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Preview: Torquay United v Wycombe Wanderers


Wycombe Wanderers suffered a third successive defeat after letting slip a half-time lead to lose 2-1 to Southend United at Adams Park last weekend.

Gareth Ainsworth made two changes to the side which had lost narrowly at Bristol Rovers the previous weekend with midfielder Matt Spring handed his first start in almost two months. That saw loan defender Michael Harriman revert to right-back with with defender Marvin McCoy dropping back to the bench. If there was any element of surprise to that change there was none to the return of striker Dean Morgan, who came back into the side for striker Jo Kuffour, who joined McCoy on the bench.

There were a number of positives to take from the performance which was worthy of more than a 2-1 defeat. Morgan marked his return with a well-taken goal after seven minutes, with the finish matching a well-worked passing move that included Sam Wood and Matt McClure. Both of those players were culpable in not taking the chances that ought to have led to the Blues collecting all three points. McClure was a little unlucky to see one shot smash defender Luke Prosser square in the face whilst having another effort well saved by visiting goalkeeper Paul Smith. Wood however has no one but himself to blame after failing to even hit the target with a gilt-edged chance with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Ainsworth made reference in his post match comments to the media that whilst the side showed plenty of promise in attack, they failed to do the defensive side of the game properly, with both goals coming as a result of poor defending, firstly from a corner and then from a counter attack down the left. There will again be frustration that the team doesn't appear to be capable of holding out for at least a draw when they can't win the game. Three defeats on the bounce end any hopes of the play-offs and the side has slipped to 15th in the League Two table, nine points above the relegation zone.

Wycombe Wanderers will be making just their sixth trip to the English Riviera to face the Gulls this week. Four of the previous five have come in the league, with the Blues having failed to win any of them. The first meeting came back in December 1993 in our inaugural Football League campaign. Over 850 fans made the trip two days after Christmas but they watched a physical battle with the hosts having much the better of it. Paul Hyde was in top form but he couldn't keep out midfielder Paul Trollope's shot which came through a crowd of players after 28 minutes. Matt Crossley then had to come off with a knee injury but a point was rescued with just seven minutes remaining when Terry Evans registered the visitors' only effort on target with a header in off the far post from Dave Carroll's free-kick to steal a 1-1 draw.

There would be almost nine years before the sides met again, this time in a Football League Trophy tie in October 2002. 69 nutters made the journey this time and they were rewarded with a hat-trick from Sean Devine and another from Mark Rogers as the Chairboys romped to a 4-0 victory over their lower league hosts. There was a very entertaining clash on Boxing Day 2005 as John Gorman's side fought back from 2-0 down to claim a point in a 2-2 draw. Morike Sako headed the hosts ahead after just 13 minutes before Tony Bedeau fired low shot past Frank Talia and into the bottom corner on the half hour. Kevin Betsy halved the deficit on 71 minutes when he was put through by Tommy Mooney before rounding home goalkeeper Andy Marriott. Alex Lawless then put through his own net under pressure from Charlie Griffin with just four minutes remaining to rescue a point.

The meeting in March 2007 is one best forgotten as Paul Lambert's side put in an abject display as their post-League Cup semi-final hangover continued. Lloyd Kerry put the home side ahead after twenty minutes and Marvin Williams doubled their lead five minutes before the break. Defender Chris Robertson completed the scoring with a third goal on 76 minutes as the Gulls cruised to a 3-0 victory. The last clash between the two sides came on Good Friday 2011 with both pushing for promotion from League Two. Paul Buckle's side dominated the game from start to finish but they were unable to find a goal. Gary Waddock's defensive tactics worked as they survived several scares, with the woodwork twice coming to their rescue, to escape with a goal-less draw.

Gareth Ainsworth has hinted he will make changes against the Gulls in midweek and it seems certain that midfielder Josh Scowen will resume his partnership with Stuart Lewis after serving a two match ban. Loan winger Bruno Andrade came on as a late substitute after recovering from an ankle ligament injury and he could be in line for a starting role in midweek. There are various options open to the manager, with Leon Johnson possibly making a return, Sam Wood reverting to left back to allow Joel Grant to play on the left wing, Matt Spring keeping his place in a three-man midfield and perhaps even a start for Ainsworth himself. The poor surface at Plainmoor may also come into his thinking after making reference to the Adams Park pitch at the weekend.

