Preview: Wycombe Wanderers v Gillingham
Wycombe Wanderers started the new League Two campaign in fine style with a 3-1 win over newboys York City at Bootham Crescent at the weekend.
First half goals from Matt Bloomfield and Sam Wood gave the Blues a two-goal lead at the break and striker Stuart Beavon sealed all three points with his first goal of the new season early in the second half. Jason Walker may have been in an offside position when he got the final touch on Jonathan Smith's header but it made little difference as the Chairboys held on to win.
The victory is a big boost for everyone at the club and provides the perfect platform for Tuesday evening's clash with in-form Gillingham at Adams Park. A number of records were broken at the weekend as Wycombe recorded their first ever victory at Bootham Crescent. It was also the first away win on the opening day since promotion to the Football League in 1993 and you actually have to go back to August 1977 for our last away win at the start of the season, when goals from Dylan Evans and Alan Phillips earned a 2-1 win at Croydon.
There is a general perception that the Wanderers will find goals hard to come by this season, so notching three in our first game is a huge tonic! It was great to see such a club stalwart as Matt Bloomfield find the net, especially in the first league game since the club was returned to supporter ownership. Meanwhile midfielder Sam Wood's spectacular half-volley is already a contender for goal of the season.
Some supporters thought they would never seen Stuart Beavon in a Wanderers shirt again, so for him to have got off the mark already is another bonus. His departure could still be imminent but we may yet enjoy a last few glimpses of his magic. The team's performance has been described as steady rather than spectacular but that is also a positive sign. After some of last season's displays, steady is significant improvement.
Dave Winfield and Dennis Oli returned to the bench after recovering from injury but there was the loss of left-back Charles Dunne who missed out after picking up a knock in the League Cup defeat to Watford. Both he and striker Matt McClure (tendonitis of the knee) are doubtful for the midweek meeting with the Gills. Oli will hope to be involved against the club where he spent five years before being released during the summer.
Gary Waddock is unlikely to make any changes to his starting line-up and his opposite number Martin Allen is also likely to stick with the same eleven men that recorded a 3-1 opening day victory over Bradford City at the Priestfield Stadium. That result came after they knocked Championship side Bristol City out of the League Cup in midweek with a 2-1 at Ashton Gate. Of course former Chairboy Ben Strevens scored in that game and he makes a quick return to Adams Park.
Midfielder Lewis Montrose has started both games and makes his first return since being released in the summer of 2011. Striker Adam Birchall wasn't in the squad at the weekend having missed all of last season with a cruciate knee ligament injury. He spent a spell on loan at Adams Park during Tony Adams' reign as manager back in 2004. The Gills team could look something like this:
Matt Fish - Andy Frampton - Tom Flanagan - Joe Martin
Charlie Lee - Lewis Montrose - Charlie Allen - Danny Jackman
Danny Kedwell - Deon Burton
Subs: Tommy Forecast, Callum Davies, Adam Barrett, Jack Payne, Bradley Dack, Myles Weston, Ben Strevens
Keep an eye out for 18-year-old attacking midfielder Bradley Dack. He made his Football League debut as a late substitute against Bradford City at the weekend and was unlucky to see a shot come back off the foot of a post. He is rated very highly and has been described as the next Frank Lampard.
This will be Gillingham's tenth visit to Wycombe and they have won just one of the previous nine. That came in Easter 1999 when they beat Lawrie Sanchez's side 2-0. The Blues have won all of the last four meetings in Buckinghamshire without conceding a single goal.
Gillingham's record last season
Home - W:13 D:4 L:6 GF:44 GA:27 Pts:43
Away - W:7 D:6 L:10 GF:35 GA:35 Pts:27
Total - W:20 D:10 L:16 GF:79 GA:62 Pts:70
Final position: 8th in League Two
The Gills' in pre-season
Dartford 0 Gillingham 1
Gillingham 7 Royal Engineers 1
Ebbsfleet United 2 Gillingham 3
Dover Athletic 1 Gillingham 2
Gillingham 1 Charlton Athletic 0
Gillingham 0 Watford 3
Gillingham's season so far
Lgcp: Bristol City (A)......Won 2-1
Lg2: Bradford City (H)....Won 3-1
Gillingham's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)
Wycombe's record last season
Home - W:7 D:6 L:10 GF:37 GA:38 Pts:27
Away - W:4 D:4 L:15 GF:28 GA:50 Pts:16
Total - W:11 D:10 L:25 GF:65 GA:88 Pts:43
Final position: 21st in League One
Wycombe in pre-season
Farnborough 1 Wycombe 2
Forest Green 0 Wycombe 0
Luton Town 0 Wycombe 0
Wycombe 0 Fulham 3
Wycombe 0 QPR 3
Cambridge Utd 2 Wycombe 3
Wycombe 1 Brentford 4
Wycombe's season so far
Lgcp: Watford (A)...........Lost 0-1 (aet)
Lg2: York City (A)..........Won 3-1
Wycombe's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)
After 21 previous meetings things are perfectly poised at 7 wins for Wycombe, 7 for Gillingham and 7 draws.
At Adams/Loakes Park the tally is 5 wins for the Blues, 2 for the Gills and 3 draws.
1932/33 FAC: Wycombe 2 Gillingham 4
1993/94 LG2: Wycombe 1 Gillingham 1
1995/96 FAC: Wycombe 1 Gillingham 1
1996/97 LG1: Wycombe 1 Gillingham 1
1997/98 LG1: Wycombe 1 Gillingham 0
1998/99 LG1: Wycombe 0 Gillingham 2
1999/00 LG1: Wycombe 1 Gillingham 0
2008/09 LG2: Wycombe 1 Gillingham 0
2009/10 LG1: Wycombe 3 Gillingham 0
2010/11 LG2: Wycombe 1 Gillingham 0
The Man In The Middle
Tuesday's referee is Stephen Martin who was officiating in the Conference last season and has never taken charge of a Wycombe game before.
Len: Wycombe 1 Gillingham 0
Benny: Wycombe 1 Gillingham 1