsson in the 88th minute eventually saw a free-kick delivered from the right but Mohan's header didn't have enough on it to beat Taylor.
At the final whistle is was clear who was the happier side and Steve Brown seemed to enjoy applauding every corner of the corner of the ground before shaking the hands of anyone in sight. The home fans didn't see the funny side!
Full-time Stoke 1 Wycombe 1
Wycombe Team: Taylor, Cousins, Rogers, Carroll, Vinnicombe (sub 21 Bulman), Ryan, Simpson, Brown, Holsgrove, Senda (sub 90 Thompson), McSporran subs not used Harkin, Osborn, Brady Att:9,738

Carling Opta StatsCousins v Mohan Head to Head

Carling Opta StatsStoke v Wycombe OPTA preview
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