Date:Wednesday March 2 2011
Chesterfield 4 Wycombe Wanderers 1
The Blues were deservedly hammered by a Chesterfield side who were streets ahead of them in every department.
Long before half-time the home crowd were chanting 'we're just too good for you' and they were absolutely right.
Their jeers of derision each time a Wycombe pass went astray (and most of them did) were an embarrassment to the fans who made the long trip to Chesterfield expecting their team to at least compete with the Spireites in what was supposed to be a top of the table clash. As it was, they didn't even look as if they belonged in the same division.
Managers are given credit when things go well, and can expect criticism when they don't. So here's some criticism....
Our defence was a shambles. Persistently picking Alan Bennett ahead of others regardless of performance is beginning to look like stubbornness.
The combination of Danny Foster and Ben Strevens on the left is totally ineffective going forward and a liability defensively. Foster is not a left-back and Strevens is not a left-winger so it's hardly surprising, and it certainly wasn't news to Chesterfield who deliberately exploited it right from the start.
Wycombe were truly dire in the first-half and when things didn't improve in the slightest after the break and they found themselves 3-0 down, it was time to make a change and try something different. Supporters don't like watching a disaster unfold in front of them while the boss does nothing.
It was only when Kevin Betsy and Matt Bloomfield were belatedly introduced with about 15 minutes remaining that Wycombe began to remotely trouble a Chesterfield defence that will rarely have enjoyed an easier night's work.
In the absence of Betsy and Beavon, Wycombe lacked guile. No-one was creating chances and the aimless long-balls forward just came straight back. Beavon's ability to drag defences all over the pitch, hold the ball up and bring others into play was sadly missed. Without the pair of them, the Blues look a very ordinary side.
The game itself was as good as over after 36 minutes. Somehow Wycombe held out until the 27th minute before they conceded the opener from a set-piece (naturally), but when the Spireites converted a penalty 9 minutes later you just knew the game was up.
The reason for this pessimism was the fact that Wycombe couldn't string more than two passes together, were camped in their own half most of the time and only managed one attempt on goal in the entire first-half when Gareth Ainsworth fired a long-range effort high and wide.
If the half-time break tempted any Wycombe fans to dream of a stirring second-half comeback, reality soon reared its ugly head when Jack Lester made it 3-0 just a minute after the restart.
Nikki Bull had already made a couple of crucial saves in the first-half and he made a couple more after the break as the Spireites threatened to make it a rout.
Stuart Lewis was Wycombe's best player on the night, mainly due to the sheer amount of running he did to mop up his teammates' mistakes, but he also had three shots on goal during the second-half. Two of them were wild but one did hit the target.
Betsy also forced a save from keeper Tommy Lee, but Jon-Paul Pittman went one step further by actually scoring to make it 3-1 with nine minutes remaining.
Wycombe were definitely playing better now that Betsy and Bloomfield were giving the Spireites something to think about, but to be honest 3-1 would have flattered the Blues and it was no surprise when Craig Davies scored a fourth after 88 minutes to give the scoreline a more realistic look.
It was a really disappointing performance.
Line-up & ratings
Bull (5), McCoy (5), Bennett (3), Kiernan (4) (Westwood 63 (4)), Foster (4), Ainsworth (5) (Betsy 73 (5)), Lewis (6), Montrose (5) (Bloomfield 73 (5)), Strevens (4), Pittman (5), Rendell (5).
Date:Wednesday March 2 2011
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