Preview: Yeovil Town v Wycombe Wanderers
Wycombe Wanderers made it three wins on the bounce by beating Bristol Rovers 2-0 at Adams Park at the weekend. Goals in each half from winger Joel Grant and player-manager Gareth Ainsworth sealed a deserved victory in the re-arranged League Two clash.
The three points don't move the Blues up from 19th in the table but they are now five points clear of the relegation places. It was yet another encouraging display from Ainsworth's relatively young side with another clean sheet recorded. The improvement is there to see across the whole pitch, with Josh Scowen impressing yet again in the middle of the park. The most impressive performances came from both Joel Grant and Dean Morgan with the duo combining superbly for the first goal. Their all-round touch and skill is wonderful to watch.
Grant was posing such a threat that he was taken out by two opponents just before the break and landed nastily on his neck / head. He had to be replaced by Ainsworth at half-time and the boss made a real impact as he met Sam Wood's cross with a brave diving header to notch a vital second goal ten minutes into the second half. The performance combined ability with endeavour in equal measure and this is a team very much built in Ainsworth's own image.
Ainsworth has tried to maintain a consistent selection policy since taking charge despite having a squad ravaged by injuries. He made just the one change to his starting line-up against the Pirates with Charles Dunne returning from suspension to fill-in at right-back. That enabled Stuart Lewis to return to his usual midfield position with midfielder Jesse Kewley-Graham dropping to the bench. Marvin McCoy made a very welcome return to the squad after recovering from his ankle ligament injury. That meant there was no place for teenagers Kortney Hause or Georges Ehui.
Next on the horizon for the Chairboys is the grim prospect of a return to deepest, darkest Somerset to face the straw-sucking fiends of Yeovil. Only the bravest of men would dare to make this journey at the best of times, but such is the Wanderers' record at The Huish / Huish Park, only someone with an overpowering scent of ham in their nostrels would want to witness yet another depressing defeat to the Glovers. That they are known for making gloves comes as no surprise as they had to find a way to hide their six fingers and cover the guilt of their beastly ways.
Can someone not save me from the torment of writing about our past failures against these architects of filth? No? Curses! So it wasn't until 27th September 1986 that the righteous and true Chairboys had to hold their noses as they travelled to the Huish for the first time in an Isthmian League Premier League clash. Bizarrely coach Richard Teale took charge of the team with manager Alan Gane and assistant John Reardon both unavailable and the hosts took the lead inside two minutes when Alan Pardew's free-kick deflected into the path of Phil James and he fired past Blues' goalkeeper Gary Lester. Six minutes later Jason Seacole gave the ball to Noel 'God' Ashford and he turned on a sixpence before shooting past goalkeeper Dave Walter to send the away fans as happy as pigs in shhh...
Sadly, with Satan's presence so close, Town snatched a late winner when Pardew met Tom Ritchie`s corner to fire past Lester and into the net via the post. Best of luck with that eight-year contract Alan! As everyone knows good always triumphs over evil in the end and Yeovil fell apart after manager Gerry Gow`s resignation in January and the Wanderers went on to smash records, collecting 101 points and scoring 103 goals in winning 32 of their 42 league games as they became Champions. The next meeting at the Huish came on the opening day of the 1988/89 season with Mark West notching for the Blues in a 1-1 draw.
Goals from Dave Carroll and Nicky Evans were unable to prevent the side from falling to a dreadful 4-2 defeat under Jim Kelman in November 1989 and our last visit to the Huish came in April 1990 in the semi-final first leg of the Bob Lord Trophy which the home side won 2-1 (the tie ended 4-4 with Town winning on away goals rule after extra time). The first trip to the Glovers' new Huish Park came on a wet and windy afternoon in December 1990. A 2-2 was scraped thanks to an own goal and a Mark West penalty, with current Reading boss Brian McDermott both scoring and missing a penalty for the home side.
There was a goal-less 'boar' draw in the BLT in February 1992 and three weeks later a lamentable and ultimately costly 1-0 defeat in the Conference. The following season was almost symmetrical as a BLT tie in February 1993 was won courtesy of a solitary goal from Keith Scott. It remains our one and only victory in the incest fields. Five weeks later the side suffered the worst defeat of our glorious double winning 1992-93 season as another wet and windy evening saw the hosts romp to a 3-0 victory with Simon Stapleton sent-off for head-butting Mark Shail.
