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Preview: Oxford United v Wycombe Wanderers


Wycombe Wanderers bounced back from the disappointment of a last-gasp defeat to Accrington Stanley at Adams Park on Good Friday with a 1-0 victory over Morecambe at the Globe Arena on Easter Monday.

Only the 158 Chairboys (and girls) who made the trip to Morecambe Bay can say whether the performance was an improvement on that of three days previously but a rare goal from midfielder Stuart Lewis on 55 minutes was enough to give the visitors all three points. Shrimps' boss Jim Bentley certainly wasn`t impressed with his side's showing, describing it as the worse in his almost two years in charge.

Performances are far less important than results as this stage of the season and the three points won should be enough to ensure the Chairboys` Football League status for another season. The record points tally for a relegated side in the fourth tier of English football is 49 since the antiquated election system was done away with in 1986. How delightful that Oxford United were the unlucky ones to fall through the trap door with such a figure.

Oxford United are next up for the Chairboys (and girls) in what is sometimes dubbed the M40 derby. It is a suitably naff description for a rivalry which mostly consists of both sets of fans pleading apathy about the other, usually with the usual goading and insults involved in your average derby. We hate Col U (oh yes we do!) and they hate Swindon Town.

Gareth Ainsworth may well be tempted to continue with his 4-5-1 formation which seemed to be effective last time out. His hand was forced as striker Matt McClure`s growing pains continuing with a hamstring strain. That saw Jo Kuffour played as a lone striker with Matt Spring joining Josh Scowen and Lewis in a midfield triumvirate. Defenders Charles Dunne and Dave Winfield were also recalled whilst goalkeeper Matt Ingram claimed his first clean sheet in what will hopefully be a long and distinguished Wanderers career.

Most people would have thought 52 points would be enough to relax and enjoy the last month of an extremely testing 125th anniversary campaign. Yet with second bottom Aldershot Town just seven points behind the Blues, and still to come to Adams Park there will still be a nervousness until the mathematics start to look a little less dramatic.

Wycombe Wanderers will be making be making their eleventh visit to the University City, from whence one of our two blues come. The record in the previous ten meetings is even-stevens with three wins a piece and four draws. The first two encounters came way back in October 1951 and 1952 when the U`s were known as Headington United. Both were F.A. Cup ties played at the Manor Ground and both ended in defeat for the Blues.

The first finished 3-2 with Butler and Applegarth scoring for the visitors however the tie was awarded to the Chairboys after the home side had fielded an ineligible player. 9,900 saw the third qualifying round tie a year later and the U`s romped to a 6-2 victory with goals from Tomlin and Butler proving to be little consolation.

It would be another 43 years before the sides clashed again, this time in the third tier of English football. Whilst Oxford were still having wet dreams over their Milk Cup glory of 86, the Wanderers had enjoyed three Wembley triumphs in the space of four years and were now battling it out at the top of the table.

As was so often the case, Martin O`Neill`s men put in a sensational performance as they stopped the home side from playing with intelligent, disciplined and determined football. A counter attack on the half hour saw Simon Garner play a sublime pass down the line for Mickey Bell and his low cross was touched into the net via the foot of the far post by Keith Ryan.

Garner then added a second on the hour as he won and then smashed home a quickly taken free-kick into the bottom corner of the net. It was enough to record a 2-0 victory and took the team to second place, still to this day the highest ever position the club has held. Ten months later things were very different with O`Neill having moved onto Norwich City and Alan Smith at the helm.

His one full season in charge was memorable for some dreadful performances but they were occasional interspersed with some fine displays, none more so than at the Manor Ground in October 1995. Dave Farrell scored direct from a corner before he swung another one over for Terry Howard to head home. Miguel De Souza then headed into the top corner to give the Blues a 3-0 half-time lead. Oh for a repeat this time around!

The home side did pull one back after the break but Steve McGavin scored from the spot to wrap up a handsome 4-1 victory. There followed a gap of almost four years before the sides would meet again and on a balmy early September in 1999 the 30 degree heat saw the sides share the spoils in a goal-less draw. There was a 1-1 draw in the Football League Trophy in January 2000 with Jermaine McSporran leveling just before the break. Sadly Andy Baird`s miss in the penalty shoot-out saw the U`s win 5-3.

If there`s one thing that can make standing in pouring rain for 90 minutes seem like a pleasure it is a last minute winner. In February 2001 United were rooted to the bottom of the third division and heading for relegation. Mark Rogers headed home to level midway through the first half and there were just seconds remaining when Keith Ryan hooked the ball home from close range to snatch a wonderful 2-1 win.

That was the last ever meeting at the sadly missed Manor Ground as Firoz Kassam condemned United to years of woe in their new three sided home at Blackbird Leys. Sadly our three visits there have been pretty woeful too, none more so than New Years Day 2005. John Gorman had only been in the job a month since Tony Adams resignation whilst the home side were under the guidance of obscure Argentine manager Ramón Díaz.

