Badgers Better Wycombe
Wycombe Wanderers were deservedly put out of the FA Cup this afternoon after being thoroughly outplayed by Eastwood Town.
Peter Taylor made four changes from the side which defeated Notts County on Tuesday evening. Leon Johnson, Gary Holt, John Mousinho and Matty Phillips came in for Mike Williamson, Franck Moussa, Tommy Doherty and Angelo Balanta.
Wycombe lined up in a 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 formation as follows:
Hunt McCracken Johnson Woodman
Zebroski Spence Holt Mousinho Phillips
Subs: Young Crooks Rice Ashton Doherty Dobson Vieira
This game had all the ingredients necessary for a cup upset. A packed home crowd waited noisily for kick off as the freezing fog descended on a bumpy, sloping pitch. All you needed to complete the picture were plucky non-league underdogs playing as if their lives depended on it and complacent giants offering themselves up for the kill.
Eastwood and Wycombe then proceded to play their parts exactly according to the script.
A casual observer would have found it hard to believe that the Chairboys are three divisions higher than the Badgers. The Eastwood players were first to every loose ball throughout the game. They had more of the possession and when they didn't have the ball, they closed the Wycombe players down with admirable speed.
It wasn't however, just hard work that won the game for Eastwood, they played some good football too. They varied their attacks by using the long straight ball on occasions and at other times utilising their impressive wide players. Lindon Meikle on the Badgers' right-wing was a particular thorn in Wycombe's side all game.
The first half was only 2 minutes old when the first warning signs appeared. A long ball into the Wycombe box wasn't dealt with by the Blues' defence and Russell Cooke headed goalwards only for the ball to bounce of the top of the crossbar as keeper Scott Shearer stood and watched.
As both teams tried to settle into the game, the Eastwood players let Wycombe know they were there with a series of crunching tackles, quite a few of which looked late and yet went unpunished by the referee.
Wycombe's only chance of the first half came in the 16th minute. A nice passing move ended with Lewwis Spence unleashing a superb drive from 20 yards which hit the crossbar with Redmond in the Eastwood goal beaten.
Eastwood took the lead in the 34th minute. Meikle received the ball with his back to goal on the edge of the Wycombe area, turned unchallenged, and as he did so, curled a shot round the defence low into the corner of the net. Wycombe keeper Scott Shearer didn't move.
The Second half started with Wycombe changing to a 4-4-2 formation. Magno Vieira came on to replace Chris Zebroski and play up front alongside Matt Harrold, who had been isolated in the first half.
Despite the change of formation and a slight increase in pressure from Wycombe, the Eastwood defence looked like they could handle anything the Chairboys threw at them.
Things improved after 60 minutes, when Tommy Doherty came on to replace John Mousinho who had a very disappointing game by his normal standards.
2 minutes later Lewwis Spence had a shot from the left side of the box which Redmond did well to turn for a corner.
In the 72nd minute a cross into the Eastwood box was only cleared as far as Doherty 22 yards out. Doherty had a go for goal, hitting his shot into the ground and watching as it bounced over the bodies in the packed box and headed for the back of the net. It was about to drop under the bar when Eastwood's Mark Hume jumped from the goal-line and got his head to it, deflecting it over the bar for a corner.
Wycombe's only other decent chance came in the 80th minute. Spence, Phillips and Harrold broke forward, Spence fed the ball to Phillips and the youngster's shot was goalward bound until an Eastwood defender threw himself in front of it, deflecting it for a corner.
A minute later Phillips was replaced by big defender Leon Crooks who immediately went to play up-front as Wycombe looked to salvage something from the game.
Eastwood had continued to look dangerous whenever they attacked, but hope still lingered among Wycombe fans that they might force a replay. That hope was finally squashed in the 89th minute.
A Wycombe attack broke down and the ball found it's way back into the hands of Shearer in the Blues' box. With most of the Wycombe team in the Eastwood half, a long clearance up field looked the best option. Shearer however, rolled the ball out towards Dave McCracken who didn't appear to be expecting it. This mix up allowed Andy Todd to steal the ball and feed it to the unmarked Peter Knox who gratefully doubled Eastwood's lead. Game over.
Eastwood Town fully deserve to be in the draw for the next round. They outplayed Wycombe in every department and simply wanted it more.
Wycombe didn't fight and got what they deserved. Nothing.