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Preview: Wycombe Wanderers v Northampton Town


Wycombe Wanderers produced one of their best home performances of the season to beat bottom of the table Aldershot Town at Adams Park at the weekend.

The Chairboys were looking for a reaction after a midweek defeat at promotion chasers Burton Albion and they looked sharp and focused from the start with striker Matt McClure putting in his best display in a Wycombe shirt to date. The visitors missed a gilt-edged chance to take the lead when Jeff Goulding blazed over from close range before striker Dean Morgan saw his header bounce back off a post.

McClure was denied an opening goal by Terrell Forbes' goal-line clearance and somehow the first half ended without a goal. That was soon remedied just five minutes into the second half as McClure left his marker, Sonny Bradley, on the sodden turf before coolly slipping the ball past ex-Blues goalkeeper Jamie Young. Craig Stanley levelled for the Shots midway through the second half when he fired past Matt Ingram to find the bottom right hand corner from 22 yards.

It looked like the momentum had shifted but seven minutes later McClure conjured up the sweetest of through balls to put Joel Grant in on goal and he clipped it past Young and into the net. The hosts could have won by a greater margin and whilst it was a thoroughly deserved victory, it was the performance that tasted the sweetest, with the players showing exactly what they are capable of.

The win takes the Wanderers up to 58 points in the League Two table and makes certain that they will begin their 21st successive season in the Football League in 2013/14. With three games remaining the side will be looking to beat our worst ever finish in 2006/07 under current Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert, which was 12th place in League Two with 62 points.

Next up is a visit from Northampton Town, who are currently 6th in the table after their hopes of an automatic promotion place took a big blow following a 2-0 home defeat to York City last weekend. Memories will still be fresh from our visit to the Sixfields Stadium back in November which was our Football League nadir. The performance was far from the worst in the last twenty years but a 3-1 defeat saw the club hit the bottom of the League Two table for the first time ever. Of the 26 games played since that day the team has won 14, drawn three and lost nine (45 points from a possible 78).

The Cobblers will be making their dozenth visit to Adams Park at the weekend and both sides will be looking for a fourth victory having recorded a hat-tricks of wins; with the other five games ending in draws. The first meeting saw the shoe fetishists visit the Chair Metropolis in January 1994 as Martin O'Neill's men pushed for promotion from the third division. Steve Guppy's first half cross flew past everyone and into the far corner to seal a 1-0 victory. It was one of Steve Brown's last appearances for the Cobblers before joining the Blues for 70,000.

The teams didn't meet again for three and a half years and the goal-less draw in August 1997 won't live long in the memory, although the visitors' putrid vomit orange change kit certainly won't be forgotten in a hurry! The meeting in March 1999 was an unmitigated disaster as the Wanderers lost 2-1 in a relegation six-pointer under new boss Lawrie Sanchez. Sean Parrish gave the Cobblers a half-time lead and early in the second half Martin Taylor kept the home side in it when he saved Carlo Corazzin's penalty with his legs.

Brownie was then sent-off for a second bookable offence but the ten-men levelled shortly afterwards when Andy Baird scored a superb solo goal. A defensive calamity followed with just six minutes remaining when Jason Cousins' attempted back-pass was seized upon by Corazzin and he lifted the ball over Taylor to score. John Frain was sent-off in injury-time but the visitors claimed three vital points with a 2-1 victory. Wycombe did have the last laugh however as they completed mission impossible at Lincoln City in May whilst Northampton Town were relegated to the Third Division.

Brownie had a far better afternoon in August 2000 when his penalty sealed a 1-0 win and the Blues won again in November 2001 with a brace from striker Andy Rammell sealing a 2-1 victory on a cold Tuesday evening. There was a 1-1 draw in August 2002 with Darren Currie's free-kick squeezing past visiting goalkeeper Lee Harper before Jamie Forrester levelled for the Cobblers. A crowd of 7,417 saw Scott McGleish's half-volley seal a 1-0 win for Northampton Town on a balmy Good Friday evening in March 2005.

