Preview: Wycombe Wanderers v Exeter City
Wycombe Wanderers travel to the West Country on Monday to take on Exeter City in a crucial match between two sides still battling for an automatic promotion place.
With only 5 points separating the top 5 teams, the race for promotion is still wide open and neither side will want to allow the other to take all three points from Monday's clash at St James Park.
Exeter are currently 4th in the table with 69 points from 42 games, 40 of those points having been won on their home turf.
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.
If their fans were expecting a season of consolidation this time round, they will have been pleasantly surprised by their side's consistent performances which have given them a great chance of achieving back-to-back promotions.
The Grecians' points tally from home games is only bettered by Shrewsbury Town and Brentford and with 7 wins in their last 8 matches at St James Park, it looks like the Chairboys will have to be at their best to take anything from Monday's crucial encounter.
The addition to their squad in March of Stuart Fleetwood on loan from Charlton Athletic is beginning to pay dividends for the Grecians. The 2007/08 Blue Square Premier golden boot winner and player of the season is beginning to find his his feet in League Two and has scored 3 goals in the last 2 games.
Accrington (Away).......2-1 Loss
Rochdale (Away).........2-2 Draw
Port Vale (Home).........1-0 Win
Dagenham (Home)......2-1 Win
Brentford (Away).........1-1 Draw
Exeter Goal Stats.
Total Goals Scored.....60
Home Goals Scored....33
Total Goals Conceded....48
Home Goals Conceded...23
15 different players have scored for the Grecians in all competitions.
Top Goal Scorers
Striker: Adam Stansfield.....10
Defender: Matthew Gill.........8
Striker: Marcus Stewart........7
Striker: Craig McAllister........7
Defender: Dean Moxey.........5
Wycombe Wanderers are currently 2nd in the league with 71 points from 41 games played, 32 of those points having been won away from home.
The Chairboys are 2 points behind league-leaders Brentford having played the same number of games, and sit 2 points ahead of Monday's opponents Exeter having played 1 game less.
Having led the league for so long this season, poor results since the turn of the year had threatened to make this another disappointing campaign for the club after several collapses in their recent history had given them the unwanted reputation of perennial chokers.
It seemed the Chairboys couldn't buy a win after a barren run of 4 draws and 2 defeats in 6 consecutive games, 4 of which were played on their home turf at Adams Park.
Manager Peter Taylor however, was insistent that one win would change everything and that once they got it, his team were capable of going on to win several more and putting their faltering promotion campaign back on track.
Last Tuesday Wycombe got that all-important victory. They put their nerves behind them and battled hard to record an impressive 2-1 win at Darlington, and then, true to their manager's words, the Chairboys followed it up on Saturday with a crucial 1-0 win over promotion rivals Gillingham.
The back-to-back wins have put Wycombe in a very strong position. With a game in hand over most of their rivals at the top, promotion is firmly in their own hands and a win at 4th placed Exeter on Monday would take them a significant step closer to a return to League One after 5 years in the basement.
Peter Taylor's recent loan signings could prove to be the turning point in Wycombe's fortunes this season. Striker John Akinde has already proved his worth with 5 goals in only 6 appearances, while the now match-fit Lee Sawyer is looking increasingly like the long sought after 'missing link' in the Chairboys' midfield.
Rochdale (Home).......1-0 Loss
Shrewsbury (Home)...1-1 Draw
Barnet (Home)...........1-1 Draw
Darlington (Away)......2-1 Win
Gillingham (Home).....1-0 Win
Wycombe Goal Stats.
Total Goals Scored.....48
Away Goals Scored....20
Total Goals Conceded....29
Away Goals Conceded...15
15 different players have scored for the Chairboys in all competitions.
Top Goal Scorers
Striker: Matt Harrold.........12
Midfielder: Chris Zebroski...7
Striker: John Akinde...........5
Striker: Jon-Paul Pittman....3
Midfielder: Matty Phillips.....3
Exeter:.........Played:-19, Points:-33, Average:-1.74 Pts per game
Wycombe:....Played:-18, Points:-25, Average:-1.39 Pts per game.
Last Five League Games
Exeter:........LDWWD - 8 points
Wycombe:...LDDWW - 8 points
Last Five Home Games
Exeter:...WLWWW - 12 points
Last Five Away Games
Wycombe:..WDLDW - 8 points
Against Other Top-Six Sides
Exeter:..........Played - 9, Won - 3, Drawn - 4, Lost - 2, Points-13
Wycombe:.....Played - 9, Won - 3, Drawn - 5, Lost - 1, Points-14
Earlier this season the two sides drew 1-1 at Adams Park with a second-half goal from Exeter's Manny Panther cancelling out Matt Harrold's 6th minute penalty.
Altogether the two sides have met on 2 occasions with 1 win for Wycombe and 1 draw.
FL Trophy....2000/01 : Wycombe 1 Exeter 0
League Two 2008/09 : Wycombe 1 Exeter 1
The Referee for this match is Mr. Clive Oliver from Northumberland.
Mr. Oliver has been a National List Referee since 2004. His last Wycombe match was almost exactly a year ago when the Chairboys drew 2-2 at MK Dons. So far this season he's refereed 30 games and has issued 74 yellow cards and 6 reds.
Wycombe Team News
Gary Holt is doubtful.
Matt Harrold is doubtful
Leon Johnson is out injured.
If Wycombe are as brave as they were against Darlington last Tuesday, there's no reason why they can't take all three points. If they sit back like they did in the second-half against Gillingham yesterday, it could be a different story.
Exeter 0 Wycombe 1
The Chairboys to make it three wins in a row.
Weekend Rivals Watch
Brentford (1st) are away to Bournemouth (21st).
Bury (3rd) are away to Darlington (13th).
Rochdale (5th) are away to Shrewsbury (8th).
Gillingham (6th) are at home to Dagenham (10th).