Defender Gary Doherty is back in full training after recovering from surgery on his back but it remains to be seen when he will return to the squad. 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...

Bruno Andrade (Winger) - available (returned as a late substitute last weekend after recovering from an ankle ligament injury)

Josh Scowen (Midfielder) - available (has now served a two game suspension)

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

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

Michael Harriman - Anthony Stewart - Dave Winfield - Sam Wood

Bruno Andrade - Josh Scowen - Stuart Lewis - Joel Grant

Dean Morgan - Matt McClure

Subs: Lee Harrison, Marvin McCoy, Charles Dunne, Leon Johnson, Gareth Ainsworth, Matt Spring, Jo Kuffour


Torquay United are in the midst of a downward spiral after losing their last half-a-dozen league games on the bounce. Manager Martin Ling has been signed off sick for the last three weeks with what sounds like a very worrying illness and ex-Bury and Scunthorpe United manager Alan Knill has been appointed as interim manager for the rest of the season. His first game in charge saw the Gulls beaten 1-0 by second placed Port Vale at Plainmoor last weekend and they have slipped to 19th place in the League Two table, four points above the relegation zone.

Knill may have to make changes against the Chairboys with central defender Aaron Downes forced to come off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury. His replacement, Angus MacDonald also picked up a knock and struggled to make it through the ninety minutes. That could see centre back Tom Cruise come into the starting line-up in midweek. Four more players are doubtful with right-back Joe Oastler struggling with an ankle injury, midfielder Nathan Craig suffering from a calf strain, midfielder Ian Morris having only just returned after six months out with a ruptured Achilles tendon and winger Saul Halpin also struggling with an ankle problem.

There is only one former Chairboy currently in the Torquay squad and that is High Wycombe born striker Elliot Benyon. He made his first start for the Gulls at the weekend after joining on a month's loan from Southend United and is likely to keep his place alongside Rene Howe in attack.

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

Michael Poke

Daniel Leadbitter - Brian Saah - Tom Cruise - Kevin Nicholson

Ryan Jarvis - Craig Easton - Lee Mansell - Billy Bodin

Elliot Benyon - Rene Howe

Subs: Martin Rice, Angus MacDonald, Damon Lathrope, Danny Stevens, Niall Thompson, Lloyd Macklin, Ashley Yeoman


Here are all the stats...


The league table currently shows Wycombe in 15th place with 42 points and Torquay in 19th spot with 37 points, both sides having played 33 games.


Torquay Home Record.....W 6 - D 5 - L 5 - Pts 23...Ppg 1.44 (Rank-12)

Wycombe Away Record...W 6 - D 2 - L 8 - Pts 20...Ppg 1.25 (Rank-8)


Torquay's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: Fleetwood (H)............Lost 0-1

Lg2: Rotherham (H)...........Lost 1-3

Lg2: Rochdale (A)..............Lost 0-1

Lg2: Aldershot (A).............Lost 0-1

Lg2: Port Vale (H)..............Lost 0-1


Wycombe's last five results (All Competitions)

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

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


Torquay Goal Stats (36 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 37...Cups: 2...Total: 39

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 42...Cups: 7...Total: 49

Goals Scored (Home).........Lg: 25...Cups: 2...Total: 27

Goals Conceded (Home).....Lg: 25...Cups: 7...Total: 32

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 7.....Cups: 0...Total: 7

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


Wycombe Goal Stats (37 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 39...Cups: 4...Total: 43

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 46...Cups: 8...Total: 54

Goals Scored (Away).........Lg: 18...Cups: 4...Total: 22

Goals Conceded (Away).....Lg: 27...Cups: 8...Total: 35

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

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


Torquay's Top Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Rene Howe...........14

Ryan Jarvis............6

Billy Bodin.............4

Aaron Downes.......4

Danny Stevens......3

One other player has 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............8

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


Torquay Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Billy Bodin........31 on-target...44 off-target...1 against woodwork

