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Blues find the Reds too hot to handle

Blues find the Reds too hot to handle


Wycombe Wanderers 1 Nottingham Forest 4

Only five seasons ago, Wycombe reached the semi-final stage of the Carling Cup, knocking two Premier League sides out of the competition and holding Jose Mourinho's Chelsea to a draw at Adams Park.

The Blues were in League Two at the time, three divisions below Fulham and Charton, the two top-tier sides they visited and outplayed on their own turf.

In those days, it was almost possible to believe in the "five year plan" for Wycombe to reach the Championship, but they never came close, and on tonight's evidence the shortfall in quality is greater than ever.

It certainly wouldn't be fair to criticise the Blues for losing 4-1 to a side containing better players who make better decisions, and who don't want one touch too many every time they receive the ball. For the most part, the men in blue did their best and gave it their all tonight, but they were simply outclassed.

Any thoughts of a giant-killing were definitely short-lived as the visitors raced into a 2-0 lead after only 6 minutes thanks to their new £1.2 million signing Ishmael Miller.

Carved apart by a simple ball through the middle, the Blues could only watch as Miller bore down on Nikki Bull and slotted home the first goal after 3 minutes.

In a carbon-copy move two minutes later, Miller was only stopped by Bull bringing him down, and Lewis McGugan blasted home the resulting spot-kick to make it two.

The remainder of the first-half was all Forest with Bull making a couple of decent saves to keep the score respectable at the interval.

Blues' striker Scott Rendell didn't appear for the second-half, which was a popular decision among the home fans who had grown exasperated watching him fail to make any contribution at all before the break.

Rendell's replacement was Ben Harding, which gave the Blues an extra body in midfield, and it was a change for the better as they began to string more than two passes together and briefly threatened to make a game of it.

Sadly, any hope of a comeback was dashed when Elliot Benyon hit the inside of the post after an hour, and to rub salt in the wound, the Reds' Robbie Findley promptly fired the ball home to make it 3-0.

Still waiting for their first shot on target (which never arrived), Wycombe pulled one back from the spot after 66 minutes when Stuart Lewis was tripped and Benyon stepped-up to fire home his first goal for the club.

The home fans perked up when youngsters Kadeem Harris and Jordan Ibe were introduced, and they were delighted when Ibe fired a rare shot narrowly wide, while Harris made several impressive runs and had the confidence to try a couple of attempts on goal himself.

Bull was still gainfully employed at the other end, but he couldn't stop Radoslaw Majewski making it 4-1 after Joe Garner put the ball on a plate for him after 75 minutes.

Garner then hit the bar with a header, and with minutes remaining, Dave Winfield nodded a great chance wide from Matt Bloomfield's only decent corner-kick of the match.

When the final whistle sounded, the Blues had been outclassed and deservedly beaten, but at least we now know just how far we really are from the promised land.

Wycombe Man of the Match - Marvin McCoy

Wycombe line-up & ratings

Bull (6), McCoy (7), Winfield (5), Johnson (6), Foster (5), Betsy (6), Lewis (6) (Ibe (5)), Bloomfield (5), Grant (6) (Harris (6)), Rendell (4) (Harding 46 (5)), Benyon (6)

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Writer:Len
Date:Wednesday August 24 2011
Time: 2:55AM

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# Team P W D L Pts. GD
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P Oxford 46 24 14 8 86 43
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13 Wycombe 46 17 13 16 64 1
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