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Preview: Wycombe Wanderers v Southend United


Wycombe Wanderers fell to a second successive league defeat last weekend after narrowly losing 1-0 to Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium.

Gareth Ainsworth made two changes to the side which had been well beaten at home by Bradford City in midweek with defender Marvin McCoy recalled at right-back. He replaced midfielder Josh Scowen who was serving the first of a two match ban after collecting ten bookings this season. Loanee Michael Harriman was switched forward into the middle of the park. Whilst that change was expected, the second came as a surprise to many with striker Dean Morgan dropping to the bench and striker Jo Kuffour recalled to face one of his former clubs. There was also a return to the bench for striker Dennis Oli.

The game won't live long in the memory with both sides struggling to create chances and the ball spending much of the time in the middle third of the pitch. There was a distinct lack of a cutting edge from the visitors whilst the hosts looked little better. They did however grab the only goal of the game ten minutes before half-time courtesy of striker Ryan Brunt and it proved to be enough to send the Blues to another defeat. They drop two places to 14th in the League Two table and couldn't be much more mid-table; sitting ten points clear of the relegation zone and ten points behind the play-off places.

After something of a traumatic 125th anniversary season, many will be grateful for a mid-table finish and Ainsworth is quick to remind anyone who dares mention the play-offs that his brief when handed the job was to safeguard the club's Football League status. Since his appointment on a permanent basis in November the Wanderers have won nine, lost six and drawn two, collecting 29 points from a possible 51. Three more wins will give the Chairboys 51 points and that should be enough to ensure a 21st season in the Football League. Ainsworth will be hoping to record the first of those wins this weekend when they host Southend United at Adams Park, although with Trevor Kettle in charge the game is likely to be reduced to a farce!

The Shrimpers make their seventh trip to the Chair Metropolis this weekend and things couldn't be more even over the last half-a-dozen meetings with two draws and two wins for each side. The first two meetings came back in the Southern League Second Division with goals from Widdy Busby and Roberts earning a 2-2 draw at Loakes Park three days before Christmas 1906! The second meeting came on a Tuesday afternoon in April 1907 and a recorded crowd of just 40 saw the visitors win 4-1 with Fred Pheby scoring for the hosts.

The two sides wouldn't meet again for more than 90 years. Southend United made their first visit to Adams Park on a Tuesday evening in September 1997 for a second division fixture, and the Blues, then managed by John Gregory, took the lead after just ten minutes when Mark Stallard slotted home Alan Beeton's left-wing cross. Three minutes before half-time goalkeeper Martin Taylor made a real hash of a cross and Jerome Boere pounced to bundle the ball home from close-range. The home side immediately raced back up the other end to restore their lead when John Cornforth volleyed home Stallard's left-wing cross at the far post. Paul Read made it 3-1 on the hour when he tapped home from six yards and Stallard completed the scoring in the 90th minute when he turned home Steve McGavin's right-wing cross.

More than five years passed before acquaintances were renewed on Boxing Day 2004. The game was played in near farcical conditions after the undersoil heating failed to come on the previous evening. The pitch was clearly still frozen and spoiled what could have been a decent game of football. It was the visitors who had the better of the first half and took the lead through Freddy Eastwood's clinical finish after 17 minutes. The Wanderers dominated the second-half and should have equalised on the hour mark when Ian Stonebridge's header was cleared off the line and Mike Williamson's header from the rebound crashed back off the post. The game marked Keith Ryan's 500th appearance for the club but it ended in a disappointing 1-0 defeat.

It would be almost five more years before the sides met again, this time on a Tuesday evening in August 2009. The Blues were now under Peter Taylor's guidance and were looking for their first point after promotion back to League One. Matt Harrold gave the hosts the lead five minutes before the break when he headed Matt Phillips' right-wing corner past visiting goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall. The Shrimpers fought back to level in first half injury time when striker Jean Francois-Christophe headed past Scott Shearer from Simon Francis' left-wing cross and the game ended all-square at 1-1.

