Preview: Darlington v Wycombe
Wycombe Wanderers have another chance to move back into the automatic promotion places when they travel to Darlington on Tuesday evening.
Darlington had 10 points deducted earlier this season for entering administration at the end of February. If it wasn't for that fact, they would currently be 7th in League Two with 64 points from 40 games played, having collected 38 of those points on their home turf.
However, with the deduction in place, the Quakers currently lie 12th with 54 points, which still leaves them only 7 points below the final play-off spot and with a game in hand on current occupants Shrewsbury Town.
After sitting comfortably amongst the promotion contenders all season and having won 5 of their previous 7 games, rumours of Darlington's impending administration began to surface on the 24th February and the Quakers promptly lost 5 of their next 6 matches.
They've recovered since though, and come into Tuesday's game having chalked up 3 wins and a draw in their last 5 games. After beating Lincoln 1-0 at Sincil Bank, the Quakers returned to Reynolds' Folly and eased past Aldershot 2-0. Then they were off on their travels again, losing 1-0 at Accrington and beating Barnet 1-0 at Underhill, before finally being held to a goalless draw at home to Morecambe on Saturday.
The Quakers have kept 16 clean sheets in their 40 league games.
They've scored 53 league goals (32 at home) and have conceded 36 (16 at home).
17 different players have scored for them in all competitions.
Top Goal Scorers
Striker: Billy Clarke - 9 *
Striker: Liam Hatch - 8
Striker: Danny Carlton - 4
Striker: Pawel Abbott - 4
Defender: Alan White - 4
* Billy Clarke is now with Brentford.
Wycombe Wanderers are currently 4th in the league with 65 points from 39 games played, 29 of those points having been won on their travels away from Adams Park.
They are 7 points behind league-leaders Brentford but have 1 game in hand.
They also lie only 2 points below the third and final automatic promotion place and have 2 games in hand on current occupants Bury.
Despite a disappointing 2009 which has seen the Chairboys record only 4 wins in 16 games, they still have their best opportunity for years to win promotion. It's wide open at the top of League Two and all the contenders seem to be incapable of putting together a consistent run.
Wycombe's current poor form has seen them squeeze 1-0 defeats to both Lincoln and Rochdale between draws against Chesterfield, Brentford, Shrewsbury and Barnet.
So, having drawn 4 and lost 2 of their last 6 games, the Chairboys' next win will come as a great relief to players and fans alike. Recent listless performances have suggested confidence is low in the camp but one look at the league table should be all the motivation these players need to pull their fingers out and start fighting to claim the promotion place that's theirs for the taking.
Despite conceding goals in each of the last 6 games, Wycombe's record of 18 clean sheets in their 39 league games remains the best in the division.
They've scored 45 league goals (18 away from home) and have conceded 28 (14 away from home).
15 different players have scored for the Chairboys in all competitions this season.
Top Goal Scorers
Striker: Matt Harrold - 12
Midfielder: Chris Zebroski - 6
Striker: Jon-Paul Pittman - 3
Midfielder: Matty Phillips - 3
Striker: John Akinde - 3
Current League Form
Darlington:...Played:-17, Points:-26, Average:-1.53 Pts per game
Wycombe:....Played:-16, Points:-19, Average:-1.19 Pts per game.
Last Five League Games
Darlington: WWLWD - 10 points
Wycombe:...LDLDD - 3 points
Last Five Home Games
Darlington:..LWLWD - 7 points
Last Five Away Games
Wycombe:..LWDLD - 5 points
Earlier this season the two sides drew 1-1 at Adams Park when a Scott McGleish penalty in the 97th minute gave the Chairboys a barely deserved point after Darlington had looked the better side and taken the lead through Jason Kennedy after 58 minutes.
Last season Wycombe lost 1-0 at Darlington to a Pawel Abbot goal after 77 minutes but won the return fixture at Adams Park 2-0 with an acrobatic overhead kick from Leon Knight and a poacher's goal from Scott McGleish.
Altogether the two sides have met on 11 occasions with 3 wins for Wycombe, 4 for Darlington and 4 draws.
Darlington has not been a happy hunting ground for Wycombe.
League Two 1993/94 : Darlington 0 Wycombe 0
League Two 2004/05 : Darlington 1 Wycombe 0
League Two 2005/06 : Darlington 1 Wycombe 1
League Two 2006/07 : Darlington 3 Wycombe 2
League Two 2007/08 : Darlington 1 Wycombe 0
The Referee for this match is Mr. Scott Mathieson from Cheshire.
Mr. Mathieson has been a National List referee since 1994. During that time he's overseen 20 games involving Darlington, 10 of which the Quakers have won. He's been the man in the middle for 6 previous Wycombe games with the Chairboys only winning 1 of them, the 2-1 FA Cup victory over Oxford United at Adams Park two seasons ago. He was in charge when Darlington beat Wycombe 1-0 last season and has already officiated twice at the Darlington Arena so far this campaign, with the Quakers winning on both occasions. So far this season he's refereed 34 games and has issued 79 yellow cards and 5 reds.
Wycombe Team News
David McCracken could return following injury.
Stuart Beavon could return following injury.
Tommy Doherty serves the last of his four match suspension.
Leon Johnson is out injured.
If the Blues can find a way to win at the Darlington Arena, they will move back into 2nd place and set things up beautifully for the games against Gillingham & Exeter over the Easter Weekend.
Darlington 0 Wycombe 1
On current form, a neutral would have to favour the Quakers but I'm going to show some faith and predict a long overdue win for Wycombe. Let's see if the power of positive thinking helps !
Midweek Rivals Watch
Chesterfield (9th) are at home to Lincoln City (11th).
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