Preview: Wycombe v Torquay
Gareth Ainsworth finally sparked some life into Wycombe Wanderers this week as they produced arguably their best performance of the season to date to draw 1-1 with Plymouth Argyle at Adams Park on Tuesday evening.
Ainsworth has clearly motivated the players after the disgraceful display against AFC Wimbledon, but that made little difference last weekend as they crashed to a demoralising 3-0 defeat at Dagenham and Redbridge. He must be credited for picking them up so quickly and not only getting them up for the fight but playing with much more belief. It also helped that there appeared to be a structure and a game plan as well as some skillful, passing football, particularly in the first half.
Matt McClure's 12th minute header was a real joy as the striker notched his first career goal at Adams Park. He was set-up by an inch-perfect cross from Ainsworth, who led by example throughout the 77 minutes he was on the pitch. McClure has much to prove after being left on the sidelines by Gary Waddock at the start of the campaign. He put in a very promising performance which one fan even compared to that of Stuart Beavon, and I can think of no higher compliment.
Sadly the defensive frailties remained ever-present and Guy Madjo was afforded the freedom of the penalty area to head home the equaliser early in the second half. The Blues seem incapable of putting two halves of football together and all the good things they did in the first period were undone after the break. The inability to retain possession needs to be rectified immediately as it puts too much pressure on the defence. It would be fair to say however that the hosts would have won it had it not be for a wonder save from Argyle goalkeeper Jake Cole to deny Joel Grant in injury-time.
Ainsworth made three changes to his starting line-up against the Pilgrims with McClure handed his first start of the season and winger Joel Grant recalled after recovering from a hamstring strain. Ainsworth also made the big, and correct, call of recalling himself to the side. Midfielder Matt Spring and strikers Dean Morgan and Oliver Taylor dropped to the bench. Midfielder Jesse Kewley-Graham was the man to miss out whilst striker Richard Logan was again left out of the 18-man squad.
Despite taking a point it still leaves the Blues second bottom of League Two six points behind our last opponents Plymouth Argyle, who are in the giddy heights of 18th place! Next up is a visit from Torquay United, on what has been designated a Community Day at Adams Park, with ticket prices slashed across the board. An adult pays just a fiver and if you're at a loose end on Saturday evening you won't find better value entertainment than KenDarComm, a charity evening at Adams Park which for a ticket price of £15 includes a quiz, stand-up comedy and music featuring Subrosa5 with none other than Gareth Ainsworth himself on lead vocals. You can find more info by clicking here.
Torquay United currently sit in 10th place in the table after pulling off an incredible comeback in midweek. They trailed Aldershot Town 3-0 at Plainmoor early in the second half but goals from winger Billy Bodin, substitutes Ryan Jarvis and Ashley Yeoman and a last minute winner from striker Rene Howe sealed a sensational 4-3 victory. On their travels they have won one, drawn three and lost one of their five league matches so far this season.
It will be just the fifth time the Chairboys have hosted their Devon rivals at Adams Park with the visitors having won twice, drawn once and lost once. The last meeting back in November 2010 was one to forget for the hosts as they slip an early lead earned through Stuart Beavon's goal to lose 3-1 thanks to a brace from midfielder Nicky Wroe and a goal from striker Elliot Benyon.
The first meeting in April 1994 was surrounded in controversy as Martin O'Neill's men were left frustrated following a 1-1 draw. The Irishman was already furious after the late delivery of the match-ball from sky divers who descended onto the pitch from on high. Matt Crossley headed home a Steve Guppy to put the Blues ahead after 13 minutes before referee Philip Don took centre stage. He booked nine players which led to six minutes of injury-time and striker Mark Sale headed home in the last of those to snatch an undeserved equaliser.
The sides didn't meet again until march 2006 when the club was still reeling from the double tragedy of losing Mark Philo and Myra Gorman. Over 7,000 fans saw striker Tony Bedeau's 57th minute goal give Torquay, then managed by ex-Chairboy John Cornforth, a 1-0 victory. Six months later in October the Wanderers recorded their first home win over the Gulls on a Friday evening. Striker Tommy Mooney fired home to give the hosts an early lead and then had a goal chalked off for offside before defender Russell Martin found the net with ten minutes remaining to seal a 2-0 win.
Gareth Ainsworth has one new injury concern ahead of the weekend. McClure had to be substituted with a tight hamstring and he will be assessed nearer the game. Otherwise Ainsworth remains with pretty much the same squad with seven players sidelined through injury. Goalkeeper Jordan Archer's loan from Tottenham Hotspur has been extended for another week with goalkeeper Nikki Bull hoping to return from a pulled thigh muscle against Portsmouth next week.
Goalkeeper Matt Ingram is recovering from knee cartilage surgery, midfielder Matt Bloomfield is still struggling with a groin problem, midfielder Sam Wood and striker Dennis Oli are recovering from knee and ankle ligament damage respectively and the quartet are all about a fortnight away from a return to action. Full-back Marvin McCoy continues his rehabilitation after fracturing his left fibula and damaging ankle ligaments and will be hoping to return by the end of November. Full-back Grant Basey has had surgery after damaging his anterior cruciate ligaments and will miss the rest of the season.
