Preview: Wycombe Wanderers v Exeter City
Wycombe Wanderers welcome Exeter City to Adams Park on Boxing Day for a League Two fixture.
The Grecians are currently 5th in League Two with 35 points from 20 games, 9 points behind Wycombe but with a game in hand.
Having been out of the Football League since 2003, Exeter earned their place back last season when they defeated Cambridge United in the Conference play-off final. The step up has proved to be a comfortable one so far and the Grecians now have their sights set on back-to-back promotions.
Exeter's recent form is good and they haven't been beaten since mid November. In their last 4 games they've drawn with Morecambe and Rotherham, before beating Lincoln City 2-1 and then giving Rochdale a 4-1 pasting last Saturday.
With 17 points from 9 away games, Exeter's away record (points per game) is second only to the Chairboys themselves.
The Grecians have scored 30 league goals (13 away from home) and have conceded 23 (9 away from home).
13 different players have scored for Exeter in all competitions and their top scorers are Adam Stansfield and Matthew Gill who have each found the net 6 times. In last Saturday's game against Rochdale however, it was former Oxford United players Steve Basham and Craig McAllister who made the headlines with 2 goals apiece.
Wycombe Wanderers are 9 points clear at the top of League Two with 44 points from 21 games.
Following their first league defeat of the season at Aldershot and a goalless draw at home to Luton Town, the Chairboys got back to winning ways last Saturday with a thoroughly deserved 1-0 away win at pre-season favourites Shrewsbury Town.
Many people, myself included, I'm ashamed to say, felt that Shrewsbury would prove too tough a test for Wycombe, particularly in the absence of key defender Mike Williamson and all-round genius Angelo Balanta. However, this season's Wycombe side are made of stern stuff and every one of them put in a top performance to earn a result which sent a resounding message to the rest of League Two. Wycombe are the real deal this time round.
The Chairboys have scored 29 league goals (17 at home) and have conceded 11 (6 at home).
12 different players have scored for Wycombe in all competitions and the top scorer is Matt Harrold with 8 goals. Next highest scorer is Chris Zebroski who had found the net 6 times before his enforced absence through injury.
Current League Form
Last Five League Games
Wycombe: WWLDW - 10 points
Exeter City: LDDWW - 8 points
Last Five Home Games
Wycombe: DWWWD - 11 points
Last Five Away Games
Exeter City: WWWLD - 10 points
2000/01 Football League Trophy: Wycombe 1 Exeter City 0
Boxing Day will mark the first ever league meeting between the two sides.
The referee for this game is Mr. G.L. Ward.
Mr. Ward has overseen two previous Wycombe games, both during last season. First came the 3-1 home win over Notts County, followed by the 0-1 home defeat against Rochdale where he awarded the visitors a last minute penalty which decided the game. So far this season he has refereed 17 games, during which he has issued 41 yellow cards and 2 reds.
According to the Bucks Free Press Mike Williamson should be fit to play.
Hopefully Angelo Balanta will now have fully recovered from his hamstring problem.
Simon Church's loan has expired and he's gone back to Reading.
Franck Moussa's loan is also over and he's gone back to Southend.
Chris Zebroski is not likely to have recovered sufficiently from the nasty leg injury he suffered against Eastwood in November.
It's another tough test for Wycombe on Friday against a confident Exeter side, whose manager Paul Tisdale has a good record when up against Peter Taylor. Last season the Grecians beat Taylor's Stevenage on three occasions, scoring 9 goals in the process and conceding none. Wycombe however, aren't Stevenage and I feel that the Chairboys can add to their fans' Christmas cheer with another three points.
Wycombe 1 Exeter 0