The visitors looked ridiculous with yellow shorts and socks worn with the quarters and the game followed suit. Jamie Brooks put the hosts` ahead midway through the first half but were soon reduced to ten men when Chris Hackett was sent-off for lashing out at Tony Craig. It was one-way traffic in the wind and rain after the break but with five minutes the U`s scored a preposterous second goal when Lee Molyneaux`s 40-yard free-kick deflected off Steve Basham to fly past Frank Talia and into the net.

Yet the comedy continued as the Blues immediately hit the post in a goalmouth scramble and then pulled one back in the final minutes when Danny Senda scored from the spot after being tripped in the box. Two minutes into injury-time Craig Faulconbridge met Steve Guppy`s teasing right-wing corner to head into the net only for referee Mr Cowburn to rule it out for a foul.

Hostilities were renewed in August 2005 and the Chairboys appeared to be heading for defeat as they trailed 1-0 with twenty minutes left on the clock. Wing wizard Kevin Betsy had other ideas however when he weaved into the box before crossing low and Nathan Tyson thumped the ball home after Roger Johnson`s effort had been saved.

With five minutes remaining Betsy again tricked his way to the by-line before pulling the ball back for Tyson to lash home from six yards. The U`s equalised within two minutes however with the stench of inevitability hanging strongly in the air. A needless free-kick was conceded and Danny Morgan was left completely unmarked to head home from six yards as the visitors threw away two points.

The season ended in relegation for Oxford United and they had to endure four seasons losing to the likes of Tonbridge Angels and Histon whilst the Wanderers were holding Champions Chelsea in the League Cup semi-finals. It would be almost six years before the sides met again at the Kassam in April 2011. The U`s were comfortably mid-table but Gary Waddock`s men were pushing promotion back to League One.

Alfie Potter fired the hosts ahead after 34 minutes and his cross was then turned into his own net by Dave Winfield eight minutes into the second half. Scott Donnelly immediately replaced Marvin McCoy in a tactical switch and within eight minutes Andy Sandell`s left-wing cross was headed home by Scott Rendell. Three minutes later Betsy`s cross was controlled by Jon-Paul Pittman before he lashed the ball into the bottom corner of the net. The game ended in a 2-2 draw.

Wycombe Wanderers have two injury doubts ahead of the weekend with strikers Dean Morgan and Matt McClure both struggling with hamstring strains. They will be assessed ahead of the game and if they don`t make it, it will again leave Ainsworth short in attack and likely to stick with same eleven men that won at Morecambe. Teenage winger Lee Angol has returned from his two-month loan spell at Hendon but is unlikely to make the squad.

A quartet of players have been ruled-out for the rest of the season. Defender Anthony Stewart has undergone surgery after fracturing his hand whilst midfielder Matt Bloomfield is still struggling with a pelvic shear which is preventing him from training. Defender Danny Foster is recovering from a second operation on his knee whilst full-back Grant Basey continues his rehabilitation following surgery on his anterior cruciate ligaments.

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

Dean Morgan (Attacker) - doubtful (has missed the last two games with a hamstring strain)

Matt McClure (Attacker) - doubtful (missed the win at Morecambe with a hamstring strain)

Anthony Stewart (Centre Back) - ruled-out with a hand injury (is recovering from surgery on a fractured hand and won't play again this season)

Matt Bloomfield (Midfielder) - ruled out with a groin injury (won't play again this season)

Danny Foster (Right Back) - ruled out with a knee injury (continues his rehabilitation following a second operation and won't 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 (4-5-1):

Matt Ingram

Michael Harriman - Dave Winfield - Gary Doherty - Charles Dunne

Joel Grant - Josh Scowen - Matt Spring - Stuart Lewis - Sam Wood

Jo Kuffour

Subs: Lee Harrison, Leon Johnson, Marvin McCoy, Gareth Ainsworth, Bruno Andrade, Junior Morais, Dennis Oli


Oxford United sit four points and three places ahead of the Wanderers in the League Two yet there are serious rumblings of discontent among many U`s fans at the third successive season of failure to challenge for a play-off place. Manager Chris Wilder has come out and said he has no intention of resigning and will be hoping his side can bounce back from their 3-2 defeat to bottom-of-the-table Aldershot Town on Easter Monday. They have won just two of their last nine home games.

Wilder can at least point to a lengthy injury-list in mitigation and he has suffered further blows with central defender Michael Raynes suspended after seeing red against the Shots. That could mean a recall for former Wanderer Michael Duberry. Winger Sean Rigg also picked up an ankle injury and looks likely to miss the last month of the season.