The most memorable clash came in May 2011 with the Chairboys needing three points to secure an immediate promotion back to League One. Gary Waddock's side endured a nervy start during which ex-Wanderer Anthony Grant fired the visitors ahead. The goal actually worked in the home side's favour as they fought back to level within five minutes through Scott Donnelly's close-range finish. Five minutes later Ben Strevens put the Blues ahead when he fired past visiting goalkeeper Glenn Morris from twelve yards. The vast majority of an 8,567 crowd inside Adams Park were celebrating again eight minutes into the second half when Scott Rendell tucked the ball home to seal a 3-1 victory, the final whistle sparking joyful scenes of celebration.

Player boss Gareth Ainsworth will again be without Josh Scowen who serves the second of a two game suspension but there is good news with loan winger Bruno Andrade given the all-clear after recovering from an ankle ligament injury. Striker Matt McClure is also available after recovering a toe injury suffered towards the end of the defeat at Bristol Rovers last time out. Midfielder Jesse Kewley-Graham will be hoping to make the squad after returning from a five-week loan at Havant and Waterlooville.

Defender Gary Doherty is back in full training after recovering from surgery on his back and has an outside chance of making the bench. A trio of players remain in the treatment room and are unlikely to play again this season. Midfielder Matt Bloomfield is still struggling with a pelvic shear which is preventing him from training whilst defender Danny Foster is recovering from a second operation on his knee. Full-back Grant Basey continues his rehabilitation following surgery on his anterior cruciate ligaments.

Here's the current list of player availability...

Matt McClure (Attacker) - available (set to return to training after recovering from a toe injury picked up last weekend)

Bruno Andrade (Winger) - available (given the all clear after recovering from an ankle ligament injury)

Gary Doherty (Centre Back) - doubtful (returned to training the week before last after recovering from back surgery)

Josh Scowen (Midfielder) - suspended (serves the second of a two match ban after collecting ten bookings this season)

Matt Bloomfield (Midfielder) - ruled out with a groin injury (no timescale given for a return to first team action)

Danny Foster (Right Back) - ruled out with a knee injury (undergone a second operation and is unlikely to play again this season)

Grant Basey (Left Back) - ruled out with an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury (continues his rehabilitation following surgery and won't play again this season)

The Chairboys starting eleven may look something like this (4-4-2):

Jordan Archer

Marvin McCoy - Anthony Stewart - Dave Winfield - Charles Dunne

Joel Grant - Michael Harriman - Stuart Lewis - Sam Wood

Dean Morgan - Matt McClure

Subs: Lee Harrison, Kortney Hause, Leon Johnson, Gareth Ainsworth, Jesse Kewley-Graham, Matt Spring, Jo Kuffour


Southend United will make the journey around the M25 on the crest of a wave after reaching the final of Football League Trophy. They twice fought back to equalise and claim a 2-2 draw in the second leg of the Southern Area final with Leyton Orient at Roots Hall on Wednesday evening. They had won the first leg 1-0 at Brisbane Road to record a 3-2 aggregate win and will make the short trip to Wembley to face League One Crewe Alexandra in April.

There is an affinity between ourselves and Southend due to a mutual dislike of their inferior Essex neighbours Col U, and Vital Wycombe would like to congratulate the Shrimpers on making it to Wembley.

They have won just two of their last eight league games however and have slipped to 9th place in the table. They are five points above the Blues and five points off the play-off places. Manager Paul Sturrock is likely to make changes this weekend with midfielder Michael Spillane available again after being cup-tied in midweek. Defender Ryan Cresswell is also available after completing a three match ban. Defenders Chris Barker and Mark Phillips both returned to the side in midweek after recovering from calf and toe injuries but midfielder Alex Woodyard is a doubt after being substituted during the first half of their FLT draw in midweek after picking up a knock.

Southend United have a host of players ruled-out through injury. Midfielder Marc Laird faces another three weeks out with a hamstring injury whilst loan striker Caolan Lavery has returned to parent club Sheffield Wednesday for treatment after being ruled out for between six to eight weeks with a hamstring injury of his own. Leading scorer Gavin Tomlin remains sidelined with a thigh problem whilst midfielder Michael Timlin will miss the rest of the season after breaking his leg.

