Bull gives U's the Blues
You could be excused for thinking the needle has got stuck on the record but yet again the Chairboys had goalkeeper Nikki Bull to thank for keeping a clean sheet. That gave the Wanderers something to build upon and two goals in six minutes sealed what is always a thoroughly enjoyable experience - a win over Colchester United, and on their own patch too. The goals came from Kevin Betsy and Scott Davies and it gave Wycombe a 2-0 victory and progress to the quarter-finals of the Football League Trophy.
Manager Gary Waddock made five changes to his starting line-up. Marvin McCoy replaced Danny Foster at right-back and both Dave Winfield and Leon Johnson started in the centre of defence. Scott Davies started in the centre of midfield with Matt Bloomfield rested, and perhaps the strangest decision of the evening was replacing Gareth Ainsworth with Ben Strevens on the right-wing.
The Chairboys lined-up as follows: (4-4-2)
Marvin McCoy - Dave Winfield - Leon Johnson - Andy Sandell
Ben Strevens - Lewis Montrose - Scott Davies - Kevin Betsy
Scott Rendell - Stuart Beavon
The Colchester United line-up was: (4-4-2)
Lloyd James, Matt Heath, Magnus Okuonghae, John White
Ian Henderson, Kemal Izzet, Ashley Vincent, Anthony Wordsworth
Liam Henderson, David Mooney
The opening twenty minutes promised an entertaining game with both sides pushing forward in search of the opening goal. The first real opening of the game came after ten minutes when U`s striker David Mooney, on loan from Reading, found space on the right side of the penalty area but saw his shot blocked by an excellent challenge from Andy Sandell. A minute later the hosts had a goal chalked off for offside when Vincent fired home from close range.
Kevin Betsy looked to be the Wanderers greatest threat and he was denied by U`s goalkeeper Ben Williams who saved his shot with his legs. Frustrations grew with Wycombe`s attacks breaking down with striker pairing Scott Rendell and Stuart Beavon playing too far apart and the latter`s difficulty in staying onside. He had a goal ruled out after straying offside and he was only inches away from connecting with Betsy`s low left-wing cross.
Colchester started to dominate the game and Nikki Bull was forced to push Mooney`s shot behind for a corner before showing great hands to hold Ian Henderson`s header from the edge of the box with Liam Henderson making a nuisance of himself by standing right in front of the Wycombe goalkeeper. Liam Henderson then touched on a low cross for Mooney to tuck the ball into the net from six yards out at the far post but the goal was again ruled out for offside.
Wycombe created one more chance before the break but Ben Strevens couldn`t keep his header down from Marvin McCoy`s right-wing cross. The last five minutes of the first period saw the visitors put under increasing pressure and Leon Johnson`s header from inside the six-yard box was met on the volley by Ian Henderson and the ball whistled just over the bar before a fantastic last-ditch tackle from Johnson deflected the same player`s shot just wide of the far post.
The second half started as the first half ended with the U`s on top and Henderson fired just wide in the first two minutes before Bull had to dive to his left to save defender Lloyd James` shot on 52 minutes. A minute later a long ball down the middle was well won in the air by Beavon and he flicked the ball onto Rendell who hit it on the half-volley and his powerful shot was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Williams.
The middle of the second half saw a number of substitutions made by both sides with striker Matt McClure coming on for Stuart Beavon before Chris Westwood replaced Leon Johnson who had been flattened in a full-bloodied challenge with Ashley Vincent. With 66 minutes played Bull was at his best to push away substitute Steven Gillespie`s low shot before recovering to block the rebound from Anthony Wordsworth.
Gary Waddock made his last change of the match with Kieran Murtagh replacing Scott Rendell. That saw Scott Davies move out to the right wing and Strevens pushed into the attack alongside McClure. It was the young Irishman who created the opening goal a minute later. His clever flick over the U`s defence put Kevin Betsy in one-on-one with Williams and he lobbed the ball over the goalkeeper only to fall to the turf. He completely lost the whereabouts of the ball for a second before picking himself up and composing himself to tuck the ball into the empty net from six yards.
With 77 minutes played the visitors defence could only clear a cross out to Wordsworth on the edge of the area and his volley was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Bull. The Wycombe goalkeeper was keeping his side ahead and he made yet another save, diving low to hold onto an effort from Henderson. Two minutes later the Chairboys doubled their lead. Betsy played Strevens in behind the U`s defence but Williams came racing off his line to block the striker`s effort. The ball rebounded across the face of goal and Scott Davies was in the right place to side-foot the ball into the net to make it 2-0.
It was a decisive blow and the U`s heads visibly dropped. Wycombe could have made 3-0 on 88 minutes when Sandell laid off a free-kick for Davies and he smashed his shot across Williams and against the inside of the post before firing the rebound wide of the target. Referee Andy Woolmer added on five minutes of injury-time but the Wanderers saw it out without any trouble and the whistle blew to signal Colchester United`s first home defeat of the season. It is the Chairboys first victory at the U`s new soul-less community stadium and only the second cup win since that memorable evening at Charlton nearly four years ago.
1. Nikki BULL - 8*
19. Marvin McCOY - 6
3. Andy SANDELL - 6
5. Dave WINFIELD - 5
6. Leon JOHNSON - 6 (Sub - 63 mins 23. Chris WESTWOOD - 5)
22. Scott DAVIES - 6
17. Lewis MONTROSE - 6
11. Kevin BETSY (capt) - 7
12. Ben STREVENS - 4
20. Stuart BEAVON - 5 (Sub - 62 mins 29. Matt McCLURE - 6)
9. Scott RENDELL - 3 (Sub - 74 mins 8. Kieran MURTAGH - 5)
Standout opposition player - Ian HENDERSON