In addition to those absentees, the U`s will also be without goalkeeper Ryan Clarke (shoulder), defender Tony Capaldi (back), midfielders Lewis Montrose (hamstring) and Peter Leven (knee) and strikers Deane Smalley (hamstring) and Justin Richards (knee) . In addition to the aforementioned ex-Chairboys, midfielder Scott Davies and striker Jon-Paul Pittman, now fit again after four months out with a dislocated shoulder, are both set to start this weekend.

Oxford United`s starting line-up could look something like this: (4-4-2):

Luke McCormick

Damien Batt - Harry Worley - Jake Wright - Andrew Whing

Alfie Potter - Scott Davies - Simon Heslop - Liam Davis

James Constable - Jon-Paul Pittman

Subs: Max Crocombe, Alex Evans, Luke O`Brien, Michael Duberry, Josh Parker, Callum O`Dowda, Tom Craddock


A group of 14 Wycombe Wanderers supporters are walking the 23 miles to the Kassam Stadium, Oxford to raise funds for our club.

Dale Jenkins, Paul McCloud, Sue McCloud, Josh Salter, Rob Salter, Andy Tillman, Ben Hampstead, Toni Blake, Rena Perrin, John Bartlett, Will Schafer-Peek, David Roberton, David Howells and Russell Cox will all be setting off from Adams Park at midnight and are aiming to do the walk in approximately ten hours. Anyone wanting to join them would be made very welcome!

The original target of £1,500 has already been smashed with more than £2,500 already raised. Bucket collections will be held at the Oxford game and donations can also be made online by clicking here.

A cheque will be presented on the pitch at a home game before the end of the season and club photographer Paul Dennis will be on hand to take pictures.


Here are all the stats...


The league table currently shows Wycombe in 15th place with 52 points from 40 games, and Oxford in 12th spot with 56 points from 42 games.


Oxford Home Record.......W 8 - D 6 - L 7.....Pts 30..Ppg 1.43 (Rank-12)

Wycombe Away Record...W 8 - D 2 - L 10...Pts 26..Ppg 1.30 (Rank-7)


Oxford's last five results (All Competitions)

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

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

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

Lg2: Morecambe (H).........Drew 1-1

Lg2: Aldershot (A)..............Lost 2-3


Wycombe's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: Rochdale (A)...............Lost 1-4

Lg2: Rotherham (H)...........Drew 2-2

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

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

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


Oxford Goal Stats (52 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 53...Cups: 16...Total: 69

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 60...Cups: 15...Total: 75

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

Goals Conceded (Home).....Lg: 26...Cups: 6.....Total: 32

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 11...Cups: 4.....Total: 15

Failed to score...................Lg: 13...Cups: 3.....Total: 16


Wycombe Goal Stats (44 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 46...Cups: 4...Total: 50

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 55...Cups: 8...Total: 63

Goals Scored (Away).........Lg: 22...Cups: 4...Total: 26

Goals Conceded (Away).....Lg: 33...Cups: 8...Total: 41

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 12...Cups: 0...Total: 12

Failed to score...................Lg: 12...Cups: 2...Total: 14


Oxford's Top Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

James Constable.....12

Tom Craddock........12

Alfie Potter...............9

Sean Rigg................6

Peter Leven.............6

Deane Smalley........4

Jon-Paul Pittman......3

J Forster-Caskey......3

Three other players have each scored two goals.

Seven other players have each scored 1 goal


Wycombe's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Matt McClure...........10

Joel Grant................9

Dean Morgan............8

Sam Wood...............3

Gareth Ainsworth......2

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

Gary Doherty...........2

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

Stuart Lewis.............2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anthony Stewart......1


Oxford Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Sean Rigg..........45 on-target...43 off-target...3 against woodwork

J's Constable......38 on-target...41 off-target...2 against woodwork

Alfie Potter.........36 on-target...30 off-target...2 against woodwork


Wycombe Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Dean Morgan......28 on-target...31 off-target...6 against woodwork

Joel Grant...........22 on-target...25 off-target...0 against woodwork

Matt McClure.......19 on-target...22 off-target...1 against woodwork


Shooting (Club) - League only

Oxford........202 on target...209 off target...15 against w'work (Rank-15)

Wycombe....157 on target...176 off target....9 against w'work (Rank-22)


Most Assists

Oxford - Rigg & Constable......8

Wycombe - Josh Scowen........6


Discipline - All Comps

Oxford..........4 Red Cards - 69 Yellow Cards

Wycombe......5 Red Cards - 66 Yellow Cards


League Form Guide

All Season


Oxford.......Pld: 42...W: 16...D: 8...L: 18...Pts: 56...Pts per game: 1.33

Wycombe...Pld: 40...W: 15...D: 7...L: 18...Pts: 52...Pts per game: 1.30


First-third of the season (games 1-15)

