Tag Archives: Cambridge United

The Long & Winding Road

Ah, the end of the football season. A time for reflection on what could have been which will soon melt into the anticipation for it all to kick off again in August.

League 2 has been a funny old division this time around, which was summed up perfectly by the final game of the campaign at Adams Park.
Both Wycombe Wanderers and Cambridge United had poor starts to the season, but found themselves on the final day with an outside chance of the play offs.
A convincing 1-0 victory was not enough for The Chairboys as the required ‘favours’ elsewhere failed to materialise.
I spoke to an upbeat Gareth Ainsworth, shortly after the final whistle:
An improvement on last season’s league position, points total and goals scored are all positives to take away from a gruelling campaign which also included two significant forays into the cup competitions.
A continuation of the poor form from the end of the 16/17 season saw a slow start to the season which ultimately contributed to Wycombe falling just short of the top seven.
The unbeaten run through the winter months was exhilarating, but the games mounted up and injuries to key players brought about a slump which was arrested in time for a tilt towards the play offs.
I’m doubtless that some will look at the failure to beat Morecambe away or hold on against ten man Cheltenham at home as the reasons why The Chairboys missed out on the play off party.
Quite simply though, the league table doesn’t lie.
As Gareth said on the interview:
“You are where you are after 46 games”.
Tottenham Hotspur away was one of those days that reminds you of what a brilliant (and cruel) game football can be.
The performance of the team with the noise and passion from the fans was absolutely fantastic, whilst the drama on the day was just unbelievable.
Apologies to the people who I made cry with the audio montage of the game afterwards.
Here it is again for those of you who may have found it too painful to listen to at the time:
The trip to White Hart Lane was a real highlight of the season for me but there have been many others along the way too.
It’s a real privilege to be able to help tell the story of Wycombe Wanderers each week and I hope that the rise of the club continues under Gareth Ainsworth.
Thanks to everyone who has tuned in, tweeted, said hello and stopped for a chat, be it at Adams Park or on the road/train.
It’s been a pleasure.
Have a great Summer and, of course, COYB!
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Wycombe Wanderers 1 Cambridge United 0

Ten games into the new season and it’s six wins, three draws and just the one defeat. This finds Wycombe Wanderers second in the table. Impressive stuff, especially when you add that The Chairboys have the most frugal defence in the Football League. A huge amount of credit must go to ‘the gaffer’ Gareth Ainsworth for this tremendous start. He’s picked himself up and turned the place around, assembling a unified team of real quality. The one dark cloud that looms is the size of the squad as a couple of injuries could make things tough. However, Wycombe are really making hay whilst the sun is shining and the optimistic buzz is back around Adams Park.

The loss of Danny Rowe was a blow, but this wasn’t felt against Cambridge United as Josh Scowen and Peter Murphy were both excellent in central midfield. Where the Rowe recall will hurt is if there is an injury in defence as there is now very little cover indeed, but the loan system has been used to great effect in recent times and will no doubt be called upon again as the season unfolds.

Cambridge were another big and direct side which Wycombe dealt with comfortably. The away side started brightly but soon faded when they lost their defensive midfielder Issago Diallo early on. The Chairboys grew into the game and played some great stuff, largely on the deck and really should have gone in at half time with the lead. Sam Wood’s touch let him down at the final moment in the move of the game which featured some wonderful build up play just before the break.

Bill Turnbull returned from the press room tea run to report news of Richard Money really tearing into his players at half time and again the visitors were on the front foot at the start of the second period. Wycombe survived a couple of scares before again taking control of the game. Matt McClure’s luck was still out as he saw his superb instinctive header come back off the post just before the hour mark, fingers crossed he gets his goal soon and goes on a run. On sixty three minutes the breakthrough finally came as Paul Hayes gobbled up an intelligent knock down from a cross to notch up one hundred league goals. Until that point, Michael Nelson and Josh Coulson had been defending magnificently but the sheer volume of balls into the box had worn them down. Gareth reverted to a 4-4-1-1 to combat the attacking changes by Money and The Chairboys looked comfortable seeing the game out, even with a tense finish defending some unnecessary corners.

The first ten games are often the yardstick for the rest of the campaign but after last season I doubt you will find many Wycombe fans getting too carried away. However, I really cannot see the current squad and management team allowing the horrific mid season form to repeat itself and if injuries are kind, who knows where Wycombe Wanderers will end up…?

For the the post match thoughts of Gareth Ainsworth click here

Here are the commentary highlights from Bill and myself…

Big thanks to Keith Cummings for the audio

Mobile and tablet version here

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A tense but happy commentary box at the final whistle

 

 

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