Bournemouth 2 Wycombe Wanderers 0
Vital Wycombe would like to thank guest writer Dale Jenkins for the following report. (He drew the short straw)
An insipid performance lacking in ability and commitment saw Wycombe Wanderers crash to a deserved 2-0 defeat at AFC Bournemouth this afternoon.
This report, unlike the official website, will not insult or patronise supporters by claiming that there were “occasional flashes of inventive midfield play,” as there simply were not. Aside from a sprinkling of fine saves from Nikki Bull and the usual energy of Matt Bloomfield, every other Wycombe player should be embarrassed by the fare they served up this afternoon.
Gary Waddock shuffled his pack, starting Gareth Ainsworth ahead of Joel Grant and recalling James Tunnicliffe for the injured Dave Winfield. The least surprising change saw Stuart Lewis recalled after his one-match suspension, with John Halls missing out on a place in the squad altogether.
Bournemouth immediately set off on the front foot and could have been ahead with two minutes gone when a loose ball was fired over by Symes following a routine corner. Wes Thomas was next to be frustrated as Bull turned his downward header over the bar.
It was one-way traffic and more opportunities were squandered before Thomas finally gave the hosts the lead after 27 minutes. It was a moment to forget for anonymous captain Ainsworth, who blasted a clearance into the helpless James Tunnicliffe, the ball rebounding kindly for Thomas to gleefully smash home a deserved opener for the Cherries.
Ainsworth and Danny Foster then fired two 50 yard efforts harmlessly wide, but in truth the Chairboys were struggling to string two passes together. The ball seemed to be played long at the first opportunity, bypassing a pedestrian midfield, and in Beavon and Trotta the ball was just not sticking. Why on earth this tactic was employed I shall never understand.
Bournemouth had not won at home since November, but must have been boosted by the freedom of the park they were afforded, with runners not being tracked and interceptions missed. The second half continued in the same vein with Pugh and Daniels causing constant problems down Wycombe`s right flank. Ainsworth looked off the pace and was always looking for a backward pass instead of getting stuck into his full back. Marvin McCoy was having a shocker, slicing clearances and clearly low on confidence.
The second goal arrived on 50 minutes and it was another set piece disaster. Stuart Lewis back-flicked a header into the path of Symes who finished off another remarkably simple goal. It was more shoddy defending which explains why the Blues have kept just one clean sheet all season, a truly shocking record.
In Wycombe`s previous match Graham Westley made a double substitution on 37 minutes as the match was not going his side`s way. It had its desired effect and Stevenage went on to nick the game with the substitutes playing a big role in that. However it took fully 71 minutes for Gary Waddock to introduce Kadeem Harris for the anonymous Ainsworth, the only other change being the introduction of left back Grant Basey. Despite having another substitution available, the two strikers on the bench were not introduced at all. Hardly game changing stuff when the game needed to be chased and the momentum shifted.
Harris at least ran at his man and looked to create, doing more in his short cameo than Ainsworth had managed in the whole game. Support up front was minimal however and Daryl Flahavan was never once tested. Bournemouth should have added to their lead with Pugh, Thomas, Symes, Gregory and Arter all wasting glorious chances. Nikki Bull loudly shouted something along the lines of “Come on lads, get a goal and we’re back in this”: if only some of his passion and commitment was matched by some of our other players. The fans knew it and agreed with the goalkeeper.
It was so bad the away end were pretending the team had scored by the 85th minute. The long ball tactic simply didn`t work but was never changed. The defending on the other hand was a shambles and no one would have complained if this had finished 4-0.
Waddock did the right thing after the game, saying that Nikki Bull and Matt Bloomfield were the only two players guaranteed a start against Huddersfield on Friday night. It will need 100% improvement in performance to pick anything up from this fixture, and if the January window is not utilised and form does not drastically improve, it looks like Wycombe could be heading towards another relegation.
Sorry to be brutal, but sometimes the truth hurts. This was a dreadful performance.
Bull 7, McCoy 3 (Basey 4), Tunnicliffe 3, Johnson 4, Foster 5, McNamee 4, Bloomfield 6, Lewis 4, Ainsworth 3 (Harris 5), Beavon 5, Trotta 4
Writer: Dale Jenkins