Stockport County 4 Wycombe Wanderers 3
It’s difficult to know where to start with this one.
If it hadn’t been for some superb goalkeeping by Tom Heaton, the Chairboys could easily have been six-nil down at half time.
On a pitch which looked more like a beach, County thoroughly outplayed a Wycombe side who looked like they would rather be at home with their feet up watching Soccer Saturday.
The principal villains of a dire first forty-five minutes were Craig Woodman and Chris Westwood on the left side of defence and winger Kevin McLeod, who didn’t do enough to help them out.
The rest of them weren’t much better though. Up front, Alex Revell continued to show the sort of form which makes you wonder why we moved mountains to sign him, while in the centre of the beach, Dean Keates and John Mousinho were totally upstaged by the diminutive David Perkins who orchestrated numerous County attacks with ease.
Heaton had already made several excellent saves by the time Wycombe were hit by two goals in quick succession mid-way through the first-half.
Both goals came from County corners.
The first should have been cleared, but as the ball stuck in the mud and several Wycombe players made a hash of clearing it properly, it broke to Richard Partridge who lashed it home through a crowded box, giving Heaton no chance to react.
A minute later, in almost a carbon copy of the first defensive catastrophe, George Donnelly turned on a sixpence inside the box to fire home the Hatters’ second goal.
All that remained was for Heaton to pull off two more crucial saves, before the half-time whistle put us out of our misery.
Manager Gary Waddock replaced Revell with Harrold at half time and presumably had a few choice words to say during the break, because for the first ten minutes after the restart, Wycombe were all over the Hatters.
In the first few minutes alone, Kevin McLeod put a header wide of the post and Matt Harrold had one saved on the line by County keeper Fon Williams.
But just when you thought Wycombe might make a game of it, County scored again. And then again!
Their third goal was the final straw for Waddock and he immediately replaced the hapless Woodman, who can only hope he doesn’t now disappear into the same deep hole as Lewis Hunt.
Jemal Johnson was the scorer. Having a field day on the right wing, he made light of Woodman’s presence before hitting a screamer from twenty yards to prove to the shot-shy Chairboys that it is possible to shoot from distance on mud.
Donnelly scored County’s fourth goal from close range after good work from Jabo Ibehre, and at that point, with half an hour still to play, it looked like a slaughter was on the cards.
Then, unbelievably, it all changed.
Matt Phillips had already replaced Woodman with McLeod dropping to left back and after 66 minutes the youngster guided a Matt Harrold cross into the net for what looked like a consolation goal.
Lewis Montrose then took John Mousinho’s place in midfield to complete Waddock’s three substitutions.
Wycombe continued to press, showing an urgency and fluency which would have been handy in the first half, and it paid off just three minutes later when Phillips scored his second goal with a superb header from a Dean Keates’ corner.
They almost got a third when a Pittman effort was pushed onto the post by Fon Williams, and their persistence was rewarded when another Pittman shot did find the net, with a bit of help from the County keeper.
Incredibly, it looked like Wycombe might actually salvage a point, but their only decent chance fell to Kevin Betsy and the winger couldn’t quite hook the ball back into the net from close range.
When the final whistle sounded on yet another defeat to a relegation rival, you could only wonder why Wycombe didn’t turn up until half time.
Matt Harrold – Made a big difference in the second half.
Matt Phillips – Can’t ask for more than two goals.
Man Of The Match
Tom Heaton – It would have been 10-3 without him
Chairboys’ fightback falls short
Stockport County 4 Wycombe Wanderers 3