Set Pieces Scupper Wycombe Yet Again
Wycombe Wanderers were given a sound thrashing by Norwich City at Carrow Road this afternoon, the home side eventually running out 5-2 winners.
Having conceded three goals from set-pieces within the first 34 minutes, the Chairboys put together a mini-revival with goals either side of half time. But any glimmer of hope was short-lived as more poor defending allowed Norwich to canter home with ease.
Wycombe manager Peter Taylor made four changes to the side which was fortunate to escape with a point against Southend on Tuesday. In came Chris Westwood at right-back and Leon Johnson in central defence, while Stuart Green was given a wide-midfield berth and Jon-Paul Pittman played up-front with Matt Harrold in a 4-4-2 formation as follows:
Westwood Duberry Johnson Wooodman
Zebroski Montrose (66) Mousinho Green
Subs: Young Smith Oliver Phillips (66) Westlake Beavon Chambers
Having been hammered 7-1 the last time they played at home, Norwich started tentatively and Wycombe just about held their own for the first 15 minutes despite completely by-passing the midfield with long balls in the direction of Harrold and Pittman.
The home side's first goal changed everything. A free kick on the left was launched into the box for Grant Holt to steal in and prod his shot past Scott Shearer leaving the bewildered Wycombe players shaking their heads at yet more poor defending.
Suddenly it became men against boys as the visitors froze. Looking like they don't believe they belong in this division and frankly playing that way too, the Chairboys were all over the shop. Unable to keep possession they were resorting to wild clearances as the Canaries grew in confidence and piled forward.
The second goal came from a corner kick which was partially cleared by Chris Westwood only for Korey Smith to lash it back with interest from over 20 yards, through a host of statuesque defenders and into the back of the net.
The third goal was even worse. The Wycombe defence all watched as Jon Otsemobor looped a header into the net following a corner kick which Grant Holt nodded back into the box.
3-0 down, the visitors belatedly woke up a little and following their best spell of the match, a Matt Harrold flick-on was poorly defended allowing JP Pittman to nip in and score after 39 minutes.
Straight after the break, Chris Zebroski did well to head the ball back across the penalty area and Matt Harrold cleverly let it drop, wrong footed his marker and lashed it high into the net. The visiting supporters couldn't believe their luck. The Chairboys were back in the game... they thought.
Two minutes later Chris Westwood tried to play his way out of trouble on the edge of his own penalty area, and after failing dismally, gave away a free-kick trying to rescue the situation. The resulting set-piece was whipped across for the nearest Norwich player to powerfully direct it past Shearer and into the net.
It was almost certainly curtains for the visitors now and when Holt bagged his second and Norwich's fifth with 20 minutes still to go, the game was well and truly up.
After John Mousinho yet again squandered possession in midfield, Cody McDonald was allowed to run unchallenged at the Wycombe defence before slipping the ball to Holt who advanced into the box and clipped it past keeper Scott Shearer. No last ditch tackles were forthcoming from the nonchalant Wycombe defence who looked like they were chasing Usain Bolt and not the portly Norwich striker.
Today's scoreline could have been a lot worse if Scott Shearer hadn't made a couple of good saves and at the moment it looks like being a long hard season struggling at the wrong end of the table.
The defence was still a shambles and the lumbering Chris Westwood is clearly not the answer at right-back.
John Mousinho is painfully uncomfortable in possession of the ball and his partner Lewis Montrose misplaces too many passes. Hardly the recipe for an effective central-midfield pairing.
Stuart Green went missing for large parts of the game and it was a surprise not to see him replaced at some point.
The only candidates for man of the match were Shearer, or perhaps Pittman and Harrold, who did the best they could with the limited service provided.