Date: 13th December 2009 at 2:36pm
Written by:

Wycombe Wanderers failed to capitalise on their recent good form and their run of 3 wins from 4 games came to a halt when they were beaten 1-0 by Carlisle United in a fairly even match in Cumbria.

Gary Waddock named an unchanged line up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows:


Hunt Westwood Oliver Woodman

Phillips Davies Mousinho Betsy

Harrold Akinde

Couldn’t get there myself, so this report is brought to you by Vital’s man on the spot – Dale

Wycombe started the game on the back foot and could have been three goals down within the first twenty minutes.

Immediately Pericard was set free in behind a lagging defence and the team in yellow were grateful to keeper Scott Shearer who blocked the big attacker`s effort which lacked power and precision. Hurst and Robson were working the Wycombe defence and both came close; Hurst missing a sitter and Robson shaving the foot of the Wycombe post with Shearer stranded and the defence watching on passively.

Wycombe began to show a little more punch up front with Matt Phillips the biggest threat, twisting and turning past his marker before a deflected cross was held by the Carlisle keeper. Akinde also skipped through but was denied by a good tackle, while Davies in particular was tenacious and battling away combatively in midfield against a worthy & experienced opponent in Kavanagh.

It looked as though Wycombe would hold on to their clean sheet going into half time but a mixture of poor defending and poor refereeing saw the Chairboys concede. A blatant foul on Betsy was ignored and a very soft free kick was strangely awarded Carlisle`s way in a dangerous position 25 yards out. Harte swung the ball in and Pericard, unchallenged amid static defenders, looped in a header past a stationary but helpless Shearer. There was a definite sense of injustice about the award of the free kick, but it was defended poorly and in truth the Cumbrians probably deserved their lead on the balance of play.

Wycombe`s approach had to change and they went at Carlisle from the start of the second half. Harrold was still chasing shadows and struggling to get involved, but Akinde and Betsy had good efforts blocked and Phillips rasped a shot that was goal-bound only to see a defender throw his body in front of it.

As the second half wore on, Wycombe began to take a stranglehold on the game and the sparse cries from the home crowd at the award of a corner around the 70th minute suggested they were relieved to get near the Wycombe goal and out of their own half.

Tommy Doherty replaced John Mousinho on the hour mark, but wasted possession on a couple of occasions, one resulting in a counter attack where Pericard was superbly denied from point-blank range by the excellent Shearer. Soon after Akinde missed a sitter, heading over when it looked easier to score from the improving Phillips` cross. Lewis Hunt then had a downward effort cleared off the line and Akinde was through on goal only to hesitate allowing a defender to make a crucial block.

The Yellows were running out of time and, possibly too late, Waddock threw on Jon-Paul Pittman for the inactive, inefficient and passenger-like Harrold. Akinde then wasted yet another opportunity with three men waiting for a cross when his weak pass was easily blocked for a corner. There was still time for Pittman to be played clean through, only to be halted by a superb tackle from the last defender, Danny Livesey.

This game was ultimately lost due to one lapse in concentration in defence from a set piece that should not have been awarded. Nevertheless, the main portion of the blame must lie at the feet of the attackers. Betsy was largely anonymous, whereas Harrold made Betsy look like he was having a screamer of a game. Akinde wasted three very presentable opportunities and looked a shadow of the big powerhouse we loved in League 2. Davies looked the only player willing to put his foot through the ball and have a shot; the others were either wasteful or went missing in the final third.

Carlisle did not play brilliantly and a point would have been a very fair result, but when you don`t take your chances you can`t argue with a defeat.

Special mentions:

Luke Oliver – cleared everything and continues to be greatly improved.

Scott Davies – Tirelessly and shamelessly ran the midfield against a very crafty and experienced opponent in Kavanagh.

Man of the match

Scott Shearer – Helpless for the goal but his kicking was solid and he made some great saves. Not a great deal to choose from outfield in this regard either.

Dale’s Match Ratings

Shearer 8

Hunt 6

Oliver 7

Westwood 6

Woodman 6

Phillips 7

Betsy 5

Davies 7

Mousinho 6

Harrold 4

Akinde 5


Pittman 5

Doherty 5

Writer – Dale