Date: 10th October 2009 at 9:41pm
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Slack defending was yet again the downfall for managerless Wycombe Wanderers who lost 3-2 at Gillingham this afternoon despite giving a commendably spirited performance.

Caretaker boss Richard Dobson made three changes to the side that were beaten by Orient last Saturday and the Chairboys lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation as follows:


Hunt(88) Duberry Johnson Woodman

Phillips(58) Westlake(75) Pack Pittman



Subs: Young Oliver Westwood Montrose Green(75) Zebroski(58) Chambers(88)

When your team’s at the wrong end of the table and playing away from home under a caretaker manager who won’t be in charge next week, you might expect to see downhearted players just going through the motions.

That certainly wasn’t the case this afternoon at the Priestfield Stadium where the Chairboys gave 100% and were unlucky to come away without a share of the points for their efforts.

Caretaker boss Richard Dobson put his mark on the side in several different ways.

The selection of Ian Westlake in place of Stuart Green gave the midfield a bit more bite, while it was a pleasure to see the classy Leon Johnson return to central defence.

Switching Matt Phillips to the right-wing seemed a logical move but was unsuccessful this afternoon with the youngster fairly anonymous before being substituted early in the second half.

Dobson persisted with Peter Taylor’s reinvention of Kevin Betsy and the man we normally expect to see skinning full-backs was given a roving role as the link between midfield and target-man Matt Harrold in attack.

Wycombe had their fair share of the opening exchanges and although they didn’t create any early chances for themselves they restricted Gillingham to a few hopeful long range shots.

It was a promising start which was undone yet again by a poorly defended set-piece.

The home side won their first corner of the game after 15 minutes and played it short before crossing to the back post where three unmarked Gillingham players were lurking. Josh Gowling was the one to head it and his effort struck the woodwork before finding it’s way over the line as keeper Scott Shearer scrambled in vain to stop it.

Interestingly, despite Peter Taylor’s departure, Wycombe continued their policy of leaving no one up-field when defending corners this afternoon.

The Chairboys equalising goal after 26 minutes was a cracker.

A long ball up to Matt Harrold was flicked to Jon-Paul Pittman on the left wing before being slipped inside to Kevin Betsy who in turn teed up Craig Woodman. Taking the visiting supporters at the other end of the ground somewhat by surprise, Woodman proceeded to leather the ball into the top right hand corner of the net from 25 yards out.

Shortly afterwards, Wycombe had another great chance when a Woodman free kick flashed across the face of the Gillingham goal with Michael Duberry and Matt Harrold both somehow failing to apply the finishing touch.

It was an open game at this point, and Dennis Oli came close for the Gills at one end, while Wycombe’s Kevin Betsy escaped his markers and was heading toward goal before being cynically fouled at the other.

Just before half time Gillingham regained the lead when slack marking from a throw in allowed the ball to be flicked on to Curtis Weston who appeared to head the ball through keeper Scott Shearer’s legs from close range.

Unlucky to be behind at the break, Wycombe did have to withstand a period of sustained Gillingham pressure at the start of the second half before grabbing a rather fortunate equaliser on the hour mark.

A Craig Woodman free kick was only partially cleared before Marlon Pack headed it back into the danger area where a touch from Leon Johnson was knocked into his own net by Mark Bentley.

It was a rare stroke of luck for Wycombe but the gods of fortune soon evened things up.

A Wycombe attack saw the ball knocked out for a corner only for Gills keeper Simon Royce to clearly snatch it back into the field of play. His deception fooled the officials and in the next move Simeon Jackson was scoring the winning goal when Wycombe should have been taking their corner.

A long ball found Jackson clear on the right flank and with Scott Shearer stranded in no man’s land, the striker chipped it over his head and into the net.

The closest the Chairboys came to a third equaliser was a superb 30 yard free kick from Craig Woodman, which was whistling into the top corner of the net until Royce made himself even more unpopular by keeping it out with a fine save.

There was one last chance when Kevin Betsy broke clear and put in a teasing cross, but substitute Stuart Green could only screw his volley high and wide from a great position inside the Gillingham box.

Special Mentions

Leon Johnson, Marlon Pack, Ian Westlake and Kevin Betsy

Dodgy Displays

Scott Shearer, Michael Duberry and Matt Phillips

Man Of The Match

Craig Woodman