Three second half goals from Doncaster Rovers were enough to see off Wycombe Wanderers at the Keepmoat Stadium. The defeat was the first loss on the road in 2018 for the Chairboys and after the game I spoke with Gareth Ainsworth for BBC Three Counties Radio:
Wycombe Wanderers got their first point of the season after an entertaining scoreless draw against Blackpool at a sun kissed Adams Park.
The Chairboys had the better of the chances from open play but crucially failed to convert any of them with Paris Cowan-Hall guilty of spurning the best opportunity with two minutes on the clock.
However, it was Blackpool that came closest to breaking the deadlock with an excellent first half free-kick from Chris Taylor that struck the angle of post and bar, with Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop beaten.
Overall, it was a solid performance and a clean sheet for the Chairboys with the only cloud in the clear blue skies being the red card for right back Michael Harriman for two yellow cards, the second of which looked very harsh indeed.
After the game, I spoke to the Wanderers manager, Gareth Ainsworth, for BBC Three Counties Radio:
The big kick-off is finally here and Wycombe Wanderers will begin life back in EFL1 against Blackpool at Adams Park. It’s the first time that the Chairboys have been in the third tier of English football since 2011/12 and they haven’t avoided relegation from this level since 2002/03.
I caught up with Wanderers manager, Gareth Ainsworth, ahead of the visit of The Seasiders and unsurprisingly, his first target this season is to ensure survival in League 1:
3-2 to the Wanderers against Crewe for the second time this season and with both games providing injury time winners.
Here’s the story of the game (including a brief retrospective of the winner at Adams Park earlier in the season):
It was all too much for the home manager, David Artell, who was sent off for his protests as the Chairboys went 2-1 up on ’82 minutes, after what looked to be an obvious handball in the build up.
Crucially, both the referee and his assistant didn’t see it and the bespectacled Crewe manager was dispatched to the stands after going over the top in his protestations.
His glasses would have been steaming up again ten minutes later as after Crewe had scored on ’88 minutes, it looked like they were on for their first draw in 25 league games.
It was not to be, as a defensive horror show opened the door for Craig Mackail-Smith to score his ninth goal of the season and snatch the winner for the Chairboys deep into injury time.
Wild celebrations erupted in the away end as the win made sure Wycombe Wanderers remained hot on the heels of the top three in League Two.
It had been a sad week for the club and the game overall, with the sudden death of former player and pioneer, Cyrille Regis.
Football has a strange habit of throwing up poignant little statistics and just prior to the impeccably observed minutes silence for Cyrille before kick off, the PA announcer informed us all that the last time Wycombe had won a league game at Gresty Road was in 1994, and Cyrille scored the winner that day.
Football can be a funny old game sometimes.
After the game, I spoke with Chairboys manager, Gareth Ainsworth for BBC Three Counties:
Football remembers the great Cyrille Regis
Nathan Tyson and Craig Mackail-Smith enjoy the moment with the fans
Mansfield Town came from behind to take the three points with a second half onslaught at Adams Park.
The Chairboys dominated the first period but were made to pay for only being one goal up at the break with Adebayo Akinfenwa on the scoresheet once again.
With the wind also a factor in the game, The Stags were electric in the second half and well taken goals from Alfie Potter and former Chairboy Lee Angol proved to be enough despite Wycombe throwing everything at their opponents during the closing stages.
After the game, I spoke to the Wycombe Wanderers manager, Gareth Ainsworth:
A fiercely contested match at Broadhall Way failed to produce a goal but it was an entertaining game with both sides creating chances.
The Chairboys thought they had scored in the first half when goalkeeper, Scott Brown, launched a long free kick into the penalty area which somehow eluded Stevenage stopper Joe Fryer, only to be heroically cleared off the line by a heavily bandaged Ron Henry.
Several Wycombe players were convinced the ball had crossed the line but the referee waved play on and the Chairboys finished the half strongly after what had been a slow start to the game.
The second half was dominated by Wycombe, especially after the introduction of Sam Saunders and Nathan Tyson, who replaced a quiet Eberechi Eze and an industrious Nick Freeman.
Adebayo Akinfenwa was still not 100 per cent fit but nearly broke the deadlock late in the second half with a clever back header that struck the base of the post.
After the game, I spoke with the Wycombe Wanderers manager, Gareth Ainsworth:
It’s getting closer, the excitement is building and I for one cannot wait.
No, I’m not talking about Christmas, I’m referring to Marcus Bean’s first goal for Wycombe Wanderers.
If you go along to most of the games or tune into the commentaries, you cannot have failed to notice that the combative midfielder has been notching up the efforts on goal this season.
After 81 appearances so far for the Chairboys, Beany is overdue a goal and I think it will be ajust reward for his excellent form this season so far.
However, he is not here to put the ball in the back of the net. Protecting the back four, breaking up play and turning possession over is a vital cog in any team.
Of course, the whole team defend as a unit but the statistics this season spell out that when Marcus Bean plays in the EFL, Wycombe normally concede fewer goals than when he doesn’t.
Claude Makele made this role fashionable and was so good at it, the position took his name.
I checked out his statistics for his time at Chelsea and found thatMakele scored only twice in 191 appearances for The Blues.
Steffen Freund was the hugely popular midfield enforcer at Tottenham and never scored for them.
Every time he got the ball in the opposition half, most of White Hart Lane screamed for him to shoot.
I’ve noticed that this has started happening to Beany with the excellent Chairboys away following.
At Solihull recently, the cries of “shoooooot” were distinctly audible and nearly paid off: Bean found a yard in the penalty area, only to shoot narrowly past the post.
The former Jamaican international can hear the shouts too. He said: “The crowd were so close to the pitch at Solihull I could definitely hear them and I thought my moment had arrived.
“It would have been a great moment right in front of the Wycombe fans and I can’t believe I stuck it wide.”
As a commentator, I’m feeling the pressure of this situation. When the goal comes (not if, when), I have to make sure that I somehow find the words to do the moment justice.
Perhaps I’ll go full Icelandic commentator? Or maybe I should just follow the example of Beany himself…
I’ve nowhad the pleasure of Marcus’ company a few times in the commentary box, on the odd occasion of him being injured or suspended, but the first time remainsthe most memorable for me.
It was an FA Cup tie at Millwall and the Match Of The Day editor had sent me a text in the morning explaining that if Wycombe pulled off an upset and won, they would use my goal commentary on that evening’s programme.
“Wow”, I thought to myself. I’d only been doing this commentary lark for five minutes and I might get on MOTD?!
Wycombe duly obliged with an injury time winner from Michael Harriman, and I floated out of The New Den after the game.
I soon crashed back down to earth on the platform at Bermondsey station.
A text message arrived from MOTD: “Who was your summariser today?
“He’s screamed YEEEAAAAHHH right across your commentary and it’s unusable, we’ll have to use the BBC London one instead.”
Denied a moment of glory by Marcus Bean.
Now I know what it must feel like to play against him on a Saturday.