Oxford........Pld: 15...W: 6...D: 1...L: 8...Pts: 19...Ppg: 1.27 (Rank-15)

Wycombe....Pld: 15...W: 3...D: 4...L: 8...Pts: 13...Ppg: 0.87 (Rank-22)


Second-third of the season (games 16-30)

Oxford........Pld: 15...W: 5...D: 5...L: 5...Pts: 20...Ppg: 1.33 (Rank-16)

Wycombe....Pld: 15...W: 9...D: 2...L: 4...Pts: 29...Ppg: 1.93 (Rank-2)


Final-third of the season (game 31 onwards)

Oxford........Pld: 12...W: 5...D: 2...L: 5...Pts: 17...Ppg: 1.42 (Rank-11)

Wycombe....Pld: 10...W: 3...D: 1...L: 6...Pts: 10...Ppg: 1.00 (Rank-21)


Last Five league Games

Oxford............WLLDL - 4 points (Rank-19)

Wycombe........LDLLW - 4 points (Rank-20)


Last Five League Games (Home)

Oxford...........WLWLD - 7 points (Rank-15)


Last Five League Games (Away)

Wycombe........LWLLW - 6 points (Rank-11)


Against Top Half Opposition

Oxford..........Pld: 22...Pts: 23...Pts per game: 1.05...(Rank-15)

Wycombe......Pld: 20...Pts: 20...Pts per game: 1.00...(Rank-17)


Against Bottom Half Opposition

Oxford..........Pld: 20...Pts: 33...Pts per game: 1.65...(Rank-9)

Wycombe......Pld: 20...Pts: 32...Pts per game: 1.60...(Rank-12)


First 45 mins v Second 45 mins - Performance Comparison

First-Half


Oxford...........W: 10...D: 19...L: 13...Ppg: 1.17 (Rank-17)

Wycombe.......W: 13...D: 14...L: 13...Ppg: 1.33 (Rank-10)


Second-Half

Oxford...........W: 11...D: 19...L: 12...Ppg: 1.24 (Rank-14)

Wycombe.......W: 11...D: 13...L: 16...Ppg: 1.15 (Rank-20)


League Goals scored in First-Half

Oxford...........22 (42%) (Rank-15)

Wycombe.......24 (52%) (Rank-8)


League Goals scored in Second-Half

Oxford...........31 (58%) (Rank-11)

Wycombe.......22 (48%) (Rank-22)


League Goals conceded in First-Half

Oxford...........25 (42%) (Rank-15)

Wycombe.......23 (42%) (Rank-9)


League Goals conceded in Second-Half

Oxford...........35 (58%) (Rank-19)

Wycombe.......32 (58%) (Rank-13)


Record when scoring the first goal

Oxford scored first.....20 times (W:15 - D:3 - L:2)...Ppg: 2.40 (Rank-10)

Wycombe scored frst..21 times (W:12 - D:5 - L:4)...Ppg: 1.95 (Rank-18)


Record when conceding the first goal

Oxf'd conceded first...19 times (W:1 - D:2 - L:16)...Ppg: 0.26 (Rank-21)

Wyc'be conceded first..17 times (W:3 - D:0 - L:14)..Ppg: 0.53 (Rank-13)


Previous Meetings

In 17 previous meetings there have been 7 wins for Wycombe, 4 for Oxford and 6 draws.

In Oxford the tally is 3 wins for the Chairboys, 1 for the Us and 4 draws.

1994/95 LG1: Oxford 0 Wycombe 2

1995/96 LG1: Oxford 1 Wycombe 4

1999/00 FLT: Oxford 0 Wycombe 0

1999/00 LG1: Oxford 1 Wycombe 1

2000/01 LG1: Oxford 1 Wycombe 2

2004/05 LG2: Oxford 2 Wycombe 1

2005/06 LG2: Oxford 2 Wycombe 2

2010/11 LG2: Oxford 2 Wycombe 2


The Man In The Middle

Saturday's referee is Graham Salisbury from Lancashire who was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2001. His most recent Wycombe game was a 2-1 win at Lincoln City in January 2011. During the current campaign he's issued 5 red and 118 yellow cards in 38 appearances.


Predictions

Benny: Oxford 4 Wycombe 1

Len: Oxford 1 Wycombe 2




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The Journalist

Writer: Benny & Len Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday April 4 2013

Time: 1:24PM

Your Comments

Good write up buddy. Just to point out Liam Davis is the regular left back. Andy Whing will partner Scott Davies in the middle. I'd suspect Craddock or Pittman will be down the left with the other through the middle. On the bench Alex Evans left the club 31st Aug 2012 so it will be another youth team player I suspect Sam Long
Tel Boy
ps best of luck with the walk hope the weather is kind for you guys
Tel Boy
 

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