Wycombe Wanderers completed their pre-season schedule this afternoon with a 4-2 win at Conference South side Farnborough FC.
First Half Line Up
McCoy Winfield Johnson Westlake
Phillips Montrose Bloomfield Betsy
Second Half Line Up
McCoy (Foster 62) Bennett Westwood Westlake (Green 74)
Fitchett Murtagh Bloomfield (Belcher 74) Phillips (Ainsworth 74)
Rendell Pittman (McClure 72)
Following their superb performance against a young Chelsea side on Thursday evening, the Chairboys faced a more gritty challenge this afternoon and they got off to the best possible start when they were awarded a penalty after only three minutes.
The spot-kick was given for a foul on Ben Strevens and scored with some style by Kevin Betsy who sent Boro keeper Michael Jordan the wrong way as he confidently slotted the ball into the corner of the net.
Wycombe’s second goal after 20 minutes also involved Betsy and Strevens. When a Matt Phillips corner was only partially cleared by Boro, Betsy fired in a fierce volley which a full-stretch Jordan could only parry. Lurking in the box, Strevens waited patiently for the ball to drop before burying it into the back of the net with aplomb.
It wasn’t all Wycombe though. Farnborough had already created a couple of chances which a more clinical side might have converted, and it was no surprise when they pulled one back in the 24th minute through Bradley Bubb after good work from winger Dale Binns.
The Blues made it 3-1 after 53 minutes when Matt Phillips collected a Matt Bloomfield chip at the back post and coolly found the corner of the net from a tight angle.
Four minutes later it was 4-1 when Jon-Paul Pittman continued his purple-patch by jinking into the box to score his 8th goal of pre-season after some clever interplay with the impressive Kieran Murtagh.
Boro pulled one back after 79 minutes when substitute Anthony Thomas curled a fine shot into the top right hand corner of the net from 20 yards with Blues keeper Steve Arnold only able to stand and watch.
Thomas almost repeated the trick a couple of minutes later when his fine effort from the edge of the box only narrowly cleared the Wycombe crossbar.
The Chairboys came close to scoring a fifth goal in stoppage time when Dan Fitchett found himself in the clear and slotted the ball past Jordan only to watch it hit the foot of the post and rebound to safety.
Post pre-season opinion
At the end of what’s been a highly entertaining pre-season campaign which has seen Wycombe firing on all cylinders up-front and turning on the style in midfield, the only areas of slight concern ahead of the Morecambe game would appear to lie at the back.
Goalkeeper – Nikki Bull has looked superb and as long as he stays fit we’re in safe hands. If he gets injured however, we might have a problem. Steve Arnold looks promising, but may need a little more experience before making the step up.
Left-Back – This is the main area of concern. Several different players have been played out of position to cover for the injured Andy Sandell. None have looked particularly convincing and even now it’s not clear who will be given the nod against Morecambe next Saturday.
Right-Back – The exciting but relatively inexperienced Marvin McCoy, or Danny Foster who may be required to play out of position at left back? I have no idea who Waddock will pick.
Centre-Backs – No problem. Perm any two from Leon Johnson, Chris Westwood, Alan Bennett and Dave Winfield – they’ve all looked good in pre-season.
Wingers – We’re spoilt. Pick any two from Kevin Betsy, Gareth Ainsworth and Matt Phillips.
Central Midfield – No problem. Perm any two from Lewis Montrose, Matt Bloomfield and Kieran Murtagh. All three have looked strong, skillful and energetic in pre-season.
Strikers – It’s looking good. Jon-Paul Pittman, Ben Strevens and Scott Rendell are all looking sharp and finding the net. Which two to select will be a dilemma for Gary Waddock.