More than a decade of purity followed before dark forces saw the swine make it into the Football League and acquaintances were renewed again in April 2005. Clint Easton`s excellent free-kick was cancelled almost immediately by Lee Johnson`s 30-yarder and the game ended all-square at 1-1. The four and half years before meeting again in December 2009 were not even remotely long enough and frankly the 4-0 Boxing Day defeat is so horrific I couldn't even begin to recall it without the help of a psychiatrist. The last visit came in September 2011 when the Blues were again beaten, this time by a single goal. In a dozen visits, we have won once, drawn four times and lost seven. Even Indiana Jones would think twice about going again!
Gareth Ainsworth is set to make a number of changes against the Glovers in midweek. Having already revealed he'll sit the game out, he has another trio of players ruled-out through suspension and injury. Midfielders Josh Scowen and Stuart Lewis both picked up their fifth bookings of the campaign at the weekend and they now serve one match bans. Joel Grant won't be risked after suffering double vision following his substitution at half-time against Rovers.
Marvin McCoy could be given a starting role in midweek for the first time since recovering his nasty injury at Watford back in August. Midfielder Matt Spring and striker Jo Kuffour will both be hoping to be involved after recovering from calf and ankle injuries respectively and the return of the former couldn't be better timed with the absence of messrs Scowen and Lewis. Matt McClure may be rested allowing loan striker Ade Azeez to make his full debut for the Wanderers after two cameo appearances from the bench.
Here's the current list of players availability...
Marvin McCoy (Right Back) - available (was named on the bench at the weekend after recovering from an ankle ligament injury)
Matt Spring (Midfielder) - doubtful (back in training after recovering from a calf injury)
Jo Kuffour (Attacker) - doubtful (back in training after recovering from an ankle ligament injury)
Josh Scowen - suspended for one match after collecting his fifth booking of the season
Stuart Lewis - suspended for one match after collecting his fifth booking of the season
Joel Grant - ruled-out with a head injury (should be fit to return against Morecambe at the weekend)
Danny Foster (Right Back) - ruled out with a knee injury (will resume training next week)
Anthony Stewart (Right / Centre Back) - ruled out with a thigh injury (will resume training next week)
Gary Doherty (Centre Back) - ruled out with a back injury (will resume training next week)
Matt Bloomfield (Midfielder) - ruled out with a groin injury (will be sidelined for at least two more months)
Grant Basey (Left-Back) - ruled out with an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury (continues his rehabilitation following surgery and is unlikely to play again this season)
It is difficult predict the line-up in midweek but perhaps it could look something like this (4-4-2):
Marvin McCoy - Dave Winfield - Leon Johnson - Charles Dunne
Bruno Andrade - Jesse Kewley-Graham - Matt Spring - Sam Wood
Ade Adeez - Dean Morgan
Subs: Lee Harrison, Kortney Hause, Georges Ehui, Junior Morias, Dennis Oli
Yeovil Town are currently 12th in League One but have lost four of their last six matches, including a 3-1 defeat at home to Carlisle United when they last played ten days ago. Manager Gary Johnson didn't mince his words after the game describing it as 'embarrassing.' He also apologised to the supporters and said 'We win a good one then lose a bad one and that's us I'm afraid. But we are going to keep trying and I'll keep trying to pick the right eleven and get the right mentality. We've got to build for this Wycombe game and we are going to be working every day'
He is boosted by the return of leading goalscorer Paddy Madden after the Irishman missed out against his parent club under the terms of his loan deal. Fellow loanee Gozie Ugwu replaced him last time out but the Reading striker could have to settle for a place on the bench this time around. Defender Jamie McAllister is also available again after serving a one-match ban and could come straight back into the starting line-up. Defender Dale Bennett will be looking for his first start after joining on loan from Watford. Ex-Chairboys Marek Stech will be between the sticks again whilst striker Reuben Reid will be hoping to make the squad.
Yeovil Town could well line-up something like this on Tuesday evening (4-4-2):
Luke Ayling - Dan Burn - Jamie McAllister Joe Edwards
Keanu Marsh-Brown - Ed Upson - Korey Smith - Sam Foley
James Hayter - Paddy Madden
Subs: Gareth Stewart, Byron Webster, Richard Hinds, Gavin Williams, Gozie Ugwu
Here are all the stats...
