Writer: Benny & Len
Date:Thursday September 20 2012
Wycombe Wanderers will be marking their 125th anniversary this weekend when they host AFC Wimbledon in a League Two fixture at Adams Park.
Both clubs are now owned by supporters through their respective Trusts and it is a model that has seen the Dons achieve five promotions in their first nine years in existence. The Chairboys first ever game was played on the 24th September 1887 against Wycombe Nose Club. It ended in a goal-less draw on the Rye.
Fast forward 125 years and both clubs share another similarity. They have made disappointing starts to the new season and whilst celebrating our past glories is important, the focus is rightly on performances and results in the present. Our visitors have made the decision, no doubt with a heavy heart, to sack manager Terry Brown after their 1-0 home defeat to Torquay United in midweek. He led the club to three promotions in five years, but with their Football League status at risk, the club decided that action should be taken.
It would be fair to say that where AFC Wimbledon have led, Wycombe Wanderers are following. At least off-the-pitch, through the Supporters Direct ownership model. There is a growing groundswell of a opinion that our new owners will soon also have to follow the Dons in seeking a change of manager following back-to-back away defeats in the space of four days which leave the Blues level on four points at the wrong end of the table.
84 hardy souls / loyalists / mentallers (delete as applicable) travelled to Devon on Tuesday evening to see yet another display of defensive ineptitude which this time included the sacrifice of a lead, twice, at the start of either half. Gareth Ainsworth's deflected strike put the visitors ahead after four minutes at St. James Park but the inevitable equaliser came before the half hour mark
Striker Dean Morgan notched his first goal for the club with a looping header seven minutes after the break but the Chairboys defence was penetrated once again inside all of two minutes and the white flags were being raised midway through the second half when Exeter City scored an all too predictable winner. It leaves the Wanderers with one win in their last fourteen league games and confidence seemingly draining with every defeat.
Manager Gary Waddock might be marked down as the chief culprit by some, but his luck is absolutely rotten at the moment. Goalkeeper Nikki Bull had played every single game since his arrival in June 2010 but he was forced to join the growing list of influential players in the treatment room after finally conceding defeat and resting a pulled thigh muscle. That saw goalkeeper Elliot Parish drafted in at the eleventh hour to make his debut after joining on loan from Cardiff City.
Waddock made five changes to his starting line-up last time out with Parish replacing Bull between the sticks. Danny Foster making his first start of the season at right-back after recovering from a knee injury. Loan defender Adam Thompson dropped to the bench. Defender Dave Winfield also earned a recall in the centre of defence with Leon Johnson serving a one-match band and Anthony Stewart sidelined with a knock. Evergreen winger Gareth Ainsworth and striker Richard Logan were both recalled in preference to defender Charles Dunne and striker Jo Kuffour, both of whom were named on the bench. Matt Parsons was switched to left-back.
Defender Grant Basey was recalled to the bench but there was still no place for striker Matt McClure. Teenage striker Olly Taylor made his second successive appearance as a second half substitute. There was no goalkeeper named on the bench with Matt Ingram having undergone surgery on his knee cartilage and coach Lee Harrison unavailable for personal reasons.
Wycombe Wanderers faced Wimbledon F.C. on numerous occasions in both the Isthmian League and F.A. Amateur cup but have only ever met AFC Wimbledon once in a competitive fixture. That came back in November 2008 in an F.A. Cup first round tie at Kingsmeadow showed live on TV. A hat-trick from striker Matt Harrold and Matt Phillips' first ever goal for the Chairboys sealed a comfortable 4-1 victory.
Gary Waddock has Leon Johnson available again after suspension. Anthony Stewart remains a doubt and there is more bad news with winger Joel Grant struggling with a hamstring problem. He faces a late fitness test. Bull and Ingram are sidelined so Parish will continue in goal. Midfielder Matt Bloomfield isn't fit but will be hoping to return from a groin problem at Dagenham next weekend. Midfielder Sam Wood and striker Dennis Oli face five weeks on the sidelines with ankle ligament and knee damage respectively. Defender Marvin McCoy continues his rehabilitation after damaging ankle ligaments and fracturing his fibula and will be hoping to return at the end of November. The starting eleven against the Dons could look something like this...
Danny Foster - Leon Johnson - Gary Doherty - Matt Parsons
Gareth Ainsworth - Matt Spring - Stuart Lewis - Joel Grant
Dean Morgan - Jo Kuffour
Subs: Adam Thompson, Charles Dunne, Dave Winfield, Jesse Kewley-Graham, Lee Angol, Richard Logan, Olly Taylor
AFC Wimbledon have placed Simon Bassey in caretaker charge and it seems likely he will lead the team at the weekend. Former Brentford boss Andy Scott and Lawrie Sanchez are two of the front runners to be named as Terry Brown's successor. They have taken four points from their opening seven matches in League Two, beating Chesterfield and drawing with Dagenham and Redbridge at home and losing the remaining five. They have an even worse defensive record than the Chairboys, having already conceded 18 goals.