Rene Howe.......31 on-target...27 off-target...2 against woodwork

Lee Mansell.......18 on-target...18 off-target...0 against woodwork


Wycombe Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Dean Morgan......27 on-target...26 off-target...6 against woodwork

Joel Grant...........20 on-target...24 off-target...0 against woodwork

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


Shooting (Club) - League only

Torquay.....155 on target...173 off target...6 against w'work (Rank-16)

Wycombe...133 on target...150 off target...9 against w'work (Rank-21)


Most Assists

Torquay - Kevin Nicholson........8

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


Discipline - All Comps

Torquay.........3 Red Cards - 40 Yellow Cards

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


League Form Guide

All Season


Torquay.....Pld: 33...W: 9.....D: 10...L: 14...Pts: 37...Pts per game: 1.12

Wycombe...Pld: 33...W: 12...D: 6.....L: 15...Pts: 42...Pts per game: 1.27


First-half of the season

Torquay.......Pld: 23...W: 8...D: 9...L: 6......Pts: 33...Pts per game: 1.43

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


Second-half of the season

Torquay........Pld: 10...W: 1...D: 1...L: 8...Pts: 4......Pts per game: 0.40

Wycombe......Pld: 10...W: 5...D: 1...L: 4...Pts: 16....Pts per game: 1.60


Last Five league Games

Torquay.........LLLLLL - 0 points (Rank-24)

Wycombe......WWLLL - 6 points (Rank-14)


Last Five League Games (Home)

Torquay..........LDLLL - 1 point (Rank-24)


Last Five League Games (Away)

Wycombe.....LWDWL - 7 points (Rank-13)


Against Top Half Opposition

Torquay........Pld: 18...Pts: 16...Pts per game: 0.89...(Rank-20)

Wycombe......Pld: 17...Pts: 17...Pts per game: 1.00...(Rank-17)


Against Bottom Half Opposition

Torquay........Pld: 15...Pts: 21...Pts per game: 1.40...(Rank-20)

Wycombe......Pld: 16...Pts: 25...Pts per game: 1.56...(Rank-12)


First 45 mins v Second 45 mins - Performance Comparison

First-Half


Torquay.......W: 12...D: 12...L: 9.....'Pts: 48' (Rank-5)

Wycombe.....W: 12...D: 10...L: 11...'Pts: 46' (Rank-7)


Second-Half

Torquay........W: 6...D: 17...L: 10...'Pts: 35' (Rank-20)

Wycombe......W: 8...D: 12...L: 13...'Pts: 36' (Rank-18)


League Goals scored in First-Half

Torquay..........16 (43%) (Rank-19)

Wycombe........22 (56%) (Rank-4)


League Goals scored in Second-Half

Torquay..........21 (57%) (Rank-15)

Wycombe........17 (44%) (Rank-22)


League Goals conceded in First-Half

Torquay..........17 (40%) (Rank-7)

Wycombe........20 (43%) (Rank-13)


League Goals conceded in Second-Half

Torquay..........25 (60%) (Rank-12)

Wycombe........26 (57%) (Rank-15)


Record when scoring the first goal

Torquay scored first.....12 times (W:6 - D:5 - L:1)...Ppg: 1.92 (Rank-23)

Wycombe scored frst....17 times (W:10 - D:4 - L:3) Ppg: 2.00 (Rank-19)


Record when conceding the first goal

Torq'y conceded first....18 times (W:3 - D:2 - L:13) Ppg: 0.61 (Rank-7)

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


Previous Meetings

In 10 previous meetings there have been 3 wins for Torquay, 3 for Wycombe and 4 draws.

At Plainmoor the tally is 1 win for the Gulls, 1 for the Blues and 3 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

2012/13 LG2: Wycombe 2 Torquay 1


The Man In The Middle

Tuesday's referee is Iain Williamson from Berkshire who was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2002. Earlier this season he took charge of Wycombe's 0-0 draw at home to Barnet. During the current campaign he's issued 2 red and 73 yellow cards in 21 appearances.


Predictions

Benny: Torquay 0 Wycombe 0

Len: Torquay 1 Wycombe 1




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The Journalist

Writer: Benny & Len Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday February 25 2013

Time: 2:26PM

 

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