Preview: Wycombe v Aldershot
Promotion chasing Wycombe Wanderers take on Aldershot at Adams Park on Saturday afternoon in the first of their final four games of the 2008/09 league season.
The Chairboys are among six teams still battling for three automatic promotion places and although all four of their remaining opponents have nothing left to play for this season, hardened Wycombe watchers will be taking nothing for granted.
Aldershot are currently 15th in the table with 50 points from 43 games, 14 of those points having been collected away from home.
Last season they won promotion to League Two having fought their way back from Isthmian League Division Three following their bankruptcy and resignation from the Football League in 1992.
During the first half of this season, the Shots collected 35 points which positioned them just outside the play-off places and no doubt had them harbouring thoughts of another promotion challenge.
Their confidence was further boosted in December when they became the only team to defeat runaway league-leaders Wycombe during the first half of the season. Their 3-2 victory ended the Chairboys' 18 game unbeaten run and made the Shots the only side who can 'do the double' over their hosts this Saturday.
Excellent home form was the key to Aldershot's early season success, with results away from home bringing in only 9 points during the first half of the campaign.
If the Shots had carried on the way they started, they would now be comfortably in the play-off places, but the second half of the campaign has seen their promotion hopes completely collapse as home form deserted them and their poor results away from home continued unabated.
Since the turn of the season, they've only managed to pick up 15 points from 20 games and their overall record of 15 defeats on their travels is the highest in League Two.
Chesterfield (Home).....1-1 Draw
Rotherham (Home).......1-0 Loss
Port Vale (Away)..........0-0 Draw
Dagenham (Away).......3-1 Loss
Barnet (Home).............1-1 Draw
Aldershot Goal Stats.
Total Goals Scored.....55
Away Goals Scored....21
Total Goals Conceded....75
Away Goals Conceded...46
14 different players have scored for The Shots in all competitions.
Top Goal Scorers
Midfielder: Scott Davies....13
Midfielder: Kirk Hudson.....12
Striker: Marvin Morgan.......8
Striker: John Grant............6
Wycombe Wanderers are currently 3nd in the league with 71 points from 42 games, 39 of those points having been won on their home turf at Adams Park.
The Chairboys are 5 points behind league-leaders Brentford having played the same number of games, and 1 point behind 2nd placed Exeter having played 1 game less.
Only four games remain of the current campaign and as it stands at the moment, Wycombe are in the happy position of knowing that if they win 3 and draw 1, they will definitely be playing in League One this August.
After a tremendous start to the season, it all seemed to be slipping away from the Chairboys until recent results gave their supporters renewed hope. However, a 1-0 defeat to promotion rivals Exeter City on Monday has brought everyone back down to earth after the euphoria of back-to-back wins over Darlington and Gillingham.
It seems likely that the promotion race will go right to the wire and it will require nerves of steel from the players to negotiate four potential banana-skins against clubs from the lower half of the table.
Injuries are also beginning to take their toll on the Wycombe squad and they will miss Matt Harrold's hold-up play along with Chris Zebroski's phenomenal work-rate and nuisance factor. Not to mention the fact that they're the club's top two goal scorers this season.
The Chairboy's on-loan players have taken the plaudits in recent games and their promotion hopes could well rest on Lee Sawyer continuing to create chances and John Akinde regularly finding the net.
Shrewsbury (Home)...1-1 Draw
Barnet (Home)...........1-1 Draw
Darlington (Away)......2-1 Win
Gillingham (Home).....1-0 Win
Exeter (Away)...........1-0 Loss
Wycombe Goal Stats.
Total Goals Scored.....48
Home Goals Scored....28
Total Goals Conceded....30
Home Goals Conceded...14
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
Wycombe:....Played:-19, Points:-25, Average:-1.32 Pts per game.
Aldershot:.....Played:-20, Points:-15, Average:-0.75 Pts per game
Last Five League Games
Wycombe:...DDWWL - 8 points
Aldershot:.....DLDLD - 3 points
Last Five Home Games
Wycombe:...DLDDW - 6 points
Last Five Away Games
Aldershot:..WLLDL - 4 points
Against Bottom-Half Opposition
Wycombe:....Played:- 20, Won:- 9, Drawn:- 8, Lost:- 3, Points:-35
Against Top-Half Opposition
Aldershot:.....Played:- 22, Won:- 5, Drawn:- 5, Lost:- 12, Points:-20
Earlier this season Aldershot became the first side to beat Wycombe in the league when they won 3-2 at the Recreation Ground. Angelo Balanta and Matt Phillips were on-target for the Chairboys that day, but the Shots never really looked like losing after a Kirk Hudson double had given them a two goal lead after only 29 minutes. Danny Hylton was the other scorer for Aldershot.
Altogether the two sides have met on 2 occasions with 1 win for Wycombe and 1 for Aldershot.
FL Trophy....2004/05 : Aldershot 0 Wycombe 1
League Two 2008/09 : Aldershot 3 Wycombe 2
The Referee for this match is Christopher Sarginson from Staffordshire.
Mr. Sarginson has been a National List Referee since 2008. His only previous match in charge of Wycombe was last August's 1-0 win at Chesterfield. So far this season he's refereed 27 games and has issued 90 yellow cards and 8 reds.
Wycombe Team News
Chris Zebroski is out injured.
Matt Harrold is out injured.
Leon Johnson is out injured.
With an even bigger banana-skin awaiting Wycombe on Tuesday evening when they visit Luton Town, a victory on Saturday could prove essential to their hopes of automatic promotion.
It's a big game and if the Chairboys don't let their nerves get the better of them, on both current-form and season-long form, they should be too strong for Aldershot.
Wycombe 1 Aldershot 0
The Chairboys to edge a tense encounter.
Weekend Rivals Watch
Brentford (1st) are at home to Accrington (16th).
Exeter (2nd) are away to Lincoln (12th).
Bury (4th) are at home to Macclesfield (20th).
Rochdale (5th) are at home to Darlington (13th)
Gillingham (6th) are away to Chesterfield (7th).