The starting eleven may look something like this: (4-4-1-1)
Danny Foster - Leon Johnson - Gary Doherty - Charles Dunne
Gareth Ainsworth - Stuart Lewis - Josh Scowen - Joel Grant
Subs: Lee Harrison, Anthony Stewart, Dave Winfield, Matt Spring, Junior Morais, Dean Morgan, Oliver Taylor
Torquay United have made an encouraging start to the current campaign under manager Martin Ling following the disappointment of losing out in the play-off semi-finals to Cheltenham Town last season. They were boosted by the return of influential midfielder Nathan Craig in midweek after he recovered from an ankle injury. He has stepped into the breach following the sale of midfielder Eunan O'Kane back in August. There was no place in the 18-man squad for striker Lloyd Macklin.
Torquay will be without a trio of midfielders ruled-out through injury. Ian Morris has an Achilles injury which Ling says will keep him out for months. Saul Halpin is sidelined with an ankle injury but there is better news with Damon Lathrope, who can also play at right-back, set to return to training next week after a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury. Midfielder Craig Easton missed out in midweek with a hamstring problem and remains doubtful.
The Gulls are likely to line-up as follows: (4-1-4-1)
Joe Oastler - Brian Saah - Aaron Downes - Mark Nicholson
Niall Thompson - Lee Mansell - Danny Stevens - Billy Bodin
Subs: Martin Rice, Daniel Leadbitter, Kyrtis Mackenzie, Tom Cruise, Karl Baker, Ashley Yeoman, Ryan Jarvis
The league table currently shows Wycombe in 23rd place with 5 points from 9 games and Torquay in 10th spot with 15 points from 10 games.
Torquay's Away Record.......W 1 - D 3 - L 1 - Ppg 1.20 (Rank-12)
Wycombe's Home Record.....W 0 - D 2 - L 2 - Ppg 0.50 (Rank-22)
Last Five league Games
Torquay........LWDDW - 8 points (Rank-10)
Wycombe.........LLLLD - 1 point (Rank-24)
Torquay's last five results (All Competitions)
Lg2: Rotherham (A)............Lost 0-1
Lg2: Wimbledon (A)...........Won 1-0
Lg2: Burtons (H)...............Drew 1-1
Lg2: Chesterfield (A).........Drew 1-1
Lg2: Aldershot (H)............. Won 4-3
Wycombe's last five results (All Competitions)
Lg2: Chesterfield (A)............Lost 1-3
Lg2: Exeter (A)....................Lost 2-3
Lg2: AFC Wimbledon (H).......Lost 0-1
Lg2: Dag & Red (A)..............Lost 0-3
Lg2: Plymouth (H)...............Drew 1-1
Torquay Goal Stats (11 games in all Competitions)
Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 14...Cups: 0...Total: 14
Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 11...Cups: 4...Total: 15
Goals Scored (Away).........Lg: 3.....Cups: 0...Total: 3
Goals Conceded (Away).....Lg: 3.....Cups: 0...Total: 3
Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 3.....Cups: 0...Total: 3
Wycombe Goal Stats (10 games in all Competitions)
Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 8.....Cups: 0...Total: 8
Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 15...Cups: 1...Total: 16
Goals Scored (Home).........Lg: 2.....Cups: 0...Total: 2
Goals Conceded (Home).....Lg: 4.....Cups: 0...Total: 4
Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 0.....Cups: 0...Total: 0
Torquay's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)
Wycombe's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)
Torquay Shooting (Top-3) - League Only
Billy Bodin...........14 on-target...12 off-target...1 against woodwork
Rene Howe..........14 on-target....7 off-target...1 against woodwork
Lee Mansell...........6 on-target....8 off-target...0 against woodwork
Wycombe Shooting (Top-3) - League Only
Joel Grant.............3 on-target...6 off-target...0 against woodwork
Gareth Ainsworth...2 on-target...5 off-target...0 against woodwork
Matt Spring...........2 on-target...3 off-target...0 against woodwork
Shooting (Club) - League only
Torquay.......61 on target...57 off target...2 against w'work (Rank-6)
Wycombe.....23 on target...31 off target...0 against w'work (Rank-24)
In 9 previous meetings there have been 3 wins for Torquay, 2 for Wycombe and 4 draws.
At Adams Park the tally is 2 wins for the Gulls, 1 for the Blues and 1 draws.
1993/94 LG2: Torquay 1 Wycombe 1
1993/94 LG2: Wycombe 1 Torquay 1
2002/03 FLT: Torquay 0 Wycombe 4
2005/06 LG2: Torquay 2 Wycombe 2
2005/06 LG2: Wycombe 0 Torquay 1
2006/07 LG2: Wycombe 2 Torquay 0
2006/07 LG2: Torquay 3 Wycombe 0
2010/11 LG2: Wycombe 1 Torquay 3
2010/11 LG2: Torquay 0 Wycombe 0
The Man In The Middle
Saturday's referee is Darren Drysdale from Lincolnshire who was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2004. His most recent Wycombe game was a 3-1 win at Hartlepool United in October 2011. During the current campaign he's issued 1 red and 33 yellow cards in 9 appearances.
Benny: Wycombe 1 Torquay 1
Len: Wycombe 2 Torquay 1
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