The Dons squad is also decimated by injuries and suspensions with leading goalscorer Jack Midson serving the second of a three-match ban. Winger Christian Jolley is also suspended after being sent-off for two bookable offences in midweek. Full-back Curtis Haynes-Brown is doubtful after taking a knock to his knee. Centre-back Mat Mitchel-King suffered a back injury on his return to action following compassionate leave and is also a doubt. Fellow centre-half Pim Balkestein has to be substituted at half-time in midweek with a groin strain and he is almost certainly out.
Defender Callum McNaughton is still recovering from cruciate knee ligament damage and striker Jason Prior continues his rehabilitation from a double leg break. Defender Curtis Osano will miss the next five weeks with an ankle injury. Young defender Jim Fenlon and the midfield duo of Frankie Merrifield and Huw Johnson are not 100% fit after recent injuries. It means that ex-Chairboys Will Antwi and Steven Gregory are certain to start on their returns to Adams Park this weekend. The Dons starting eleven should look something like this...
George Francomb - Dale Bennett - Will Antwi - Warren Cummings
Rashid Yusseff - Sammy Moore - Steven Gregory - Stacy Long
Byron Harrison -Luke Moore
Subs: Mikhael Jamiez-Ruiz, Angus McDonald, Jim Fenlon, Frankie Merrifield, Huw Johnson, Louis Harris, Charlie Strutton
The league table currently shows Wycombe in 20th place with 4 points from 6 games and Wimbledon in 21st spot with 4 points from 7 games.
Wimbledon's Away Record (All comps)...Won 0 - Drawn 0 - Lost 5
Wycombe's Home Record (All comps).....Won 0 - Drawn 1 - Lost 1
Last Five league Games
Wimbledon........LDLLL - 1 point (Rank-23)
Wycombe..........LLDLL - 1 point (Rank-22)
Wimbledon's last five results (All Competitions)
Lg2: Dagenham (H)..........Drew 2-2
JPT: Southend (A)..............Lost 1-2
Lg2: Northampton (A).........Lost 0-2
Lg2: Rochdale (H)...............Lost 1-2
Lg2: Torquay (H)................Lost 0-1
Wycombe's last five results (All Competitions)
Lg2: Gillingham (H)...............Lost 0-1
Lg2: Southend (A)................Lost 0-1
Lg2: Cheltenham (H)...........Drew 1-1
Lg2: Chesterfield (A)............Lost 1-3
Lg2: Exeter (A)....................Lost 2-3
Wimbledon Goal Stats (9 games in all Competitions)
Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 7.....Cups: 2...Total: 9
Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 18...Cups: 5...Total: 23
Goals Scored (Away).........Lg: 3.....Cups: 2...Total: 5
Goals Conceded (Away).....Lg: 13...Cups: 5...Total: 18
Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 1.....Cups: 0...Total: 1
Wycombe Goal Stats (7 games in all Competitions)
Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 7.....Cups: 0...Total: 7
Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 10...Cups: 1...Total: 11
Goals Scored (Home).........Lg: 1.....Cups: 0...Total: 1
Goals Conceded (Home).....Lg: 2.....Cups: 0...Total: 2
Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 0.....Cups: 0...Total: 0
Wimbledon's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)
Wycombe's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)
Wimbledon Shooting (Top-3) - League Only
Jack Midson.........9 on-target...2 off-target...0 against woodwork
Sammy Moore.....4 on-target...5 off-target...0 against woodwork
Christian Jolley....5 on-target...3 off-target...0 against woodwork
Wycombe Shooting (Top-3) - League Only
Joel Grant.............2 on-target...5 off-target...0 against woodwork
Matt Spring...........1 on-target...4 off-target...0 against woodwork
Gareth Ainsworth...1 on-target...2 off-target...0 against woodwork
Shooting (Club) - League only - (Adjusted to include York)
Wimbledon...35 on target...30 off target...0 against w'work (Rank-17)
Wycombe.....14 on target...16 off target...0 against w'work (Rank-24)
2008/09 FA Cup: AFC Wimbledon 1 Wycombe 4
The Man In The Middle
Saturday's referee is Graham Scott from Oxfordshire who was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2008. Last season he took charge of Wycombe's 3-1 home win over Exeter on Boxing Day and their 4-3 home defeat to Notts County in April. During the current campaign he's issued 13 yellow and 0 red cards in 6 games.
Benny: Wycombe 2 Wimbledon 1
Len: Wycombe 2 Wimbledon 1
Date:Thursday September 20 2012
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