Date: 24th January 2009 at 10:44pm
Written by:

Wycombe Wanderers slumped to their second successive defeat by a relegation-threatened side when they threw away an early lead to lose 3-1 to Bournemouth at Dean Court this afternoon.

Manager Peter Taylor made 3 changes from the side that lost at home to Grimsby last Saturday. David McCracken, Lewwis Spence and Angelo Balanta came into the team in place of Mike Williamson, Gary Holt and Scott McGleish.

The Chairboys lined up in a 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 formation as follows:


Casement McCracken Johnson Woodman

Zebroski Bloomfield(52) Doherty(69) Spence Balanta(52)


Subs: Young Antwi Mousinho(69) Phillips(52) McGleish(52)

On the day in which news filtered through that the club are prepared to cash-in on key defender Mike Williamson, a series of woeful defensive errors cost Wycombe the game after they had taken an early lead and for a while looked in the mood to build on it.

The Chairboys started the game in lively fashion and appeared keen to ensure that there would be no repeat of last week’s disappointing result.

Wycombe took the lead after only 9 minutes with a good slice of assistance from Cherries’ keeper David Button. Matt Bloomfield harried the home defence into making a back pass and instead of immediately kicking it clear, Button dawdled in possession, allowing Matt Harrold to make a challenge and force the ball over the line.

The Bournemouth players looked crestfallen. Already low in confidence after losing their last four league games, the home side appeared resigned to their fate as Wycombe began to pass the ball about confidently in search of a killer second goal. The away fans were in good voice as they watched their side dominate possession with no sign of the dismal collapse which was to come.

Then it all went wrong in the space of nine minutes.

The equaliser came in the 22nd minute. Tommy Doherty had only been booked seconds before, but immediately gave away a needless free-kick 25 yards from goal. Bloomfield was also shown a yellow card for time wasting as he tried to make sure the wall was lined up correctly. Brett Pitman took the free-kick and calmly lashed it high into the corner of the net with Chairboys keeper Scott Shearer slow to react.

The goal visibly lifted the Cherries and only eight minutes later they scored again. A corner-kick found Jason Pearce totally unmarked just a few yards from goal and he had the simple task of nodding it past the static defence and into the net.

If their first goal had woken Bournemouth up, their second filled them with new-found confidence and they now looked the better side as the first half drew to a close. If Wycombe were to win the game, they would have to come from behind for the first time this season to do so.

The second half was only a minute old when the Cherries were presented with another free header from a corner. This time it was Joel Ward who rose unchallenged in the box to head goalwards only for Shearer to save comfortably.

After only 52 minutes, manager Peter Taylor tried to force a change of fortune by replacing Bloomfield and the uninterested looking Angelo Balanta with Matt Phillips and Scott McGleish. It didn’t work and the Cherries continued to look the more dangerous side. For all Wycombe’s possession, they looked a blunt instrument, devoid of any creativity or thrust from central midfield and finding themselves easily marshalled when they used the flanks.

The third Bournemouth goal came in the 61st minute. Jake Thomson found himself in acres of space on the right flank and despite the angle favouring the defence, he somehow clipped it over the watching Wycombe keeper and into the net at the back post.

In the 69th minute John Mousinho replaced Tommy Doherty. Perhaps Peter Taylor was afraid Doherty would be sent-off or perhaps he wanted to rest him for Tuesday night’s game. It’s difficult to imagine any other reason why he would have taken him off instead of the ineffective Lewwis Spence.

After 77 minutes keeper Shearer and the entire Wycombe defence stood and watched as another Pitman free-kick went right across the face of the goal before narrowly missing the back-post and going out for a goal-kick.

When it was all too late, Wycombe finally threatened the Bournemouth goal.

In the 87th minute Lewwis Spence woke up for long enough to fire a half-hearted shot from 20 yards which Cherries keeper Button made a meal of turning past the post.

From the resulting corner, Chris Zebroski’s flick-header hit the bar before bouncing off Scott McGleish and out of play.

The final whistle went with Cherries fans celebrating a deserved victory and Chairboys fans pondering another disappointing performance from their team.

With only two wins and two clean-sheets from their last eight games, Wycombe’s early-season efficiency is long gone. It’s just fortunate for the Chairboys that the chasing pack have so far displayed a generous level of inconsistency themselves.

As the long-suffering Wycombe fans hold their breath and hope they are not witnessing the start of yet another post-New Year capitulation, let’s hope that selling our best defender doesn’t prove to be a false economy.

Wycombe Man Of The Match

Chris Zebroski

For effort