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Match Report


Posted Sun 06 Sep 09 at 11:37 AM


Wanderers slipped to a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, with Nicky Forster sealing the points with a close range finish 15 minutes from time.

The first half was a tepid affair with neither side creating much in front of goal, but the second period became more open once both sides had made changes to try and win the points.

Scott Shearer pulled off a stunning reflex save to deny Dean Cox's low effort on 75 minutes but just moments later, the same player escaped the Blues' offside trap to slide the ball across to Forster, who tapped home with ease.

Kevin Betsy came on for his second Wycombe debut following his midweek arrival on loan from Southend United, but he and his team-mates were unable to conjure up an equaliser as the Seagulls recorded their first win of the campaign.

Peter Taylor named an unchanged starting eleven for the trip to the south coast after an encouraging victory over Bristol Rovers last weekend, which meant that Jon-Paul Pittman had to settle for a place on the bench despite his tally of four goals in the last three games.

Within moments of the start, Liam Dickinson - the man who denied Wycombe a trip to Wembley in the play-offs in 2008 whilst with Stockport - wriggled into the box and went to ground far too easily under making contact with Craig Woodman, prompting a brief confrontation with Blues keeper Scott Shearer.

The same striker was booked a few minutes later after conceding a foul and complaining to the referee, and the striker's fortunes never really improved as he was to be marked out of the game by an impressive Luke Oliver.

However, the first half never really got going, with both sides dragged into a midfield battle on a gloomy day in a stadium with little atmosphere, and if a goal was going to be scored, it was going to be as a result of a poor mistake.

Brighton came close to creating a chance courtesy of a sloppy header from TJ Moncur inside the Seagulls' half which allowed the home side to break forward, and only a crucial interception from John Mousinho prevented Adam El-Ebd from cutting the ball back to the onrushing attackers on 23 minutes.

Moments later, Wycombe registered the first shot of the game when Stuart Green's low daisy-cutter from distance was held by Michel Kuipers, while at the other end, Scott Shearer had to make a smart save to deny Arron Davies after Brighton had cleverly worked the ball into the area.

Davies was at it again on 39 minutes, curling an effort over the bar after jinking inside TJ Moncur, but when the half-time whistle came, nobody inside the ground would have been surprised by the 0-0 scoreline.

The second half began in the same vein, with the defences on top, although Brighton weren't far away from a fluke opener when Gary Dicker's cross evaded everyone and bounced a yard wide of the far post.

Inevitably, substitutions were needed to change the game, and Wanderers introduced JP Pittman and Marlon Pack at the same time as Brighton bringing on Dean Cox, with Stuart Green, Ian Westlake and Arron Davies making way respectively.

Within an instant, Pittman had latched on to a Matt Harrold flick-on and played in Matt Phillips, who won a corner, and the substitutions also resulted in a change of formation, with Wycombe reverting to a 4-4-2 set-up.

Michael Duberry headed straight at Michel Kuipers on 70 minutes but then the momentum swung in Brighton's favour, resulting in the only goal of the game. Firstly Elliott Bennett shot straight at Scott Shearer before the Scotsman made a great reflex save to deny Dean Cox from close range, but just seconds later, Bennett fed Dean Cox inside the area and as the Wycombe defence stepped up and appealed for offside, Cox squared for Forster to tap home.

Peter Taylor reacted by bringing on Kevin Betsy in an attacking central position but if anything, Brighton looked the more likely to score next, with sub Gary Hart somehow shooting wide when one-on-one inside the area.

Wycombe were handed a great chance inside stoppage time when Michel Kuipers was penalised for time-wasting, but Marlon Pack's indirect free-kick lacked conviction and the Albion were able to clear and secure the three points.

Wanderers head to the other end of the country next weekend as they look to claim their first away points of the season against Hartlepool United.

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