Another 1-1 draw followed in September of the same year with the game moved to a Friday evening due to England's 2006 World Cup qualifier against Wales at the Millenium Stadium the following day. Frank Talia spooned David Hunt's 25-yard strike into his own net on the half hour but defender Mike Williamson rescued a point with a header just before the hour. There was a largely forgettable 3-1 defeat in a F.A. Cup first round tie in November, with midfielder Joe Burnell's last minute goal providing little consolation.

The last two meetings have both ended in 2-2 draws. The first, in September 2009, was a Football League Trophy first round tie and a brace from striker Jon-Paul Pittman wasn't enough as Ian Westlake, Ashley Chambers and Leon Johnson all missed in the penalty shoot-out which was lost 3-0! The second, in April 2011, was far more important as Gary Waddock's men came from behind to rescue a precious point. A Shaun Harrad penalty and a goal from Guillem Bauza saw the Wanderers trail 2-0 at the break but Scott Donnelly pulled one back before Johnson's late header made it 2-2.

Gareth Ainsworth made two changes to his starting line-up last time out with strikers Dean Morgan and Matt McClure both recalled to the side after recovering from hamstring injuries. They replaced striker Jo Kuffour, who dropped to the bench, and Ainsworth, who left himself out of the squad. Winger Bruno Andrade appeared as a second half substitute after recovering from illness.

Defender Dave Winfield had to be replaced midway through the second half at the weekend with a calf strain but should be okay for the midweek clash with the Cobblers. Midfielder Stuart Lewis is available again after serving a two-match ban but may have to settle for a place on the bench.

Defender Kortney Hause and striker Dennis Oli are also available after recovering from illness but a quartet of players remain in the treatment room and won't play again this season.

Defender Anthony Stewart is recovering from 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 player availability...

Stuart Lewis (Centre Midfield) - available (may have to settle for a place on the bench after serving two match )

Dave Winfield (Centre Back) - doubtful (substituted with a calf strain but could be okay in midweek)

Anthony Stewart (Centre Back) - ruled-out with a hand injury (will undergo 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 could look something like this (4-4-2):

Matt Ingram

Michael Harriman - Dave Winfield - Gary Doherty - Charles Dunne

Joel Grant - Josh Scowen - Matt Spring - Sam Wood

Dean Morgan - Matt McClure

Subs: Lee Harrison, Leon Johnson, Marvin McCoy, Bruno Andrade, Stuart Lewis, Junior Morais, Jo Kuffour

Northampton Town endured two tough seasons in League Two, finishing just five points above the drop zone in 2010/11 and then only four points clear in 2011/12. The appointment of hoof-ball aficionado Aidy Boothroyd has certainly turned their fortunes around however and they are riding high on the back of an incredible home record, having won ten league games on the bounce at the ludicrously monikered Sixfields Stadium. That run came to inglorious end at the weekend however as they were beaten 2-0 by York City. Their away form isn't so good though, winning just one of the last eight games on their travels and losing five.

Boothroyd has tended to tinker with his starting line-up in recent weeks and made two changes to his starting line-up last time out with strikers Adebayo AKinfenwa and Jake Robinson both recalled to the side. They replaced loan defender Nathan Cameron, who dropped to the bench whilst winger Ishmel Demontagnac missed out with a hamstring injury. It is touch and go whether he will appear again before the end of the season. Former Wanderers winger Chris Hackett and striker Clive Platt are both struggling with calf strains but may still be handed starting roles in midweek.

Defender Kelvin Langmead is recovering from knee surgery and is hoping to return before the end of the season. Striker Alex Nicholls continues his rehabilitation following surgery on a broken leg and won't be back in action until next season. Defender Seth Nana Ofori-Twumasi won't be offered a new contract at the end of the season after missing more than 19 months with a serious cruciate knee ligament injury.

