Woeful Wycombe crushed by Seagulls
Wycombe Wanderers were hammered 5-2 at home by relegation rivals Brighton this afternoon to complete a miserable 2009 during which they only won 12 of their 51 games and if we're being honest, were fortunate to narrowly secure promotion back in early May.
The Chairboys' shortcomings in defence were laid bare again today by a Brighton side who are struggling themselves but have still managed to score 12 goals past keeper Scott Shearer so far this season.
Manager Gary Waddock made one change to the side that were thumped 4-0 by Yeovil two days ago, with Stuart Beavon replacing Matt Phillips as the Chairboys lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows:
Hunt (44) Oliver Westwood Woodman
Davies Doherty Mousinho Betsy
Beavon (60) Pittman
Subs: Young Duberry Green Bloomfield (60) Harris Phillips (44) Harrold
It was actually a bright start from Wycombe with John Mousinho surging out of midfield and firing a 20 yard shot against the post as early as the third minute.
At the other end, an unmarked Glenn Murray put a header over the crossbar in a warning of things to come, and as the first-half progressed it became increasingly obvious that Wycombe were relying on the offside trap to compensate for the lack of pace in their defence.
It was the home side who opened the scoring though, with Jon-Paul Pittman rifling the ball into the net after Stuart Beavon's cross from the right flank had caused a scramble in the Brighton goalmouth and Kevin Betsy's shot had been only partially cleared.
Brighton's equaliser nine minutes later came about after Scott Shearer's distribution let him down again, the keeper kicking the ball straight to an opponent and Glenn Murray finishing the resulting move with an acrobatic overhead kick into the bottom corner as Shearer stood and watched.
It was another goalkeeping error from Brighton's Peter Brezovan that gifted Wycombe their second goal of the game. Tommy Doherty's free kick from just outside the box looked harmless as it deflected off the wall and sailed gently into the keeper's hands just under the crossbar, only for Brezonan to inexplicably drop it at the feet of John Mousinho who gratefully poked it home.
Just before half-time the injured Lewis Hunt was replaced by Matt Phillips who took up his normal position on the right wing with Scott Davies moving into central midfield and John Mousinho taking over at right-back.
Mousinho had been having a good game in midfield, and continued to do so in his new position, showing an urgency and commitment which at least matched that of the Brighton players who seemed far more energetic than the Chairboys.
With the score at 2-1 when the half-time whistle blew, there was a mood of cautious optimism among the Adams Park crowd who couldn't have foreseen the horror show yet to come.
Within three minutes of the restart, Brighton were level when Craig Woodman failed to close down Gary Dicker, allowing him far too much time and space to pick out a pass to Nicky Forster whose first time shot left keeper Shearer unable to react.
The Seagulls' third goal was another shocker from Wycombe's point of view. Chris Westwood wasn't alert enough to prevent Forster from sticking a leg out and flicking a cross into the area for Murray to nip in front of the flat-footed Luke Oliver and head home past a stationary Scott Shearer.
The Seagulls were carving Wycombe apart at will now and Forster soon laid on another goal for Murray who left Chris Westwood for dead before casually stroking the ball into the corner of the net as the entire Wycombe defence stood scratching their heads in bewilderment.
There was still time for Murray to notch his fourth goal of the game when he nodded Dean Cox's cross into the net as Shearer flapped at thin air and the dispirited Wycombe defence simply stood and watched, by now seemingly incapable of even token resistance.
When you find yourself totally outclassed by a relegation rival, it's time to worry.
Even the most diehard Wycombe fans must now realise that their chances of avoiding relegation are remote, the only glimmer of hope being a massive dip into the transfer market to recruit a new keeper, at least three mobile defenders and a striker capable of finding the net on a regular basis. (not to mention keeping hold of our loanees in midfield)
I doubt that's going to happen, but if it is, let's hope it happens in early January, because after conceding nine goals against Yeovil and Brighton, I dread to think what the forthcoming games against Norwich, Leeds and Charlton will bring.
Wycombe Man Of The Match
John Mousinho - by a mile