Drama Queen Bilel Mohsni was shown a straight red card just 27 minutes into his first appearance of the season for the Shrimpers last weekend and serves the second of a three game suspension. Former Chairboys loanee Anthony Straker could line-up at left-back for the visitors but striker Elliot Benyon will have to wait until Tuesday evening to face the Wanderers as he is currently on a month's loan at Torquay United.

Southend United could line up like this: (4-4-2):

Paul Smith

Sean Clohessy - Luke Prosser - Ryan Cresswell - Anthony Straker

Kevan Hurst - Matthew Lund - Matthew Spillane - Ryan Leonard

Barry Corr - Britt Assombalonga

Subs: Daniel Bentley, Chris Barker, Mark Phillips, Ben Reeves, Danny Mayor, Freddy Eastwood, Neil Harris


Here are all the stats...


The league table currently shows Wycombe in 14th place with 42 points and Southend in 9th spot with 47 points, both sides having played 32 games.


Southend Away Record....W 7 - D 4 - L 5 - Pts 25...Ppg 1.56 (Rank-6)

Wycombe Home Record...W 6 - D 4 - L 6 - Pts 22...Ppg 1.38 (Rank-15)


Southend's last five results (All Competitions)

JPT: Orient (A).................Won 1-0

Lg2: Accrington (A)..........Drew 1-1

Lg2: Cheltenham (H).........Lost 1-2

Lg2: Northampton (H)........Lost 1-2

JPT: Orient (H)................Drew 2-2


Wycombe's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: Dagenham (H)...........Won 1-0

Lg2: Gillingham (A)............Won 1-0

Lg2: York City (H)..............Won 4-0

Lg2: Bradford (H)...............Lost 0-3

Lg2: Bristol Rovers (A)........Lost 0-1


Southend Goal Stats (44 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 46...Cups: 20...Total: 66

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 34...Cups: 17...Total: 51

Goals Scored (Away).........Lg: 26...Cups: 6.....Total: 32

Goals Conceded (Away).....Lg: 18...Cups: 10...Total: 28

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 10...Cups: 3.....Total: 13

Failed to score...................Lg: 11...Cups: 1.....Total: 12


Wycombe Goal Stats (36 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 38...Cups: 4...Total: 42

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 44...Cups: 8...Total: 52

Goals Scored (Home).........Lg: 20...Cups: 0...Total: 20

Goals Conceded (Home).....Lg: 17...Cups: 0...Total: 17

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 10...Cups: 0...Total: 10

Failed to score...................Lg: 10...Cups: 2...Total: 12


Southend's Top Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Gavin Tomlin............15

Britt Assombalonga...12

Barry Corr.................9

Ryan Cresswell..........8

Kevan Hurst...............5

Freddie Eastwood.......3

Four other players have each scored 2 goals.

Five other players have each scored 1 goal


Wycombe's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Matt McClure............9

Joel Grant................8

Dean Morgan............7

Gareth Ainsworth......2

Bruno Andrade.........2

Jo Kuffour................2

Dave Winfield...........2

Sam Wood...............2

OG..........................2

Stuart Beavon..........1

Matt Bloomfield.........1

Gary Doherty...........1

Kortney Hause.........1

Josh Scowen............1

Matt Spring..............1


Southend Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Assombalonga....42 on-target...43 off-target...1 against woodwork

Gavin Tomlin......43 on-target...39 off-target...3 against woodwork

Kevan Hurst.......26 on-target...31 off-target...1 against woodwork


Wycombe Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Dean Morgan......26 on-target...22 off-target...6 against woodwork

Joel Grant...........20 on-target...23 off-target...0 against woodwork

Matt McClure.......16 on-target...17 off-target...1 against woodwork


Shooting (Club) - League only

Southend...169 on target...194 off target...6 against w'work (Rank-8)

Wycombe...132 on target...140 off target...9 against w'work (Rank-21)