The Cobblers squad also includes ex-Wanderers midfielder Ben Harding. The player to watch is Ben Tozer (who will line-up either at right-back or in central midfield). He has a prodigious long throw which forms the basis of Boothroyd's entire tactical plan.

Northampton Town lined-up as follows last time out: (4-4-2):

Lee Nicholls

Ben Tozer - Clarke Carlisle - Lee Collins - Joe Widdowson

Chris Hackett - Ben Harding - Luke Guttridge - Jake Robinson

Adebayo Akinfenwa - Clive Platt

Subs: Dean Snedker, Claudio Dias, John Johnson, Nathan Cameron, Lewis Hornby, David Moyo, Roy O'Donovan


Here are all the stats...


The league table currently shows Wycombe in 15th place with 58 points and Northampton in 6th spot with 68 points, both sides having played 43 games.


Wycombe Home Record..W 8 - D 5 - L 8.....Pts 29...Ppg 1.38 (Rank-12)

North'ton Away Record...W 4 - D 6 - L 11...Pts 18...Ppg 0.86 (Rank-23)


Northampton's last five results (All Competitions)

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

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

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

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

Lg2: York City (H).............Lost 0-2


Wycombe's last five results (All Competitions)

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

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

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

Lg2: Burton (A)..................Lost 0-2

Lg2: Aldershot (H)..............Won 2-1


Northampton Goal Stats (50 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 60...Cups: 10...Total: 70

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 53...Cups: 12...Total: 65

Goals Scored (Away).........Lg: 21...Cups: 3.....Total: 24

Goals Conceded (Away).....Lg: 37...Cups: 3.....Total: 40

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 14...Cups: 1.....Total: 15

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


Wycombe Goal Stats (47 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 49...Cups: 4...Total: 53

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 58...Cups: 8...Total: 66

Goals Scored (Home).........Lg: 26...Cups: 0...Total: 26

Goals Conceded (Home).....Lg: 23...Cups: 0...Total: 23

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 13...Cups: 0...Total: 13

Failed to score...................Lg: 13...Cups: 2...Total: 15


Northampton's Top Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Ade Akinfenwa.........17

Kelvin Langmead......9

Alex Nicholls.............8

Chris Hackett............6

Clive Platt.................6

Jake Robinson...........5

David Artell..............4

Roy O'Donovan.........3

Three other players have each scored two goals.

Two other players have each scored 1 goal


Wycombe's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Joel Grant...............11

Matt McClure...........11

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


Northampton Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Chris Hackett.......48 on-target...47 off-target...7 against woodwork

Ade Akinfenwa.....42 on-target...51 off-target...5 against woodwork

Alex Nicholls........32 on-target...17 off-target...0 against woodwork


Wycombe Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Dean Morgan......28 on-target...32 off-target...7 against woodwork

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

Matt McClure.......21 on-target...22 off-target...1 against woodwork


Shooting (Club) - League only

North'ton.....246 on target...234 off target...27 against w'work (Rank-6)

Wycombe....169 on target...182 off target...11 against w'work (Rank-22)


Most Assists

Northampton - Chris Hackett.....14

Wycombe - Josh Scowen............7


Discipline - All Comps

Northampton.....4 Red Cards - 82 Yellow Cards

Wycombe..........5 Red Cards - 73 Yellow Cards


League Form Guide

All Season


North'ton....Pld: 43...W: 20...D: 8...L: 15...Pts: 68...Pts per game: 1.58

Wycombe...Pld: 43...W: 17...D: 7...L: 19...Pts: 58...Pts per game: 1.35


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

North'ton.....Pld: 15...W: 5...D: 4...L: 6...Pts: 19...Ppg: 1.27 (Rank-14)

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


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

North'ton.....Pld: 15...W: 8...D: 2...L: 5...Pts: 26...Ppg: 1.73 (Rank-4)

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


Final-third of the season (game 31 onwards)