Yeovil are 12th in LG1 with 28 points from 20 games.
Wycombe are 19th in LG2 with 22 points from 20 games.
Yeovil's Home Record (all comps).........W 5 - D 1 - L 6
Wycombe's Away record (all comps).....W 4 - D 1 - L 8
Yeovil's Cup record this season
Lg Cup: Colchester (H).......Won 3-0
Lg Cup: West Brom (H).......Lost 2-4
JPT: Bristol Rovers (A)........Won 3-0
JPT: Torquay (A)................Won 2-2 (5-4 on pens)
FA Cup: Preston (A)............Lost 0-3
Wycombe's Cup record this season
Lg Cup: Watford (A)........Lost 0-1 (aet)
JPT: Portsmouth (A)........Won 3-1
FA Cup: Crewe (A)..........Lost 4-1
Yeovil's last five results (All Competitions)
Lg1: Stevenage (H)..........Lost 1-3
Lg1: Hartlepool (H)..........Won 1-0
Lg1: Swindon (A).............Lost 1-4
Lg1: Crawley (A).............Won 1-0
Lg1: Carlisle (H)..............Lost 1-3
Wycombe's last five results (All Competitions)
Lg2: Rochdale (H)..............Lost 1-2
Lg2: Northampton (A).........Lost 1-3
Lg2: Rotherham (A)...........Won 3-2
Lg2: Burton (H).................Won 3-0
Lg2: Bristol Rovers (H).......Won 2-0
Yeovil Goal Stats (25 games in all Competitions)
Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 30...Cups: 10...Total: 40
Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 31...Cups: 9.....Total: 40
Goals Scored (Home).........Lg: 12...Cups: 5.....Total: 17
Goals Conceded (Home).....Lg: 14...Cups: 4.....Total: 18
Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 4.....Cups: 2.....Total: 6
Wycombe Goal Stats (23 games in all Competitions)
Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 23...Cups: 4...Total: 27
Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 30...Cups: 6...Total: 36
Goals Scored (Away).........Lg: 12...Cups: 4...Total: 16
Goals Conceded (Away).....Lg: 20...Cups: 6...Total: 26
Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 5.....Cups: 0...Total: 5
Yeovil's Top Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)
Three other players have each scored 2 goals
Three other players have each scored 1 goal
Wycombe's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)
Yeovil Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps
Reuben Reid......18 on-target...14 off-target...1 against woodwork
Sam Foley.........13 on-target...19 off-target...0 against woodwork
K Marsh-Brown..17 on-target...14 off-target...0 against woodwork
Wycombe Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps
Dean Morgan.....17 on-target...12 off-target...2 against woodwork
Joel Grant..........14 on-target...16 off-target...0 against woodwork
Matt McClure........6 on-target...10 off-target...0 against woodwork
Shooting (Club) - League only
Yeovil.........90 on target...96 off target...4 against w'work
Wycombe....76 on target...81 off target...4 against w'work
Yeovil - Edward Upson...8
Wycombe - Joel Grant....3
Form Guide (All comps)
Yeovil..........Pld: 25...W: 12...D: 1...L: 12
Wycombe.....Pld: 23...W: 7....D: 4...L: 12
Last Five Games
Last Five Home Games
Last Five Away Games
Since Wycombe joined the Football League there have been 5 wins for the Glovers, 0 for the Blues and 1 draw.
2004/05 Lg2: Wycombe 0 Yeovil 1
2004/05 Lg2: Yeovil 1 Wycombe 1
2009/10 Lg1: Yeovil 4 Wycombe 0
2009/10 Lg1: Wycombe 1 Yeovil 4
2011/12 Lg1: Yeovil 1 Wycombe 0
2011/12 Lg1: Wycombe 2 Yeovil 3
The Man In The Middle
Tuesday's referee is Gavin Ward from Surrey who was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2007. His eight previous Wycombe games have produced 3 wins for the Blues, 3 defeats and 2 draws. Earlier this season he took charge of the 1-1 draw with Plymouth Argyle at Adams Park. During the current campaign he's issued 4 red and 61 yellow cards in 17 appearances.
Benny: Yeovil 1 Wycombe 0
Len: Yeovil 2 Wycombe 0