Most Assists

Southend - Kevan Hurst.........16

Wycombe - Josh Scowen..........5


Discipline - All Comps

Southend.......5 Red Cards - 44 Yellow Cards

Wycombe.......5 Red Cards - 58 Yellow Cards


League Form Guide

All Season


Southend....Pld: 32...W: 13...D: 8...L: 11....Pts: 47...Pts per game: 1.47

Wycombe....Pld: 32...W: 12...D: 6...L: 14....Pts: 42...Pts per game: 1.31


First-half of the season

Southend.....Pld: 23...W: 10...D: 7...L: 6.....Pts: 37...Pts per game: 1.61

Wycombe.....Pld: 23...W: 7....D: 5...L: 11....Pts: 26...Pts per game: 1.13


Second-half of the season

Southend......Pld: 9...W: 3...D: 1...L: 5...Pts: 10....Pts per game: 1.11

Wycombe......Pld: 9...W: 5...D: 1...L: 3...Pts: 16....Pts per game: 1.78


Last Five league Games

Southend.......WWDLL - 7 points (Rank-14)

Wycombe......WWWLL - 9 points (Rank-6)


Last Five League Games (Away)

Southend.......WLLWD - 7 points (Rank-10)


Last Five League Games (Home)

Wycombe......LWWWL - 9 points (Rank-6)


Against Top Half Opposition

Southend......Pld: 17...Pts: 19...Pts per game: 1.12...(Rank-13)

Wycombe......Pld: 16...Pts: 17...Pts per game: 1.06...(Rank-14)


Against Bottom Half Opposition

Southend......Pld: 15...Pts: 28...Pts per game: 1.87...(Rank-5)

Wycombe......Pld: 16...Pts: 25...Pts per game: 1.56...(Rank-16)


First 45 mins v Second 45 mins - Performance Comparison

First-Half


Southend.....W: 6.....D: 18...L: 8.....'Pts: 36' (Rank-19)

Wycombe.....W: 11...D: 10...L: 11...'Pts: 43' (Rank-11)


Second-Half

Southend......W: 12...D: 15...L: 5.....'Pts: 51' (Rank-4)

Wycombe......W: 8.....D: 12...L: 12...'Pts: 36' (Rank-18)


League Goals scored in First-Half

Southend........12 (26%) (Rank-22)

Wycombe........21 (55%) (Rank-5)


League Goals scored in Second-Half

Southend........34 (74%) (Rank-3)

Wycombe........17 (45%) (Rank-21)


League Goals conceded in First-Half

Southend........13 (38%) (Rank-4)

Wycombe........20 (45%) (Rank-14)


League Goals conceded in Second-Half

Southend........21 (62%) (Rank-6)

Wycombe........24 (55%) (Rank-13)


Record when scoring the first goal

Southend scored first...10 times (W:9 - D:1 - L:0).. Ppg: 2.80 (Rank-1)

Wycombe scored frst....16 times (W:10 - D:4 - L:2) Ppg: 2.13 (Rank-16)


Record when conceding the first goal

S'thend conceded first..19 times (W:4 - D:4 - L:11) Ppg: 0.84 (Rank-5)

Wyc'be conceded first...14 times (W:2 - D:0 - L:12) Ppg: 0.43 (Rank-15)


Previous Meetings

In 10 previous meetings (since joining the Football League), there have been 5 wins for Wycombe, 3 for Southend and 2 draws.

At Adams Park the tally is 2 wins for the Blues, 1 for the Shrimpers and 1 draw.

1997/98 Lg1: Wycombe 4 Southend 1

2004/05 Lg2: Wycombe 0 Southend 1

2009/10 Lg1: Wycombe 1 Southend 1

2010/11 Lg2: Wycombe 3 Southend 1


The Man In The Middle

Saturday's referee is Trevor Kettle from Berkshire who was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2003. Last season he took charge of Wycombe's 3-2 defeat at home to Yeovil and their 4-0 drubbing at Chesterfield. During the current campaign he's issued 5 red and 106 yellow cards in 27 appearances.


Predictions

Benny: Wycombe 2 Southend 1

Len: Wycombe 1 Southend 1




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The Journalist

Writer: Benny & Len Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday February 21 2013

Time: 12:57AM

 

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