North'ton.....Pld: 13...W: 7...D: 2...L: 4...Pts: 23...Ppg: 1.77 (Rank-2)

Wycombe....Pld: 13...W: 5...D: 1...L: 7...Pts: 16...Ppg: 1.23 (Rank-18)


Last Five league Games

Northampton.....WWLLL - 6 points (Rank-16)

Wycombe.........LWWLW - 9 points (Rank-7)


Last Five League Games (Away)

Northampton....DLDLL - 2 points (Rank-22)


Last Five League Games (Home)

Wycombe.......LWDLW - 7 points (Rank-17)


Against Top Half Opposition

Nort'ton.........Pld: 21...Pts: 24...Pts per game: 1.14...(Rank-14)

Wycombe......Pld: 22...Pts: 26...Pts per game: 1.18...(Rank-13)


Against Bottom Half Opposition

North'ton.......Pld: 22...Pts: 44...Pts per game: 2.00...(Rank-2)

Wycombe......Pld: 21...Pts: 32...Pts per game: 1.52...(Rank-12)


First 45 mins v Second 45 mins - Performance Comparison

First-Half


North'ton........W: 11...D: 20...L: 12...Ppg: 1.23 (Rank-16)

Wycombe.......W: 14...D: 16...L: 13...Ppg: 1.35 (Rank-6)


Second-Half

North'ton........W: 16...D: 17...L: 10...Ppg: 1.51 (Rank-4)

Wycombe.......W: 12...D: 14...L: 17...Ppg: 1.16 (Rank-20)


League Goals scored in First-Half

Northampton....21 (35%) (Rank-19)

Wycombe........25 (51%) (Rank-10)


League Goals scored in Second-Half

Northampton....39 (65%) (Rank-6)

Wycombe........24 (49%) (Rank-20)


League Goals conceded in First-Half

Northampton....19 (36%) (Rank-5)

Wycombe........23 (40%) (Rank-8)


League Goals conceded in Second-Half

Northampton....34 (64%) (Rank-14)

Wycombe........35 (60%) (Rank-16)


Record when scoring the first goal

Nort'ton scored first...21 times (W:19 - D:0 - L:2)...Ppg: 2.72 (Rank-2)

Wyc'be scored first....23 times (W:14 - D:5 - L:4)...Ppg: 2.04 (Rank-17)


Record when conceding the first goal

Nort'on conceded first..20 times (W:1 - D:6 - L:13)..Ppg: 0.45 (Rank-15)

Wyc'be conceded first..18 times (W:3 - D:0 - L:15)..Ppg: 0.50 (Rank-11)


Previous Meetings

In 22 previous meetings there have been 7 wins for Northampton, 4 for Wycombe and 11 draws.

At Adams Park the tally is 3 wins for the Chairboys, 3 for ther Cobblers and 5 draws.

1993/94 LG2: Wycombe 1 Northampton 0

1997/98 LG1: Wycombe 0 Northampton 0

1998/99 LG1: Wycombe 1 Northampton 2

2000/01 LG1: Wycombe 1 Northampton 0

2001/02 LG1: Wycombe 2 Northampton 1

2002/03 LG1: Wycombe 1 Northampton 1

2004/05 LG2: Wycombe 0 Northampton 1

2005/06 LG2: Wycombe 1 Northampton 1

2005/06 FAC: Wycombe 1 Northampton 3

2009/10 JPT: Wycombe 2 Northampton 2

2010/11 LG2: Wycombe 2 Northampton 2


The Man In The Middle

Tuesday's referee is Brendan Malone from Wiltshire who was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2010. Earlier this season he took charge of Wycombe's 1-0 win at Plymouth Argyle. During the current campaign he's issued 5 red and 68 yellow cards in 23 appearances.


Predictions

Benny: Wycombe 2 Northampton 1

Len: Wycombe 2 Northampton 2




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The Journalist

Writer: Benny & Len Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday April 15 2013

Time: 3:12PM

 

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